What is the effect of incurring a debt on a separate property house during the marriage?
In re Marriage of Collinsworth, No. 06-19-00083-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 965, at *6-7 (Tex. App.—Texarkana Feb. 5, 2020)
Facts: Wife acquired a house several years before marriage and testified that she made the down payment on the house from funds gifted to her before marriage. Wife produced copies of the checks in support of her testimony and offered testimony from the two witnesses who gifted her those funds. The deed to the property was not introduced into evidence. The evidence also showed, however, that both husband and wife were liable on the mortgage to the house as borrowers. Husband argued that he had a one-half interest in the home as separate property.
Result: Wife rebutted the community property presumption and established her separate property interest in the property. There was testimony that the down payment came from checks made out solely to wife; thus, wife sufficiently traced the funds used to acquire the home. And, even though husband's name was on the mortgage and settlement statement as a "borrower," "there was no deed introduced into evidence showing that the property was in his name." Because there was no evidence husband owned an interest in the home -- as opposed to his debt -- the trial court did not err in declining to award him an interest in the property.