What Is A Wife Entitled To In A Divorce In Texas

What Is A Wife Entitled To In A Divorce In Texas

What Is A Wife Entitled To In A Divorce In Texas

By Frank Vendt |

Are you living in Texas and planning for a divorce? Are you wondering “What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Texas”? The answer is that Texas law grants wives equal privileges as given to the males in case of a divorce. What are those privileges? This article will guide you through all the privileges that you are entitled to. In addition to this, the article also briefly explains the process of filing a divorce in the state of Texas.

Rights Granted To Wives In Case Of A Divorce In The State Of Texas

You Are Entitled To Equal Assets And Properties

Texas is a community property state. This means the law grants wives to get an equal share of assets in the event of divorce. According to the law, all the properties and assets acquired during the marriage are equally owned by the husband and wife. It doesn’t matter if the wife holds a title to the properties, she would be entitled to get her share of the pie in the properties. Having said that, the wife doesn’t always get equal assets and properties. Sometimes, the wife would end up with less or more. The court decides on the split of assets and properties based on factors such as the income of the spouse, the needs of the children, etc.

You Are Entitled To Spousal Support And Not Alimony

The Texas law doesn’t support alimony instead favors spousal support. This means when a marriage ends, the husband doesn’t have a permanent obligation to take care of the financial needs of the wife. Instead, the husband can pay a sum of the amount periodically until the wife gets back on her feet. This is a temporary arrangement.

That said, courts award spousal support only in a few specific circumstances. Some of them are as follows:

  • When the husband gets convicted of domestic violence against the wife or children.
  • When the wife suffers from a disability or is taking care of a child with a disability.

Under such circumstances, the wife is granted spousal support.

You Are Entitled To Retirement Benefits

As mentioned previously, Texas is a community property state. Under community property law, the wives have equal rights to retirement benefits. The amount accumulated through the IRA or 401(K) during the marriage and the gains through the amount are eligible to be divided between the couple. No matter who contributes the amount during the marriage, both are equally entitled to the retirement amount.

Remember, the retirement savings won’t automatically be split equally between the spouses. Both parties can decide on the split through mediation or decide on the split in a court during the trial. Taking either route can be a complex affair, so it is important to take the help of an attorney who has experience in handling such cases.

Once the retirement plan assets are divided after the court trial, you need to send a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to the concerned authority that deals with retirement. The document details how to divide the retirement savings amount between the spouses.

You Will Have The Right To Get Your Child’s Custody

No doubt that child custody is one of the complex issues to settle in a divorce. In Texas, child custody is of two types – joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship.

In joint managing conservatorship, the children live with their parents on a rotational basis. During joint managing conservatorship, both parents have an equal say in the upbringing of the child.

In sole managing conservatorship, the child lives with one parent, and the other parent can have an equal say in the child’s upbringing just like in joint managing conservatorship.

When determining the custody of a child, the court decides based on several factors. Some of them are as follows:

  • The relationship between the husband and wife.
  • The financial situation of each parent.
  • If either of the parents has any history of neglect or abuse.
  • The child’s age, emotional and physical needs.

The court carefully examines all these and other factors, and then the court decides on the custodial rights.

Here is a detailed explanation of how a child custody evaluation is done.

  • The first step involves the interview of both parents. In addition to the interview, the psychological, medical, and criminal backgrounds of the parents are examined. Plus, any history of abuse and neglect is also checked.
  • Apart from parents, other individuals like teachers, religious leaders, etc. who are close to the child may be interviewed.
  • That’s not all. The children’s medical and psychological evaluation is also done.
  • Once all these are done, the child custody counselor will make recommendations regarding custody to the court. Based on the recommendations, the court will take the necessary action.

You Are Entitled To Separate Property

In community property law, properties acquired during the marriage are rightly distributed between the couple. On the other hand, in separate property, properties acquired before the marriage are awarded to that party who has ownership over them. For example, if the father of the wife has transferred a house to his daughter before marriage, the daughter is solely entitled to that property. The husband doesn’t get a share in that property.

Here are the assets that are classified as separate property.

  • If an asset is left to inheritance to a particular spouse and not the other spouse.
  • If an asset is gifted to one spouse and not the other.

That said, assets that generate income can be classified as community property. This means if an asset is gifted to the husband before marriage and the asset generates income, the wife can claim a share in the income.

In A Divorce You Also Get The Baggage Of Marital Debt

In the course of a divorce, marital debts are equally divided between the husband and the wife. If the couple has acquired debts during the marriage, the debts are equally distributed among the couple. For example, if the couple has acquired debt from a credit card during their marriage, this is considered marital debt. Both have the responsibility to clear their credit card debt.

