Oil, Gas & Mineral Rights
Divorce & Property Division Lawyer in Texas
Dividing property is a hallmark of the divorce process, and it’s unique to each and every case. While any pair of splitting spouses will need to carefully review their financial arrangements, debts, and assets, and work to reach resolutions about how they’re to be divided, some will have additional concerns – especially with complex assets like oil, gas, and mineral rights.
Led by Board Certified Family Law Specialist Lennea Cannon (TX Board of Legal Specialization and Attorneys Lori Blackwell and Yoka Larasati, our Family Law team has the insight and experience to help clients address even the most challenging issues of divorce.
From collaborative cases to the most heated contests, we work to protect our clients’ rights and interests, and ensure equitable resolutions over matters that can have far-reaching effects on their finances and futures. Contact us to speak with an attorney.
Oil, Gas & Mineral Rights & Texas Divorce
Divorcing spouses in energy-rich places like Texas may have to wrangle with issues of oil, gas, and mineral rights, which “sever” the ownership of minerals below the surface from the land itself and what’s on it.
Mineral rights allow natural resources underlying a parcel of land to be exploited, are typically attached to real property titles, and can be sold, leased, or divided. They may also be held in various ways, from corporate or independent ownership to partnerships and profit-sharing arrangements.
Because the uniqueness of these rights and the way they’re held can complicate proceedings, the first step in any divorce involving potential division of oil, gas, and mineral assets is to trace and ensure ownership. It’s also important to characterize assets as “community property” or “separate property,” and properly value them for the purpose of distribution.
Read our blog: Oil, Gas & Mineral Interest Division in a Texas Divorce.
Community or Separate Property Mineral Rights
Under Texas law, mineral rights are a type of real property, and as such are subject to the same marital laws which govern the division of a family home, or an investment property. That means they can be:
- Separate property, if mineral rights were owned by one spouse prior to marriage, or acquired through an inheritance or as a gift;
- Community property, if the mineral rights were acquired at any point during the marriage; or
- A little of both, if assets have been commingled, entitling a spouse without separate property ownership to at least a portion of the value of the other’s mineral rights.
Things can get complicated when it comes to the breakdown, characterization, and valuation of the ownership components of mineral rights and any lease interest, which may include:
- Bonus payments and royalties
- Delay rentals (always considered marital property)
- Working interest (i.e. drilling) and overriding royalty interest
Negotiating a fair property division settlement, or tracing, proving, and protecting separate property are complex property division matters that demand the attention of lawyers experienced with oil and gas law, business law (particularly when spouses are in the oil industry or have enterprises holding rights), and access to industry and financial experts.
Call (713) 909-7323 to Speak with a Houston Property Division Lawyer
Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. is a Houston-based law firm with experienced and award-winning Texas trial lawyers. Our multi-disciplinary approach is of particular benefit to clients with unique assets, high-value marital estates, and business ownership interests – and to anyone who wants diligent and determined legal representation when protecting their property rights in divorce.
Speak with a Houston divorce attorney about your case. Contact us online or call (713) 909-7323.