Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

I have a question regarding small claims court and what I need to file in order to bring a case of breach of contract from the property distribution of a divorce decree. I already pre-filled the court form. I am planning to attach the divorce decree as reference to the contract we both are in breach of. Do I need to include all my evidence at the time of filing or do I just bring it to court when the court hears our case?

Background on my case. I have been trying to settle a small dispute over the distribution of assets from the divorce decree. We are both in breach of contract. I owe ex $6,500. Ex owes me over $9,000. This figure is from bills the ex never paid, personal property she never handed over, and trashing my house while she lived in it. I tried settling in mediation, but she didn't agree to the offset. The fact that she trashed the place has placed me in a hardship. I have emails of bills sent to her, hand-delivered letters with witnesses outlining the means she could have taken to pay the bills (account numbers, permissions to make payments online, etc), register letters with return receipts (never opened by her) asking to settle, witnesses and pictures of the condition of the house, etc. The decree has clear wording on her obligations, my indemnification for paying the bills (which I understand means she still has to pay them), and there is even wording stating she was to maintain/repair my house while she lived in it. She left it trashed, but fortunately not majorly damaged. The divorce decree has no wording on remedies, nor does it have a clause to offset the debt. I do not have the money to go back to family court. I did some research and per various court cases (Underhill v. Underhill, 614 S.W.2d 178 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1981, writ ref’d.n.r.e.), I can bring about a breach of contract suit in small claims to request the offset, and maybe even recuperate some of the losses on the house.

What do you need to file besides the application form and a copy of divorce decree to reference the breach of contract? Please keep in mind, I do not have the money to go back to family court at this time, yet I want this matter over. Thanks in advance.

Asked on 8/25/13, 8:06 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Keith Engelke Law Office of S. Keith Engelke

You may have better luck in district court by filing a motion to enforce. The filing fees may be less than those in a justice court. If you are determined to go to justice court, check out the website for civil claims or call the clerk and ask. In addition to what you file, bring your evidence.

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Answered on 8/25/13, 8:42 pm

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