If I received a large amount of money a little over a year ago for a broken leg and made repairs/improvements to our house, can I get that money back if we divorce?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I received a large amount of money a little over a year ago for a broken leg and made repairs/improvements to our house, can I get that money back if we divorce?

Just a week later, I find that my husband has betrayed me. First response was divorce but it would devastate my 7 year old son. We went to counseling. Things smoothed out. I began using that settlement money towards repairs and upgrades to our house; I have very little of it left. He now wants a divorce. I’m kicking myself for putting all of it into our house and I’m scared of having to share custody of my son. Can I get that money back that I put into the house?

Asked on October 27, 2015 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If your settlement was structured as your separate property... then you could make a claim for "contribution."  This means that you are basically asking the community estate (the assets of the marriage) to reimburse your separate estate.  It is not an easy process, however, as most personal injury settlements are structured such that they would fall under the category of community property.  However, to be sure, take your settlement documents to a family law attorney and let them determine the character of the settlement. 
On a similar note, you mention that your husband betrayed you.... if there was fault in the marriage or if he wasted assets of the community, you may be able to make the alternative argument that you should obtain an uneven distribution of the community estate.
As far as custoy... the unfortunate reality of divorce is usually shared custody.  If you are concerned about him hiding your son from you, request temporary orders that set out the rules of the divorce fairly quickly.  If he is an incredibly bad parent, then you do want to seek a restraining order that limits his access to your son.

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