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What’s Considered Community Property in Texas?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023 @ 9:09 pm

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

As a common visitor to the Galveston County family courts, Tad Nelson & Associates has helped many men and women avoid being disgraced in family court.

Many of our clients have asked us tons of questions about property division in divorce scenarios. Our goal is to empower our clients and the general public with knowledge. So today, we’ll take a look at the concept of ‘Community Property’ as it relates to Texas law.

Also See: Tips for Protecting Your Assets in a Divorce

Community Property Basics

The community property system entails that all property acquired during a marriage—unless otherwise stipulated—is shared equally between both partners. The concept of Community property originates from Spanish law.

Texas Family Code Title 1, Subtitle B, Chapter 3 defines general rules for community property.

Separate property are assets owned prior to marriage or those obtained through inheritance or gifts. Community property signifies that both spouses have an equal, undivided interest in any assets gained during their union.

Community Property can range from tangible assets, like real estate and vehicles, to intangible ones, such as income, intellectual property, or retirement benefits.

When Community Property isn’t so Community

Although the basic premise of community property appears clear-cut, there are exceptions. Various circumstances can shift an asset from the communal pile into personal property.

Certain types of compensatory damages awarded in personal injury cases, for instance, are not community property. They are considered separate property as per the Texas Supreme Court ruling in the case of Graham v. Franco [1979].

Income generated from separate property can also fail to qualify as community property. Again, it depends on the circumstances of the situation.

“Just and Right”

As If the Galveston Family Judges Know…

When a divorce becomes inevitable, Texas Family Code § 7.001 demands the “just and right” division of community property between the spouses.

“Just and Right” does not necessarily equate to a perfect 50-50 split. The court holds the discretionary power to diverge from equal division in favor of fairness.

The courts attempt to be reasonable, but this logic is flawed.

Only you know enough about your family and your life to know what’s reasonable. However, the court holds a monopoly on judgment.

Multiple factors determine judgment. Factors such as earning potential, health, and child custody are heavily weighted in determining how property is divided. It’s a dance of intricacies that accentuates the need for an experienced attorney to ensure that you’re treated fairly.

Family court can be a nightmare for any person that’s not prepared to win. Don’t let that person be you.

A Look at Debt Division

Debt often lurks in the shadows of asset division. As a general rule, debts incurred during the marriage also fall under the umbrella of community property. But just as with assets, some debts can be classified as separate.

If a debt is traced back to a benefit solely for one spouse and occurred without the other’s consent or knowledge, it could be deemed a separate liability under Texas Family Code §3.003. These shades of gray add further complexity to the community property discourse. It’s best to have experienced legal representation in these situations.

The Prenuptial and Postnuptial Swing

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements wield the power to redefine what qualifies as community property. A legally binding agreement can enable couples to assert control over their assets, providing a canvas to paint their unique picture of property division.

For instance, a prenuptial agreement can carve out exceptions to the community property framework. This document can make potential community property into separate property and vice versa. Pre & postnuptial agreements can change the entire landscape of property division.

The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates

Experienced Galveston Family Lawyers

We at Tad Nelson & Associates are ready to help you fight for what’s rightfully yours.

Harnessing our in-depth understanding of the Texas Family code, we’re ready to guide you to a better future while putting this ordeal behind you. As your legal counsel, we’ll protect your rights and property. If you have any questions about retaining legal counsel, contact our law firm today at 409-904-0043.


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