You were about to tell your wife you want a divorce; then her father got seriously ill. You held off to give her time to concentrate on looking after him. Two years later, he is still hanging in there like the tough old cattle rancher he is. You, on the other hand, have had more than you can take. Then a friend tells you that you should wait until your father-in-law dies and your wife inherits his huge ranch so that you can claim half of it.

Things do not work this way in a Texas divorce. Property that your wife inherits will usually be hers alone. While Texas works on the principle of equitable division, meaning things must be shared fairly, this only applies to what is known as community property.

A Texas court will start from the basis that all of a couple’s property is community property. It is up to each spouse to prove that something is not. However, specific things, such as an inheritance, are generally taken to be a separate property that does not need to be split. Here are some more:

  • Family heirlooms.
  • Property purchased before marriage.
  • Gifts that were given to one person.

A prenuptial agreement is another way people make clear an asset should be considered separate property in the event of a divorce.

Timing your divorce can have benefits such as affecting how much taxes you pay or reducing the impact of the changes on your family. However, timing a divorce to gain a financial advantage over your spouse is likely to be seen through by a court.