What pushes people to file for divorce is often emotional, but what keeps people from pursuing divorce when they are unhappy in their marriages is often practical concerns. Especially when someone has enjoyed a high standard of living throughout their marriage or established themselves professionally, they may have a lot of property and income at risk.
Successful adults do not want to lose half of their assets to their spouses. It is often fear of the potentially negative consequences of a Texas divorce that keeps people trapped in unhappy marriages. Therefore, those who learn more about what really happens in Texas divorces will often feel more comfortable filing for divorce.
Community property rules don’t always result in a 50/50 split
People like simple answers, and so they tend to regurgitate what they understand and believe to be accurate even if it lacks nuance. Many people will happily tell you that community property rules in Texas mean divorcing couples must share all of their assets evenly. The law on the matter features far more gray areas.
First of all, not all of someone’s property is automatically subject to division. It is only the property and income acquired during the marriage that is part of the marital pool in most cases. Occasionally, commingling or promises from one spouse to the other can compromise assets that would otherwise remain separate. For many couples, the first step in preparing for divorce is to figure out what is marital property and what is separate property that they will not need to divide.
Next, they need to find a way to convey their marital circumstances to a judge. Community property laws in Texas do require that a judge begins with an assumption that an equal distribution of assets is appropriate. However, the law specifically requires that judges adjust that 50/50 split to reflect the circumstances of the marriage if an equal division would be unfair.
Factors like the length of the marriage, the earning potential of both spouses and even the unpaid contributions of each spouse to the household can all influence what a judge decides to do with marital property. The judge’s perception of the situation has a major influence on the outcome of property division matters, so properly conveying household circumstances will be of the utmost importance.
It’s also important to remember that spouses don’t have to subject themselves to litigated property division at all. They always have the option of working cooperatively to negotiate a settlement. Understanding the rules that apply to property division matters may help those in higher-asset marriages feel more comfortable about filing for divorce.