A Look at Community Property Laws in Texas

Community property laws can have a significant impact on a divorce in Texas and other community property states. As opposed to states that follow the equitable division of property rules which seek a fair division of property, community property states consider marital property to belong half to one spouse and half to the other. In general, the property will be divided fifty-fifty during a divorce in a community property state such as Texas.

Property division can be a primary concern of many divorcing spouses so it can be helpful to understand it. Community property can include a variety of different types of property acquired during marriage such as a family home, cars, furniture, paintings, and assets such as stocks, bonds, and debt. Community property includes marital property acquired by the spouses during the marriage. Community property includes wages and income earned by the spouses during the marriage; a family home and furniture acquired during the marriage; interest income earned by business investments; and a mortgage on a family home.

In general, community property includes property purchased with marital property funds. Unlike community property which is divided in half upon divorce, separate property may not be subject to division. Separate property includes property acquired prior to marriage; gifts and inheritances; and earnings and property acquired following a legal separation. Bank accounts that are owned separately and not commingled with community funds can be considered separate property.

The definition of community property and classification of property is important when determining how property will be divided. Because community property laws can be complex, it is helpful for divorcing couples to understand the process and have trained guidance throughout.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, “Community Property Overview,” Accessed June 29, 2017

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