Community Property vs. Separate Property
Helping You Understand Community & Separate Property
In Texas, the legal principle of community property calls for the equal division of all marital income and property – as well as debts – in a divorce. Absent certain exceptions, such as a valid and enforceable prenuptial agreement, the outcome should be an equal split of all property and income that was acquired during the marriage. Notably, community property may also include dividends earned on securities, retirement accounts, or income on separate property investments.
Attorney Georgia Barker has the experience to protect your financial interests in a divorce. We represent clients in Katy, Sugar Land, and beyond.
What Is the Difference Between Community Property and Separate Property?
Community property is property that you and your spouse acquired while being married, or bought with community funds, or it’s separate property that you agreed to convert to community property. Separate property is any property that you owned before your marriage or received as a gift/inheritance.
Understanding whether something is community or separate property can be complex, so it’s important that you seek counsel from an experience attorney. The team at Barker Law Firm PC can help you with this.
What Determines Community Property?
Although the principle of community property division may be straightforward, disputes often arise. Specifically, assets must be valued and inventoried before they can be divided equally. A couple may not agree upon the status of an asset as marital or separate, or on its worth. Unless proven otherwise, the law will presume that all assets are community property.
Can Separate Property Become Community Property?
Assets can also be a mix of community and separate. For example, if you make house payments or remodel a separate property house with community property, your spouse will have a community property interest. If you refinance a house and place your spouse's name on the deed, the house becomes community property. We may recommend appraising the house on the date of the deed change so that only the appreciation after that date would be considered community property.
Helping You through Property Division Disputes
At Barker Law Firm PC, we have over 20 years of experience helping couples work through property division issues. We may work with a team of professionals, such as forensic accountants, to resolve valuation disputes. We may analyze an asset under the inception of title rule to determine if it qualifies as inherited property, which is not included in the marital estate. The rule examines the status of an asset at the time it was acquired.
Offering Proactive Divorce Advice
If you are thinking of getting a divorce, it may be helpful to proactively consult with a Katy property division attorney. We can suggest strategies for streamlining the process such as moving separate assets out of commingled bank accounts or beginning an inventory of the marital estate. If your spouse is unfairly accumulating debts, such as gambling, we may advise additional precautionary steps.
Call (713) 597-3911 today to get started with an initial consultation.