A lack of familiarity with state law and tall tales from other people can lead to unnecessary fear or unattainable divorce goals. People tend to exaggerate the outcomes of divorce stories that they have personally heard or to mischaracterize the rules established within Texas state law.
Most people understand that Texas is a community property state, but they likely oversimplify what that means for divorcing individuals. People might claim that community property rules require the 50/50 division of marital assets, but that simply is not an accurate description of how the courts handle property division.
A 50/50 split isn’t automatic in Texas
The wording of the community property statute in Texas is unique to the state. Unlike certain other states that do mandate a 50/50 asset division during litigated divorce, the law in Texas uses that as a starting point. Judges have to consider the details of a marriage to reach a fair solution for property division. A 50/50 division may not be the most appropriate solution if one spouse has no separate property or substantially lower income than the other. Judges can divide marital property in a way that they believe would be fair given the circumstances of the marriage.
That could mean a 50/50 split in some cases or a more imbalanced division when one spouse has far more resources and income than the other. The marital estate includes debts owed to outside parties in addition to the assets shared by the spouses, which means there can be a variety of different solutions available.
No one can exactly predict what a judge will do during community property division proceedings. Many spouses might prefer to arrange for an uncontested divorce by settling property matters on their own. Spouses divorcing through mutual agreement will know what becomes of their property because they will set those terms themselves.
Although a 50/50 division of assets is possible, it isn’t automatically the guaranteed outcome of any Texas divorce. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about how the Texas family courts handle divorce proceedings can help people feel better prepared for the challenges ahead.