Dividing property and assets during divorce can be very contentious. In Texas, which is a community property state, all shared or marital assets are to be split equally between the spouses during divorce. The real challenge is determining what property is shared and what is separate.
While it seems cut and dry, the Texas Family Code details the differences between separate and community property. Understanding these differences is a crucial aspect of making your case in court.
Marital vs. community property
Marital property is all assets obtained during the course of the marriage and this property will be presumed to be shared until the court is shown otherwise. Separate property includes any property obtained prior to the marriage taking place. The purchase of a vehicle or home by one spouse before the marriage will remain separate property even after the marriage unless the title is changed to show joint-ownership.
Personal injury damages are also the property of the person filing the lawsuit, regardless of their marital status. However, damages awarded for lost income are considered jointly owned, meaning they fall into the category of shared property. Gifts to one spouse are also solely held, as are inheritances of money, belongings, or property.
How separate property is proven
During your divorce, the court will apply the inception of title rule to determine whether the property is considered shared. This rule stipulates that ownership status when the property asset was first acquired determines it is status at the time of divorce. If you dispute the shared status of an asset, it is up to you to provide evidence showing true ownership. This can include things like titles and deeds, as well as receipts or bills of sale showing who made the purchase and when it was actually made.