Tag Archives: inheritance

Community property vs. separate property

What is the difference between community property and separate property and why is it important in a divorce?  

Texas uses a community-property system to govern the property rights of married people.

Community property is the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage.  Examples of community property can include cash on hand, a house or other type of real property interest, motor vehicles, insurance policies, investments, business interests, and retirement, such as a 401(k) or company pension plan.

Separate property generally consists of the following:

  • Property owned before the marriage (e.g., a house bought before the marriage);
  • Property acquired by gift (e.g., an engagement ring); or an
  • Inheritance.

In Texas, courts divide the community property of the marriage upon divorce.  However, courts are prohibited from dividing a party’s separate property, which is why the distinction can be so important in a divorce proceeding.

Should you have questions concerning your property rights, please do not hesitate to consult with a qualified lawyer specializing in family law.