The Texas Family Code § 3.002 defines community property as that “property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.” This leads to the obvious questions- what is separate property?
Separate property is generally one of three things:
1. Property owned prior to marriage;
2. Property acquired by a spouse by gift or inheritance; or
3. Any recovery for personal injuries sustained during the marriage, except for loss of earnings.
So, generally, property that doesn’t fall within one of those three categories is considered community property. Texas law also presumes that property possessed by either spouse during the marriage is community property. The spouse claiming that a piece of property is separate has the burden of proving that the property is, in fact, separate and not community property.
How a property is titled does not determine if it is separate or community property. For instance, if a married couple purchased a house but only put one name on the mortgage and title to the property, then the house would still be community property despite having only one name on the title. The house was purchased during the marriage and, absent other facts, it would be community property.
If you were married later in life you may have already acquired substantial separate property before the marriage. On the other hand, all property owned by you and your spouse may be community property that needs to be divided in the divorce. An attorney can sit down with you and review all property that might be involved in the divorce and whether Texas divorce law would consider it community or separate property.
if you have questions and would like to schedule a consultation, you can contact our office at at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-542-6820.