As noted on Texas.gov, Section 3.001 of the Family Code defines separate property as assets owned or acquired by a spouse before marriage. You may also acquire separate property while you remain married. Gifts, personal injury awards and inheritances, for example, belong to the spouse who received them.
Texas couples generally need to divide community property in half during a divorce. The assets may include properties acquired by either spouse. Your income and business earnings may classify as marital property, and divide in half. Separate property, however, remains with its rightful owner.
May I add separate property to a prenuptial agreement?
If you and your spouse signed a prenuptial agreement identifying each spouse’s separate property, you may use it as proof of assets belonging to one individual. Texas’ Family Code also allows married spouses to revise or amend their prenups to add or remove assets.
You may revise a prenup when acquiring a new asset that both you and your spouse agree to classify as separate property. Adding a new business to a prenup, for example, may confirm that you both agreed it belongs to you as your separate property.
How may separate assets that became mixed in with community property divide?
Separate property that you received as a gift or an inheritance may become part of your marital property through commingling. As reported by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, mixing assets makes it difficult to identify separate and community property. If you inherited money, for example, and deposited it into a shared bank account, it mixes with your household’s earnings. By spending commingled money on your shared home, the court may consider it community property.
If you own separate property in the Lone Star State, you may keep it without sharing it with your spouse. A signed agreement may serve to confirm which assets belong separately to each spouse.