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Community Property


Most people know that Texas is a community property state, but what does that mean?

Basically, from the day you marry until the day you divorce, whatever income either spouse earns is community property. That includes income from your job, rental income off of separate property, bonuses, retirement benefits, despite the fact that it may still be held in only one spouse 's name. (A premarital and/or marital agreement can change this, so it is important to seek counsel to analyze your specific situation.)

 

Separate Property


Anything you owned prior to marriage is considered separate property. Also, any inheritance or gift you receive (even if the gift is from your spouse) is considered separate property.

 

Mineral Interests


Mineral interests are a little different from the rules set out above. If one spouse owns a mineral interest as separate property (from a gift or inheritance) and receives royalty income, it is actually considered separate property, unlike income from other separate property assets. That is because Texas case law looks at it this way: a mineral interest has a finite amount of oil and gas that may be produced, so every bit of royalty that is paid is like taking a tiny piece of the whole separate property asset away forever.