Paying for a Divorce in Texas

You’ve been served with a Petition for Divorce. It’s not an easy time. What makes it worse is not knowing how you can pay for an attorney to protect you. There are joint bank accounts and joint credit cards, but can you use those?
Although every case is different and should be reviewed on its own merita, the short answer in most circumstances is “yes”. Texas is a community property state, which means everything you acquire during your marriage, with some exceptions, belongs to both spouses equally – you both own 100% of all of the assets. A joint credit card can be used by either spouse. A joint bank account will generally be thought to have community money in it, which can be used by either spouse. That’s the money which should be used, most of the time, to pay for attorneys and living expenses.

There are always exceptions. For instance, pre-marital agreements can change the overall rules. They can change community property into the separate property of one or the other spouse and can do the same with community debt. Other things can mean something which originally looks like community property is actually separate property, like a gift or an inheritance.
The safest thing to do is to talk to an attorney who specializes in family law and explain to them your unique situation. Chances are, the joint bank accounts and credit cards are there for your use, but it is always best to check.