Couples divorcing in Texas are subject to the state’s community property laws. This is much different than most other states.

There are only nine states that follow community property rules. The Texas State Law Library explains that under these rules, the court may consider all property the couple acquires, either separately or together, during the marriage belongs to both of them equally.

Impact on divorce

It is essential for couples to understand how community property rules impact them during a divorce. The couple should understand that any property deemed community property is subject to division by the court when the couple ends the marriage.

Separate property definition

The Texas Family Code states that separate property includes anything one spouse receives through an inheritance or as a gift and as personal injury damages from a lawsuit. It also includes property one spouse owned prior to the marriage.

Regarding personal injury damages, separate property rules do not apply to damages for loss of earning capacity occurring during the marriage. Individuals should note that gifts given from one spouse to another include ownership of all income from that gift.

Community property definition

Community property is simply any property that is not separate. The court assumes all property of both spouses is community property in the event of a divorce.

To avoid having property declared by the court as community property, a spouse will have to prove it is separate property. The law requires that a person provides clear and convincing evidence that will prove the property meets the legal definition of separate property.