Property Division Includes Debt

In Applewhite v. Applewhite, No. 02-12-00445-CV (Tex. App. – Fort Worth Feb. 27, 2014) (mem. op.), the former wife argued that the trial court abused its discretion by dividing the community estate equally between the parties. The court summarized the parties’ situations thus:

The evidence demonstrates that [former wife] is the primary conservator for seven children. She is in her mid- to late forties, she works full time for Little Elm ISD, her monthly net pay is $1,400, and she testified that her house rent is $1,400 per month, that her utilities cost at least $750 per month, that food costs at least $1,400 per month, that her cable costs $200 a month, that her van costs $80 per week to operate, and that she receives about $650 per month in food stamps. [Former wife] explained that she did not have the ability to go back to school because she had to work and pay bills.

[Former husband] is a logistics engineer for Raytheon. He makes approximately $92,000 per year and has a monthly net pay of approximately $5,300. His rent is approximately $1,075 per month, his other expenses run about $1,200 per month, he pays approximately $500 per month in health insurance for the children, and he pays Dana $2,100 in monthly child support. He testified that his monthly expenses exceed his monthly take-home pay and that he sometimes borrows money to make ends meet.

At this point, it might seem as though the former wife should have received more of the community estate. But the court continued:

Regarding the division of community debt, in addition to the debt owed on the vehicle awarded to William, the trial court ordered William to pay a credit card debt in the amount of $2,039.11, additional credit card debt in the amount of $1,477.51, a debt owed to the Navy in the amount of $48,000, a debt owed to Raytheon in the amount of $1,210.00, and a debt owed to Wells Fargo Dealer Services in the amount of $13,843.00. The trial court ordered Dana to pay any debts in her name.

When the debt is taken into account, the former wife clearly did receive a disproportionate division of the community estate.

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