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Do divorcing couples need to split their property 50/50?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Family Law |

It is human nature to try to generalize and simplify matters. Doing so makes complex and stressful issues seem more accessible. People often share generalized information with each other in an attempt to be helpful. For example, many people in Texas may already know that the state has a community property rule for asset division during a divorce. They may have heard others declare that community property rules lead to a 50/50 split of marital resources between the spouses.

Most people may feel very anxious about the prospect of splitting everything they own in half with their spouse as part of a divorce. Contrary to the oversimplified explanation of community property people may have heard, however, an even split is not always what happens.

What does community property division actually involve?

The community property statute in Texas requires that a judge look at marital circumstances closely. Typically, the process begins with a presumption that a 50/50 split of assets may be appropriate. However, either spouse could present evidence to the courts showing that marital circumstances require a different approach in their case.

Factors ranging from the health of both spouses and their separate income to how long the marriage lasted can influence what a judge thinks might be reasonable and fair when dividing their property. Child custody arrangements and even the debts accrued during the marriage can also influence the division of marital property. Spouses provide various details to the judge and then the judge makes the final determination about what seems reasonable given the family circumstances.

Spouses can set their own terms

It is possible for those preparing for divorce to take control of property division matters. They can potentially engage in collaborative negotiations or other alternative dispute resolution systems in an attempt to settle their disputes outside of court. If they can reach an agreement, they can retain control over the entire process. Spouses decide to settle their own property division matters, the arrangements could deviate drastically from the expected 50/50 division.

Learning more about how the Texas family courts handle complex divorce cases can benefit those preparing for the end of a marriage. Community property rules should lead to a fair outcome, not necessarily an even split of property.