If you are facing divorce, you are probably concerned about property distribution.

One of your prized possessions is a vintage 1963 Austin-Healey 3000. Texas is a community property state. Is there a chance the court might award the car to your spouse?

Understanding what is ahead

After years of marriage, you undoubtedly have many questions as you approach the division of property stage of your divorce. The more wealth you have, the more assets there will be and the more complicated the division. First, courts must identify the assets as to whether they are marital or separate property and assign a value to each. If you purchased the Austin-Healey prior to your marriage, you can breathe a sigh of relief. As long as you have the documentation to prove you are the legal owner and the date you purchased the car, the court will see it as your separate property. It will be yours to keep.

Managing problems

Property distribution is not only about splitting furnishings, art collections, vehicles and boats. Investments and retirement accounts will also go through the division process. If you sense that financial problems might crop up ahead of the divorce proceeding, consider separating any joint checking, savings or credit card accounts that exist and establish new accounts in your own name. The court will frown upon a spouse who spent money foolishly or engaged in an extramarital affair. In this case, you may well find yourself in possession of more assets than you anticipated receiving in the divorce settlement, in addition to your vintage auto.

Seeking help

You may also freeze investment accounts until the divorce is final or have a written agreement about the use of funds in any joint account you need to keep. Proper preparation before continuing with the divorce process may help to ensure that you retain your separate property—including the Austin-Healey 3000.