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Myths About Divorce in Texas

It’s common to go to friends or family to discuss what you can expect if you’re considering getting a divorce. Even if you trust the word of those closest to you, you could be adding unnecessary stress to yourself by not speaking with an attorney to get factual information.

When you’re about to get divorced, there are many misconceptions about what you’re entitled to during and after it is finalized. We want to help put an end to some of the confusion, so keep reading for more information.

Myth: Community Property is Always Divided 50/50

Maybe you’ve heard the myth that once you get a divorce, your spouse has to split everything down the middle with you. That’s not entirely true.

Texas is a community property state, so all property both parties acquired together while you were married is considered and can be divided. However, the overall division of assets will be equitably divided, although not necessarily 50/50.

Many times, an equal division is equitable. Other times, certain factors or circumstances exist that can lead to one party receiving more than 50 percent of community assets.

Factors such as custody of children, income-earning of potential spouses, the age of spouses, and separate property owned by a spouse can affect the division of property.

A court will decide the balance of how everything is divided and you will get what is deemed to be “just and right.”

Myth: You Don’t Need a Lawyer to File For Divorce

While it’s true you don’t need an attorney to file paperwork to get a divorce, getting one can be very beneficial to your case. Not all divorce cases will result in a trial, but an attorney can represent you through the entire process of filing for divorce, discovery, settlement negotiations, and mediation.

If you have children, high-worth assets, or your spouse wants to contest your divorce, you will most likely need an attorney. Having one present to speak on your behalf to a judge may improve your chances of getting what you want in your divorce.

An experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the court system of Texas can advocate on your behalf throughout the entire process to assist you in resolving your case without going to court. An experienced family law attorney can also help you settle your case through mediation, where you and your attorney would meet with a neutral party to help you resolve your disputes with your spouse.

Myth: I Am Entitled to Alimony

In a divorce, a Texas court can order one spouse to pay “maintenance” payments from future income for the support of the other spouse. In Texas, we don’t call court-ordered maintenance payments “alimony.” Instead, in Texas, court-ordered payments for support made by one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce are called “maintenance,” “post-divorce maintenance” or “spousal maintenance.”

What is the General Purpose of Spousal Maintenance Payments?

The general purpose of spousal maintenance is:

  • To provide temporary and rehabilitative support.

  • When the requesting spouse’s ability to be self-supporting has diminished over time.

  • Assets belonging to requesting spouse are insufficient to provide support.

There are some specific additional situations where the goal or purpose of spousal maintenance varies such as when the requesting spouse or child has disabilities.

Am I Eligible For Post-Divorce Maintenance?

You may be entitled to post-divorce maintenance if at the time of divorce, you lack sufficient assets to provide for your own minimum reasonable needs and if other conditions are met.

If the court decides you’re eligible for spousal support, here’s what you can expect:

  • Your ex won’t pay more than $5,000 per month or no more than 20% of their income.

  • The amount should be enough to cover your reasonable expenses.

  • A judge will decide whether or not payments will be made periodically.

Maintenance will also vary depending on any children involved.

Myth: You Need a Reason to Get Divorced

Like most states, Texas is a no-fault divorce state. You don’t technically need to have a reason to get divorced, instead, you can claim “insupportability,” meaning there was a conflict of personalities. This is also known as irreconcilable differences.

Myth: You Can’t Get Your Spouse’s Retirement

Retirement falls under community property in Texas if contributions to retirement were made during the marriage. If other assets can be awarded to you equally, you would be awarded the retirement portion as community property.

Contact a Southlake Divorce Attorney

Keep in mind that speaking with an attorney can help you find the right answers according to the law in Texas. Our Southlake attorney Michelle Purvis can answer any questions you have and provide clarity about what to expect with your divorce case.

Call us at (817) 809-8199 for more information about divorce in Texas.