Reimbursement Claims in a Divorce in Texas

It is very common that prior to getting married, one spouse may own a home. It is also common that during the marriage, the “community” continues to pay off the mortgage, or significant renovations are made that improve the value of the house. Then the couple decide to get divorced. Is the spouse who doesn’t own the home but who has contributed to the mortgage or put a lot of time and effort into renovating the house entitled to any kind of “reimbursement” when they get divorced? They could be!

The Texas Family Code provides for a party to bring a reimbursement claim in situations like the one above.

Reasons For Reimbursement

Reimbursement can be necessary to evenly divide the assets of a marriage if those assets cannot be separated from the asset that has increased in value during the marriage. That can include the increase of the value of a house because of renovations.

The most common reimbursement claim in a divorce in Texas is by the community estate against a spouse’s separate estate. Other Texas reimbursement claims that can be made include situations where:

  • The community estate benefits from one spouse’s separate property;
  • One spouse’s separate property benefits the other spouse’s separate property; or
  • One spouse’s separate property benefits the community property estate.

What Can Be Reimbursed?

Texas Family Code 3.402 allows for several claims for reimbursement. In Texas, courts allow reimbursement for claims in which one spouse:

  • Paid the other spouse’s unsecured debts;
  • Used community property to pay the other spouse’s debts;
  • Received insufficient pay from the other spouse’s business for work performed;
  • Reduced a principal debt amount through refinancing;
  • Made payments on debts incurred to buy or improve property;
  • Made capital improvements to property;
  • Made various payments for debts that were secured by the other spouse’s separate property, including property that the other spouse received as a gift or inheritance.

What Cannot Be Reimbursed?

Claims that are ineligible for reimbursement include:

  • Child support or alimony payments;
  • A spouse’s living expenses;
  • Student loans owed by one spouse;
  • Payment of low value liabilities by one spouse; and
  • Low value property contributions by one spouse.

Property Your Property Interests by Speaking to us.

Reimbursement claims can be a complicated aspect of a divorce. If you think you may be entitled to a reimbursement claim, please reach out to us.