The division of marital property in a divorce is one of the most import parts of a Texas family jury trial. This can be very complex. A Jury can both characterize (decide if it is Community or Separate Property) and value marital property. This concept strikes fear into most clients. You have every right to be concerned. However, with the right lawyers on your side, the use of (or threat of use) of a Jury Trial can be a very powerful weapon on your side.
What is Community Property?
Here’s an interesting way to define community property: Community property is all marital property that is not the separate property of either spouse. Separate property in Texas is property that a spouse owned before marriage, that a spouse inherited, that a spouse was given as a gift, or property that is a settlement for personal injury. What is community property? Everything else!
Community property could be a couch that you two bought after getting married, money earned from income during the marriage, money sitting in a savings account (regardless of which spouse’s name is on the account), the house that the two of you live in, you name it. Texas is a community property state. That means that during your divorce there is a presumption that all of the property is community property, unless you can prove (with clear and convincing evidence) that the property is your separate property. Why does it matter? Because any property that is characterized as community property will be divided by the judge. This is why it is vital that you have an accurate accounting as well as provide the necessary proof to demonstrate to a jury the extent of your community estate.
How Do You Prove Community Property?
In the State of Texas, all property jointly owned by spouses is presumed to be community property. Parties claiming separate property carry the burden of demonstrating otherwise. However, even with this presumption, reinforcing the character of community assets can be essential.
Examples of documentation used to reinforce the nature of community property include:
- Bank statements proving deposits during marriage;
- Titles to a boat, motor vehicle, etc. showing acquisition during marriage;
- Receipts or invoices showing loans or other debts acquired during marriage.
It is vital that you provide your lawyer with any documentation that could prove the character of property. It is also essential that your lawyer is an expert at presenting evidence in front of a jury in a way that is easy to understand if your case ends up in trial. Trust me, the less confused the jurors are, the more smoothly your case will run. Contact our team today if you would like to discuss your case in detail.