As a divorce attorney in Dallas, I have seen many cases where the division of community property can become a contentious issue. This is especially true when one spouse has controlled the finances during the marriage. In these cases, it is important to understand the laws and duties surrounding community property in Texas.
Fiduciary Duty in Community Property
Under Texas law, a spouse in control of community property has a fiduciary duty to the other spouse. This means that the controlling spouse has a duty to act in good faith and not engage in fraud when disposing of the community property. Additionally, the disposition of the community property must be fair to the other spouse. There is a presumption of constructive fraud if the controlling spouse disposes of community property without the other spouse’s knowledge or consent, even if the controlling spouse acted with knowledge of the other spouse’s objections.
Community Debt and Reimbursement
In general, there is no right to reimbursement from the community estate when its funds are used to pay a community debt. This means that if the community estate is used to pay taxes, for example, the other spouse is not entitled to reimbursement. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Under the Texas Family Code, the community estate may be reimbursed for “inadequate compensation for the time, toil, talent, and effort of a spouse by a business entity under the control and direction of that spouse.”
Political Contributions and Community Property
In some cases, political contributions can also be a source of contention during a divorce. The court will consider the relationship between the donor and the recipient, the adequacy of the remaining estate, any special circumstances that justify the gift, and the amount of the contribution in relation to the total community estate. The controlling spouse has a duty to ensure that any political contributions made during the marriage are fair to the other spouse.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the laws and duties surrounding community property in Texas during a divorce. If you are going through a divorce and have questions about the division of your community property, I encourage you to contact an experienced divorce attorney. The Blacknall Firm has extensive experience in handling complex divorce cases and can help you navigate this difficult process.