Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

What does equitable distribution mean in Texas?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Divorce

If you are going through a divorce in our state, you wonder how your property will be divided between you and your spouse. Texas is one of the few states that recognizes community property laws, which means that most of the property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses equally.

However, this does not mean that the court will simply split everything 50/50. Instead, the court follows a principle of equitable distribution, which aims to divide the property in a fair and reasonable way, considering various factors and circumstances.

Equitable distribution

Equitable distribution of property in Texas means that the court will look at several factors to determine what is a just and right division of the marital estate. Some of these factors include the duration of the marriage, and the age, health, education and earning capacity of each spouse.

Texas family courts also look at the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation or enhancement of the marital property, as well as the contribution of one spouse as a homemaker or parent.

Additional factors include the current and future needs of each spouse and any children of the marriage, the tax consequences of the property division and the existence of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

Finally, family courts look at the nature and value of the property to be divided, the debts and liabilities of each spouse and the conduct or fault of either spouse during the marriage.

What does that mean?

Based on these factors, the Texas family court may award more or less than 50% of the marital property to either spouse. For example, if one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other, or if one spouse was unfaithful or abusive during the marriage, the court may award more property to the disadvantaged or innocent spouse.

The court may also consider the separate property of each spouse, which is any property that was owned before the marriage, inherited during the marriage or given as a gift to one spouse only. Separate property is not subject to division by the court, but it may affect how the court divides the community property.

The takeaway

Equitable distribution of property in Texas can be a complex and contentious process, especially if there are substantial assets or debts involved.

Understanding Texas family law can protect your rights and interests and help you achieve a fair and favorable outcome.