Articles Posted in Divorce

iStock-1287431987-300x200Parties to a Texas divorce may choose to pursue alternative dispute resolution to avoid litigation. They may resolve part or all of their disputes through mediation.  A mediated settlement agreement (“MSA”) is binging on both parties if it prominently states that it is not subject to revocation, is signed by both parties, and is signed by the party’s attorney, if present.  Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 6.602.  In some cases, an MSA may include an arbitration provision, requiring the parties to arbitrate disputes arising from the MSA.  A wife recently appealed the divorce decree, arguing it did not comply with the parties’ MSA and that the judgment based on the arbitrator’s award should be overturned.

Mediation and Arbitration

The husband and wife entered into a mediated settlement agreement (“MSA”), agreeing to use a specific realtor to sell their properties. According to the appeals court’s opinion, the husband obtained a new realter after the wife informed him the chosen realtor “declined” to sell their properties.  That realtor found errors in the deed and recommended referred them to real estate attorneys.

The parties did not agree on which realtor to use or if they should have the documents corrected by an attorney.  Arbitration had been scheduled, with the arbitrator being the same person who had served as the parties’ mediator.  The wife obtained new counsel, who objected to the arbitrator due to concerns about impartiality.  He also expressed an intention to move for a new trial or set aside the MSA. He alleged the husband’s attorney failed to disclose a working relationship with the mediator before the mediation occurred.  However, there were emails showing the husband’s attorney had disclosed to the wife’s previous attorney that she previously had been an intern with the mediator and the wife’s attorney had no objection to the mediator.  Additionally, she disclosed the same information to the wife’s second counsel by phone, and the mediator stated before the mediation started that the husband’s attorney had been an intern, and there were no objections.

Continue Reading ›

Atlanta-Property-Division-Attorneys-2-300x198Pursuant to the Inception of Title doctrine, a property’s character is determined when the party acquires their interest in it. This means that property acquired before the marriage will generally be characterized as that spouse’s separate property in a Texas divorce.  In a recent case, however, the court determined that a house purchased solely in the name of the husband before the marriage was the separate property of both spouses.

According to the appeals court’s opinion, the parties started dating in late 1999.  The wife moved in with the husband and his grandfather in 2003 or 2004.  The husband bought a house from the wife’s parents in 2004 as “a single man,” according to the Deed of Trust and Note and both parties moved into it.  They deposited their paychecks into a joint account from which the mortgage and property taxes were paid.  They got married in July 2005 and lived together in the house until 2020.

Divorce Trial

The wife petitioned for divorce and ultimately requested reimbursement to the community estate. She asked for 50% of the community estate and 50% of the husband’s separate property. She argued the house was both parties’ separate property because they had lived together and both paid for it.  The husband argued it should be his separate property.

Continue Reading ›

iStock-178756342-300x199Under Texas family law, property acquired by a spouse during the marriage is community property, unless it meets the requirements of separate property.  Pursuant to Tex. Fam. Code § 3.001, personal injury recoveries are the separate property of the injured spouse, but recovery for lost earning capacity is community property.  Property possessed by a spouse during or on dissolution is presumed to be community property, so a spouse claiming a personal injury recovery is their separate property must prove by clear and convincing evidence what portion is separate.  A wife recently challenged the property division in her Texas divorce after the court concluded monthly payments from a personal injury settlement were the husband’s separate property.

According to the appeals court’s opinion, the wife had primarily been a homemaker during the marriage, but she sometimes worked part-time.

The husband was seriously injured at work in 2006.  He was found to be incapacitated and the wife acted as his guardian in the resulting lawsuit.  In the personal injury settlement agreement, the wife agreed, on behalf of her husband and herself, to release all claims against the defendants.  The defendants’ insurance companies agreed to immediate cash payments and monthly payments for the rest of the husband’s life.  The settlement provided that $1,150,000 of the cash payments was for the husband’s benefit and $50,000 would go to the wife. The settlement agreement also stated the monthly payments were for the husband’s benefit.  The monthly payments were secured through the purchase of an annuity pursuant to the settlement agreement. The agreement also stated that funds were “damages on account of personal physical injuries or sickness” pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code. It also provided that the husband and wife were responsible for paying their attorney’s fees, court costs and case expenses, and any medical bills and liens.

