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Who Decides How Your Community Property Is Split During a Texas Divorce?

Who Decides How Your Community Property Is Split During a Texas Divorce?

If you and your spouse gather all your community property and place it at the center of an imaginary (and huge) table during your Texas divorce, you must then decide how to ultimately divide it. You need to do more than just identify which property belongs to you separately, which belongs to your spouse separately, and what you hold jointly.

The real challenge is deciding what to do with the property before finalizing your Divorce. Three people can make this decision: you and your spouse together, or the judge assigned to your divorce case.

Mediation for Community Property in a Divorce

Discard the movie scenes and horror stories from friends and family about biased judges, and you’ll see the reality: most divorces conclude in mediation, not in a courtroom.

Mediation is a process that you and your spouse undertake to avoid taking your case to a judge and instead work to settle on the outstanding issues in your Divorce with the assistance of a third-party mediator. The direct control that this option offers you and your spouse when compared to a trial is preferable in the opinion of most people going through a divorce as well as yours truly.

The creativity and flexibility afforded to you and your spouse (with the assistance of the mediator and your attorneys) will likely trump any result that a judge could create for you. It’s possible to get a better result from a judge, but the situation can quickly reverse, leaving you with nothing more than the proverbial shirt on your back.

A Trial Should Represent the Last Resort, Not a First Option for Divorcing Spouses

You should consider a trial where the judge makes a ruling on dividing your community estate as a last resort. However, in rare instances, parties can’t settle their issues outside of court, and you and your spouse might find yourselves in this situation.

Going to court should be your final option because of the high risk involved. This risk stems from the judge’s lack of a set formula for dividing your community estate. There is no straightforward guideline like “if spouse A does this, they receive this.” Judges face the tough task of making difficult decisions based on the facts of your case and their judgment.

Who Decides How Your Community Property Is Split During a Texas Divorce?

Moreover, it’s not a requirement for the assets at the table’s center to be split evenly. While that might be the outcome, no rule mandates such a division. The rules grant your judge considerable discretion to make decisions spontaneously, which can lead to a lack of peace of mind for you and your spouse.

Your Judge Will Place More Weight on Some Factors and Less on Others

We generally know what a judge will look at when evaluating who will get what when it comes to property in your Divorce. Are you or your spouse the primary conservator of your child? Which of you earns more money? How old are both of you? How long has your marriage lasted? Did you cheat on your spouse or vice versa?

Did you use any community funds to gamble or engage in another activity that seriously undermined your financial livelihoods? These are a few fact-specific situations that a judge will evaluate your case by.

Unfortunately, every judge will place their importance on various factors. Hence, identifying how a particular judge will react to a specific set of circumstances is insensitive.

If your attorney has experience practicing family law in your area, they should know something about the judge assigned to your case. Even still, asking for an opinion on how the judge will decide your property division is not a scientific survey. It is an estimate. I’m willing to bet that neither you nor your spouse wants to leave the subject of your finances an educated guess.

Pride Comes Before the Fall

In the middle of a contested divorce, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling the need to do something out of pride. Clients have refused to settle on an issue, telling me they believe they have been disrespected or taken advantage of. While those feelings may be justified in some situations, I won’t argue that they are always so.

On occasion, it’s certainly worth exploring what a judge might decide in dividing your community estate. However, insisting on “truth, justice, and the American way” in your Divorce can often lead to disappointing results.

In your Divorce, adopting a mindset that stubbornly clings to your perceived righteousness and refuses compromise is risky. This is all the more reason to have hired an objective, experienced attorney who can lend their perspective and help you avoid following your pride down a path that is not in your best interest.

Who Decides How Your Community Property Is Split During a Texas Divorce?

Questions on how your community estate may impact your Divorce? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

If you have questions regarding community property, Divorce, or any other subject in family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today. Our licensed family law attorneys are standing by to take your call. A free-of-charge consultation is available six days a week where your questions can be answered in full.

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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our Divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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