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Discretion in Divorce Cases

Dallas Family-Law Attorneys Helping People Navigate Divorces

The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) dictates how many issues in family-law cases should be resolved. In some instances, the Code grants judges the authority to resolve matters as they deem appropriate. For example, judges are granted discretion in divorce cases to determine how marital assets should be disbursed, whether alimony should be granted and, if so, for how long, and in cases involving custody, what is in the children’s best interest. Judges may not always exercise their discretion properly, though, and, if a party believes a judge’s decision does not comport with the law, they may be able to pursue an appeal. If you have questions about discretion in divorce cases, it is advisable to talk to a knowledgeable attorney. The trusted Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people seek favorable outcomes in dissolution proceedings, and if you hire us, we will help you fight to protect your interests.

Discretion in Divorce Cases

Judges have the discretion to determine how some disputes in divorce cases should be resolved. For example, the Code does not expressly define how community property should be divided. Instead, it dictates that judges should split community property in a manner they deem fair and just. In other words, judges do not have to disburse community property equally, but they have the right to determine how any community assets should be divided between the divorcing couple. The Code also grants courts the authority to determine the amount, nature, and duration of any spousal-support award. Lastly, in divorce cases involving child custody, judges have ample discretion in determining conservatorship and access rights. While they must rule in accordance with what is in the best interest of the child involved after consideration of numerous factors, they are not bound to divide custody in any specified manner.

Establishing an Abuse of Discretion in Divorce Cases

Although judges have the authority to decide how certain issues in divorce cases should be resolved, they must nonetheless exercise their discretion prudently. If they fail to do so, their decision may be subject to an appeal. Usually, a party filing an appeal in a divorce action must show that the judge’s ruling constitutes an abuse of discretion. In other words, they must establish that the judge’s decision was indiscriminate or unreasonable or that the judge ignored applicable rules or principles. An appealing party may also demonstrate an abuse of discretion by showing that the judge did not apply the law correctly or declined to evaluate relevant facts.

It is important to note, however, that appellate courts will not find an abuse of discretion simply because the appellate court would have issued a different ruling, as appellate courts will affirm any ruling supported by evidence that is material and significant. While the appellate courts can assess the sufficiency of the evidence presented at the trial level to determine whether a trial judge abused their discretion, proving that such evidence was factually or legally insufficient, in and of itself, will not show an abuse of discretion. An appellate court will generally uphold a ruling if the evidence is adequate to let a rational trier of fact come to the same conclusion as the trial judge.

Talk to a Skilled Dallas Attorney

Texas law grants judges with authority to resolve many issues in divorce cases in a manner they deem fit, but their discretion is not boundless, and if they rule improperly, their decision may be overturned. If you want to legally end your marriage, it is important to talk to an attorney about your rights as soon as possible. The skilled Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to obtain successful results in divorce matters, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available to meet clients for consultation at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, McKinney, Frisco, Richardson, Irving, and Garland. We also assist people with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Tarrant, Denton, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential consultation.

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