On the other hand, if the debts are acquired before the marriage, the debts will not be divided among the couple. For example, if the wife has taken out a student loan before her marriage, the wife has to clear the debt after the divorce. The husband has no role in the debt clearance.

For handling marital debts, consult a divorce attorney. A diligent and committed Texas divorce attorney will be able to assist in navigating the complex marital debt.

Let us look at the factors that are considered for the division of assets and properties.

Factors That Influence Community Property Division

Once a marriage comes to an end, the division of assets and properties may not always be 50-50. Texas courts consider some factors to divide them. Here are some factors that courts take into consideration.

Misdeeds Performed During The Marriage

If the spouse is involved in adultery, cruelty, or convicted of a crime, the courts will consider these acts and then divide the assets and properties.

Serious Health Conditions

If the wife has serious health conditions and her conditions limit her ability to perform any work, based on the severity of her health condition, the courts divide assets and properties.

Education And Earning Capacity

Texas courts will take into account each party’s education and earning potential and accordingly divide the property. When one spouse has earnings and the other spouse is semi-educated with no earnings, the courts may divide assets and properties to minimize the disparity in earning potential.

The Value Of Each Spouse’s Separate Property

When dividing community property, the Texas courts take into consideration each spouse’s separate property value. If the husband’s total separate property value is more than the couple’s marital property value, then the court awards more community property to the wife.

Misuse Of Marital Assets

The division of property and assets also depends on the bad acts committed by either of the spouses. For example, if the husband has misused the amount acquired during the marriage, the courts take such acts into consideration while deciding the division of the properties.

Process Of Filing A Divorce In The State Of Texas

Before filing for a divorce, there is a criterion a spouse has to meet. The person must have been a continuous resident of Texas for at least six months. Apart from this, the person must have lived at least 90 days in the county from where he/she is filing a divorce.

While filing a divorce, the petitioner can file a no-fault divorce or a fault divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the petitioner can file a divorce without providing any evidence that the other party has done something wrong.

On the other hand, the petitioner has also the right to get a divorce by filing a fault divorce. The petitioner can file the divorce on the grounds of cruelty, infidelity, conviction of a crime, abandonment, etc.

Step-By-Step Process Of Filing A Divorce

Below are the common steps involved in filing for a divorce in the state of Texas.

  • The first step is the spouse filing divorce papers and then serving these papers to the respondent. The person filing the divorce papers is the petitioner and the other party is the respondent. While filing divorce papers, the petitioner has the option of getting a restraining order. In this restraining order, both parties are restrained to divide properties and assets.
  • Next, the respondent must file a response to the divorce petition. Once the respondent files an answer, the court sets up a hearing where decisions on issues like child custody, debt distribution, retirement benefits, separate property, property distribution, and others are discussed.
  • After the hearing, both the parties can present evidence to the court. At this point, both parties can settle the matter out of court. If both don’t agree on a settlement, the judge sets the trial date.
  • In a trial, the judge listens to both parties, examines witnesses, and evidence, and then decides on the divorce. After the divorce is settled, the judge signs the Divorce Decree. Next, this Decree has to be filed with the clerk. Once the Decree is signed and filed with the clerk, the marriage is officially dissolved. The Decree contains rulings that the judge has made during the trial.

How Long Does The Divorce Process Take In Texas?

The divorce can be finalized in 61 days, however, this happens rarely. Normally, it takes a longer time to get divorced. It will take anywhere between 6 months to 1 year. If there are more assets and properties, the divorce can take more than one year to get dissolved. Here’s the average divorce process:

  • The first step is pre-filing. Pre-filing takes around a few weeks to complete.
  • Filing the divorce papers at the court takes a few days.
  • After filing, there is a waiting period of 60 days.
  • Respondents get 20 to 28 days to respond to the petition.
  • The pre-trial phase starts. In the pre-trial phase, evidence is collected. This phase can last from a few months to a year.
  • The final divorce hearing starts. The hearing concludes within two days.

In conclusion, the wife is entitled to equal rights as men get in a divorce. From spousal support, community property, separate property, and child custody, to access to retirement benefits, a wife is entitled to all these and more. To get these rights, access to a proper Texas divorce lawyer is a must.

At Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., we have diligent and trustworthy Texas divorce lawyers who have extensive experience in fighting for the rights of women in divorce cases. We know each divorce case is unique and keeping that in mind, we tailor our solutions to the clients. When you hire us, we ensure to protect your legal rights and financial interests. If you are getting divorced in and around Richmond, Texas, call us today to discuss your case.