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Egregious Conduct and Equitable Distribution in Divorce

Lawyers Assisting Clients in Dallas

Marriages end for a variety of reasons. In many instances, couples are simply incompatible and no longer wish to live together as spouses. In some cases, though, one spouse will engage in unforgivable behavior that independently causes the demise of the marriage. Egregious conduct may not only be grounds for divorce, but it may impact how certain aspects of the dissolution, like equitable distribution or assets, are handled. If your marriage is ending because of grievous acts committed by you or your spouse, it is critical to speak to a lawyer to evaluate egregious conduct and equitable distribution in divorce. The knowledgeable Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can help you fight to protect your rights and pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case.

Equitable Distribution in Texas

Under Texas law, when a married couple divorces, their community property is subject to equitable distribution. Separate property, which is property deemed separate via an agreement or owned by a person prior to marriage, remains separate. Most property a person acquires during a marriage is considered community property, with some exceptions, like gifts, damages awards for personal injuries, and property obtained via inheritance. Notably, equitable distribution does not mean that property will be divided equally. Instead, it means that a court can divide community property in any manner that it deems to be appropriate and fair.

The Impact of Egregious Conduct and Equitable Distribution in Divorce

A court will consider numerous factors in determining how property should be divided. While in many no-fault divorces, the division is relatively equal, that is not always the case in fault-based divorces. Instead, in a fault-based divorce, the trial court may consider the conduct of the misbehaving spouse in making a disproportionate distribution of the marital estate. Trial courts have broad discretion in determining what constitutes a fair division of community property and their rulings will generally be upheld unless they clearly deviate from the law or accepted standards. As such, a finding that a party committed adultery, abandoned his or her spouse, engaged in cruelty or domestic violence, or is otherwise at fault for the breakdown of the marriage can support an unequal division of the community property. Other factors a court may consider when dividing community property when a spouse has engaged in egregious conduct are the benefit the innocent spouse may have received if the marriage had continued, the health of the spouses, the disparity of their income and earning potential, and their debt and liabilities.

Even if a person’s behavior did not actually cause a marriage to end, it can nonetheless be grounds for skewing property division in favor of the person’s spouse. For example, some people commit what is referred to as a fraud on the community after a couple separates or a divorce action is filed. In other words, they deplete community assets without the other person’s knowledge or consent or hide funds in secret accounts in an attempt to deprive their spouses of ownership rights. If the evidence is sufficient to show a fraud on the community, a court can consider such behavior in making an equitable distribution.

Speak with an Attorney in Dallas

Egregious conduct and equitable distribution in divorce can adversely impact spouses with regard to property division and other assets. If you wish to end your marriage, it is advisable to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible about your options. The attorneys of McClure Law Group can gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable result, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are also able to meet clients at our Collin County office in Plano. We regularly represent people in divorce matters, including child custody and child support in Dallas, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, and Frisco. We also help people with family law issues in cities throughout Dallas, Tarrant, Grayson, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall Counties. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 214.692.8200 to set up a conference.

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