I have been separated from my husband for over 15 years. I have made every house payment, insurance and taxes on the house I have also made repairs and updates. He has not paid anything Will he be able to receive any money for the house when we divorce? Property is in Texas
1 Answer from Attorneys
Maybe. If the house was purchased during the marriage, it is probably community property. Community property is subject to division by the court. HOWEVER, the court is instructed to divide property in a manner that is "just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage." Tex. Family Code 7.001. I am very familiar with the judges in Collin County and can assure you that they each take this responsibiltiy seriously.
A judge could find that this period of long separation combined with the money you've spent on the house entitles you to much more of the value in the house, but still award SOME value to him.
Of course, any money he has saved in retirement or other assets he's accumulated are ALSO subject to division. So maybe if he thinks he's getting next to nothing for the house, he'll leave it alone to preserve his assets.
Also, the community estate is divided on a net basis. That means that the court adds up all the assets, subtracts all the liabilties, and divides the leftover in a "just and right" manner.
You might consider a consultation with a good family law attorney in your area. Depending on the mix of assets and debts and other issues such as support for any children of the marriage, etc., you might be in great shape OR you might need to take some actions to shield your assets. A consultation with a very good attorney will cost a couple hundred dollars, and if it saves your home equity from a long-estranged husband, it's a good investment.