The way property is divided in a divorce can have a profound impact on who ends up with what and how much at the end of the splitting up process. Because states differ on how property is divided, it is important to know how your state divides property going into a divorce. In fact, it is important to understand this even before the divorce is filed.
In Texas, marital property is split according to the rules of community property. This means that it basically gets split in half, and there is no attempt to make the division fair or equitable. That doesn’t mean, of course, that judges consider fairness when it comes to alimony and child support—indeed, they do.
By contrast, most other states split marital property based on the principle of equitable distribution. This basically means that factors such as employment prospects, length of the marriage, lifestyle costs, and so on, are considered. There are many such factors judges can take into consideration.
Couples who don’t have a prenuptial or other marital agreement—which can trump state property division laws—can always duke it out for the property. If they play nice and come up with some kind of negotiation, it saves them money. But it isn’t always preferable to save money in litigation fees when the negotiation is unfair. That’s why it is important to work with an experienced attorney.
Those who are contemplating divorce do well to consult with an attorney early on to understand just what they are getting into and how to best strategize for a split up. Doing so can help them get a head start so that they can achieve the best possible outcome in the case.
Source: Huffington Post, “Why Where You Divorce Matters: Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property,” August 28, 2013.