Thinking About Getting A Divorce in the New Year?

Graham Family Law > Thinking About Getting A Divorce in the New Year?



You must wait for 60 days (beginning from the date of filing your petition for divorce) to obtain a Final Decree of Divorce, even if you have an agreement. You must meet the residential requirements to file. Military members have a number of different residential considerations.

Community Property Vs. Separate Property

First, Texas is a Community Property state. That means that all property accumulated by the parties during the marriage is community property and subject to division by the court. If you get before a court, the court will divide the property using a “just and right” division. Simply put, this means that the court will divide property by deciding what the court deems to be just and right.

  • There are a few exceptions to the community property rule.
  • Property that was given to one spouse by gift, devise or descent is not considered community property. So, if you received an inheritance or your spouse gave you a very expensive gift – these items are separate property.
  • Property owned by the spouse before marriage.
  • If you’ve received an award for personal injury, some of the award could be construed as separate property.


Debts created during the marriage are presumed to community property. There are a number of things to look at with regard to debts and how the court will divide them. For example, student loan debts usually remain with the spouse that incurred that debt. Also, if you are the primary account holder on the account, it is likely that you should keep that debt to ensure that it will be paid off.

Other Considerations

Disproportionate share:

While many courts will divide the community property of the marriage evenly, you might be entitled to a disproportionate share of the marital estate. Questions to ask yourself.
Is your spouse at fault in the breakup of the marriage? Is there a disparity of earning capacity? Will there be continuing benefits derived by one spouse over the other?

Spousal Maintenance:

Did you stay at home the majority of the marriage to care for the kids? Have you worked outside of the home? What is your educational level? If you answer yes to any of these questions, ask your attorney about spousal maintenance.

Equitable Reimbursement:
Does your spouse own a separate property house that the community has been paying on for the duration of the marriage? Did you use some of your separate property money to assist your spouse in paying off property or debts? This may give rise to an equitable reimbursement claim.


  1. Prepare a list of your assets and liabilities.
    This includes the following:

    Real estate, investments, retirement plans, vehicle and/or bank accounts.
    Family home – decide whether you wish to keep it or sell it. Either way, you should make a list of the repairs that a necessary to place it on the market. This way, if you decide you wish to keep the home, you can reduce the value of the home that is subject to division by the necessary repairs. Estimates of the repairs would also be helpful.
    Since investments, retirement plans and bank accounts fluctuate, it is only necessary to identify accounts and approximate value for them.

  2. Find your tax return for the previous year and bring it to the meeting.
  3. Is there a small business or corporation owned by the parties? If so, bring as much of the corporate documents to your meeting. Who controls this asset? What kind of business is this? Does it have a separate tax return?
  4. Are you or your spouse collectors of art or other items of value? For example, does your spouse have a collection of guns or rare comic books? If so, take pictures of these items so that when it gets down to valuing them, you know what is in the collection.
  5. If you have any items of value, such as furniture, etc. – it would be helpful to have a list of these with your assessed value. Please note that the value that should be assessed to these items is the value that the item could be sold in the market today.
  6. Any other proof of unique issues in your divorce that you have; such as, pictures of abuse, electronic communications showing proof of infidelity, etc.


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