Fabio & Merrill

Does a shorter marriage mean less marital property?

You and your spouse entered into your marriage with the best of intentions, but less than five years later, you are now facing the fact that it just will not work out. Texas is one of the few community property states, which will affect how property division is handled during your divorce. The short-term nature of your marriage may limit how many of your assets will be divided, though.

Because you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have not had a decade or two to acquire property and assets, you may not have all that much that the court would earmark as marital property. All in all, you may have only a few assets that must be divided once the exceptions have been taken out of the equation.

FindLaw explains that a judge divides community property equally, rather than equitably. However, the personal, financial and real property you brought with you to the marriage may not be marital property. If you already owned that cabin on the lake before you were married, for example, the court may consider that separate property and not factor it into equal division. 

On the other hand, you may have had a savings account that you have been contributing to since you first began your career. If you purchased something with that money while you were married, even if it is in your name only, the new asset will have to be divided. Your spouse's purchases will be split with you, as well.

Some acquisitions during the marriage do not count toward property division. These include birthday gifts, heirlooms or inheritances that were passed down to you from family members, or personal injury compensation, except for money received to reimburse you for expenses such as medical bills or lost wages, which would have been marital property. 

This general information is provided to give you an idea of what property may not be divided after your short-term marriage. However, it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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