In Texas, the property acquired by spouses during their marriage is presumed to be community property. You may ask what is community property? Well, community property is that property which is owned by the spouses in a marriage in an undivided one-half interest. This property is subject to division by the court in a divorce in a “just and right” manner.
It is important to determine what property between the spouses is community property during a divorce. This will help in determining what assets go to each spouse in a divorce, whether by agreement or through court division. There can also be separate property interests, for the property that only one spouse can lay a claim to during a divorce.
Community property is typically those amounts earned by a spouse during the marriage through their wages and income. Thus, money earned from working a particular job, including direct pay and money that goes into a retirement fund are community property. In addition, income such as dividends and interest are community property, even if those amounts were earned from separate property of one of the spouses.
Property acquired by gift or inheritance are the receiving spouse’s separate property, which the other spouse would not have claim to. In addition, damages for personal injury for things like bodily injury are separate property too. It is important to remember that income from separate property is commonly community property, such as rents, dividends, and interest. The parties will need to show what amount is separate and what amount is community in order to establish their rights and claims to these mixed types of property.
The characterization of property as separate or community can affect a spouse’s ultimate award of a sizeable amount of property of the marital estate. For this reason, it is important that a spouse considering a divorce seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney in property characterization. Obtaining the proper characterization of property can be the difference between whether a particular asset goes to one spouse or is split between the spouses in a divorce.