Distinguishing Separate and Community Property During Divorce
Divorce is a trying time for families, as everyone knows. The pain of separation, especially when children are involved, is a natural part of the process, even when both parties agree to move on. Sometimes, other factors than simply the separation weigh in to the stress and conflict that put pressure on all parties involved.
Nowhere is this more true than the matter of diving up property. In Texas, all property held by either OR both spouses is considered to be community property. Any spouse who refutes this statute and claims sole ownership of a given object must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is, in fact, theirs. This includes income gained from selling property, and all money earned by the sale of separate property by either party during the course of their marriage is considered to be community property.
Texas law does, however, allow for someone to prove their ownership of certain assets. This includes property that was owned by a single spouse before the marriage took effect, property received as a gift or an inheritance, and certain kinds of personal injury recoveries.
The standards of proving ownership over a given asset or piece of property are higher than in standard civil cases, with the courts requiring clear and convincing evidence of a person’s sole ownership over the property in question.
It would behoove anyone going through divorce, or preparing for it, to establish such proof with the help of a lawyer, who will know and understand what burden of proof must be met, and how best to go about achieving that goal.