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How Do You Divide Property After a Divorce?

In the event that there is property that was not divided or awarded to a spouse in a final decree of divorce or annulment, either former spouse may file a suit to divide it. Here are four important points to remember regarding the filing of a suit to divide property after the divorce has been finalized.

Post-Divorce Division of Property

  1. The suit must be filed before the second anniversary of the date that a former spouse has unequivocally repudiated the existence of the ownership interest of the other former spouse and communicates that former spouse. Which is the legal way of saying your case must be filed within two years after the first time ex-spouse A tells ex-spouse B that ex-spouse B does not own or does not have a property right to a certain piece of property. The two-year limitations period is tolled for the period that a court does not have jurisdiction over the former spouses or over the property. Which is the legal way of saying if the property was outside the state of Texas or outside the legal reach of the court then that time period does not count for the two years.
  2. If the court had jurisdiction over the property to divide in the original decree of divorce or annulment but failed to do so, the court shall divide it in a manner that the court deems just and right, with regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. If a court in another state rendered the decree or annulment, and the court had jurisdiction to divide the property but failed to do so, the court in Texas shall apply the law of the other state regarding undivided property as required by the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, and enabling federal statutes.
  3. If the court failed to dispose of property subject to division in a final decree of divorce or annulment because the court lacked jurisdiction over a spouse or the property, and if that court acquires jurisdiction, the court may divide the property in a manner that the court deems just and right, also with regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. This also applies to a divorce rendered by a court in another state, if a Texas court subsequently acquires jurisdiction.
  4. In these proceedings, the court may also award reasonable attorney’s fees.

Dividing property after a divorce has been finalized is in some ways more challenging than dividing it during the divorce. It is becoming more common, when someone gets divorced without using the services of an attorney, that after the divorce property is discovered that should have been divided but wasn’t. There are circumstances where a post-decree division of property is necessary.

As is the case in most family law matters, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney to represent you throughout the case. David Bouschor helps his clients to make sure that all of the property is properly accounted for during the divorce proceedings in order to avoid another lawsuit having to be filed after the divorce is final.

Source: TFC Section 9.201-9.205

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