In a Texas divorce, there are three estates to consider. First is the community estate, which includes the assets and liabilities that will be subject to property division. Then there is also each spouse’s separate estate, which includes property not subject to division at the time of divorce. The community estate consists of all property acquired during the marriage by both of the spouses. For example, if a married couple bought a house together during their marriage using funds they saved from their wages, the house would clearly be community property. However, if one spouse owned a house before marriage and continued to own said house during the marriage, that house would be considered that spouse’s separate property and that house would not be subject to division at the time of divorce. The spouse with the house owned before marriage would retain that property at the time of divorce.
If it is determined that the community estate somehow improved the separate estate of one of the spouses during the marriage, or vice versa, there may be a claim for reimbursement by the non benefitted spouse. What is meant by improvement? How is reimbursement accomplished? There are no simple answers to these questions. Suffice it to say that you must choose an attorney who understands the concept and knows how to apply it in order to ensure that you walk away from your marriage with everything to which you are entitled.
Examples Of When Reimbursement Claims Will Be Necessary
If money from one of the spouse’s separate estates is used to pay debts owed by the community estate, the spouse who used their separate property to pay community debt may have a reimbursement claim against the community estate.
Another common example of a reimbursement claim occurs when one spouse receives an inheritance and uses the inheritance to pay the mortgage on the home purchased during marriage. The spouse who used their inheritance may have a reimbursement claim against the community estate.