For many couples preparing for divorce in Texas, property division negotiations are a straightforward matter. They may already have a marital agreement establishing guidelines for dividing their property, or they may cooperate with one another to negotiate mutually favorable solutions.
Unfortunately, some divorces are fraught with misconduct. One spouse, angry about the divorce or issues from during the marriage, seeks to manipulate the outcome of divorce proceeding by altering the property division process. Some people hide assets, possibly moving thousands of dollars into a secret bank account. Others will try to waste marital resources so their ex simply receives less.
Someone intentionally diminishing the marital estate engages in acts of dissipation. Will such behavior influence property division matters in a Texas divorce?
Dissipation can alter a judge’s decisions
Typically, Texas judges won’t put much weight on spousal misconduct when dividing marital property. The community property statute in Texas allows for some interpretive authority for the judge. They do not necessarily have to divide the marital estate in half. They can consider certain marital circumstances when dividing property and debts.
If you have proof of dissipation, a judge may decrease how much your ex receives from the marital estate or may absolve you of responsibility for the debts that they accrued.
What does dissipation look like?
Dissipation can come in many different forms. Maybe your spouse held a garage sale out of spite and sold the vast majority of your personal property and household furnishings for a fraction of their fair market value. Perhaps your spouse started going to the spa or ordering a bunch of products neither of you really needs online.
Dissipation can involve wasteful spending, the destruction of resources or the creation of new debts to intentionally alter the household’s financial circumstances. Judges may also consider certain behavior dissipation if it undermines the marital relationship. If your ex spent thousands of dollars while conducting an extramarital affair, that could constitute dissipation in some cases.
You may need evidence for such claims to have any merit in family court. Partnering with a lawyer and possibly a forensic accountant can help you push for the best outcome in your upcoming Texas divorce.