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Characterization of Overriding Royalty Interests for Purposes of Marital Property Division

Lubbock, TX |

The original divorce decree awards the following marital property to husband:
"H-3. All sums, whether matured or unmatured, accrued or unaccrued, vested or otherwise, together with all increases thereof, the proceeds therefrom, and any other rights related to any profit-sharing plan, retirement plan, Keogh plan, pension plan, employee stock option plan, 401(k) plan, employee savings plan, accrued unpaid bonuses, disability plan, or other benefits existing by reason of the husband's past, present, or future employment."
During the marriage, husband earned overriding royalty interests by reason of his employment. Overriding royalty interests are basically contractual rights to receive a % of proceeds from oil and gas production. I'd like thoughts as to whether the ORRIs were awarded to hubby virtue of the divorce decree. Wife is refusing to assign them back to hubby and I've filed a motion for clarification on the original divorce decree. Opposing counsel doesn't think the court will buy my argument...surprise, surprise. What do you all think? Worth pushing it thru the clarification proceedings, or should I just go straight to a petition to divide marital property not divided on divorce? Not much to lose by having a hearing on the clarification motion, other than maybe the award of attorney's fees to opposing counsel if the judge is annoyed. Thanks, -JD

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Attorney answers 1


The overriding royalties, in my opinion, don't fall under that paragraph. I'd argue they weren't divided and need to be.

I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.

Joseph Charles Drennan

Joseph Charles Drennan


Opposing counsel would agree with you. I will be relying on Archibald v. Archibald I don't know if that would change your position, but I'm going to bank on that case, and if you care to share the counterpoints you'd make I would appreciate hearing them.

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