Marital Settlement Agreement in Texas
- Marital settlements aren't required
- Items included within a marital separation agreement
- How a marital settlement agreement might help
- Marital settlement agreement FAQs
A marital settlement is a document created by you and your partner containing a full list of what you own, what you owe, and who is responsible for everything on that list in light of the fact that you are getting divorced. While marital settlements aren’t required in Texas, they could be helpful for you.
In Texas, all assets you acquire during a marriage are community property, split between you and your spouse equally during a divorce. To keep your divorce process short, you should determine who keeps what before you go to court. A marital settlement helps you do just that.
Are marital settlements required?
To finalize your Texas divorce, you must fill out and sign a Final Decree of Divorce form. During your divorce hearing, you'll present this document to the court for review. If the judge approves your plans, you'll turn in a signed copy to the courts, and this will lead to the end of your marriage.
A marital settlement doesn't replace your final decree of divorce – it’s an additional document that is almost always required in Texas family courts. A marital settlement agreement helps form the final decree, or final terms of your divorce. The more detailed you are within your settlement, the easier it will be to create a final decree.
You don't have to file a marital settlement if your divorce is simple (often this means you have no marital property, shared debts, or children).
Items included within a marital separation agreement
Since Texas is a community property state, assets and debts are split equally during a divorce unless the couple has a prior agreement.
When you're creating a marital settlement agreement, you could discuss the following:
- Rental properties
You may not have to discuss assets you brought to the marriage, such as these:
- Trust funds
- Property you bought before the marriage if it is only in one spouse’s name
Note: If a spouse wishes to claim a property as "separate," they must provide thorough documentation of that fact. Otherwise, the court is likely to view it as community property that must be equally split.
How a marital settlement agreement might help
Texas courts don't require a marital settlement agreement, but couples who fill them out could come to terms in discussions long before they enter a courtroom. This could simplify the entire process for both parties.
Quicker discussions mean less time wasted in courtrooms, and it could mean lower levels of stress during your divorce. This all means less money paid out of pocket to resolve the divorce.
Suggested: What to Include in Your Settlement Agreement
Marital settlement agreement FAQ
Do the courts review a marital settlement agreement for fairness?
The court will look over your Final Decree of Divorce form. If you've made agreements that seem unjust or overly favorable to one party, the judge might ask for revisions that offer a more balanced resolution.
What's the difference between marital and nonmarital property?
Marital property includes assets you acquired during the marriage. If you bought property, cars, or other items after your wedding day, they're typically considered marital property.
Non-marital (separate) property includes items you owned before your wedding day. Any cars, homes, or other assets you purchased before you married are your own if you can prove sole ownership.
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ReferencesCommunity Property Law. (September 2015). Texas State Historical Association.
I Need a Divorce. We Have Children Under 18. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
Final Decree of Divorce. (June 2021). State of Texas.