Texas is one of the only nine community property states in the country. Louisiana, Arizona, California, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin are the others. Community property means that almost all of the property wired by either spouse during the marriage is equally owned between the spouses. Any property acquired during the marriage is considered to be community property. In fact, there is a presumption that property acquired during the marriage is community property. When dividing community property at the time of divorce, courts are instructed to make a “just and right” division of the property. But how do chords arrive at this just in right division? Answer: it’s complicated.
In the case of Murff vs. Murff, The Texas Supreme Court made a non-exhaustive list of factors that trial courts are to consider when dividing community property. Keep in mind, just because the property is community property, does not mean the court is required to split the property 50-50. In fact, in one case, the Court awarded wife 72.9% of the community property The factors that the court can consider in dividing community property are:
Disparity in income is in earning capacities of the spouses;
Fault in the break-up of the marriage;
Length of the marriage;
Custody of minor children;
Financial and parental responsibility for adult children of the marriage;
Fraud and waste of community assets;
Benefits the innocent spouse may have derived from the continuation of the marriage;
Tax consequences of the property division;
Size of separate a state of the parties;
Health of the spouses;
Age of the spouses;
Education levels of the spouses;
Spouses capacities and abilities;
Business opportunities of the spouses;
Relative financial conditions of the spouses;
Nature of the property;
And attorneys fees for the parties.
Aside from these factors, the courts have continued to look at other factors that can be considered when determining how to divide property. Courts can look at things like, the need for future support of one spouse, credit for temporary spousal support paid, Liquidity and income production, expenses paid to maintain community property during the marriage, and most any other relevant factor in quarts care to consider. However the factors listed above are the ones recognized by appellate courts as the appropriate considerations for trial courts to look at.
Understanding these factors, and how to most effectively present them to a judge is important for your case. Properly presenting these factors can mean the difference between a 50-50 split and you obtaining all the property are entitled to. Don’t settle for less.
If you are getting divorced, and you own property that needs to be divided, call me today. I can help. Call today at 956-501-6565.
Property Division in Texas