With divorce, comes pettiness. While you may think about selling your assets before a divorce in Texas may benefit you, it hurts you both as a couple.
What Is Separate Property in Texas?
First, you need to understand Separate Property. In Texas, Separate property is:
- Any property that was owned by either spouse prior to the marriage
- An inheritance received by either spouse prior to the marriage
- A gift one spouse received from a third party
- Payment received for pain and suffering portion in a personal injury judgement
However, if you made any changes to these items above during your marriage, like adding a spouse onto a condo as a co-owner, it’s fair game.
Martial property consists of income, pension plans, 401Ks, IRAs, other retirement plans, differed compensation, stock options, restricted stocks, other equity, bonuses, commissions, country club memberships, annuities, life insurance, brokerage accounts (mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.), bank accounts, businesses, professional practices and licenses, real estate, limited partnerships, cars, boats, art, antiques, tax refunds, and so much more.
Rightfully so, you’re concerned about how the money you have, your house, and other assets will be divided out. Property acquired together during your marriage means you both have a legal right to it in Texas. That’s right — the 50-50 rule isn’t a myth.
What Could Happen If I Sell My Assets Before My Divorce in Texas?
You may feel obligated to sell these assets before the divorce is finalized to one-up your spouse. In all actuality, you may get into some serious legal trouble for doing so.
Take this for example from Powers and Kerr. A husband filed for divorce against his wife. The couple had no children and in the divorce petition, this husband alleged that his wife sold more than $50,000 worth of household goods, furniture, and electronics without his consent. The wife could be tried for constructive fraud in selling martial assets without the spouse’s consent. The judge could order the wife to pay the husband for one-half of the profit she made from the property.
Texas is a Community Property state. Selling assets have an entirely different rule set. Splitting the assets is based on fairness according to specific circumstances in the marriage. This doesn’t necessarily mean your spouse will get half. This is up to your attorneys and the court to decide.
You need to research Texas law in detail with an attorney by your side. However, if you’re concerned that the value of your home won’t cover the remaining mortgage, there is an alternative.