People in the process of ending their marriage often disagree over critical issues, such as how their property should be divided. As such, they will typically ask the courts to divide any community assets. While the Texas courts generally aim to divide property fairly in divorce matters, they do not always rule in accordance with the facts or the law. While parties cannot seek to overturn a court’s ruling simply because they disagree with it, they may be able to pursue an appeal in cases in which it is clear that the court made a mistake. If you would like to discuss your rights with regard to property-division appeals, you should contact a lawyer promptly. The knowledgeable Dallas appellate lawyers of McClure Law Group are proficient at navigating the complexities of family-law appeals, and, if we represent you, we will fight to help you protect your interests.Property-Division Appeals Under Texas Law
Pursuant to the Texas Family Code (the “Code”), a court issuing a divorce decree must order a division of the parties’ estate in a manner it deems just and right. In doing so, the court has to consider the rights of both parties and any children born during the marriage. Not all property is divisible in divorce actions in Texas. Instead, the Code dictates that only community property is subject to division, and any separate property remains the sole property of the spouse that owns it. While most assets acquired during the marriage are deemed community property, property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, damages awarded for personal injuries sustained during the marriage, and assets gained through devise, descent, or gift during the marriage are considered separate. Additionally, parties can deem property separate via a pre-marital or post-nuptial agreement.
Although the Code sets forth parameters regarding how community property should be divided in divorce actions, it affords judges some degree of discretion as to how they ultimately divide community assets. If a party feels that a judge ruled improvidently, though, they can file an appeal. Generally, a party appealing a judge’s division of community property must show that the judge abused their discretion. This means that the appealing party needs to show that the ruling in question was unreasonable or arbitrary or that the judge neglected to refer to the appropriate principles or rules.
In some instances, a judge’s failure to weigh pertinent facts or misapplication of the law might also constitute an abuse of discretion. 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.
Further, appellate courts will not overturn a trial court ruling if the only argument asserted on appeal is that the evidence the trial court relied on was legally or factually insufficient. Appellate courts may consider the sufficiency of the evidence presented in their overall assessment of whether the trial court abused its discretion, however. When weighing whether the evidence offered at trial was adequate to support the court’s ruling, the appellate court will view it in a light that is most beneficial to the party that did not file the appeal. In doing so, if it finds that a rational person could come to the same conclusion as the trial court based on the evidence offered, it will consider the evidence to be sufficient. If the appellate court finds that the trial court’s ruling is against the weight of the evidence, it may be overturned.Contact a Skilled Dallas Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
While judges in divorce actions typically take great care to rule in accordance with the law, they are not immune to mistakes, and, in some cases, there are grounds for an aggrieved party to file an appeal. If you are considering appealing a property division ruling in your divorce case, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to win property division appeals, and we can advise you of your options for seeking justice. We frequently represent people in divorce actions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also represent people in family-law appeals in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us through our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential consultation.