Sunday, December 27, 2009

Property Division - Comparing Indiana and Texas

I have another reason to prefer Indiana's divorce laws. Reading Dallas Divorce Law Blog's Will it be held against me if I get another woman pregnant before my divorce is final?, I got struck by how commonsensical we are.

Texas is a no fault divorce state which essentially means that neither party necessarily has to prove the other did something "wrong" causing the divorce. However, fault grounds often arise in divorce proceedings and the court will consider them in dividing the community property. The division of property under the Texas Family Code has to be "just and right" - not necessarily a 50/50 split. A man and wife are still considered married until the court enters a final decree of divorce, therefore getting another woman pregnant before your divorce is final is considered adultery. So, what is the effect?
Back in law school, my Contracts professor had a class of words and phrases he called "weasel words". I read "just and right" as being weasel words. With Indiana's 50/50 presumption, there is little discretion other than in totaling up the numbers. I see a far wider-ranging discretion than Indiana allows.

For an example of an Indiana case, take a look at my New Indiana Case: Swadner v. Swadner Part V (Property Division).

You may also find How does Indiana value the marital pot? interesting.

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