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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Community Property Belongs to Both Spouses at Divorce Time

On our site, you will see divorce information pertaining to community property. Texas – along with eight other states – is a community property state when it comes to marriage and divorce. These states consider any property acquired after a couple becomes married as community property – that is, both spouses own the property even if only one purchased an item exclusively for his or her own use.

At divorce time, each spouse technically has a half-interest in all community property (note that this means debt as well as assets). Some community property states then split all of this property right down the middle; others, including Texas, may still consider factors like how much income one spouse has or how the employment prospects are for each spouse. If one spouse wants to argue that property is not his or hers, the burden is on that spouse. In community property states, the presumption is that all assets and debts acquired while married belong to both spouses.

In contrast to community property, separate property belongs to an individual spouse. This includes property that a spouse acquired before marriage. The line between the two types of property is not always clear, as in cases where couples keep joint accounts, but comingle funds that one had before marriage with funds that the two were keeping as community property. If one spouse then uses that comingled money to purchase something (which would ordinarily be community property), it can be difficult deciding how to label that sort of transaction.

If a couple wants to keep separate property after they marry, they should employ a prenuptial agreement. Without a prenup specifying a couple’s wishes, a court in a community property state will presume that both spouses own the property in question. Have you had any trouble with community property determinations during divorce?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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