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Complex property division case settled by Texas appeal court

When you are married to someone, you naturally assume that when you go through things together, you will both reap the benefits of those trials. A recent Texas case shows that mutually benefiting from trials might not always be the way things go when it comes to a marriage that ends in divorce.

The case has to do with a man who was wrongfully incarcerated for rape. The couple was married for less than two years when he was charged in 1982. The woman filed for divorce while he was serving his prison sentence.

DNA evidence cleared the man of the crime in 2008. By that time, he had served 24 years behind bars. Of those, he was divorced from the woman for 14. Per the Tim Cole Act, the man got around $6 million in compensation for his wrongful imprisonment.

In September 2012, a judge awarded the man's ex-wife with half of the more than $228,000 that was considered community property. This was in response to a claim the woman filed that stated she was due for lost wages. That award, which was just over $114,000 was recently overturned by a three-judge panel in an appeal court. Those judges ruled that the money awarded to the man was due to his wrongful incarceration and not because of lost wages or economic factors.

This case shows that division of assets isn't always an easy process. Understanding the laws pertaining to various types of property might help you to decide what types of property you have a right to seek as part of the divorce process.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Ex-Wife of Exonerated Man Loses Payout Claim" David Lee, May. 14, 2014

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