Community Property

What is "Community Property" (and why do you care)?

posted Mar 8, 2010, 6:15 PM by William M. Stevens

Texas has no other union or community relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman.  A married couple is a unit responsible for each other; a community of two.  Hence,that marriage is referred to as a "community" and its property is community property.  In Texas, and some other states, property is characterized as either separate or community. 

Chapter 3 of The Texas Family Code defines separate property as the property acquired before marriage, or acquired outside of marriage (through an inheritance, certain recoveries for personal injury, and gifts).  Community property is property that is not separate property.  Texas has a presumption that property held by a married person is community.  This presumption is overcome by showing that the property is separate.

There are more characterizations to property, but this explanation illustrates the basic concept.  Now, why do you care?  The character of the property determines several things, such as: who takes the property if a spouse dies without a will, how the property is divided in a divorce, and what kind of liability can be attached to the property (say, for example, by a creditor attempting to satisfy a debt).

For more on property in Texas, see the other FAQ entries (look for new ones as they are added) or contact us for an appointment.

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