Many clients come to our law firm extremely worried that the second they get married, their spouse is automatically entitled to half of their wealth- regardless of the duration of the marriage or when they acquired their wealth. As reported in the news, Keyshawn Johnson is getting divorced from his wife after only 7 months of marriage. Does this mean he has to give up half of his entire wealth? The short answer is no.
Division of property in Texas divorce suits is not 50/50 – Texas law reads that there shall be a just and right division of the property. Yes, most Courts believe that should look something like a 50/50 split, but that does not mean that has to be the case. There are numerous factors outlined in the Texas Family Code that can sway a property division one way or another.
So let’s use Keyshawn Johnson as an example- He was married 7 months. Absent a finding of common-law marriage in Texas, his wife would only be entitled to half of any income accumulated during the time of marriage- in this case 7 months. Any money Keyshawn Johnson earned prior to marriage is his separate property and not considered in the property division. But, it is important to note that Keyshawn Johnson would have the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that any asset he wishes to exclude from a property division is indeed separate in nature.
Some of you may know that Keyshawn Johnson and his wife, Jennifer Conrad have two children together. He would still be on the hook for child support if Jennifer received primary possession of the children. For two children in Texas, that is 25% of your net monthly income up to a cap of $8,550.00 per month. Further, Jennifer Conrad does admit in her divorce papers that there was a prenuptial agreement in place prior to the marriage- that may protect her from leaving the marriage with what little income was accumulated in 7 months or prevent her from receiving any income at all. If you would like to read more about the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements in Texas, click here. With regard to spousal maintenance in Texas, there is a presumption that it is not warranted unless a spouse cannot reach their minimum reasonable needs. A spouse requesting maintenance in Texas would have to prove they have attempted to either obtain employment to provide for their minimum reasonable needs or that they are obtaining the skills necessary to obtain employment to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Further, based on such a short marriage, it would be difficult to obtain spousal maintenance even with the inability to provide for her minimum reasonable needs. Absent a finding of family violence, it is unlikely Jennifer Conrad would receive spousal maintenance due to the extremely short duration of her marriage to Keyshawn. Due to the probable unfavorable outcome to Jennifer should the divorce become final, we wonder what the cause of divorce is and if Jennifer has anything up her sleeve to receive more money than she may be entitled to by law. Stay tuned…
If you would like to schedule an appointment with someone at our law firm to discuss divorce issues and/or prenuptial agreements, please call 214-692-8200.