As a Dallas divorce attorney, I often get asked whether a person going through a divorce in Texas can legally break their lease. The answer is not always straightforward, as it depends on various factors and circumstances. In this post, I’ll go over some of the key considerations and answer some common questions.

Can a Judge in a Divorce Case Cancel the Lease?

The short answer is no. A judge in a divorce case does not have the power to cancel a lease. The lease is a contract between the landlord and the tenants, and only the landlord can terminate the lease early. However, a judge in a divorce case can order one party to take over the lease or make arrangements for the lease to be terminated in an agreed-upon manner.

Is the Lease Community Property?

In Texas, a lease is considered personal property, not real property. As a result, a lease is not considered community property and is not subject to division in a divorce. Instead, the lease remains in the name of the party who signed it, unless the judge orders otherwise.

Can the Judge Grant Exclusive Use of the Property to One Party?

Yes, a judge in a divorce case can grant exclusive use of the property to one party. This is often done when one spouse moves out and the other spouse remains in the property. The judge will usually order the spouse who is remaining in the property to take over the lease and be solely responsible for paying rent and other obligations under the lease.

Getting the Landlord to Allow Names to be Removed from the Lease

In some cases, one or both spouses may want their name removed from the lease. This can be especially important if the spouse who is moving out wants to avoid being held responsible for rent and other obligations under the lease. To get the landlord to allow names to be removed from the lease, it’s important to communicate with the landlord and explain the situation. If both parties agree, the landlord may be willing to release one or both parties from the lease. However, if the landlord is unwilling to release one or both parties from the lease, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a judge.


Breaking a lease during a divorce can be a complex and challenging process.  But, it is definitely worth doing the proper way.