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Basic facts regarding property division in Texas divorces

Many Texas residents erroneously believe that during a divorce, property is split 50/50 between both spouses due to Texas being a so-called "community property" state. Actually, Texas family law judges are obligated to consider many factors in the attempt to devise a "just and right" allocation of the marital assets and debts.

Naturally, what one party believes might be "just and right" may not necessarily be a shared opinion of the other spouse. That's why it's important to have an experienced advocate on your side during all phases of the divorce proceedings. Here are a few factors a judge may consider when determining marital property division:

-- Marital misconduct. The judge is going to take a dim view of spouses who engaged in adultery, cruelty, abandonment and other similar activities.

-- Gaps in income earning potential. A spouse who is currently working and earning a significant salary might receive a less favorable disbursement of property than a spouse who had quit their job in order to raise the children at home throughout the marriage.

-- The unique nature of the property to be divided may also factor into the court's determination. For example, a parcel of land with a fully equipped auto-repair garage may be of greater value to a spouse who makes a living working on cars as opposed to a spouse who works primarily in an office setting.

-- Whatever is in the best interest of the children. For example, a couple owning multiple residences is likely to see the parent with primary possession of the children receive a house near the children's current school.

Of course, these are just a few potential scenarios, and your circumstances may vary widely. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that a thoughtfully considered and well-argued divorce petition may go a long way towards obtaining a favorable marital property division.

Source: Texas State Legislature- Family Code-The Marriage Relationship, "Dissolution of Marriage- Award of Marital Property" Aug. 13, 2014

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