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What is the difference between separate and community property in Texas?

There are two types of property and debt married spouses may have: community (owned by both) and separate (owned by only one). It surprises most people to learn that it does not matter whose name the debt or property is in. Everything either spouse owns or owes is presumed by law to be the community property and community debt of the couple unless a spouse can prove otherwise by clear and convincing evidence.

Separate property is:

  • Anything owned before marriage and the appreciation or increase in value of that property
  • Inheritances or gifts (from others or from a spouse)
  • Personal injury damage awards (except for loss of earnings)
  • Property exchanged for other separate property

Community property is:

  • All property other than separate property acquired by either spouse during marriage (including wages)
  • Income, rent, or interest earned on separate property

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