How will my house be affected after getting a divorce from my husband? 1 Answers as of February 14, 2011

I bought a house before we got married. My soon-to-be-ex paid for some improvements before and after we were married. Most of the checks he wrote out to me and I paid for them. He also paid me $900 per month to help with expenses. Am I required to pay him back for any of this?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Your question is an excellent one and not as simple as it may sound. However, we can start with a few presumptions:

1. The house was purchased prior to marriage, therefore it is you separate property.
2. The money he paid $900/month went towards the mortgage, he paid it from what I assume is community money (his income). Therefore he does not have a reimbursement claim for that money. However, the community may assert a reimbursement for the community money expended on your separate property. Keep in mind that you are half the community so if the community gets a reimbursement, you get half that money. Finally, if the community claims reimbursement - your separate estate (you) can claim on offset for reasonable rents. Ergo the presumption that the reasonable rental rate is equal to the principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

The money spent on improvements is even more convoluted but follows a lot of the same rules, provided however, the reimbursement is attached to the increase in value due to the improvements and that requires both a before and after value assessment (note the before value assessment is very difficult) . There are offsetting claims that can be made, is the money traceable to his separate estate or is it community money spent on improvements? Was it a gift? did it pay for normal wear and tear items - or use of the house as opposed to actual improvements?

Bottom line, you need to find a local lawyer and give him or her specific facts before anyone can give you a full answer to this question. My firm handles divorce cases including difficult property issues in Collin and Dallas Counties. If you are in this area, please give me a call.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 2/14/2011
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