What Does Community Property Mean Legally?
Under Texas law, when a couple marries all of their property is either deemed separate property or community property. Community property is everything the couple amassed together during their marriage. The general theory is that both spouses have an equal share in the sum total of all their assets. Courts will assume that property owned by the parties is community property. If one party wants to claim the property is separate property, they must prove it is not community property.
Separate property is property owned solely by one spouse; this includes property acquired before the marriage, as personal gifts, through inheritance or by recovery for injury to one of the spouses. However, in order to retain this designation, you must be able to produce evidence to track how it was acquired. If the separate property commingles with the community property, the court could lump it all in together and consider the sum to be community property.
Can Community Property Become Separate Property?
Yes, through a gift or sale, or if the spouses decide to partition their property or if they decide to enter into an exchange either before or during their marriage.
Can Separate Property Become Community Property?
Yes, you can convert your separate property into community property by sale. Also, as mentioned above, if the separate property is commingled with the community property, or if both spouses have control over the separate property, the court could consider the property to be community and not separate property.
Do I Need a Texas Lawyer?
If you are going through a divorce proceeding in Texas, a knowledgeable attorney can help you go through the process of classifying property. If you think your “separate property” is being incorrectly classified as “community property,” contact an attorney right away. A qualified Texas lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a division of community property.