In re Marriage of Christodolou, 383 S.W.3d 718 (Tex. App.–Amarillo 2012, no pet.).
This was a case I recently won on appeal. To read the Court’s opinion, see here.
In divorce, courts divide up community property between the spouses. This community property often includes houses. Here, a husband and wife had a house, which was classified as a homestead. (A homestead is a house used as the primary residence.) The designation of their home as a homestead was important because according to article 16, § 50 of the Texas Constitution, “[t]he homestead of a family . . . shall be, and is hereby protected from forced sale, for the payment of all debts.” This protection from forced sale to pay debts also extends to divisions of homesteads in divorce.
The trial court divided the home by awarding the home to the husband. The husband, in turn, was ordered to pay the wife about half of the home’s value in monthly installments.
Notwithstanding the designation of their home as a homestead, the trial court ruled that the money the wife received as her portion of the homestead would be used to pay a debt. The Amarillo Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s ruling, clarifying that the wife’s portion of the homestead was not subject to pay a debt.