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Blogs from February, 2016

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Divorce comes with many concerns. For many people, dividing up marital property that they've accumulated over the years is one of the greatest challenges. No one wants to be shortchanged. No one wants to end up with fewer assets than he or she deserves. So when it comes to determining who gets one of the biggest assets of all - the family house - it's important to know how Texas law works.

First, let's take a look at the difference between separate property and community property. The Texas Constitution and Statutes website explains that separate property (i.e., property that belongs to you alone, not your spouse) includes:

  • Property you owned before you got married
  • Property you inherited during your marriage
  • Certain personal injury settlements or verdicts

Community property (i.e., property that legally belongs to both of you) consists of any other assets that either you or your spouse gained during marriage. It doesn't matter who bought the item, who used it or whose name was on the title. If it was obtained during the marriage, it's typically considered community property.

So how does this apply to the family home? In a nutshell, it means that if you bought the house before you got married, it will generally be considered yours and only yours. If you bought it after the wedding, it's up for grabs. It doesn't matter if the title is in your name, your spouse's name or both your names.

However, there's one catch. If you were making mortgage payments during your marriage, your spouse may be able to seek reimbursement, even if the house is your separate property. Why? Because the income that you and your spouse earned during marriage is considered community property, and some of that community income was used for your house.

To learn more about reimbursement claims, property division in Texas or other divorce-related issues, consider contacting a local lawyer skilled in these matters. He can listen to the details of your unique situation and advise you accordingly.

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