The How and Why Behind Reimbursement Claims – Part II
Last week, we learned about reimbursement claims in divorce-related matters and that there are three factors that must be established by a spouse seeking reimbursement for contributions made to their former spouse’s estate.
Per the Texas Family Code, those three factors are:
- That a contribution was made by one marital estate to another
- That the contribution was reimbursable
- The value of the contribution
To read that blog, click this link https://nelsonlawgrouppc.com/behind-reimbursement-claims-part/. Today’s blog will discuss the first factor – the contribution was made by one marital estate to another – in broader detail.
Establishing that a contribution was made by one marital estate to another may seem easy, but as the Texas Family Code tells us, the petitioner may need to prove the character of the contribution depending on which marital estate (separate or community) made the contribution. A reimbursement claim can run from a community estate to a separate estate, from separate estate to community estate, or from separate estate to separate estate.
By Separate Estate
Contributions made during marriage are presumed to be made with community property. So when a spouse is seeking reimbursement for contributions made by his or her separate estate, he or she must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the contributions came from that estate and nowhere else. Examples of clear evidence includes:
- Testimony (expert or lay person). For example, a CPA.
- A spouse’s uncorroborated and uncontradicted testimony.
- Documentation, such as that which establishes the time and manner in which property was acquired.
By Community Estate
All courts agree that the petitioner has the burden to prove contributions were made by the community estate, but many courts are divided on whether the community-property presumption by itself satisfies the petitioner’s burden of proof.
Per the TFC, the Houston (14th), El Paso, and Texarkana Courts of Appeals say that the petitioner is aided by the presumption mentioned above that all contributions made during the marriage come from the community estate. The petitioner is simply seeking that the community estate be reimbursed. Meanwhile, the Austin and Waco Courts of Appeals reason that “the community-property presumption by itself cannot meet the petitioner’s burden of proof.” The petitioner must show that the community property acquired under the presumption was actually used for the relevant contributions.
We will discuss whether or not a contribution is reimbursable next week.
If you are going through a divorce and feel you are entitled to be reimbursed for specific expenses, contact Nelson Law Group, PC to learn more about how this law relates to your specific situation. As we’ve said time and time again, every divorce case is different, and requires a keen legal eye to decipher what is just and right for each party involved. We are always accessible, and we truly love hearing from our clients.
Source: Nelson Law Group