Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

A man and woman are married for 20 years and she has 2 children (children not at home and married).The man and woman went thru a hazordous chemical spill and are waiting for the settlement from the spill. During the waiting, the woman passes away and there is no will at all and still the children are out on there own. Does the widow get the total settlement or does the widow have to split it with the children (they are not the widow's children) and they are waiting on their own settlement since they live in the same area? What law states the widow has to split any of the settlement or where does the law state the widow gets the total settlement? all of this in the state of Texas. thank you so very much for your time.

Asked on 9/23/13, 6:44 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Thomas Daley Power Daley PLLC

Here's what I think you're saying.

Man and Woman were married. Woman has adult children by prior relationship. Man is NOT the father of the Woman's adult children. Woman died without a Will.

Question: In this situation, how is community property divided?

Section 45 of the Texas Probate Code says that if a spouse dies and leaves surviving children and those surviving children are NOT the children of the surviving spouse, then those surviving children get ONE-HALF of the deceased parent's community estate.

Therefore, in this case, the children will get one-half of the community portion of the total settlement. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO HAVE A LAWYER DURING THE SETTLEMENT. The settlement agreement can give $x for past medical expenses; $y for lost wages; and $z for pain and suffering. In such an agreement, $x and $y are community property, so husband and kids each get half. However, $z is separate property and the kids get 100% of it. So if you are on surviving husband's side, you want as little of the settlement as possible to be attributed to separate property categories.

I'm sorry for your loss. Good luck with your case.

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Answered on 9/26/13, 10:39 am

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