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3 exceptions to the community property rule

Texas is a community property state. When a Lone Star State couple gets divorced, most of the assets the couple owns must be divided 50-50 between the spouses. However, there are exceptions you need to know about to protect your financial rights during property division negotiations.

Property owned before the marriage

Anything that you owned in your name alone prior to getting married is considered separate property, which means assets that are excluded from the community property pool that you and your ex split between yourselves. But be careful — separate assets that have gotten “comingled” with your ex’s usually become community property. For example, say you had $10,000 in a savings account before you got married. If you deposited that money in a joint account with your spouse, it could be hard to make the case that the $10,000 is still separate property in your divorce. If you had kept that money in a separate account throughout the marriage, it’s more likely the court would consider that money separate.

Gifts

A gift you received during the marriage can be considered separate property, but only if the gift-giver clearly gave the gift to you alone. If the gift was meant for both you and your spouse, it will be community property for asset division purposes.

Inheritance

Similarly, property you inherited from a deceased person’s will or trust is separate property unless it becomes commingled with community property.

Disputes over what is community and what is separate property are not uncommon, especially when significant wealth is in question. But with proper legal representation, most people are able to settle their divorce matters outside of court.

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