Texas Appeals Court Considers Equitable Division of Community Property in Recent Divorce Case

A recent decision from a Texas appeals court consider whether a court equitably divided community property between a couple and also whether the wife was entitled to temporary spousal support. The husband and wife got married in 1991 and separated in 2017. After a trial, the court divided the community property of the couple. The court awarded to the wife a portion of the husband’s retirement benefits, including 100% of the account balance, a portion of another of the husband’s retirement benefits, including 50% of the balance of the account, and a totaled 2014 vehicle.

The court awarded to the husband the remainder of the retirement benefits and a 2016 vehicle and a 2017 motorcycle. The court also awarded the wife over $7,000 in reimbursements and $34,000 for unpaid temporary spousal support. In addition, a judge had previously found that the husband was required to pay temporary spousal support in the amount of $2,000 per month beginning on the date of separation and ending on the day the court signed the default divorce decree. The court later set aside the default decree.

The husband appealed, arguing that the division of community property was unjust and that the judgment for unpaid spousal support was unjust because he did not realize he was supposed to pay spousal support after the default decree was set aside.

Division of Community Property Under Texas Law

Under Texas law, the property shared by a couple does not have to be divided equally—only equitably. The court can consider a number of factors in determining an equitable division of property, including the spouses’ ages, the size of their separate estates, their education and business opportunities, financial obligations, earning capacity, the nature of the property, use of community assets, and fault in the dissolution of the marriage.

The Court’s Decision

The court found the court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the community property and upheld the court’s decision on that issue. However, the court modified the temporary spousal support award. The court found that this award survived even when the court set aside the default decree. The court found that for the first 15 months of separation until the temporary spousal support order was discharged, the husband was required to pay temporary spousal support in the total amount of $30,000 of which the husband paid $2,000. Thus, the record does not support a judgment of $34,000 but did support a judgment of $28,000. Therefore, the court modified the judgment to $28,000 for unpaid temporary spousal support.

Consult with a Texas Divorce Lawyer

The outcome of a divorce case can have a major impact on a spouse’s life. Guest and Gray’s family law and divorce lawyers in Forney and Rockwall have decades of experience in family law and work tirelessly to get the best result in every Texas divorce case. They are experienced, aggressive, and ready to be of assistance. Individuals with an urgent legal matter can rest assured knowing that an experienced lawyer will be able to assist them. Contact them today to see if they can help by calling 972-564-4644 or by filling out their online form.

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