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Recovering a Child’s Money in a Divorce

On September 21, 2018

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The Family Code allows for a spouse to be reimbursed when another spouse improperly disposes of community property, but makes no allowance for when a spouse improperly disposes of a child’s property.  Furthermore, the Family Code does not codify how to divide a child’s estate in a divorce other than to create a duty for the parent to act as a fiduciary.

The best remedy when a spouse has wasted a child’s money is for the innocent spouse to assert a claim that the community estate has incurred a debt to the child.  In Taylor v. Taylor, 680 S.W.2d, 645 (Tex.App.–Beaumont 1984) the husband had borrowed the child’s trust fund money for his own benefit.  The wife at trial had asserted that the trial court had jurisdiction to order repayment of the wasted money.  The appellate court agreed, and while not distinguishing between debts to children or other third parties, stated that a trial court had broad authority to consider community obligations in dividing the community estate, and should have considered the money taken by the husband from the child’s account.

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