Putting to Rest Top 3 Texas Divorce Myths for Doctors

While a recent Harvard Medical School study suggests doctors are among the types of professionals with high-stress level occupations that are least likely to get divorced, when a doctor and significant other do decide to go their separate ways, it can get messy. However, there are a number of common misconceptions about what actually goes down when a doctor gets a divorce in Texas.

What to Know About Doctors and Divorce

There are several things doctors and their spouses assume, usually incorrectly, when it comes to divorces in Texas. They assume because Texas is a community property state, the community property will be divided equally. They assume once a doctor starts practicing medicine in Texas and gets divorced that the doctor's practice (particularly if it is very successful) is going to have a high value and result in big award for the doctor's spouse. They also assume the doctor (particularly if very successful) is going to pay a lot of court ordered maintenance or alimony.

All Three Assumptions are Very Wrong in Texas

While Texas is a community property state, community property is not automatically divided 50/50. Texas is a so-called discretionary community property state, meaning that the community estate of the parties is divided in a manner the court "deems just and right, having due regard to the rights of each party and any children of the marriage." In other words, the property may be divided disproportionately between the spouses. Texas is among a handful of states with community property division laws. Doctors in other states with equitable distribution property division laws may run into similar problems.

My Former Spouse is a Doctor and I Do Not Work, the Court Will Use That in Its Decision to Award Property – Right?

There are about 15 different factors the court can take into account when divining the property – the disparity of earnings, education and health of the parties; fault in the breakup of the marriage; any separate property owned by either party; and the nature of the property. No mathematical formula exists for a judge to use when dividing property – it is all within the judge's discretion.

If all factors are equal, the court will almost always divide the property 50/50. As more factors favor one party, most judges will move toward awarding 60 percent to 1 party and 40 percent to the other.

The Working Spouse / Medical Student Burden – Does not Matter

Everyone has heard about the working spouse who struggled working nights and weekends to support their spouse through medical school, only to find that as soon as their spouse became a successful doctor, the doctor "did them wrong" and divorced them. People assume that because the doctor is finally very successful, his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse is going to get a big chunk of money. Again, they usually are wrong.

How Do You Even Go About Calculating the Value of the Doctor in a Divorce?

Texas Courts have long held that in valuing the community estate of the parties, all value that is attributable to "the personal ability, skill, integrity or other personal characteristics" of the doctor must be excluded from the value of the community estate.

At first, many people are shocked by this. However, if you stop to think about it, all of these hits are so-called "personal hits." Some people are better students than others; some people are willing to work harder than others; some people are simply smarter than others; some people are more handsome, beautiful or just plain ugly; some are very smooth and polished while some are uncouth. When people get divorced, they take their personal experiences with them.

For example, if Cindy Crawford were to get married, she brings great looks to the marriage. If she gets divorced, those looks and her ability to capitalize on them go with her. In Texas, a "spouse is not entitled to a percentage of his or her spouse's future earnings."

Business Value is Separate from a Doctor's Personal Traits

To the extent a doctor owns a business, the business may be valued in a Texas divorce, as long as the valuation of the medical practice techniques exclude the doctor's personal goodwill – the general reputation of the doctor, the value of his or her work ethic , his or her personal trait, customer patronage and loyalty.

For example, if a doctor runs an anesthesia practice, radiology practice or emergency room practice, which provides services to, say, ten hospitals and has long-term contracts with the hospitals in addition to a scheduling staff, billing staff, computers and contracts with health care providers, then the business may be valued. However, the doctor's personal good will have to be excluded from the valuation.

Even a solo doctor's practice may have some value. If the doctor personally owns the equipment, a building and has large accounts receivable, there will be some value to the practice. The way the business evaluator usually determines the value is by assessing the fair market value of the equipment, building and the accounts receivable, assuming the doctor will go down the street, rent an office, buying some new equipment, start calling the health care providers and run an ad touting the doctor's new practice after the divorce is finalized.

As the Non-Physician, Can I Seek Alimony?

Yes, but if granted it will be very limited. Many people living in Texas come from other "non-community" property states where anonymously is handed out freely, but because Texas is a community property state, it limits alimony much more strictly.

Texas has adopted "rehabilitation alimony," which in Texas is called court ordered maintenance. The purpose of rehabilitation alimony is to rehabilitate the recipient, so that person can reenter the job market. It's important to know it's not freely awarded. In fact, there is a strong presumption against awarding court ordered maintenance in Texas.

When You Just Might Get Alimony (But Not Always)

Court ordered maintenance may be awarded to a spouse if the marriage was at least ten years in length, the spouse who is seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide his or her minimum reasonable needs and is unable to support himself or herself. There are many nuances in the law of court ordered maintenance in Texas, but many cases fall into one of three categories:

• You are unable to support yourself through appropriate employment because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability.
• You are the custodian of a child with a physical or mental disability that precludes employment outside the home.
• You lack the ability to access the labor market to provide for your minimum reasonable needs. It typically helps if the court sees that the recipient is seeking education or training to re-enter the work force.

