I learned today that I may go down in the annals of local family law history. As I was sitting in the District Clerk‘s office, perusing some files, I happened to glance over at the computer terminal next to mine…and clearly saw that the people sitting there were looking at a case I handled last year. Of course I was curious as to what was causing the folks to view my case over a year after it was concluded–I might add that it was a memorable case for a variety of reasons. It turns out that they were pursuing a claim to get a court’s authority to sell real estate without the consent or signature of the person’s spouse, which is allowed in very narrow circumstances by Section 3.301 of the Texas Family Code. This was the claim I helped bring for my client last year, and the people I met today had been told by one of the clerks that such a thing had only been done once before in Travis County…in my case! So I suppose that makes me famous, sort of.
To clarify a bit, Section 3.301(a) states that:
A spouse may file a sworn petition stating the facts that make it desirable for the petitioning spouse to manage, control, and dispose of community property described or defined in the petition that would otherwise be subject to the sole or joint management, control, and disposition of the other spouse if:
(1) the other spouse has disappeared and that spouse’s location remains unknown to the petitioning spouse, unless the spouse is reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service;
(2) the other spouse has permanently abandoned the petitioning spouse; or
(3) the spouses are permanently separated.
A little-known and rarely-used provision of the Family Code, to be sure. I’m just enjoying my fleeting moment of minor fame.