Texas Appeals Court Considers Unequal Division of Couple’s Pensions

A Texas appeals court recently considered a Texas divorce case in which the trial court had unequally divided the parties’ pensions. In that case, the trial court had granted the divorce and divided the community property. In dividing the community property, the trial court awarded each of the parties 100% of their pensions. The husband appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in dividing the parties’ retirement accounts by awarding the wife 100% of her FERS pension because her pension was more valuable than the husband’s. The husband argued that as a result, the wife was awarded a disproportionate portion of the community estate. The husband argued the division was unfair because it created an overall division of the estate of 62% to the wife and 38% to the husband.

Division of Community Property Under Texas Law

Under the Texas Family Code, a trial court must divide the estate of a married couple in a way “that the court deems just and right.” However, a trial court does not need to divide a community estate equally. An estate may be divided unequally as long as there is a reasonable basis to do so. A court can consider a number of factors, including the difference in the parties’ incomes and earning capacities, the nature of the property, the parties’ physical condition, the parties’ financial obligations, fault in the dissolution of the marriage, their ages, their business opportunities, the size of their separate estates, and their need for future support.

What the Court Decided

The appeals court upheld the trial court’s decision awarding each party 100% of their respective pensions and thus dividing the estate unequally. Although the husband argued that the trial court had intended to evenly divide the estate, the appeals court noted that the husband failed to point to any evidence or statement from the trial court that it intended to divide the estate equally. The court reasoned that the husband did not argue that the trial court mischaracterized aspects of the estate or made a factual error. In addition, the appeals court explained that the trial court had the discretion to divide the marital estate as it did. The husband failed to show that the division of the estate “was so unjust and unfair as to constitute an abuse of discretion.” Therefore, the appeals court found the trial court acted within its discretion in dividing the estate as it did, and the court upheld the decision.

Consult with a Texas Divorce Lawyer

Divorce proceedings can be stressful—but not all family law matters need to resemble a battle to achieve a successful outcome. Guest and Gray’s Forney and Rockwall, Texas family law and divorce attorneys offer a range of alternatives to contested litigation, including agreed divorces and mediation. They have decades of experience in family law and work tirelessly to get the best result in each case. They are experienced, aggressive, and ready to be of assistance. Contact them to see if they can help by calling 972-564-4644 or by filling out their online form.


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