Conclusion – Not All is Fair in Love and Medicine for Doctor Divorces in Texas

Several conclusions can be drawn about doctors and alimony in Texas. First, even if a doctor is a high-income individual, the doctor may end up paying no equivalent or court maintenance in a Texas dispute. Secondly, even if you are married to a high-income doctor, in a Texas divorce, you may not get any liability or court ordered maintenance. Even if a spouse is awarded alimony or court ordered maintenance, it is probably not going to be great, since it is based on the recipient's minimum reasonable needs. And finally, if you have been married less than ten years, you are not eligible for alimony or court ordered maintenance in Texas under most circumstances.

Bass Fishing with Tubes: The Texas Twist

We all know how effective tubes fished on internal weighed heads can be. The fact is that if you only use them this way, you are seriously hampering the true potential of this bait and its versatility. I've discovered, many years ago that fishing a tube in weed choked waters was a great way to catch fish. The problem I encountered was the open hook continuously and unmercifully getting snagged all day long. To combat this, I simply tried to rig the tube on a Texas rig. Ultimately I settled on a brass and glass type rig that has always rated well for me. This rig mixes sexy tubes, scent and sound to form a complete package of bass grabbing attention.

Equipment: 6-6 medium fast action spinning rod. The best rods for this method are high modulus models with a solid backbone. I use a Kistler Helium LTA 6-6 He66MS. This rod provides me with light overall weight and a soft tip but also the brute gorilla strength to yank larger bass toward the boat. Not finesse fishing you say? Well consider that I normally use 8lb line and often drop that down to lighter 6lb Yo Zuri Hybrid. Even in the thickest cover, I've gotten by with the lighter lines. You could utilize a 20lb super line like Sea King's 20/6 or 14/4. These will help slice through vegetation with ease. I prefer a fairly fast ratio reel. For tubing, I go with Shimano, no surprise, Sustain 2500 FD. This reel is as dependable as they come.

Terminal Tackle: My tube rig works best with brass Weenie Weights. I like 1/16 or 1/8 Top Brass Tackle Weenie Weights painted black. The weenie weight is simply a shorter, wider sliding bullet that weight is made of brass. This produces much better sound amplification and is environmentally friendly. For hooks, I use either Sugoi 3/0, 3/0 Owner Rig n hook or a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG. What sets this method apart from standard Texas rigs is that I use a fire polished faceted glass bead. This accomplishes two things. First the bead reflects light and flashes. I truly believe that this is one of the best attributes of the rig. Secondly, the bead and the weenie weight slap back and forth, so sometimes appealing fish to its location. The fire polished, faceted glass beads are super hard and will not cut your line.

The Tube: The Only tube I use is a Wicked Tube by Micro Munch Tackle. This bait is a thick walled hand dipped tube that holds the hook nicely. The double thick wall gives the tube durability and is necessary in the thick cover to prevent tearing. Fish do not hold on to the bait, they eat it. This tube is dipped in a salt impregnated plastic mix and then Kick N Bass scent is added to the plastic before the tubes are molded. This produces a tube that is noticeably stinky.

This tube rigged on a Sugoi 3/0 hook has figured for me in almost every tournament I've fished. If you have been paying attention so far, you will notice that this rig uses sight, scent, taste, and sound to tantalize Mr. Bass. If you've ever fished with the Wicked Tube you certainly have not noticed the oil slick the bait produces in the water. Its odor will have every cat in the neighborhood clawing to get in your dry storage box to get at them. I prefer the standard 4 "tube but occasionally I will upgrade to the larger El Gordo style tube. , not too many other anglers throw it regularly. Its size alone may intimidate some.

Colors: I prefer the following colors; Green Pumpkin, Black Grape, Water Melon Magic, June Bug, Smoke Purple Flake, Road Kill Camo, and Black Red Flake. I match the glass bead to the bait. Black, Brown, Purple, or Green beads will match all the previously mentioned colors.

Rigging: This rig can be set up just like the traditional Texas rig. Slide the Weenie Weight up the line followed by the glass bead. It is not necessary to peg the weight or the bead. Next tie the hook on with a Palomar knot for strength. Bury the hook point about a 1/4 inch dead center in the head of the tube. Pull the hook through the side of the bait until the hook eye enters the tube head. Next pop the hook back into the side and pull the point through, penetrating through the opposite side of the tube (back out again). The tube should be straight. The point of the hook should be exposed and tight to the fleshy side of the tube. The exposed point allows for easier penetration on the hook set. The hook does not have to penetrate the extra plastic in the tube, so sticks into the fishes' mouth with minimal effort.

