Divorce in Texas can quickly get complicated. Whether it’s your first time going through it or a second divorce, you need to know how the legal process works. People have a lot of misconceptions from the media or from talking to friends, and you absolutely want to clear those up before your case gets underway.
To that end, here are a few frequently asked questions to consider:
Q: Do all states use the same set of divorce laws?
A: No. Divorce laws are not set at the federal level, but at the state level. The Texas laws are not exactly the same as any other state and actually contain some massive and important differences. It is crucial never to assume anything about the legal process, especially if you previously lived in another state and learned those laws. The Texas laws are unique.
Q: Does the person who paid for the assets own them?
A: No. Assets are owned jointly by the couple. Texas is a community property state. Things that you bought together during your marriage belong to both of you. For instance, maybe you bought a house together even though your spouse earns $200,000 per year and you just have a part-time job. Your spouse may argue that the house is theirs, but it’s not. You both own it. Your assets have to get divided up equally between the two of you.
Q: Does the primary wage earner get the money?
A: No. It gets divided just like your other assets. It may feel natural for the person who technically worked for the paycheck to think that money they set aside or invested belongs to them alone, but it doesn’t. It, too, gets subjected to community property laws.
Q: Does someone have to pay more if they were unfaithful?
A: No. The court is not set up to “punish” a cheating spouse. The reason for the divorce does not impact the division of property unless there are additional facts that come into play — like the cheating spouse trying to hide assets by giving them to their significant other.
Q: Does joint custody always mean a 50/50 split?
A: No. The court strives for the best interests of the kids. That may mean a 50/50 split, but it does not always mean that. There are a wide range of options for the court and they’ll set up the plan that gives the children the best life after divorce.
Do you have any more questions about divorce in Texas? It is very important to seek the answers even before you wind up in court so that you can know what to expect and how to protect your rights.