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Post-Divorce Property Suits

At the time of Divorce, courts are charged with the responsibility of dividing the community property of the parties.  Since the marriage is ending, and there will be no more "community," there can no longer be any community estate or community property.

The problem is that, although a total division of the community estate is the goal, the goal is not always reached.  That is, there are times when a divorce is granted, and yet some community property was not addressed in the Final Decree of Divorce.

In that circumstance, it may be necessary to file a "Post-Dissolution Suit for Division of Property."

Many types of property are susceptible to being left out of a decree - either intentionally or accidentally - but real estate and retirement benefits are the ones that generally are of a sufficient magnitude that people have reason to complain post-divorce.

While some people believe that any property that was not addressed in the decree is owned by the parties "half and half," that is simply not true.  The property is subject to being divided by the court in a "just and right, equitable" fashion.  In other words, the court is free to do what it believes to be fair.

Obviously, fairness is in the eye of the beholder, and there is liable to be at least two sides to the story of why the property was not addressed in the decree.  If one party intentionally hid the property from the other, that factor will clearly hurt the "hide-or" in the Post-Divorce suit.

A Post-Dissolution (Divorce) Suit is an original lawsuit, and must be pursued as such.  The petitioner will need to file a petition and have the respondent served.  From that point, it is similar to the divorce (or any other lawsuit) in that the parties may negotiate, pursue discovery, attend mediation, and/or go to trial.

If you believe that your divorce decree may not have addressed all of the property you owned at the time of divorce you may need to pursue a Post-Divorce Suit.  There is a limitations period that pertains to this type of case - that is, there is a point in time after which the case cannot be brought - however, determining when it begins and when it ends can be complex.

The BEAL LAW FIRM can help you determine whether you have a case, whether you still have time to pursue it, and whether the economics of pursuing the case makes sense.

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