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"With this rig I usually notice one of two things: either I feel the bass chewing on the tube, similar to a plastic worm pick up, or I do not feel the bait at all which means a bass has picked it up and is usually moving off with it. "

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The Presentation

This tube is very effective in 8ft of water or less. Its light weight will not allow it to be fished effectively beyond that depth. Because it is weedless, it can be fished just about anywhere and if you add a heavier weight, you can certainly probe the depths with it. I prefer docks, boathouses, any overhead cover, inlet points, and flats. Of course the rig will work anywhere provided cover cover can be found. The rig works when skipped under or through cover. This is what sets the rig apart from conventional tube rigs. The tube itself is weightless. When cast the Weenie weight falls away from the bait and slowly drifts to the bottom. The tube flutters to the bottom even slower. Its slow fall is a crucial trait to its success. Standard tube rigs that are internally weighted spiral to the bottom.

They are directly weighed and fall through the strike zone faster then the Texas rig. As the weight of the Texas tube rig slides forward, it slowly pulls the bait along. This is the reason I do not use bait casting gear. Flipping and pitching are not accurate presentations for this rig. I aim to skip my bait past the target so it slowly falls through cover. After I cast to a piece of cover, I try to maintain a tight line because very often the bait is stuck just as it enters the water. If I do not feel a strike, then I may jiggle the rod tip to get the bead and weight to make some noise. I then let the tube fall on controlled slack line and cover the lower column of the water I'm working.

I do not fish this bait in open water as I would prefer internally rigged tubes for that. I target specific visible cover and try to pick it apart as best as I can despite the "falling away from cover" action the bait has. Getting the bait to skip is the real art of an accurate presentation with this rig. Sometimes I will try to crash bait through cover so it actually passes by my target. This is because a forceful cast will not allow the weight to create drag on the cast and keeps the bait on target. The bait will pass through the cover and remain in the strike zone longer. You may also be able to feather a skip cast to put the bait right on the target. The 1/16 oz weight will not pull the bait as much as a heavier size.

Get the brass weight and glass working to produce some sound. I move the rod tip ever so slightly, perhaps only an inch or two at a time. You do not want to over exaggerate your movements. The slight movements are key because you do not want to physically move the bait while you are trying to make it sound off.

The Bite: Many tube bites simply feel like a mushy wet rag on the end of the line sensation. With this rig I usually notice one of two things: either I feel the bass chewing on the tube, similar to a plastic worm pick up, or I do not feel the bait at all which means a bass has picked it up and is usually moving off with it. This happens because the tube is weightless and the bass does not feel resistance in the form of an unnatural internal weight. Normally the line will just start moving off. Polarized sunglasses are a must for this technique. It is important with this and most other jig techniques to "weigh the line". What this means is to learn what the bait feels like in the water. Usually any lighter or heavier sensation is a strike. When I detect a strike I really like to crank the hook home. Even though I tend to use light line and set my drag tight, I rarely break off on a fish. Normally if I hang a monster, I will disengage the anti-reverse and back reel. I use a sweeping set as this allows me to move more line than the standard over the shoulder jig jerk. I'm not exaggerating when I say that fish does not spit the tube out. They just do not. They really do eat it.


The Texas rig tube excels during the early spring and through early fall. I simply prefer to fish other baits at different times of the year. It is an excellent big fish attractor because it has a thick profile and does not give off many, if any, negative cues. Rigged with a glass bead, it looks to all bass senses' and like I stated earlier, "These tubes get eaten". The combination of salt and scent are hard for any bass to reject.

Gear Breakdown: Texas Tube Fishing Insanity

Rod: Kislter Helium LTA 6-6 M He66MS

Reel: Shimano Sustain FD 2500

Line: Yo Zuri Hybrid 8lb

Hook: Sugoi or Gamakatsu 2/0 or 3/0 EWG

Tube: Micro Munch Tackle Wicked Tube 4 "

Terminal: Top Brass Tackle Brass weight and fire polished faceted Glass bead


The Texas rig tube is a very consistent producer. If by chance bass want a different look, there are several alternatives. I'm a big fan of finesse techniques from the West coast. My sleeper tube rig is the same rig, but with the bead pegged 18 inches above the hook. The sinker is still free to slide and a striking fish will not feel extra weight. This rig can be crept along the bottom similar to a Carolina rig. This is a noisier presentation as the bead and weight are always in contact.

We all know that tubes are very versatile. I have used these tubes to work bass on inside / outside weed lines with amazing consistency the last few seasons. This is one of those great baits that nobody should be without. It can be especially important to guys who do not prefer to throw a jig.

copyright 2005 Micro Munch Tackle
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