Because Texas is a state with community property jurisdiction, the common assumption is that each spouse receives an equal share of their marital property. However, it is more challenging to determine what exactly is equal when marital property comprises valuable assets. If the couple cannot agree on the terms of the distribution, the court will decide for them, and these factors can affect the court’s decision.
You do not need to establish fault to file for divorce in Texas. You could simply say you want a divorce because the marriage has become insupportable. However, if one spouse can prove the other is guilty of adultery, abuse, abandonment or a felony, they may gain leverage in court and receive a larger share of the marital property.
Income discrepancy and employability
The courts will look at each spouse’s income and ability to earn. If one spouse has a much higher income than the other, they may have to provide spousal maintenance or forego certain assets to help the other spouse. The court looks at each spouse’s age, health and attained education. A significant disparity in any of these areas could warrant an unequal division because the spouse with less potential to earn may need more financial support.
Length of marriage
The length of the marriage plays a more crucial role when one spouse forfeits their career to take a supportive domestic position in the marriage. The longer the marriage was, the more spousal support the house spouse can receive.
Nature of the estate
The court will look at the separate and marital property of each spouse. Typically, larger estates comprise vehicles, multiple real estate, businesses and retirement plans. These can be more difficult to divide, and some assets come with tax implications that the court also considers.
Custody of minor children
Whoever obtains primary physical custody of the minor children has a much better chance of retaining the main family home. They may also need to keep certain marital assets, such as the family vehicle to bring the children to school. Furthermore, the parent spending more time with the children might require financial assistance and receive a larger share of the assets or regular child support. The best interests of the children always impact the court’s decision.
Understanding the factors that affect a disproportionate division of marital assets can help you achieve a more favorable share.