There is a presumption that property possessed by a spouse during or on Texas marital dissolution is community property. A party claiming separate property must prove its separate character by clear and convincing evidence. Tex. Fam. Code § 3.003. In a recent case a wife appealed the trial court’s characterization of stock shares granted to the husband by his employer.
According to the appeals court’s opinion, the parties got married in December 2006. The husband started a new job in February 2015 and the next year received a million shares of the company’s stock. The husband stated he had entered into an agreement with the company when he received the stock, but could not find it and could not get a copy from the company. The stock certificates did not indicate why they were issued.
The husband’s employment contract provided that he would receive an annual salary of $100,000. Additionally, he would receive a signing fee, an additional payment upon the next fundraising event, and an annual payment for four years, as compensation for “assets, access to ‘[husband’s] IP,’ and inventory” the husband provided pursuant to the employment agreement. The company also agreed to take on certain debts and liabilities the husband owed. The contract indicated the husband would receive “a total compensation of over $750,000” for the use of the husband’s assets and intellectual property, without referencing the stock shares.