Now that the economy is improving, the divorce rate is on the rise. Couples who couldn’t afford to think about divorce a few years ago are now able to separate. For other couples, things have been falling apart, and have now been simply the time when divorce is on the table. If you’re thinking about getting a divorce in Texas, these are the most important things you need to know:

Texas is a Community Property State

The first thing you should know if you’re thinking about divorce is that Texas is a community property state. This means that all property you acquire while you’re married is considered community property that belongs to both spouses – even if only one spouse is listed on the title. As community property, said property must be divided equitably during the divorce. However, there is a caveat to community property – Texas allows a spouse to exclude certain types of property from division if the spouse can show that the item is “separate property.”

What To Know If You’re Considering Divorce

Texas Also Recognizes “Separate Property”

While property acquired during a marriage is generally considered community property, Texas does recognize some exclusions to community property. If you demonstrate that you owned the property earlier to marriage, the court will identify it as “separate property” and you may exclude the property from division during the divorce.

Alternately, if you prove that the property acquired by one spouse during the marriage is a gift, or was acquired by descent, you can treat it as separate property that isn’t subject to division. The burden of proof to establish separate property can be difficult, though – particularly in cases where property and assets are commingled for a long period of time. This is one area where a good Texas divorce attorney really helps.

Does Fault Matter in a Texas Divorce?

The state of Texas does allow for “no-fault” divorces in cases whether the parties have simply drifted apart and neither is responsible for the breakup. However, if one spouse is at fault, Texas courts may take that under advisement when calculating the equitable division of property, as well as potential alimony. You state the grounds for divorce in your divorce petition, and the grounds must meet certain criterion to establish fault – otherwise, your divorce is a no-fault action.

Texas Divorce and Parental Rights/Child Support

Children dramatically complicate the Texas divorce process. You need to establish legal and physical custody, and the non-custodial parent may have to pay child support. Custody disputes quickly become hostile and complex, so it’s important to work with a good Texas divorce attorney if you have children and there are disputes about how to handle custody.

Even under the best of circumstances, dividing assets in a divorce is a complicated process. If you and your spouse can’t agree, the divorce can become contentious and can drag out into a long, expensive process. Enlist the aid of a good divorce attorney to help you resolve your divorce quickly, and handle any disputes that arise with your spouse.