Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally charged process, especially when it comes to dividing property. In Texas, property division is governed by a set of rules and guidelines that can be difficult to understand without the help of an experienced attorney. In this blog post, we’ll use an everyday example to illustrate some of the key concepts involved in property division in Texas divorce cases, with a focus on the limits of modification, and explain why it’s important to have a skilled legal team on your side.
The Original Property Division Order
Suppose you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce. As part of the process, the court issues a property division order that specifies how your assets and debts will be divided. The order includes retirement benefits, and states that you are entitled to 50% of your spouse’s retirement benefits, including those earned after the divorce.
The Motion to Clarify and the Order Modifying the Property Division
Years go by, and you decide to retire and start collecting your share of the retirement benefits. However, your spouse objects and says that the court order only awarded you 50% of the retirement benefits earned before the divorce. They argue that the retirement benefits earned after the divorce are their separate property and should not be divided.
You file a motion with the court, asking them to clarify the order and confirm that you are entitled to 50% of the retirement benefits, including those earned after the divorce. The court considers your motion and agrees with you, issuing an order that divides the retirement benefits based on the original property division.
The Appeal and the Limits of Modification
However, your spouse is unhappy with the court’s decision and files an appeal, arguing that the court did not have the authority to change the property division in the original order. The appellate court reviews the case and agrees with your spouse, finding that the court did not have the power to modify the original property division. The appellate court vacates the order dividing the retirement benefits and reinstates the original property division, which awarded you 50% of the retirement benefits, including those earned after the divorce.
This example illustrates the complexities and challenges involved in property division in Texas divorce cases, and highlights the limits of modification that apply to court orders. Once a final and unambiguous property division is ordered, it generally cannot be relitigated or modified, except in limited circumstances.
Why You Need an Experienced Legal Team
At The Blacknall Firm, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with all aspects of your divorce, including property division. Our attorneys understand the nuances of Texas law and can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Whether you need assistance with negotiating a property settlement agreement, litigating a disputed property division issue, or handling an appeal, we are here to provide you with effective and personalized representation.
If you’re facing a divorce or have questions about property division in Texas, contact The Blacknall Firm today to schedule a consultation. Our team is here to help you navigate this difficult time and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.