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Understanding Community Property in a Marriage

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2021 | Estate planning, Prenuptial Agreements |

When it comes to marital property, a couple has many issues to consider. In Texas, a community property jurisdiction, property acquired during the marriage belongs to both parties. 

This arrangement could have significant implications when a couple maps out its estate in terms of where the assets go upon death or for other distribution issues in life. 

Basics of Texas Community Property Law

For marriages in Texas, the Texas State Historical Association says the courts recognize two types of property: separate property solely owned by one spouse, and community property shared equally by both spouses. In most cases, property acquired during the marriage falls under community property. If one spouse wishes to claim an asset as separate property, that spouse bears the burden of proof to show sole ownership. 

When it comes to marital planning, spouses should understand who owns which assets. With community property, both spouses must agree on the actions related to that asset. In the case of separate property, the spouse that holds sole ownership can decide on this particular asset. A clear understanding of this principle helps avoid misunderstandings. 

Key Topics for Marital Planning

City National Bank lists understanding state law as one of several important areas married couples should discuss during planning sessions. A couple must understand that where they live plays a crucial role in the distribution of assets. 

Couples should also seek to understand complicated family dynamics. This could include such things as blended marriages, children from previous unions and other legal and emotional issues. The distribution of assets likewise involves many important decisions for spouses. All things considered, marital planning involves legal aspects as well as personal ones.