Just and Right Standard of Property Division
People considering ending their marriage often wonder how the decision may impact them financially and whether they can take any measures to protect their assets. The division of property in divorce actions is governed by statutory law in Texas, and courts must abide by the standard dictated under the law when determining how to distribute community property. Specifically, Texas imposes a just and right standard of property division in dissolution matters. “Just and right” does not necessarily mean equal, however, and it is important for anyone debating filing for divorce to understand the implications of the standard and how their marital estate may be divided. If you have questions regarding property division in divorce, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Dallas divorce lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people fight for fair outcomes in dissolution proceedings, and, if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf.Classification of Property Under Texas Law
Texas is a community-property state. In other words, the law dictates that any assets, income, or property that either spouse garners during the course of a marriage is presumed to belong equally to both parties. The presumption applies regardless of whether one party is the sole income earner or the sole individual named on an account or title to a property. There are exceptions to the general rule, however. For example, any property received via a descent, devise, or gift, is considered separate property, as are damages awarded pursuant to a personal injury claim, as long as they do not represent compensation for lost wages.
Parties can also define property as separate via prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is separate, as well. A party disputing that an asset is community property must establish that it is separate through clear and convincing evidence. In other words, they must offer proof that demonstrates the separate nature of the property with reasonable certainty.The Just and Right Standard of Property Division
Under Texas law, the courts are required to order a division of community property in divorce actions in a manner that they deem just and right. The Texas Family Code does not define the just and right standard of property division; it merely states that the courts should consider the rights of any children born of the marriage and each party when making their decisions.
Pursuant to decisions rendered by the courts, it is clear that just and right does not necessarily mean equal. Instead, the courts will usually examine factors such as the needs of the children and the parties, how custody of any minor children is divided, whether either party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, and each party’s income and earning potential when determining how to distribute community assets. They may also look at the age and health of the parties and whether either spouse has deliberately tried to deplete the marital estate. Courts are similarly bound to divide debts in a just and right way and will consider the same factors weighed in determining how to divide assets when assessing how to distribute community debts between the parties.Meet With a Seasoned Dallas Attorney
While the Texas courts are bound by law to distribute community property in a just and right manner, parties often disagree as to what division the standard requires. If you are considering filing for divorce or were served with legal papers instituting a divorce action, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The seasoned Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at helping people protect their interests in divorce matters, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you seek a just outcome. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available to meet clients for consultations at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent people in divorce actions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also help parties with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our online form to set up a confidential meeting.