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abandonment of property

Abandonment of property (real estate or personal property) is a legal concept in property law, but has little application in the context of divorce or family law. For example, a spouse or domestic partner does not forfeit an ownership interest in the shared home or any of its contents by moving out of the home. But moving out of the marital or shared home may impact the court’s decision on who may occupy the home while the divorce is pending, and a person should consult with an attorney before making this decision.

A person moving out of the shared home under such circumstances should also be prepared to have limited access to the home and its contents—at least until the court issues an order granting the person access to secure personal property and documents.

In Texas, the concept of abandonment of property typically refers to the relinquishment of rights or interest in property without transferring them to someone else, and it is more commonly associated with real estate or personal property law rather than family law. However, in the context of divorce or family law, a spouse or domestic partner does not lose ownership interest in a shared home or its contents simply by moving out. Nevertheless, the decision to move out can influence a court's interim orders regarding who may reside in the home during the divorce proceedings. It is important to consult with an attorney before deciding to move out, as this action can result in restricted access to the home and personal belongings until a court order is issued to allow for the retrieval of personal items and documents. Texas courts aim to ensure a fair division of property during a divorce, and abandonment of the home does not equate to forfeiture of property rights in the divorce settlement.

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