Everything is Bigger in Texas Except the Community Property Estate - Must Texas Remain a Divorce Haven for the Rich?
J. Thomas Oldham
University of Houston Law Center
February 24, 2010
U of Houston Law Center No. 2010-A-7
This article compares significant community property rules applied in the eight traditional community property states. I show that, perhaps surprisingly, there is significant disagreement among the states regarding the approaches to apply in various common situations to determine the size of the community property estate. The starkest contrast is between Texas and California. In all the situations discussed, California has adopted the rule that expands the size of the community estate, while Texas applies the rule that leads to a smaller estate. The other community property states fall somewhere in the middle, sometimes following the rule applied in Texas and sometimes adopting the rule applied in California.
The difference between the approaches followed in Texas and those accepted in California can have substantial impact on the size of the community estate. So, although one can say that all eight states are “community property states,” there are substantial differences among the state laws.
In addition to highlighting the differences between Texas community property principles and those adopted in other states, the article also notes certain other aspects of Texas family law that make it more difficult for a Texas divorce court to provide adequate support for a spouse who otherwise will not have adequate resources after divorce. For all these reasons, I conclude that Texas is now a divorce haven for the rich.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: community property, divorce, Texas, California
Date posted: February 25, 2010