Any person who is entering into the divorce process has questions regarding their rights and how they can best be enforced. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are experienced in assisting clients with these sort of questions as they pertain to their children, their money and support from their spouse during the divorce.
A divorce doesn't just mean dissolving the relationship with your spouse. While it certainly does mean this, there are many, many other considerations and wrinkles to a divorce that the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC have come to expect and prepare for on behalf of our clients.
When you think of Texas, you might picture cowboys, barbecue, and hot summer nights. But there's another side to the Lone Star State that is far from all fun and games - divorce. For a wife going through a divorce in Texas, one burning question may be at the forefront of her mind: "What am I entitled to?" Well, buckle up and grab a sweet tea, because we're about to dive into the nitty-gritty of this emotionally charged subject.
In this blog, we'll explore the various factors that impact a wife's entitlements in a Texas divorce, from temporary orders and parenting plans to the division of retirement accounts and the potential tax implications. We'll also touch on some lesser-known aspects, such as collaborative divorce, post-divorce modifications, and co-parenting strategies. Along the way, we'll share relatable anecdotes and real-life examples to help you better understand this complex process. So, let's jump into the world of Texas divorce and find out exactly what a wife is entitled to - and how you can best prepare for the journey ahead.
You are entitled to anything you can negotiate
Asking what their spouse can get, or is entitled to in a divorce is a tough question for an attorney to answer. This author's answer would be- you're entitled to whatever your attorney and you are able to negotiate for. Divorces typically center on a few major subjects:
Children are Important
When it comes to a client's children, our attorneys will always advise a client that above all else their children need to be treated as being the most important aspect of any divorce. This is usually not an issue as divorcing spouses understand this to be the case, but unfortunately what happens to the children ends up looking similar in a final decree of divorce when compared to a house, car or retirement account.
The state of Texas' public policy is that absent extreme circumstances, both parents have a right and the state will encourage parties to allow one another to have active, important roles in their children's lives. No parent is entitled to anything more than the other, but obviously their individual circumstances play a huge role in determining issues such as- where the children live, who gets to see them when and which parent has the final say so in making education and medical decisions.
Whichever parent does not have the children living primarily with them has an obligation to pay child support- unless the parties agree otherwise. This is fairly self explanatory- the theory is that even if one parent can't directly contribute to day to day costs associated with child rearing, they can do so indirectly by providing support to the custodial parent. The Texas Family Code provides for a percentage of the obligor's income to be paid depending upon how many children are at issue in a divorce.
What is the Property and Debts?
In a Texas divorce, another major issue is the division of the spouses’ debts and marital property. The first step in this process is to identify the property and debts. In order to aid in this process your divorce lawyer will ask you to complete a document called an inventory and appraisement which lists all of the assets and debts.
Once the property and debts are identified in the inventory and appraisement, the next step figure out the character of property. Texas is a “community” property state.
Community Property and Separate Property
Community property in Texas is all property acquired during marriage except for property:
- acquired by gift
- inheritance or
- owned prior to the marriage
It is important to identify whether marital property is community property or separate property because a Texas divorce court can divide the community property between the spouses but cannot divide the separate property.
Just and Right Division
In regard to financial aspects of a divorce, income earned during a marriage is considered to be "community property". This means that each spouse has a claim to a fair and equitable percentage of the money earned by both spouses- whether that money comes from a job, an investment or other source. There are exceptions to this general rule, but it is common to have spouses divide money in bank accounts, 401Ks and other sources. Everything in a divorce is negotiable, however, and being in a position to negotiate for more can be the difference between getting a bare minimum and getting what you're fully entitled to.
Either parties can negotiate a division of the property and debts or a court will make a “Just and Right Division” for the spouses. In Texas, all community assets and debts are subject to a just and right division.
A court bases a just and right division on the facts of each case. Many people have heard that Texas is a 50/50 state, however a just and right division is not necessarily a 50/50 split. In fact, disproportionate divisions may be what a court determines is just and right.
Some things a Texas divorce court may consider includes:
- fault in the breakup of the marriage
- the parties’ abilities to support themselves
- the financial costs incurred by a party while the divorce is pending, and
- length of the marriage.
Marital debts are another common question clients have when it comes to what they are entitled to, or in this case entitled to avoid, in a divorce. A typical arrangement will have both parties taking with them any debts that are in their name only and splitting debts that share both names. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that people are not entitled to getting this sort of equitable result.
