Many folks who are going through a Texas divorce or are contemplating a divorce in Texas wonder what is going to happen to the property that they have acquired during their marriage. Many people worry that they are going to get cleaned out because they are a male or operate under the common misconception that a division of property in a Texas divorce is automatically 50/50 or that you can marry a billionaire for a week and get half of what they own by getting a divorce a few days or weeks later. The truth of the matter is that many factors come into play when a Texas divorce court decides how to divvy up a marital estate. The answer to the question on how will the marital property be divided is; it depends.
WHERE DO TEXAS COURTS BEGIN IN DECIDING HOW TO DIVIDE THE MARITAL ESTATE?
The cornerstone rule under the Texas Family Code is that a Texas Family court, in a divorce or an annulment shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. You may be saying that there is a very broad discretion given to a Texas court of law by the legislature in dividing the marital estate, and you would be correct. However, a Texas divorce court, although able to award a disproportionate share to one party, can do so only when a reasonable basis exists for granting that relief. The division of the property must not be so disproportionate as to be inequitable, and the circumstances must justify awarding more than one-half to one party. On a side note, a the foregoing statement applies to community property, a divorce court in Texas does not have the authority to divest a person of their separate property. Separate property is property that was acquired before marriage, by gift, devise, or from certain personal injury settlements excluding monies recovered for lost wages.
WHAT SPECIFIC FACTORS DOES A COURT CONSIDER WHEN DIVIDING COMMUNITY PROPERTY IN A TEXAS DIVORCE?
You may be asking what does reasonable mean? Are there specific factors that a court takes into consideration in dividing Texas community property? The answer to the last question is yes, a court does take certain things into consideration. Some of the factors that a court takes into consideration are each of the spouses capacities and abilities, benefits which the party, not at fault in the breakup of the marriage, would have derived from the continuation of the marriage, business opportunities of both parties, education, relative physical conditions, relative financial condition and obligations, disparity of ages, size of the separate estates, and the nature of the property, the earning capacity of the spouses and fault in the breakup of the marriage. This is not an exhaustive list and a Texas divorce court has a very high level of authority in determining what is a "just and right" division of the community estate. You should talk to an attorney if you have questions about your particular case.
FAULT IN THE BREAKUP OF THE MARRIAGE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND WHAT DOES A COURT CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHO IS AT FAULT?
Fault in the breakup of the marriage is a factor that a Texas divorce court considers in awarding a disproportionate share of the community estate, and a factor that Texas divorce attorneys deal with on a near daily basis. Some things that contribute to a spouse's fault in the breakup of the marriage are cruelty, abuse, adultery, and desertion. A Texas litigant in family court should be prepared to convince a judge that the fault in the marriage occurred and contributed to the breakup in the marriage. Being able to back up what you say in a Texas family court of law goes a long way in helping a judge determine whether or not they should give you more of the property because of your spouse's behavior towards you. They have a difficult decision to make so as a litigant you must convince them that the decision you are asking for is just and right. If you are experiencing abuse by any person you should call the police immediately and report it.
If you are contemplating divorce or are involved in a divorce case I encourage you to contact the Law Office of Chad Zubi. This article is just a very brief discussion of some of the things Texas Family courts take into consideration when dividing community property in Texas divorces. It is not meant to be taken as legal advice. The laws in this area are very complex and litigating alone without competent counsel can have devastating and lasting consequences and each case is different. You should have a competent lawyer represent your interests in your divorce. You can obtain a free case evaluation by calling the Law Office of Chad Zubi at 281-962-3877 or by contacting the office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling in your information into the contact form on the contact page by clicking here.