Texas is a community property state. This means everything acquired during a marriage will be subject to division during a divorce. Separate property, which is property obtained before the marriage, will not be divided.
Sometimes, separate property will be co-mingled with community property during the marriage. When this happens, you will be required to prove the property is solely yours and should not be divided. If this is the case for you, you will be required to prove the property is in fact yours. Doing so is not an easy process and will require the help of an experienced family attorney.
The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with family law matters. Schedule a time to speak with our family law department. Call (832) 530-4070. We will fight to make sure you receive the property you are entitled to.
- What is Separate Property in Texas?
- When Separate Property Become Community Property
- Is Debt Separate Property?
- Additional Resources
What is Separate Property in Texas?
The biggest factor in determining what is separate property depends on when the property was obtained. There are situations, though, were property acquired during the marriage would be considered separate property. According to the Texas Family Code, the following property is considered separate property:
- Property owned before the marriage
- Property acquired during the marriage as a gift
- Compensation from a personal injury claim, except for recovery for loss of earnings during the marriage
If you and your spouse cannot agree the property is separate, you must prove the property is separate property. Proving this can be difficult. It will require you to submit clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher standard than preponderance of evidence.
In some instances, proving separate property is relatively easy. An easy example would be a vintage vehicle owned before the marriage. A copy of the vehicle’s title predating the marriage can prove you’re the sole owner of the vehicle.
When Separate Property Becomes Community Property
When people get married, they are quick to co-mingle their assets. This may seem like a good idea, but in the event of a divorce, deciding what is separate property becomes tricky.
A common way separate property is converted into community property is adding a spouse’s name to the title of an asset such as a vehicle or rental property. Separate property can also be converted into community property in a much simpler fashion. For instance, bringing personal furniture or housewares into marriage and using it without distinction of ownership will probably result in the items becoming community property.
Co-mingling funds will also cause separate property to be converted into community property. This can include combining bank accounts, stock portfolios, and combining inheritance money with community funds.
Separating separate property that has been co-mingled with community property is difficult. As mentioned earlier, you will be required to prove the separate property is in fact yours. Contact an experienced property division attorney if you have found yourself in this situation.
Is Debt Separate Property?
Debt, just like any other property can be classified as community or separate property. Generally, both spouses are responsible for any debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of who spent more. Any debt incurred before the marriage will be considered separate property. If you took out a student loan or opened a credit card account before the marriage, it will be considered separate property.
There are situations where debt acquired during a marriage will be considered separate. If you opened a credit account while married, solely in your name, the debt would be directly yours, but only if you used the money for luxuries only you benefited from. If the debt was used to pay for necessities, your spouse would be indirectly responsible, even if the account was only in your name.
Additional Resources for Separate Property
Rules for Separate and Community Property | Texas Family Code– Follow the link provided to read the statute governing separate property. You can also learn about interest in certain employee benefits, managing separate property, and spousal liability. This section of the Family Code can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
Property and Debt in a Divorce Q&A– View a Q&A form over property and debt division in a divorce. You can find answers to questions such as what is separate property and debt, how divorce affects debt, and what to do if you and your spouse do not agree on property division.
Contact a Houston Property Division Attorney
If you need to prove your personal property is separate property, you have come to the right place. Schedule a time to speak with the family law department at The Gonzalez Law Group. Call (832) 530-4070. We will help you collect the necessary evidence to prove the property belongs to you. The Gonzalez Law Group assists clients with property division in communities across Harris County including Houston, Pearland, Alvin, Dickson, League City, and many more.