Divorce negotiations center on a lot of horse trading over any and all issues pertinent to the separating couple. In order to receive the maximum benefit possible and ensure you are not left holding the metaphorical bag on your communal debts an experienced family law attorney is a crucial advocate for your interests. A family law attorney, such as those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, are able to help position you to take on no more debt than is equitable while protecting your credit and minimizing your liabilities moving forward.
The issue of marital property and what a client stands to receive in a divorce is a common question encountered by our lawyers. Again, no spouse is entitled to keeping the house or being able to remain living there. However, unlike the children there are some objective truths apparent when considering who can actually afford to pay the mortgage on a single income or who is actually going to keep the kids and needs the space to do raise them properly.
If, for example, mom is awarded primary custody of the kids (she gets to choose the residence of them) but she cannot afford to pay the mortgage on her current income it would not make sense for her to remain in the home. In this type of situation, the newly single dad will typically not need the extra space the house affords and the parties will agree to sell the home and divide the equity. In this scenario, a seasoned family law attorney for mom can do her a great service by negotiating a greater than fifty percent share of that equity to perhaps use as a down payment for a smaller but fully functional home for her and the kids to start a new life in.
The aforementioned scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg for parties and their lawyers to encounter in a divorce. The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC understand what sort of difficulties are inherent in the divorce process and work hard for each client to ensure that they receive whatever the individual believes they are entitled to. Please contact us today for a family law consultation- free of charge.
Alimony or Spousal Support
A lot of our clients will ask us at an initial consultation (note- all family law consultations with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are free of charge) whether or not they are entitled to spousal maintenance/support. Known widely as "alimony", courts in Texas are hesitant to award spousal maintenance as an award for a spouse in final orders, temporary spousal support can be awarded. This often occurs in cases where one spouse does not work and agrees to leave the marital home.
As part of the division of property and debts a Texas divorce court can consider a request for alimony. A spouse in Texas can be awarded alimony or spousal maintenance under the Texas Family Code only if one of two factors exists.
- The other spouse was convicted of a crime involving family violence within the two years prior to the filing of the divorce suit or
- The spouses have been married for 10 years
Factors for Awarding Alimony
The other spouse was convicted of a crime involving family violence within the two years prior to the filing of the divorce suit.
- Family violence can include class C misdemeanor convictions if the allegation involved family violence.
- Family violence also includes occasions where the defendant received deferred adjudication in exchange for a plea of guilty.
- Courts may award alimony to the victim spouse based on the severity of the family violence and its impact on the requesting spouse's financial and emotional well-being.
The spouses have been married for 10 years or more, and the requesting spouse can prove they lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs and cannot earn enough income to meet their minimal needs despite making diligent efforts.
- The requesting spouse must demonstrate they are unable to earn sufficient income to meet their minimal needs, either due to lack of education, employment history, age, physical or mental disability, or the responsibilities of caring for a child with special needs.
- The requesting spouse must show they have made diligent efforts to earn sufficient income or develop skills to do so, such as seeking job training, completing education programs, or applying for suitable job positions.
In this scenario, the family violence can include class C misdemeanor convictions if the allegation involved family violence. Family violence also includes occasions where the defendant received deferred adjudication in exchange for a plea of guilty.
10 Year Marriage
If a spouse is seeking alimony after a 10 year marriage they will need to show:
- They lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs.
- Then the requesting party in most case needs to demonstrate they are unable to earn sufficient income to meet their minimal needs
- And they must demonstrate they have made a diligent effort to earn sufficient income or develop skills to do so
What is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas?
Temporary Orders: Navigating the Divorce Process
When asking what a wife is entitled to in a divorce in Texas, one should first consider temporary orders. These court-issued guidelines help govern how both parties should conduct themselves during the divorce process, including matters related to children, property, and financial support.
Crafting a Parenting Plan: Outlining Rights and Responsibilities
A parenting plan is a crucial document outlining the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding their children's upbringing. This includes custody, visitation schedules, decision-making, and communication protocols. In Texas, a wife's entitlement in a divorce will often depend on the specifics of the parenting plan.
Mediation: Finding Common Ground
Mediation, an alternative dispute resolution method, can be helpful for divorcing parties seeking a mutually acceptable settlement. In Texas, the mediator, a neutral third party, facilitates negotiations, which can greatly impact what a wife is entitled to in a divorce.
Collaborative Divorce: Working Together to Resolve Issues
Collaborative divorce, where parties and their attorneys cooperate to resolve issues arising from the divorce, is another approach to consider. It differs from adversarial litigation and can help determine a wife's entitlement in a Texas divorce.
