One of the reasons that people find the divorce process to be so confusing is that the laws are different in literally every state. Although there is significant overlap from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, little differences in the law can lead to major differences in the outcome of court proceedings for any particular couple.
Property division rules in Texas are different than in most other states. While equitable distribution laws are now in place in the majority of states in the country, Texas still has a community property statute on the books.
The community property law requires customized solutions
The biggest misconception about community property laws is that they mandate a 50/50 division of a couple’s marital assets. That may be how judges interpret community property laws in some states, but the approach in Texas takes more into consideration than just an even split.
A judge making determinations about the division of property and debts will typically need to think about important factors like the income and separate property of each spouse, as well as the duration of the marriage. In cases where it is clear that an uneven division of the assets would be the fairest and most appropriate outcome, then the judge should deviate from the expectation of a 50/50 division of assets.
In other words, when there are unusual complicating factors, the outcome of a couple’s property division dispute may deviate substantially from the 50/50 division that people expect.
Couples don’t have to rely on a judge
Another common misconception about community property laws in Texas is the idea that every divorcing couple must give up control and have a judge decide what to do with their property. However, couples have the option of negotiating their own property division settlement that includes whatever terms both spouses agree would be fair.
Litigation is only necessary in cases where spouses cannot reach an agreement with one another. For those that do litigate, full disclosure of their assets and debts is a necessary part of the process. As each case is unique, it can be hard to predict exactly what a judge will determine is appropriate given the circumstances. Understanding the Texas rules that govern modern divorces can help those who are preparing to file or respond to a divorce filing with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.