Dividing the marital property in a divorce can mean tackling a lot of complicated issues. Knowing some basics about how the process works can help you make informed decisions at the various stages of your case.
When divorcing couples litigate their case in court, the judge typically issues orders on disputed issues. Some couples who do not have major disagreements may opt instead to draft an agreement with the help of their attorneys. For others, mediation can provide a fruitful way to negotiate disputes. Whichever way you take, understanding the standard approach to property division can help you define your goals for the process.
Just and fair division
Many people think that in a community property state such as Texas, everything just gets divided in half. However, matters are more complicated than that. Judges consider a number of factors when deciding the fairest approach for a particular case.
Financial consequences for both spouses
Texas judges do consider fault when allocating property and may give the innocent spouse a larger share, especially if they believe that spouse will otherwise suffer financially because of the divorce. They also look at the respective circumstances of the spouses that would affect their respective earning capacity, such as health, education and whether one spouse gave up opportunities to help the other advance. As judges do concern themselves with what will happen to each spouse afterwards, they also consider whether either of them has separate property that could supplement the proceeds of division.
Another issue courts often consider is whether one spouse wasted or hid community assets. In such a case, that spouse might have to give up a portion of the assets he or she would have otherwise received. If you suspect your soon-to-be-ex of these activities, your attorney can help you get proof.
Judges may consider a variety of additional factors, including tax consequences and child custody arrangements. Each case is different and may entail its own complications. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and defend your interests.