At Lisa E. McKnight, PC, in Texas, we know that splitting up the property you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage can be very difficult and very complex, especially if you are a high net worth couple. In addition, since Texas is a community property state, you may be unclear as to what constitutes separate property as opposed to marital property.
FindLaw explains that in Texas, all property acquired during your marriage is considered to be community property, assuming you and your spouse did not sign a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise. But just because it is community property does not mean that it will be split 50-50 when you divorce. It is the value of each asset, not the asset itself, that counts.
Consequently, you may need to bring in experts to determine the value of such marital assets as the following:
- Your primary residence
- Any second home, vacation home or investment properties you own
- High-value artwork, jewelry, vehicles, etc.
- Your family-owned business
- Stock options and/or deferred compensation attributed to either spouse
Inception of title rule
One of the ways Texas determines whether an asset is marital or separate property is by means of the inception of title rule. Per this rule, Texas courts consider the status of each asset at the time it was acquired, not what happened to it later. Nevertheless, all property that you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage is presumed to be marital; i.e., community assets unless you prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it is in fact separate property belonging to you and you alone.
Some property, however, is always separate property, including the following:
- Things you bought or acquired prior to your marriage
- Anything you inherited from one of your family members
- Family heirlooms that have been passed down through your family
- Gifts you received on your birthday, at Christmas, etc.
- Any personal injury award you received (in most cases)
For more information on this subject, please visit this page on our website.