There are typically three types of issues that complicate Texas divorces. It can be very challenging for people to negotiate custody arrangements when they share minor children. Couples also argue quite a bit about support obligations for children or dependent spouses. Finally, property division decisions can lead to intense disagreements between spouses who are preparing for divorce, as both spouses generally want as much as possible to help rebuild their lives after divorce.
While support and custody matters aren’t issues for all couples, every marital relationship results in the acquisition of some marital property. Even the shortest marriage has at least a few weeks of marital income and possibly some debt that the spouses incurred that they’ll need to divide. Texas couples either reach their own agreements about property division or go to court to litigate. In court, judges apply the state’s community property statute when dividing resources.
Does community property always mean a 50/50 split of possessions and debts?
The Texas law leaves much to a judge’s discretion
Although people think of 50/50 division as the standard outcome when applying community property rules, the truth is that courts can enter a far more nuanced property division order. Although a 50/50 division is possible, judges need to look carefully at the circumstances for the couple to decide if an even split would be fair.
Factors including health issues, uneven custody arrangements and significant gaps in earning potential might make it clear that a 50/50 division would be less than fair. A judge does have the authority to divide the assets in any way they believe would be appropriate given the unique circumstances of the divorcing spouses. They can grant property to one spouse or order its sale.
Couples negotiating their own settlement also have the option of deviating from that 50/50 standard in any way that they both feel would be appropriate. Provided that they can agree on the terms that they set, they have the authority to divide their property however they want in an uncontested divorce. Those who understand the state rules that apply to property division may have an easier time negotiating with their spouse and establishing reasonable expectations for their divorce proceedings.
Learning more about the details of Texas property division laws may benefit those preparing for divorce court. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.