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Understanding Texas' community property law (Part 2)

When a couple in Dallas has reached the end of a marriage and decided to go their separate ways, they will need to divide up the property and assets that they shared during their union. They may have had a prenuptial agreement which dictates how certain divorce issues related to property will be resolved. On the other hand, without a prenuptial agreement (or if they have property that is not covered), the divorce process will entail application of Texas' community property law.

Community property law, as we discussed previously, regards almost all property acquired during the marriage as shared equally by the spouses, and a judge will therefore attempt to divide property as equally as he or she can. However, that doesn't mean the judge is tied strictly to leaving each spouse with a settlement of equal value.

A Texas judge may consider a number of factors in arriving at an equitable division of marital property. Some common things a judge will look at include:

  • Whether one spouse cheated on or abused the other.
  • Whether a spouse has a health condition that needs to be accounted for.
  • Whether a sizable age gap between partners will affect one more than the other.
  • Whether one spouse stands to gain primary custody of any minor children.

In other words, if one partner has legitimate needs or financial concerns that the other does not, the judge may consider it equitable to award that partner commensurate with his or her greater need.

The last point above -- child custody -- of course raises an entirely new field to navigate. Fortunately, a legal professional can help you make the right moves through this admittedly challenging process as you enter the next stage of your life.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Community Property Overview," accessed on Aug. 21, 2015

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