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Dividing Community Property After Your Divorce

This article discusses dividing community property after divorce.

My divorce is final, but it did not cover all the community property. Can we divide the property now?

Maybe. Under the Texas Family Code, either former spouse may file a suit to divide certain property not divided or awarded to a spouse in a final decree of divorce or annulment. This is called a Suit for Undivided Property. See Texas Family Code chapter 9.201. In filing a Suit for Undivided Property, you will be required to prove that the property existed at the time of the divorce.

 

 

 

Is there a deadline for filing a Suit for Undivided Property?

Yes. Once you tell your former spouse—or your former spouse tells you—that the community property at issue is the sole property of one spouse, you have two years to file a Suit for Undivided Property. This deadline can be extended under very limited circumstances if no Texas court has jurisdiction over the property or over one of the spouses. See Texas Family Code chapter 9.202.

 

If you are unsure whether the deadline has passed in your case, you can:

 

  • Use our Legal Help Finder to search for a lawyer referral service, legal aid office or self-help center in your area.

  • Check our Legal Clinic Calendar to learn if there is an upcoming free legal clinic near you.

  • Use Ask a Question to chat online with a lawyer or law student.

 

What kinds of property can be divided after a divorce?

Any property that existed at the time of the divorce that was not addressed in the divorce decree can be divided after a divorce through the Suit for Undivided Property. You cannot, however, dispute and re-litigate the division of property already ordered in the divorce decree.

Types of property that can be divided after a divorce include, but are not limited to:

  • Real property;

  • Vehicles and other personal property;

  • Income received during the marriage, including a bonus or commission based on work completed during the marriage; and

  • Tax refunds issued from an amended tax return.

I just learned my ex-spouse has a retirement account. I think I was entitled to some of it. Can I get a portion of it?

Maybe. It depends on whether contributions to the account were made before or after the date of marriage. Retirement funds accrued during the marriage are considered marital property and you may be entitled to a portion of those funds. The court can order a division of certain retirement funds, but you will also need something called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. For more about QDROs, talk to a lawyer. Use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Finder tool to locate a lawyer.

 

See also Dividing Retirement Benefits Upon Divorce.

 

I think my spouse was hiding assets. How do I find out if my spouse has property that was not divided in our divorce?

You have a few different options. One option is to conduct a search on your own, through resources such as county appraisal district records and county property tax records. Another option is to hire an attorney to help you conduct post-litigation discovery. Through this process, you may be able to access your former spouse’s tax returns and other relevant documents and information. For assistance in locating an attorney, use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Finder