In some Texas divorce cases, a party fails to file an answer to the divorce petition or otherwise participate in the divorce proceedings in any way. When a court divides property in a Texas divorce, it must do so in a “just and right” manner. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 7.001. However, to do so, the court must have sufficient evidence of the value of the community estate, even if one of the parties does not participate in the proceedings. Even if their spouse fails to file an answer, the petitioner in a divorce case must present evidence supporting the material allegations in the petition. If a trial court divides the property without sufficient evidence of the value of the assets to make a just and right division, the division may be subject to reversal on appeal, even if the appealing spouse failed to respond and the court issued a default judgment.
In a recent case, a husband challenged a default judgment granting his wife a divorce and dividing their property, arguing there was insufficient evidence to support the property division.