Dividing Retirement Accounts and Pensions: The Process and Impact
In a Texas divorce, the division of retirement accounts and pensions is critical. The process of dividing assets like pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s may involve obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This division can significantly impact a wife's entitlement in a divorce.
Tax Implications of Divorce: The Potential Consequences
Understanding the potential tax consequences of dividing assets and liabilities, transferring property, and paying or receiving alimony or child support is essential in determining what a wife is entitled to in a Texas divorce.
Post-Divorce Modifications: Adapting to Changing Circumstances
Post-divorce modifications are necessary when changing previously established court orders, such as custody, visitation, or support arrangements. A wife's entitlements in a Texas divorce may be impacted by these changes.
Enforcement of Divorce Decrees: Ensuring Compliance
Enforcement of divorce decrees is essential for ensuring compliance with court orders. Legal mechanisms, like contempt of court proceedings or wage garnishments, can be used to uphold a wife's entitlements in a Texas divorce.
Impact of Divorce on Health and Emotional Well-being: Understanding the Effects
Divorce can have significant psychological, emotional, and physical effects on the individuals involved. Stress, depression, and lifestyle changes should be considered when determining what a wife is entitled to in a Texas divorce.
Co-Parenting Strategies: Maintaining Positive Relationships Post-Divorce
Adopting co-parenting strategies can help maintain a positive, cooperative relationship with a former spouse while raising children together after the divorce. In Texas, a wife's entitlement in a divorce can be influenced by effective co-parenting techniques.
Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements: Planning Ahead for Divorce
Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are legal contracts entered into before or during marriage. They outline the division of assets and liabilities and can play a significant role in determining what a wife is entitled to in a divorce in Texas.
Legal Separation: An Alternative to Divorce
Finally, legal separation is a status in which a couple remains married but lives separately, often with separate finances and parenting arrangements. This can serve as a precursor or alternative to divorce and affect a wife's entitlements in Texas.
Understanding the various aspects of a Texas divorce can help shed light on what a wife is entitled to during this challenging time. By considering factors such as temporary orders
In the wild ride of divorce, there are bound to be a few bumps and bruises along the way. But when the dust settles, what is a wife entitled to in a Texas divorce? As we've explored throughout this blog, the answer is as varied as the sprawling Texas landscape itself.
Ultimately, a wife's entitlements in a Texas divorce will depend on factors like the length of the marriage, the couple's financial situation, and even the reasons behind the split. From property division and alimony to the nitty-gritty of co-parenting and post-divorce modifications, each case is unique.
So, as you mosey on through this journey, remember to take it one step at a time, lean on your support system, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. After all, it's important to know what you're entitled to - but it's just as important to remember that life is full of new beginnings, and you have the strength to get through this rodeo and come out the other side stronger and wiser. Happy trails, y'all!
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- Spousal Support, Spousal Maintenance, and Alimony in Spring and Houston Texas and when is it available?
- His, Hers and Ours - Texas Divorce
- What is a military spouse entitled to in a divorce?
- Who is entitled to spousal support?
- What is community property in Texas?
- Community Property in Texas: What you need to know before you get divorced
- What happens if you and your spouse mix community and separate property?
- Community property issues in Texas divorces: Wasting of assets by spouses
Divorce in Texas: Understanding Property Division and Spousal Rights
What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Texas?
In Texas, property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property, which means it is owned equally by both spouses. This includes income earned by either spouse, as well as any assets purchased using that income. In a divorce, community property is divided in a manner that is "just and right," which means it may not necessarily be split equally 50/50. The court takes into account a variety of factors to determine what is fair, including each spouse's earning potential, health, age, and contributions to the marriage.
Does the spouse get half in a divorce in Texas?
Not necessarily. In Texas, community property is divided in a manner that is "just and right," which means it may not necessarily be split equally 50/50. The court takes into account a variety of factors to determine what is fair, including each spouse's earning potential, health, age, and contributions to the marriage. However, it's important to note that each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the community property.
What is a spouse entitled to in Texas?
In Texas, each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the community property. This includes income earned by either spouse, as well as any assets purchased using that income. Each spouse is also entitled to certain rights and protections under Texas law, such as the right to receive spousal support (also known as alimony) in certain circumstances.
What assets are protected in a divorce in Texas?
In Texas, certain assets are considered separate property and are protected from division in a divorce. This includes property that was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, property that was received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage, and property that was acquired by one spouse using separate funds. However, it's important to note that if separate property is commingled with community property (such as using separate funds to make mortgage payments on a community property home), it may lose its protected status and become subject to division in a divorce.