Divorcing parties sometimes agree to hang on to property for some time following the divorce. Sometimes, they want to allow the children to remain in the home. Sometimes, they want to make repairs to increase the property’s value. Texas divorce attorneys know that there can be a lot of conflict prior to the sale of the property. In a recent case, a Texas appeals court considered whether a former husband had a fiduciary duty to protect his former wife’s interest in the property they owned together.
The divorce decree ordered the parties to list the property for sale and to split the proceeds equally. The wife moved to enforce the decree nearly 12 years later. She claimed the husband failed to comply with the decree and failed to cooperate with selling the property. She asked for clarification of any part of the decree the court found was not specific enough to enforce by contempt. She also brought a breach-of-fiduciary-duty claim against him.
The wife argued the parties had agreed not to sell the property until the children graduated from high school. She alleged her husband had willfully withheld the proceeds of an insurance claim for damage to the house. She also claimed he had forged her name on an insurance check that was made payable to both of them and that she had to sue him to get half of the proceeds. She claimed she was unable to pay for repairs to the property because the husband had withheld the proceeds. The wife was ultimately charged for demolition of the house after the city condemned the property.