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If I file for a divorce after less than 4 years of marriage, do I owe her anything financially?

El Paso, TX |

She has refused to work for the past 3 plus years. I have completely furnished a 3 bedroom house and have contributed to a joint account that she spends out of. I have payed for 100% of everything, vacations, vehicles, give her money for her bills that she came into the relationship with. Would I owe her any money if I filed for a divorce?

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The law provides that all assets accumulated during marriage are presumed to be community property. If you want to argue that she is not entitled to anything accumulated during marriage, you probably will be going to court to have the judge make that decision. You will also need to see a lawyer to help you do some math as to whether it is worth it.

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You owe a 'just and right' share of the community estate. We normally look at 50% as a starting point.

The Courts see your situation as just 'a condition of the marriage,' normally. Which means she is still entitled to 1/2 of the income for those 3 plus years. Fortunately for you, it appears that those monies were spent, so that income is not there to divide. To make sure, go get bank statements and financial statements from right before your marriage and all the way up to today. (The request is made to the financial institution, there is a cost, but it will be worth it.) Then you can see the amount of money you had on the date of marriage (your separate property) and all the money that came in (community property). You can try to trace it as well if you want. The community property is subject to division.

You also probably have a reimbursement claim. That is, either your separate property or community property was used to pay down her debt she came into the relationship with. The Court may very well order her to pay it back to you, either out of her separate property or out of her share of the community assets.

You definitely want to hire an attorney for the process, and work with them to come up with your trial exhibits and summary of the marriage. With good prep work, the case will likely settle once she sees that she is going to be spending money on attorneys and litigation and not walking away with anything, or at least not much.

This answer is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice nor forming the attorney client relationship. This attorney is licensed in Texas.

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