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If a car is a gift, is it still marital property?

Since you've begun preparing for your divorce in Texas, you've likely already learned that you live in a community property state. Not all states regulate marital property in this way. Essentially, it means that all income, property or assets you and your spouse acquired after marriage are subject to equal division between the two of you when your divorce is finalized. Sometimes, this can create complications involving such things as vehicles, boats, art collections and more.

It helps to find out as much as you can ahead of time to minimize the potential of negative surprises in court. If communication is still good between you and your soon-to-be former spouse, you might be able to negotiate and resolve certain property issues without litigation.

Did your spouse give you a car as a gift?

Even though your marriage might not have lasted as long as you'd hoped, surely there are happy memories you will hold dear, even after you divorce. Holidays, birthdays, vacations and other memorable occasions often hold special places in people's hearts as they move forward to new, individual lifestyles. With regard to asset distribution, some people face challenges when it comes to items given as gifts. The following facts may be helpful in your particular situation:

  • Generally speaking, if your spouse gave you a car for your birthday or a time-share at the beach, the court will probably consider these separate property because someone gave them specifically to you
  • Even if both your names are on the title of a vehicle, you may request that you retain possession of it. The court will take into account the value of the vehicle in the equal division of property, but that does not necessarily mean you cannot keep your car.
  • Some people are able to work out their differences regarding property division by negotiating trades, such as one person taking possession of the house, the other, the cars, etc.

If there's some asset or another you strongly wish to keep after your divorce, you may very well be able to do so. An agreeable outcome often hinges on skilled negotiation and effective representation in court. Others in Texas have found it very helpful to seek assistance from experienced family law attorneys in such circumstances. The court is the ultimate voice of authority in all matters regarding community property; however, an attorney can represent your rights and best interests before the court.

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Plano, TX 75024

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