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Marital property issues and their impact on Texas residents

Preserving one's ownership of an inheritance or a gift can be a challenge when trying to handle a divorce, especially in a state like Texas. Texas is a community property state, meaning that all marital property is subject to equal division. Certain assets are exempted from this rule and are considered separate property.

Separate property includes inheritances that were granted to only one of the spousal partners, gifts from third parties that were granted to only one partner and payments that were designated for pain and suffering as compensation from an injury claim or lawsuit. Separate property may also be defined explicitly in a pre- or post-nuptial agreement.

In some cases, the status of a certain asset might be in dispute. For example, funds a couple receives from one partner's parents might either be a gift to their child, which is protected, or a gift to both parties, which would be subject to division.

Generally, inheritances and gifts are usually considered separate, but if the assets are commingled with martial assets, they might lose their protected status. For example, depositing money inherited or gifted to a spouse from a parent into a joint bank account would raise the probability that a court would consider it common property for purposes of dividing the assets in a divorce case.

Protecting a party's rights to marital property while going through the process of a divorce may require seeking the guidance of a lawyer. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to provide documentation that demonstrates an assets protected status. Additionally, a family law attorney could provide representation during hearings on other divorce issues, including child custody and support obligations.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Here's How to Protect Your Inheritances And Gifts", Jeff Landers, August 19, 2014

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Here's How to Protect Your Inheritances And Gifts", Jeff Landers, August 19, 2014

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