Many married adults in Texas are not familiar with state’s divorce laws. Cursory research when initially preparing for divorce often leads to people jumping to conclusions that are quite inaccurate.
Texas is one of the few states in the country that has a community property approach to the division of marital assets when couples divorce. Many people imagine a 50/50 division of assets when they think about community property matters rules. However, the actual outcomes of divorces in Texas often deviate substantially from the 50/50 arrangement that many people assume is guaranteed.
Equal division is not always fair
In some ways, the current community property statute in Texas is similar to the equitable distribution standard used in many other states during divorces. The law instructs judges to consider the fairness of property division and to adjust their decisions according to the unique circumstances of the people getting divorced. Factors including health and separate property can influence the best way to divide assets.
In a scenario where a Texas judge believes that a 50/50 division of assets would be unfair, they can deviate from that standard by awarding one spouse more marital property than the other or employing creative solutions for their marital debts. Although the starting point for many property division orders in Texas is a 50/50 division of resources, the final order entered is often very different from that expectation.
Going to court isn’t always necessary
Asking a judge to divide marital property is an intimidating prospect for many people, as they have no control over the final terms set in their divorce. Many couples are able to work out their own property division arrangements through mediation or pretrial negotiations. Couples that settle amicably can move forward with an uncontested divorce instead of litigating and relying on a judge to make key determinations.
Seeking legal guidance to become more familiar with Texas family law statutes can benefit those who are contemplating divorce or are otherwise concerned about protecting themselves in a complicated family situation.