In Texas, it’s crucial to understand how marriage impacts your property rights and debts. The Texas Family Code provides guidelines, and this article breaks them down for easier understanding.
General Rules for Separate and Community Property
- Separate Property: This includes:
- Property you owned or claimed before getting married.
- Property you acquired during marriage through a gift, will, or inheritance.
- Money you received from personal injuries during marriage, except if it’s for lost wages.
- Community Property: This covers all the property that isn’t separate, which either spouse acquired during the marriage.
- Presumption of Community Property: Typically, any property either spouse has during or at the end of the marriage is considered community property. If you disagree, you’ll need to provide strong evidence.
- Recording Separate Property: You can list your separate property in county records. But this list won’t alert potential buyers or creditors unless it’s properly listed in the county’s records.
Management, Control, and Disposition of Marital Property
This section discusses who controls and decides about the property:
- Managing Separate Property: Each spouse can control their separate property.
- Community Property Management: Both spouses usually have equal rights to manage community property, with specific rules if one spouse is missing or has left the other.
Marital Property Liabilities
Debts in a marriage have specific guidelines:
- Spousal Liability: You’re only responsible for your spouse’s actions if they were acting on your behalf, or if they took on a debt for basic needs.
- Property Liability: All community property can be used to settle debts from either spouse during the marriage.
Special Provisions and Considerations
Certain properties and scenarios in marriage have unique rules:
- Employee Benefits: Benefits like stock options and retirement perks acquired during marriage but requiring ongoing employment have their own set of guidelines. Their division depends on the marriage duration and the employment term for the benefits.
- Insurance Payments: If property gets damaged or lost during the marriage, insurance money is typically categorized similarly to the lost item. Payments for disability or job-related injuries are shared if they replace lost wages during the marriage.
Claims for Reimbursement
In some instances, one spouse might owe the other, especially during a divorce:
- Reimbursement Claims: This occurs when one spouse gains an advantage without offering compensation. The law provides a method to calculate and justify these repayments.
In Texas, understanding the nuances of property and debts during marriage is essential. These laws offer a framework on asset division and responsibility allocation.