What is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas?
One of the first questions that many women ask me is what they are entitled to if they decide to file for divorce. It seems like everyone wants to know how much money he or she is going to receive if there is a divorce. This question is understandable because people want to protect themselves against unfair treatment. However, the reality is that in most cases, a woman is entitled to the same amount of money that her spouse receives. In fact, even though a man usually earns more money during the marriage, a wife is still entitled to half of his income if he files for divorce.
The reason why a woman gets the same amount of money as a man is because the laws governing divorce in Texas are based upon the concept of equal protection under the law. A person cannot be discriminated against simply because of gender. Therefore, neither party is given preferential treatment over another.My Husband Wants a Divorce. What Am I Entitled to With Respect to Alimony?
In Texas, there are three types of spousal support: periodic spousal support, lump sum spousal support, and rehabilitative spousal support. Periodic spousal support lasts for a specific period of time and can be paid in installments over a set number of months. Lump sum spousal support is money awarded to a spouse immediately upon entry into the court. Rehabilitative spousal support is designed to help a spouse reestablish his or her life after divorce.
Texas law allows a trial judge to award spousal support based on several factors including fault, ability to pay, needs, duration of the marriage, age, health, tax liabilities, education, work history, economic circumstances, size of the separate estate, personal property, and children.What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas with Respect to Asset Division?
In Texas, there is no presumption that each party owns separate property. However, spouses do have equal ownership rights to their respective properties. This means that both parties are entitled to a “just and right” distribution of marital assets. In addition, the state recognizes the concept of “marital debt.” Marital debt is one incurred during the course of the marriage. If a spouse incurs a debt without the consent of his or her partner, it is considered marital debt.
A married couple must divide their marital estate equally unless the court determines otherwise. The court considers several factors when making this determination, including the length of the marriage; whether the marriage produced children; the age and health of the parties; the amount of time spent together as husband and wife; the source of income used to pay off debts and maintain the family; the standard of living enjoyed by the couple; and the value of the parties’ separate estates.
The court does not consider how much money each spouse brought into the marriage. Instead, it looks at what each spouse did with those funds while they were married. For example, if you spend $100,000 of your pre-marriage earnings on a house, you cannot claim that as your separate property. You still owe half of that amount to your former spouse.What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas With Respect to Separate Property?
Community property is a concept that originated in Mexico and refers to property owned by both spouses during the marriage. Marital property is defined as everything acquired during the marriage except gifts received from either spouse prior to the marriage. A couple married in Mexico is considered married under Mexican law even though they are living in another state. If you marry someone while he or she is already married, however, it is possible for the second marriage to be voidable.
The term "community property" does not apply to states such as California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, because each state has adopted its own definition of what constitutes community property. In Texas, community property is defined as:
- Anything acquired during the marriage, including income from employment;
- Any property brought into the marriage by one party;
- All property purchased with funds obtained from a joint account;
- Income earned during the marriage; and
- Any increase in value of separate property due to labor, skill, talent, or effort.
When the marriage comes to an end, all assets properly classified under community property laws are subject to “a just and right division.” In Texas, this includes all community property, including money earned during the marriage, real estate owned prior to the marriage, and personal property acquired during the marriage. Courts must make a “just and fair” distribution of the marital estate, considering several factors. These include the nature of the property; whether it was accumulated before or during the marriage; how much each spouse contributed to its acquisition; and what role the parties played in acquiring it.
Texas courts have held that a "just and right" division of community assets is no longer necessarily equal. For example, one spouse might contribute most of the labor and effort required to acquire a piece of property, while the other contributes little or nothing. A court could therefore award the property entirely to the person who did less work. This is known as the "economic contribution doctrine."
In addition, some communities have enacted local ordinances requiring equitable divisions. If you live in such a city, consult with your attorney about possible remedies.A Trusted and Experienced Family Law Firm Who Will Fight For Your Rights
We know how difficult it can be to navigate the legal system. Our goal is to provide compassionate care and individualized representation throughout your family law journey. Whether you need help navigating child custody issues or want to file for a divorce, we will work closely with you to achieve your goals. An experienced family law lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you explain and navigate the entire divorce process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.