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Understanding community property laws in Texas

Financial aspects relating to divorce proceedings often become the most heated debates before Texas family court. Under Texas law, property division is scrutinized with a multitude of technical legalities. While both spouses have the right to marital or community property, a partner may designate or prove one or more properties or assets as solely and wholly owned by only one spouse and therefore not subject to division.

Marital property -- also known as community property -- may be described as all those assets which have been acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Property acquired solely by one spouse during the marriage is by definition a marital property; under Texas law, it is deemed to be jointly owned by both spouses.

Spouses are allowed to have separate property. All those assets acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage may be deemed as separate property by the court during divorce proceedings. Proving sole ownership of a property may require difficult legal work. The onus of proof identifying the property is not a community property but separately owned by only one spouse lies with the spouse seeking to prove a separate property claim. One may find it beneficial to engage legal professional help in order to prove the ownership of the property.

Proving separate ownership of the property may be difficult. If many properties are interspersed that specific determination of separate and spousal community property cannot be done, the court may deem all the properties as marital or community property. Identification of separate and community property may be vital for determining fair property division under Texas law. Couples with holdings previous to marriage may draft a prenuptial agreement to identify these properties in advance of marriage.

Source: TSHAOnline.org, "Community Property Law," Accessed on Dec. 19, 2014

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