NOT NECESSARILY 50/50
You are going through a divorce. Life as you have known it is about to change. One of the first things that should come to mind is budgeting and the dividing up of your assets and liabilities. Sadly, one of the most expensive events in a person’s life is a divorce. How are you going to pay for things? What are you really entitled to in a divorce? Do you know what assets and liabilities you and your spouse own? If you do not know the answer to these questions, get to work.
Getting legal advice on property division from your friend Lucy, who has a twice-removed cousin who divorced her spouse in 1974 is about as effective as diagnosing your own medical condition on the internet. If your sources tell you that the division of your estate in Texas will be an equal 50/50 division every single time, that is just not the case. In making a property division, the court is guided by the principal of a just and right division. A just and right division can be interpreted to mean what is fair. Fair does not always translate to a 50/50 division in the eyes of the court.
When seeking an uneven distribution of the property (i.e. I want more than 50%), the court can look at multiple factors to make a decision. The factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Need for support:
Here, the court can consider how one person will support themselves in the future. Is one spouse incapable of financially supporting themselves? Does the other spouse make enough to support the other spouse?
2. Support for children:
Children are expensive. With whom will the children spend a majority of their time? How does that time calculate into the cost and expense of raising and supporting a child?
Does one spouse have a Doctorate degree while the other possesses only a high school diploma? The difference in education levels usually translates into the ability to obtain a better paying job.
Does one spouse have a high-paying executive position while the other spouse has been out of the workforce for 14 years? What skills and employment history will secure a better future for one spouse over the other?
5. Size of the estate:
How much money is there to divide in the estate? Are there multiple properties and companies to divide, or simply personal items like clothing?
Does one spouse have cancer or a deadly disease? One’s ability to work and provide for their future includes having the physical ability to go to work and earn money. Many illnesses require a spouse to not work or work few hours.
A twenty-something can usually bounce back from a divorce fairly quickly. A twenty-something spouse is usually at the outset of their lives and careers. In comparison, an 85-year-old woman could have a more difficult time re-entering the workforce and starting over again.
If a spouse is guilty of cruel treatment, the court can give the victim spouse a larger division of the estate.
If a spouse is guilty of adultery, the court can give the victim spouse a larger division of the estate.
10. Felony conviction:
If a spouse has been convicted of a felony and is confined for one year, the court can give the other spouse a larger division of the estate.
If a spouse abandons his/her family, the court can award the other spouse a larger division of the estate.
13. Length of marriage:
How long were you married? There is a major difference between 1 year and 30 years.
If you are wondering if your divorce is going to be a straight 50-50 division, call the family law experts at ONDA. It is worth the advice because having the scales tipped in your favor in percentage points for a division of your property can translate into a lot of money.