Texas is a community property state. This means that most property acquired during a marriage belongs to both spouses equally. However, there are exceptions. This article will explain what separate property is in Texas and how it’s treated during divorce proceedings.

Types of Separate Property in Texas

There are three main categories of separate property in Texas:

  • Property Owned Before Marriage: This includes any assets you owned or had an ownership interest in before you said “I do.” It can be a house, car, bank account, jewelry, or any other item.
  • Gifts and Inheritances: Property you receive as a gift from someone or through inheritance is considered separate property. This includes money, stocks, real estate, or any other asset gifted or inherited during the marriage.
  • Personal Injury Recoveries (with limitations): Money you receive as compensation for physical or emotional injuries is generally your separate property. However, there’s an important caveat. If the compensation is for lost earning capacity, it might be considered community property.

Proving Separate Property

The burden of proof lies with the spouse claiming an asset as separate property. You’ll need to provide clear and convincing evidence to distinguish it from community property. Documentation such as:

  • Premarital agreements
  • Titles or deeds dated before marriage
  • Receipts or bank statements showing the asset was acquired with separate funds
  • Proof of inheritance or a gift from a third party
  • Legal documentation from a personal injury lawsuit

Increased Value of Separate Property

While the original asset itself remains separate property, things can get complicated when it comes to income from separate property incurred during marriage. In addition, if the separate property has been commingled or mixed with community property, you will need to trace the separate property portion. There are complex formulas used to determine the separate and community portions of the appreciation. In such situations, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney like Gregg Lundberg.

Commingling of Funds and Reimbursement Claims

If you used community funds to improve or maintain your separate property, your spouse might have a reimbursement claim. This means they could be entitled to a portion of the increased value reflecting their contribution. Similarly, if you used separate funds to pay for community property, you might be entitled to reimbursement.

Debt and Separate Property

Separate property is generally not liable for debts incurred by your spouse. However, there are exceptions, such as if you co-signed a loan together.

Have More Questions?

Understanding separate property can significantly impact your financial outcome in a divorce. An experienced Texas family law attorney can help you identify separate property, gather evidence, and protect your rights throughout the divorce process. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and discuss your specific situation.

We understand that divorce is a difficult time. We’re here to provide knowledgeable guidance and support throughout the process. If you are in or near Midlothian, TX, you can reach us at 972-775-3500.

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