Texas is a community property state. Community property can be defined as property owned by both spouses.
That means all the property and earnings of both spouses during the marriage is presumed community property. Because the property is owned by both, it does not matter whose name is on the title. Houses, cars, stocks, bank accounts, retirement plans, and any other assets are presumed to be community property if acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name is on the title.
Just because the title to something is only in one of the spouse’s names does not mean it is not community property.
When Is Property Considered Separate Not Community in Houston, TX?
The exceptions to this are if the asset is a gift, an inheritance, or some parts of a personal injury settlement, or, if it can be shown that the asset is separate property.
Separate property is property owned by a spouse before the marriage or received by gift, inheritance or personal injury settlement after the marriage.
The determination of property is a key determinant in how the marital assets are divided between the spouses. Any property that is separate is awarded to the owning spouse and is not divided.
Separate property does not have to remain in the same form. For example, stocks can be converted to cash, or a piece of land can be sold for cash, or cash can be used to purchase land. If the property was separate, it will remain separate through the change of form.
Houston, TX Property Statutes Dictate How It Is Divided During a Divorce
By statute, all property possessed by either spouse during or on the dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property. It is then up to the spouse claiming that some of the property is separate property to present clear and convincing evidence that some of the property is separate.
This can be done by tracing the property throughout all of the changes it may have undergone. For some things, such as real estate, this is relatively easy to do. For other things, however, involving cash and other negotiable items, tracing the property to prove it as separate can be very difficult.
As a result, if you find yourself in a situation where you are attempting to save your separate property, or your spouse is attempting to argue that community property is actually their separate property, you need a lawyer who understands how separate property can be identified, and how it cannot be. The lawyers at Stepp and Sullivan are those lawyers.
Contact our Houston Family Law Attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan For a Free Consultation
If we can answer any questions you have, or if you need additional information, we are here for you. We work one-on-one with our clients to focus on the outcomes that are most important to you. At Stepp & Sullivan, we make it personal. Powerful.