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Texas Marital Property Laws

Basics of Texas Community Property Laws

All possessions acquired by a couple during their marriage is considered marital property and subject to division after divorce in accordance to state law. Texas marital property laws recognize the legal concept of "community property," which means all property and income is divided equally upon death or divorce. Of course, prenuptial agreements and other special orders may alter how marital property is split after a divorce.

What is Considered Community Property in Texas?

While Texas is a "community property" state, that doesn't mean everything gets split perfectly in half when spouses divorce. One way Texas courts determine the status of an asset is the "inception of title rule," which considers the property's status at the moment it is acquired (regardless of what happens later).

The state defines marital (or community) property as all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, excluding separate property. In fact, all property is presumed to be community property unless it is proven (by a preponderance of the evidence) to be separate.

What is Not Considered Community Property in Texas?

According to the Texas Constitution, separate property is that which is "owned or claimed before marriage, and [property] acquired afterward by gift, devise, or descent." Even gifts that are intended to be shared by both spouses cannot be listed as community property (although each could claim half of it as separate property). Separate property may include:

  • Birthday gifts
  • Family heirlooms
  • Items purchased prior to marriage
  • Inheritances
  • Personal injury awards (unless it is recovery for medical bills, lost wages, or other types of property that would be considered community property)

The links and table below cover the basics of Texas community property law. See Community Property Overview to learn more.

Community Property Recognized? Yes (Fam. C. §§3.001-§§3.104; Prob. C. §§38, 45)
Dower And Curtesy Does not exist

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Texas Community Property Laws: Related Resources

Getting Divorced in Texas? You May Need Legal Help

Divorce is a confusing and emotional experience that will impact your current and future financial situation. An experienced attorney can help you determine what property is subject to Texas community property laws and will fight to protect your interests. Contact an experienced Texas divorce attorney to ensure that the court hears your best arguments for fair treatment.


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