Continue Reading ›

iStock-483613578-300x204A court in a Texas divorce must divide the marital estate in a just and right manner.  A just and right division does not necessarily mean an equal division. Courts may consider a variety of factors in determining the property division, including fault in the break-up, income disparity, the relative earning capacity of the parties, education, age, physical condition, and financial condition of the parties.  A husband recently appealed a disproportionate division of property.

The appeals court’s opinion stated the parties established a common-law marriage in 2015 after living together for 18 years.  They separated in 2018 and the wife petitioned for divorce in 2019, claiming insupportability and cruelty.  In his counter-petition, the husband also alleged insupportability and cruelty and adultery on the part of the wife.  They each requested a disproportionate division of the marital estate.


They reached a settlement on the issues related to the children, so the final hearing addressed only the property division.  The community estate included bank accounts, the husband’s retirement benefits, vehicles, and debt.  The parties had also purchased two homes as tenants in common before they were married.  They each lived in one of the homes after the separation.

Continue Reading ›

iStock-1331374129-300x200Texas spousal maintenance is intended to give temporary support to a spouse whose ability to support themselves has diminished and whose assets are insufficient to support them.  After 10 years of marriage, a spouse who shows they lack sufficient property or the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for their “minimum reasonable needs” may be entitled to spousal maintenance.  Tex. Fam. Code § 8.051(2)(B).  They must, however, overcome the rebuttable presumption that maintenance is not warranted by showing they have exercised diligence in earning sufficient income to provide for their reasonable needs or developing the necessary skills to do so during separation and the pendency of the divorce case.  Tex. Fam. Code 8.053. In a recent case, a wife appealed a trial court’s denial of her request for spousal maintenance.

The appeals court’s opinion stated the parties got married in 2009 and separated in 2018.  The husband lived in Texas and the wife lived in a vacation condominium they bought in Illinois in 2018.  The husband petitioned for divorce in 2019 and the final hearing occurred in February 2021.

The husband requested an equal property division and no spousal maintenance.

The wife asked for a 60/40 split of the assets and $5,000 per month in spousal maintenance for five years. She had not worked during the marriage or during the divorce case.  Her mother testified she loaned her $37,500 during the separation.  The husband had also transferred about $50,000 worth of assets to the wife during the case.  The wife testified her monthly living expenses were about $12,000.  She had last worked as a medication aide in 2008.  She testified she previously worked as a certified nursing assistant but did not want to do so again.  She testified her dental assistance certification did not transfer to Illinois. She also testified she had photography certifications but had not tried to earn income from them.  She started a real estate course in 2019, but had not passed part of the test.  She also admitted she had “not done anything” to become employed since the divorce case commenced.  She said businesses were closed due to the pandemic and she did not have time to seek employment due to the divorce case.

Continue Reading ›


For many business owners and entrepreneurs, their business is not only imperative to their financial well-being but is also a large part of their identity. This can raise obvious concerns when divorce is on the horizon. And when a couple owns a large business or corporation, or the business assets are complex in nature, the thought of dividing business assets can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, dividing complex business assets is often required, and, therefore, it is imperative that spouses understand how Texas law handles these situations.


Complex business assets are assets that belong to or are associated with a business that do not necessarily lend themselves to simple valuation or division. For example, the monetary value of a business’s goodwill or intellectual property rights are two common examples of complex business assets.


The short answer is it depends. Texas is a community property state. So, any assets that are acquired by either spouse during the marriage are presumed to be community property, which is subject to division upon divorce. However, determining whether complex business assets are community property is not always a straightforward endeavor. And even then, this is only the first question courts must answer when hearing a divorce involving complex business assets.

