We’re all accustomed to a certain standard of living, and quite often we believe our happiness and sense of satisfaction in life is dependent on our lifestyle. If you have been in a high-asset marriage for many years and enjoyed a lifestyle that enabled you to travel, live in a large home and never have to worry about your finances, you may have become accustomed to this way of living. Therefore, if you choose to file for a divorce, or if your spouse files for divorce, you will have to seriously consider what your financial future and well-being look like before you take any action.
Texas judges must divide property in a fair and equitable manner
In Texas, all property accumulated during the marriage is presumed to be community property. This means that all such property is subject to division by the Court. The Court is tasked with dividing the community estate in a fair and equitable, just and right manner. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 division since there is nothing in the Texas Family Code stating that a 50/50 division of the marital is a starting point. Separate property of the parties is not subject to division by the Court, however, the person claiming to have separate property will be required to prove the existence and amount of such property by clear and convincing evidence unless the parties reach agreement pertaining to that property. Failing adequate proof or an agreement, separate property is at risk of being divided by the Court.
The Texas Family Code has both spousal maintenance and contractual alimony. Spousal maintenance is available to those who qualify but only to the extent that the other spouse can pay it and only for as short a time and in the smallest amount necessary to provide funds for the spouse receiving it to be “rehabilitated” and able to make enough money to provide for his or her own minimum needs. There is no right of any spouse to be kept in a manner to which they have grown accustomed. To qualify for spousal maintenance, one must get past several legal barriers and generally, no one is eligible to seek spousal maintenance unless they have been married at least 10 years or the spouse asked to pay spousal maintenance has been convicted of family violence.
Alimony in Texas is a contractual agreement between the parties, whereby one party agrees to pay continuing support to the other spouse in a specified amount over a specified length of time.