The Texas State Law Library explains that the state is one of nine that uses the concept of community property when dividing assets and debts in a divorce. Community property considers all assets and debts a couple obtains during a marriage as jointly owned property.
When it comes to property division in a divorce, the concept of community property dictates who gets what in the end. It will guide many of the decisions automatically, but there are details to note about the process.
Must prove separate rights
Separate property is any asset that a spouse obtained prior to the marriage. This property does not fall under the community property rules for division, and the owner retains all rights to it without having to share the asset with the spouse. However, it falls on the individual to prove separate rights. The spouse may need to provide records, receipts and other documentation as evidence of the claim.
Can retain certain property
There are some categories of other property that are not community property by nature. These include inheritances kept separate, gifts given to the individual and court settlement payments.
May need to pay for full rights
Sometimes separate and community property mingle. For example, one spouse bought a house prior to the marriage, but the couple made payments on the mortgage after the marriage. In this case, the owner may need to pay the other spouse for the payments made during the marriage since that money was community property.
It is also worth noting that the court is under no obligation to equally divide property as long as it follows the community property law. The court also cannot touch assets or debts exempt as separate property.