Texas is one of the few states that use community property laws when dividing assets in a divorce. The focus of this standard is that a couple owns all property obtained during the marriage equally. However, the Texas Constitution and Statutes state any property you owned prior to your marriage is separate property.
Since the court does not divide separate property, it is important to know what falls into this category. It is not as straightforward as it may seem due to exceptions.
To prove property is separate in court, you must provide clear and convincing evidence of ownership. Another aspect of proving property is not a marital asset is that you must show the court you have the control over it, are the only one who can use it and are the one who manages the property.
There are exceptions to the separate property rule that allows some property you get during your marriage to fall into this category. If you receive something through inheritance or as a gift, then the court will not categorize it as marital property.
Also, any money you get from a personal injury settlement is separate property. There is an exception to this rule if you receive money for wages you lost due to the injury and you would have earned those wages during your marriage. In this case, any money for that reason is marital property.
Finally, property can be part marital and part separate if you obtain it before the marriage but you used marital assets to manage, maintain, repair or care for it during the marriage.