Report: Divorce Toxic To The Environment

February 26, 2008

A recent Michigan State University study says the high rate of divorce is bad for the environment.

Although not groundbreaking in it’s conclusion, the report highlights an interesting relationship between social policy and environmental science.  It points out that two divorced households consume more water, energy and physical space than one married household.  Therefore, as divorce rates increase, so does the consumption of valuable resources and an overal degradation of the environment. 

“In the United States alone in 2005, divorced households used 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water that could have been saved had household size remained the same as that of married households. Thirty-eight million extra rooms were needed with associated costs for heating and lighting,” Michigan State researchers Jianguo “Jack” Liu and Eunice Yu reported.

Liu, though, says environmental policy is more complicated than people often think, and policymakers need to consider divorce in the broader debate on environmental policy.

The report’s authors make an interesting point.  However, the author of this blog would also add that the toxic effects divorce have on the environment and all the other negative effects on society should be balanced against the toxic emotions on individuals and their children may suffer if they live in a loveless or high conflict household without seeking some intervention- up to an including in some instances, divorce.  

Read more about the study at The Huffington Post.


Rebutting the Community Property Presumption

February 6, 2008

Often times a party in a divorce wishes to have the court affirm the separate nature of a particular piece of property.  They must therefore overcome the presumption set up by the Texas Family Code that all property in a marriage is of a community nature.

     “Clear and Convincing Evidence” must be presented to rebut the community property presumption.  (TFC 3.003).  see McKinley v. McKinley 496 SW2d 540, 543 (Tex. 1973).  The standard requires that “a reasonable trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or conviction that its finding was true.”  Stavinoha v. Stanivoha, 126 SW3d 604.  To prevail in court, a party generally must produce not only testimony, but also documentary evidence of the separate nature of community property.  See Boyd v. Boyd, 131 SW3d 605. 

     The evidence to rebut the community property presumption should establish the time and manner it was acquired.  This is known as the “inception of title”.  The evidence should also any mutations that may have happened to the property during the marriage.  This is known as “tracing”.  In tracing, small gaps in establishing a property’s nature through time will not necessarily prevent a party from proving the separate nature. See Faram v. Gervitz-Faram 895 SW2d 839.  In that case, evidence was found to be sufficient to establish the separate nature even though the records on the investment account were incomplete.  The party must show enough evidence to convince the trier of fact to form a firm belief or conviction of the separate nature.