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Assessment of Senate Bill 866- Bringing Back Reimbursements And Offsets In Divorce

Texas Legislature amended the state’s law on economic contribution and return to more traditional reimbursements and offset principles. In such divorce cases, claims are made through economic contribution. Through theses claims, one spouse can request the other spouse to repay money for certain types of expenses that benefit either individual through one of their own personal, separate properties or the community property owned jointly through both spouses.  In a legal matter, there are three separate estates that own property which includes: (i) the husband’s estate (property owned solely by the husband), (ii) the wife’s estate (property owned solely by the wife), and (iii) the marital estate (property owned both by the husband and wife). One of the more complex issues in a divorce case is determining which person rightfully inherits the property left and how to respectfully divide that property.  Prior to Senate Bill 866, spouses in a divorce case were entitled to make a claim for economic contribution or reimbursement, solely depending on a confusing constitutional definition of what was rightfully theirs. Senate Bill 866 serves a new purpose in that it simplifies the law already established by returning to legal philosophy that is not as complex for the courts and attorneys to understand.  Economic contribution has been eliminated altogether and has been replaced by claims for reimbursement through the law passed.  This law just came into effect on September 1, 2009.

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