As noted in the article on community property, under Texas law all property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property. This includes shared income, savings, real estate holdings and securities dividends.
However, some property is considered separate property, including inheritance, person injury recovery, and capital gains on securities held prior to the marriage. However, the process behind establishing separate property holdings can be tricky, especially when many couples share a bank account.
This leads to a question Texas family law attorneys hear all the time, “can my separate property money be traced?”
The answer to this is yes, but it certainly isn’t an easy task. A family law firm in Tyler can tell you that commingling funds from separate or community property isn’t advisable, but few people are thinking about the possibility of divorce when they sign a deposit slip.
The good news is, with the right investigation, these funds are traceable. In the 1950s, an Austin appellate court created what is known as “community-out-first” doctrine, which makes it easier for individuals to trace commingled separate property in a divorce proceeding by treating the joint account like oil and water.
According to the “community-out-first” doctrine, when separate property money is placed into a commingled account, the separate money “sinks” to the bottom of the account, and the community money is spent first. This means that as long as there are sufficient funds in the commingled account to cover the amount of the separate property money; the funds are recoverable.
Gradually, more and more courts have accepted this doctrine, and today it is considered to be the prevailing precedent when Texas family law courts are deciding how to separate commingled accounts. Proving and recovering separate property money under the “community-out-first” doctrine requires detailed tracing schedules.
These tracing schedules will show the amount of the separate property funds, the balance of the joint account at the time of their deposit, and the balance of the account to the present time, distinguishing separate property money from community property. These efforts require a great deal of experience and detail, so it is in your best interest to retain a Tyler divorce attorney who has experience handling account separation matters. The Flowers Law Firm is a Tyler divorce law firm that can put together a team of accountants and experts to isolate and secure your separate property earnings.
Call a Tyler Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering a divorce, you should contact a Tyler divorce attorney. The Texas divorce attorney at The Flowers Law Firm, P.C. stands ready to help. You can receive a free consultation from our family lawyer by calling us at (903) 965-2000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.