In the U.S., states can follow one of two methods of distributing property during a divorce; equitable division or community property. Texas is one of nine jurisdictions that follows the community property doctrine. Under this theory, the law presumes that all of the property a couple acquired during the marriage equally belongs to both spouses. Spouses who wish to assert separate ownership over a piece of property must prove sole ownership.
Under Texas Family Code Ann. § 3.0001, separate property is anything one spouse owned before marriage. Further, separate property includes certain property a spouse acquired during the marriage. For example, separate property may include:
- An inheritance one spouse received.
- Property gifted from the husband or wife.
- Compensation for personal injuries.
However, it is essential to note that courts do not consider personal injury damages related to earning capacity loss as separate property. A party contesting community property presumption over an item must prove ownership by a preponderance of the evidence.