Examining the connection between real estate, debt and community property

There are many issues that soon-to-be married couples must address before they take that much-anticipated trip down the aisle. However, these issues don’t necessarily have to do with the wedding or the honeymoon, but rather with their respective financial outlooks.

For example, the wife may have made a conscious effort over the years to save money, pay down debt and even purchase a home, while the husband may have struggled to find employment and accumulated a rather sizeable amount of debt in the meantime.

In these situations, the soon-to-be married couple will likely want to set aside some time to discuss how they plan to address their finances moving forward and how they plan to pay down outstanding debt.

Even after having this discussion, however, it’s likely that the couple will still have a concerns relating to the home owned by the one spouse. Specifically, they may wonder if the sizeable debt accumulated by the husband can somehow jeopardize the house owned by the wife.

It’s important to understand that Texas is a community property state. This means that generally any property or debt obtained by the spouses during the course of the marriage is treated as belonging to both of them, while any property or debt obtained by the spouses prior to their marriage remains separate.

Consequently, any property/debt acquired while married is split 50/50 in terms of ownership interest in the event of a divorce and any property/debt brought into the marriage is not subject to property division.

In the above case, that means that the house purchased by the wife prior to the marriage is essentially insulated from the husband’s prior debt (unless they do something like add the husband’s name to the mortgage or change the deed).

Indeed, legal experts indicate that so long as the wife remains the sole owner of the home, the husband can still contribute to the mortgage, tax and home insurance payments without putting the house in any kind of risk.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or property division, contact an skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or financial advice.


Fox Business, “Will prenup protect fiancée from debt?,” Steve Bucci, March 28, 2013