Divorce proceedings can be complex, especially when it comes to dividing assets acquired during the marriage.
In Texas, the concept of community property governs the division of assets between spouses. However, when it comes to inheritance, the rules may differ.
Understanding community property
Community property refers to assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This typically includes income earned, property purchased and debts incurred during the marriage. Both spouses have equal ownership rights to these assets, regardless of who acquired them.
Inheritance and separate property
Inheritances are generally not considered community property in Texas divorces. Instead, they are typically classified as separate property. Separate property includes assets acquired by one spouse before the marriage, gifts received individually and inheritances. If the inheritance gets commingled with community property, it may lose its separate property status.
Maintaining separate property
To ensure that an inheritance remains separate property during a divorce, a spouse can take certain precautions. Keeping inherited funds in a separate account, refraining from mingling them with marital funds and avoiding using them for joint expenses can help maintain their separate status.
Maintaining thorough records and documentation regarding the inheritance can also help establish its separate property status. This may include wills, trust documents or other legal instruments that clearly indicate the sole nature of the inheritance.
Even with a low divorce rate of 1.4 divorces per 1,000 population in 2021, many Texas couples seek to dissolve their marriage. Clarity regarding finances, including inheritances, can help individuals navigate divorce proceedings more effectively.