What are Community Property and Separate Property?
June 13th, 2018 by Tad Nelson in Divorce
A Texas divorce does more than free up each spouse to marry someone else. Instead, a marriage is an economic unit, and a divorce completely unwinds your financial entanglements. As part of your divorce, a judge will need to divide your marital property, which is called “community property” in Texas. Read on to find out more about what a judge will divide.
Community Property—What You Acquired Together
There is an easy, quick way to understand community property—it is any property you acquired while married. Generally, it does not matter whose name is on the title to the house, boat, or car. What matters is that you were married when one of you acquired the property.
Wages earned are also community property, as is anything bought with wages. If your husband bought a condo secretly using only his wages, the condo is still community property, which means each spouse owns a 50% stake in the property. Usually, community property is divided 50/50 upon divorce.
Separate property is often something you owned before getting married and brought into the marriage, such as the car you bought six months before walking down the aisle. It can also be a retirement account, cash in a checking account, or investments. However, income earned on separate property is often community property. For example, if you own a rental property, then the rent earned while married belongs to both you and your spouse.
Texas law also considers some property obtained while married as “separate” property, such as:
- An inheritance. Say your mother died while you were married and left only you her home. Typically, the inheritance is your separate property.
- A gift. If someone gave you a gift, then it is yours.
- Some recoveries for personal injury claims. If a driver struck you, and you have a lawsuit seeking compensation, then the money is typically yours. You do not have to share it.
Sometimes there is a good faith dispute as to whether something is community property or separate property. For example, a family friend might have given you an expensive gift. But was it really for you and your spouse? A lot will depend on the facts.
Are You Confused? Speak to a Galveston, Texas Divorce Lawyer for Help with Your Case
Before divorcing, you should fully understand what property you can walk away with. However, community property rules are complex, and you should meet with an experienced Galveston or League City divorce lawyer to review your situation. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today at (281) 280-0100 for a free consultation. We are eager to assist you throughout each step of your family law case.