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What is a marital estate?

When considering the issue of asset and property division in San Antonio, one term that may repeatedly come up is “marital estate.” Like most, you may think of wills, trusts and other estate planning articles when applying the word “estate” to a situation, and while those instruments can have meaning in this context, the marital estate refers specifically to the property of you and your ex-spouse. All community property owned by you and your ex-spouse is considered to be your community marital estate, while separate property owned by each of you individually makes up the separate marital estates.

Why is this important? Should you choose to divorce, you may be able to submit claims for reimbursement for expenses paid by your separate estate. According to the Texas Family Code, reimbursable expenses following divorce include:

  •          Payments made from your estate to satisfy the unsecured debts of your ex-spouse.
  •          Inadequate compensation for the effort you exert supporting your own business.
  •          Payments made on liens against property that either of you owned before the marriage.
  •          Payments and made on liens and/or refinancing costs for property acquired during the marriage that were either gifted or purchased with the intent to make capital improvements.
  •          Capital improvements to property.
  •          Payments made from community property for your ex-spouse’s unsecured debts.

Not all payments made from your separate marital estate to benefit your ex-spouse are subject to reimbursement. You cannot, for example, be reimbursed for spousal or child support payments. The same is true if you agree to pay for your ex-spouse’s student loans, or his or her (or your children’s) living expenses. Property contributions and liability payments of nominal value are also not reimbursable.  

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