Continue Reading ›


While it is not the most comfortable thing to consider before or during the marriage, premarital and postnuptial agreements are critical to establishing each partner’s property and financial rights. Texas law provides a mechanism for couples in a marriage to accomplish the same results that could have been created in a premarital agreement. These post-nuptial agreements are often referred to as “marital property agreements.”

There is a general understanding that there are many reasons why a couple might want to change the character of their marital assets during their marriage. Accordingly, the formalities and enforcement rules for post-nuptial agreements are, in effect, the same as for premarital agreements. However, Texas post-nuptial agreements are often prone to issues surrounding unconscionability and involuntariness.


In one of the more recent published opinions regarding post-nuptial agreements, a Texas appeals court affirmed a trial court’s judgment finding that a post-nuptial Partition and Exchange Agreement (PEA) was not valid or enforceable.

Continue Reading ›


Valuing a closely-held medical practice during a divorce in Texas requires a complex understanding of the measures of value, methods of valuation, and Texas statutes. Although business valuations do not adhere to precise mathematical processes, general methods, procedures, and principles exist. In Texas, determining the value of medical practice is often a critical and hotly contested aspect of divorce proceedings. Understanding how a court will incorporate the value of medical practice to come to a “just and right” division of property is crucial to securing a favorable outcome in a divorce.


Texas is a community property state, meaning only property created or accrued during the marriage is subject to division during a divorce. Community property may include real estate, businesses, medical practices, cars, money, and retirement accounts. Under the law, courts must make divisions that are “just and right.” It is important to note that “just and right” does not necessarily equate to a 50 percent division.


Medical practices fall under an important caveat of Texas’ property division laws. The Corporate Practice of Medicine (CPOM) doctrine prohibits non-physicians, entities, or corporations from practicing medicine. Thus, a court cannot divide the ownership of a medical practice to a non-physician spouse; instead, the court can only determine and divide the value of the practice.

Continue Reading ›

iStock-902725964-300x200When a judge finalizes a Texas divorce involving the custody of children, they will determine which parent has the right to determine where the child will live. However, courts will almost always place certain restrictions on that parent’s ability to relocate. While a relocation restriction may not immediately be an issue for a parent with primary custody, that may change if they obtain employment elsewhere in the state or decide to move for other reasons.


In a recent opinion issued by the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas, the court rejected a mother’s request to modify a divorce decree that placed restrictions on her ability to relocate as well as her rights to travel internationally with her son. According to the court’s opinion, Mother and Father divorced in November 2016. At that time, the court gave Mother the right to determine where the child would live, provided it was within Dallas County, Collin County, or Southlake Independent School District. The divorce decree also required either parent to provide written notice to the other if they intended to travel outside the United States with their son.

In July 2017, Mother married a man who lived in Oklahoma. Mother started to spend as much time as possible in Oklahoma, and she would often take her son. Subsequently, Mother sought modification of the initial divorce decree in hopes of being able to relocate. Father filed a counter-petition, hoping to be named as their son’s conservator so he could keep the child in Dallas County, Collin County, or Southlake Independent School District.

Continue Reading ›


Texas is one of just a handful of states that follows that “community property” doctrine. Under Texas Family Code § 3.003, all property obtained by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be community property, meaning both spouses have an equal ownership interest. And while disagreements related to how a couple’s assets are divided are common in all Texas divorces, this is especially the case in high-net-worth divorces.


While there is no official definition of what constitutes a high-net-worth divorce in Texas, the consensus among Texas divorce attorneys is that any divorce involving liquid assets of $1 million or more is considered a high-net-worth divorce.


High-net-worth divorces can involve all the typical aspects of a divorce, including child custody, child support, division of assets, and spousal support. However, due to the value and complexity of the assets, high-net-worth divorces tend to raise other issues, especially as they relate to property division. For example, a high-net-worth divorce may require the court to determine how the following classes of assets should be distributed:

  • 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts;
  • Stocks, bonds, cryptocurrency and other investment holdings;
  • Real estate and property holdings;
  • Shared ownership in a business;
  • Pensions and benefits; and
  • Artwork and other collections.

Continue Reading ›

Contact Information