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Community property and separate property in a Texas divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2021 | Property Division |

At the time of divorce, one of the most contested issues is often related to property division. This holds true even in community property states such as Texas. This is because although Texas is a community property state, there are certain assets that may be treated as separate property. This blog post will try to explain the distinction between community and separate property in Texas.

Community property in Texas

According to Texas law, all property and income that is accrued during the course of a marriage is community property. For example, the family car will be community property as long as it was purchased within the duration of the marriage. It does not matter who paid for it. Some other example of community property would include:

  • Income from wages earned by both spouses, including tips, bonuses, etc.
  • Home or other real estate purchased during the course of marriage.
  • Contribution to pension and retirement accounts made by both spouses.
  • Compensation received for unemployment or for lost wages.
  • Money in bank accounts, irrespective of whether is a single or joint account.

Separate property in Texas

Per Texas law, it is possible to denote certain things as separate property as long as a spouse is able to prove that is separate. This includes property owned prior to the marriage, property received as inheritance or as a gift during the course of marriage, and money that a spouse may have received from a personal injury settlement. Some examples include:

  • A vehicle given to one spouse by his or her parents.
  • A house that one spouse inherited from his or her parents.
  • Jewelry or other such items that one spouse gifted to the other.
  • Retirement and pension account contributions made prior to the marriage.

Navigation through divorce property division

As mentioned earlier, divorce property division is often complicated. It can take immense amount of effort to determine whether an asset is community or separate property. There also remains that possibility that certain assets are hidden by a spouse. These issues often result in a conflict that can make the divorce process a bitter experience. In order to make sure that such bitterness is kept at bay, it may be a wise decision to seek professional help right at the onset so that the process is completed smoothly.