X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Family Law No. 05-02-00282-CV, 5/27/2003. Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: The appellant appeals the property division made by the trial court in his divorce from the appellee. HOLDING: Affirmed. The appellant testified his retirement plan from pre-marriage employment with the Lutheran Good Samaritan Society was valued at $17,985 at the time of the marriage. The appellee does not contest that valuation; nor does she contest that this amount is appellant’s separate property. At the time of the divorce, the plan was valued at $76,102. The parties agree, therefore, that $58,117 of the total is community property. The court divided the $76,102 evenly between the appellant and the appellee in the property settlement. The appellant argues the court should have awarded him $17,985 as his separate property and divided only $58,117 evenly between the parties. He alleges the trial court mischaracterized the plan total as community property and thus divested the appellant of his separate property. As a result, according to the appellant, the appellee received a “considerably greater” share of the plan than her community share. The appellee responds that the community-property portion of the plan did not need to be evenly divided. She argues the trial court’s award to the appellant could have included his $17,985 in separate property plus a smaller portion (approximately $20,000) of the community property amount. The trial court has wide latitude to divide the marital estate in a manner that the court deems “just and right.” Texas Family Code �7.001. In exercising this discretion, the court need not divide community property equally. The court sees no “mischaracterization” in this record as to the nature of the plan. Instead, the record supports a conclusion that the plan funds were divided so as to award appellant $17,985 as his separate property and approximately $20,060 in community funds. Although appellee was awarded approximately $38,050 in community funds from the plan, such an uneven division of one asset does not mean the division of the community as a whole was not right and just. Absent findings to the contrary, this theory has support in the evidence and allows the court to uphold the trial court’s action. The court concludes the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its division of the funds in the plan. The appellant charges the trial court “incorrectly calculated, or alternatively, failed to calculate economic contribution for the purposes of division of property.” The asset at issue here is the couple’s primary residence. The record indicates appellant and appellee purchased the residence with joint funds and occupied the residence together before they married. However, the residence was purchased in appellant’s name alone. The trial court instead awarded $82,250 (one-half of the equity of the residence) to appellee. The trial court could have determined that this was a fair apportionment because the only economic contribution made to the property was made by the community. The court sees no abuse of discretion in the award. OPINION: Fitzgerald, J.; Wright, FitzGerald, and Lang, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.