In the state of Texas, property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property—owned by both the husband and wife. Property obtained before the marriage is considered separate property. Also considered separate property are assets acquired during the marriage using funds from a gift or inheritance, as well as those acquired with funds that are separate property.

Determining if an asset is community property or separate property can get tricky. Sometimes one spouse contributes separate funds to purchase community property or pays down debt on the other spouse’s separate property. In cases like this, parties can make a claim for reimbursement, which may impact the final property settlement.

On the surface, it sounds as though you could make a claim for reimbursement because you were paying down debt your spouse incurred before you were married. However, according to the Texas Family Code Section 3.409, the court will not recognize a claim for reimbursement for the following:

  • Student loan owed by a spouse
  • Payment of child support, alimony or spousal maintenance
  • Living expenses of a spouse or child of a spouse
  • Property contributions of nominal value
  • Liability payments of a nominal amount

Division of assets can be complicated if spouses either do not agree on separate property or make reimbursement claims against community property.