Understanding the Texas Community Property Laws and Their Impact on the Marital Home

In a Texas divorce, when the parties own or are buying a home, the first question that typically comes up centers on who gets to keep the house. Because Texas is one of a handful of states that follow community property principles, the process for making that determination is a little different.

How the Texas Community Property Laws Affect Who Gets to Keep the Marital Home

With the community property approach in Texas, all debts and assets accrued or acquired during the marriage are generally considered to be community property and must be divided equally between the parties. Any property brought into the marriage is deemed separate property and will generally be distributed entirely to the person who owned it before the marriage. Other types of property acquired during the marriage, such as inheritances, gifts and certain proceeds of lawsuits, will also be considered separate property.

When determining whether a house is separate property or community property, the court will look at all relevant evidence. Was the property paid for in full before the marriage? If not, how were payments made during the marriage? If with separate property funds, the house will likely be considered separate property. If, however, payments were made from joint accounts or joint funds, the house may become community property.

Who Gets the House in Texas if It’s Determined to Be Community Property?

Technically, all community property must be divided equally. That cannot be done with a house, though. Accordingly, the parties typically must work out an agreement, often where the party who receives the house relinquishes interest in other marital assets, offsetting the additional value of the home. When possible, the spouse receiving the house may agree or be ordered by the court to buy out the other party’s interest in the home. If the parties cannot amicably agree to the division of marital property, the court will have to determine the marital property settlement. The court may also order that the parties sell the marital home and divide the proceeds.

Contact Experienced Texas Family Law Attorney Chrysandra S. Bowen

At DTX Family Law, we always put your interests first. We know that the legal process can be complex and confusing, and we’ll carefully explain your rights and options, as well as your chances of success, so that you can make good decisions for you and your family. Chrysandra is board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an honor earned by less than one of every ten family law attorneys in the state. To schedule an appointment with a proven and effective Texas family lawyer, visit our new website or call our offices at 940-566-0606.

Handling Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout Denton and the surrounding communities, including Denton, Collin, Wise, Tarrant and Cooke counties