When a couple gets divorced, there are many logistical aspects that need to be handled. For some couples, this may include separating the combined assets and determining custody of the children. And when one, or both, of the spouses has debts at the time of the divorce, this can affect the decision-making process as well. In a recent Texas appellate case, the court was tasked with deciding whether the previous judge misappropriated debt to the husband, affecting the division of the community property of the couple. Ultimately, the court decided that the division of assets was appropriate, regardless of the husband’s argument.
In this case, the couple got married in 2008 and separated in 2018. After a trial, the court awarded the wife one of the couple’s cars, 50% in any joint bank account, 50% community interest in a retirement savings account, and any bank accounts and possessions in her name. She was also ordered to pay all of the debts incurred from her credit cards, along with 50% of her student loan debt. The husband was awarded a different vehicle, 50% in joint bank accounts, 50% community interest in a retirement savings accounts, and bank accounts and possessions in his name. He was also ordered to pay 50% of the debt owed on the student loan account.
On appeal, the husband argued that the court mischaracterized the student loan debt as partially attributable to him. Like assets, debt can be divided amongst the parties during a divorce. Ultimately, the court disagreed with the husband’s argument and ruled the trial court did not abuse its discretion in the way it divided the assets—including debt.
In Texas, the trial court has wide discretion in dividing up assets in a divorce. The assets do not need to be divided up equally, so long as the outcome is “fair.” The court may consider various factors in making this decision, including the nature of the property, the earning capacity of the spouses, the age and physical condition of the spouses, and the fault in breaking up the marriage. Here, as the trial court considered some of the above factors in making its determination, the division was appropriate. For the husband to be successful in his argument, he would have needed more evidence to prove the division of assets, including the student loan debt, was unfair or egregious.
When couples are getting divorced, dividing assets can often be a complicated and contentious subject. Therefore, Texans going through the divorce process should seek an experienced attorney who can assist them.
Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer
If you or a loved one is going through a Texas divorce, contact the attorneys at Guest & Gray. With decades of experience in family law, our attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the best result possible in your case. We understand the stress—and major impact—that comes with getting a divorce. You can rest assured knowing you have a knowledgeable and dedicated lawyer working for you. To schedule a free, initial consultation, give us a call today at 972-564-4644. We represent clients throughout Forney, Rockwall and Dallas, as well as the surrounding areas.