Community Property Principles in Texas
The laws governing legal issues related to getting a divorce are governed by state laws. Each state has its own distinct set of laws when it comes to legal issues involving domestic relations and marriage. When it comes to dividing assets between spouses in a divorce case, states follow either the “equitable distribution” system or “community property” system.
States like Texas and California adhere to principles of community property for determining the division of marital assets upon divorce. Generally, all assets that qualify as community property are divided between the spouses upon divorce. Community property includes all property that the couple acquired while living together as a married couple. Assets that do not qualify as community property—such as those either party obtained before they got married or after their separation—are not divisible upon divorce.
However, even among the community property states, there are slight differences in how the law approaches this issue. For example, in California, all community property is equally divided upon divorce. However, under Texas Family Code § 7.001, “the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.”
Factors for Determining a Just and Right Division
Under Texas law, splitting assets equally between the parties does not necessarily constitute a “just and right” division. Texas courts have held that, under the circumstances surrounding the marriage and divorce in each case, it may not be fair to assume that each party gets an equal share of community property.
Accordingly, Texas courts may consider various factors when determining what is just and right when it comes to dividing up the parties’ property.
Among the factors that Texas courts may consider when deciding how to divide assets in a just and right manner include:
- A party’s fault in causing the marriage to end
- The age and health of the parties
- Misconduct that detrimentally affects community property, such as fraud
- Acts that lead to the waste of community assets
- The financial means of each party
- The financial obligations and needs of the parties
After considering the particular circumstances of a divorce, the court might determine that an unequal division of assets would be just and right in a specific divorce case. For example, Texas courts have awarded significantly more than half of the parties’ community property to a spouse who was the victim of adultery.
Call O’Neil Wysocki for Legal Representation
Issues concerning the division of assets and property in a divorce case can be complicated, requiring the consideration of various factors. To better understand your particular rights and responsibilities when it comes to the ownership of property in a divorce case, you should reach out to one of our dedicated attorneys at O’Neil Wysocki P.C.