Does Committing Adultery Impact Division Of Assets In A Divorce?
The rule of thumb is that yes, adultery can impact a divorce. Does it always? No. But if the parties are unable to reach any type of agreement whether through just informal means or through an actual mediation, then your divorce goes to an absolute trial on the marriage. The issue of adultery can be utilized by the non-offending spouse to justify an unequal distribution of the marital estate by the trier or the judge. But again, in practice this issue, although I get all types of questions about it, she cheated on me or he cheated on me, and I want him to pay for that. It can be utilized, but in practice you typically have to go to trial to realize the full, I guess the full advantage of such facts.
Not that they cannot be used at mediation, they absolutely can and they are, but I guess my experience is it does not have as large an effect as people might think unless you go all the way to trial and the court takes defense to the behavior of the spouse, because there are degrees of this. I have seen all kinds of obscene behaviors that absolutely justify one spouse being awarded a greater percentage, but I think as society has evolved and changed over the years, the courts have taken less offense at these types of behaviors over time and will vary in degree.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About Division Of Assets And Debts In A Divorce?
One of the misconceptions I deal with all the time is spouses believing that they are going to somehow recoup money that was spent during the marriage that they did not receive any benefit from, and by that I mean, well they might say “My husband spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this that and the other, and I never got anything, and I want that money back”. Although you may have a claim to having either the marital estate or separate estate reimbursed, if there is no money at the time of the divorce then you are not really going to be able to recover anything.
It seems like a lot of people believe that they are somehow going to be made whole once they file for divorce just because one spouse acted poorly or wrongly, but unless there is money to be actually attached to or to grab, then it is too bad so sad. Maybe you should have done something earlier. The other thing I also see too is spouses not being proactive in trying to put money away or put money aside once they start seeing that things may be going poorly or awry in the marriage because if you do not do anything to secure your assets and your money and it is spent, it is very hard to get that back unless there is retirement or something that can be fought over that has accumulated during the marriage.
Do All These Laws Apply To Common Law Marriages In Texas?
Yes. There are not different laws for community assets or community property division in the State of Texas between a common law marriage and a valid legal marriage. The issue with common law marriage is you have to have the marriage recognized by the court before any of this would apply. So proving a common law marriage is a rut that most people have a difficult time comprehending or establishing, because you cannot just roll in the court and say “I was married to somebody” even though you never formerly married or had a legal marriage.
You have to establish via facts, testimony or something to have the court recognize that there was a valid marriage. Then you can go about the process of dividing the estate up assuming there was one that was created. Assuming the court will recognize the divorce, then you have to establish well when did the divorce begin, and then obviously when was there a separation, or when was there the filing. Just because you believe there is a common law marriage, or just because the court recognizes there was one, you would also have to establish when that marriage was created so you can determine what assets, if any, you would be entitled to.
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