Texas Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court Decision in Divorce Case, Rejecting Appeal

In a recent case involving the division of property between two divorcing parties, a Texas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court decision, holding that the wife was not able to show that the trial court had abused its discretion. The couple was married in 2008 in Monterrey, Mexico. Over the next ten years, the couple did not live together with the exception of a six-week period in the spring of 2018. In December 2021, the trial court granted the husband’s petition for divorce on the grounds of insupportability, awarding each party the property they had in their possession as well as debts that each party had accrued since their separation.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the husband joined an online dating site shortly after a divorce. It was then that he met his wife and began to communicate with her online. Shortly after beginning their correspondence, he traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, where they met up and had dinner. The next day they went shopping before the husband returned back to the U.S. After several more trips to Mexico, they were married. There was no honeymoon, and the husband testified that there were no sexual relations between the two of them. Shortly after their marriage in 2008, the husband attempted to secure a visa for the wife and her son to come to the U.S., but she was denied. He testified that she never told him the reason. He then testifies that they had no communication until 2017 when she again reached out to him to assist in receiving a visa. This time, she was granted a visa and came to the U.S.

Upon arriving in the U.S., they resumed living together. At this point in the timeline, the testimony from both parties varies significantly. The husband claims that he sent her money every month, and bought her a computer, clothes, a telephone, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee. He also testified that he had property prior to the marriage and that the wife did not contribute to property acquired after the marriage. The wife testified that she had no property in Mexico, no assets in Mexico from the marriage, and no bank accounts or cars in Texas.

The Decision

On appeal, the wife claimed that the trial court abused its discretion during the divorce proceedings. The appellate court found that trial courts have broad discretion and that for the wife’s claim to stand, she would need to prove that the division of property and assets was so unjust that the trial court abused its discretion using evidence in the record. As neither party was completely forthcoming during the trial, the trial court was forced to operate with the information it had available. As a result, the appeals court held that the wife failed to present evidence in the record that the trial court abused its discretion. The appeals court affirmed the trial court decision.

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