Worried About What Property Belongs to You and What Property is Shared with Your Spouse?
Let Our Attorneys Help You Understand Community and Separate Property
In Texas, for the purposes of a divorce, all property is classified as either separate or community property. It is extremely important for you and your spouse to know which property is separate and which is community. Separate property stays with the spouse to whom it belongs. A Texas family law or estate judge cannot take separate property for a divorce case or when probating your will. Consequently the distinction between community and separate property is an extremely consideration for Texas marriages. An experienced Houston premarital agreement lawyer can explain property division when you create your Texas prenuptial agreement.
In Texas marriages, separate property is property acquired by one of these ways:
- before a spouse got married,
- recovery for personal injuries (except recovery for loss of earning capacity), or
- during the marriage, but the property was a gift or inherited. This even includes a gift from one spouse to another that was purchased with money from a common pool
A spouse must prove to a court that the property is separate. Otherwise, in the event of a divorce, a Texas divorce court will assume that all property is community.
Texas is known as a community property state. Community property is anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage that was not a gift or an inheritance. There are some important items to take note of regarding community property:
- A separation does not legally end a marriage, so property a spouse acquires while a couple are separated is still considered community property.
- In community property states like Texas, earnings are typically considered community property. For example, even if a spouse has an individual savings account that is separate property, the interest earned on that savings account is actually considered community property.
- During a divorce, a court can divide community property as it sees fit, which is not necessarily 50/50.
Community and separate property are the two basic property types that are important to know regarding marriage and divorce. More complicated issues arise with real estate located outside of Texas or property acquired with a mixture of community and separate assets.
These are important decisions relating to your marriage and your estate planning. Contact our Houston prenuptial agreement attorneys if you would like to know more about how to classify your property for marital or estate purposes.