Texas is a community property state, which means that there is a presumption that assets are community property, not separate property of a spouse. To overcome this presumption, one must be able to definitively show to a court that an asset was acquired before the marriage and has maintained its characterization as separate property. The key to maintaining the character of your property as separate is to avoid commingling the property with community property.
In Texas, income created during the marriage is considered community property. Community property must be shared with one’s spouse during a divorce. Gambling winnings gained during the marriage are considered community property even if the gambling was funded by one spouse’s separate property. In other words, even if a lottery ticket is purchased with one spouse’s separate money, the winnings must be shared with the other spouse. Additionally, interest payments received during the course of a marriage are also considered community property. If you win big before you are married, your spouse is entitled to share in the interest gained on your winnings from the date of marriage until the date of divorce (unless a carefully drafted prenuptial agreement is entered into by both parties prior to marriage). Winnings received after the marriage, however, belong completely to the spouse who purchased the ticket, even if the ticket was purchased the day after the divorce. In a 2003 Texas case known as In re Marriage of Joyner, 196 S.W.3d 883 a man purchased a winning lottery ticket following the final hearing of divorce and won $2,080,000. The money was held to be his separate property.