Texas Court Denies Ex-Wife Postjudgment Interest on Accounts Awarded in Divorce

Appeals of a Texas divorce can be lengthy and may sometimes result in a significant delay in a party receiving the assets they were awarded in the decree.  In some cases, courts may award postjudgment interest on a money judgment.  In a recent case, a Texas appeals court considered whether an award of a brokerage account in a divorce property division authorized postjudgment interest.

Case History

According to the appeals court’s opinion, the parties got married in the early 1990s and divorced in 2018.  The decree awarded the wife two investment accounts, together valued at $548,177.25.  The decree also awarded her the equivalent value of $1,062,242.20.  The accounts were invested and therefore fluctuated in value.  The decree provided that the accounts were to be divided as “more particularly defined in a Qualified Domestic Relations Order signed by the Court.” The decree did not state the amounts of cash or securities held in the accounts, but did include “interest, dividends, gains, or losses” on the awards.

The husband appealed, but the appeals court affirmed the property division and the Texas Supreme Court denied review.  The appeal was not resolved until April 19, 2021, and the wife was denied access to the accounts while the appeal was pending.  She requested interest on their value, but the trial court concluded the awards were not “money judgments” and denied the request for interest.

The Wife’s Appeal

The wife appealed the denial of interest.  The appeals court acknowledged that it appeared the decree stated a monetary award from the retirement account, but noted that the court signed a clarifying order stating the account was to be divided according to the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) that awarded the wife 82.46% of the retirement account.  The record did not indicate whether QDROs had been signed for the other two accounts, but the appeals court noted that the accounts were similar because they also included primarily securities and were not “money.”

The wife argued that she should receive postjudgment interest under the Texas Finance Code because of the lengthy delay before she was able to access the accounts.  The husband argued that the awarded accounts were not a “money judgment” and the wife was therefore not entitled to interest pursuant to Tex. Find. Code § 304.005(a).

The appeals court noted that words excluded from a statute are presumed to be excluded for a reason.  It therefore determined that the statute allowing postjudgment interest on a “money judgment” did not allow postjudgment interest on judgments other than money judgments.

The appeals court then considered the relevant definitions.  A “money judgment” is “a judgment for money.” Tex. Fin. Code § 301.002(a)(12).  “Money” is “a medium of exchange currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government.” Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 1.201(b)(24).  The appeals court noted that the definition of “money” distinguished it from securities and concluded that the award dividing an account that included both cash and investments was not a “money judgment.”  All three accounts were mixed, with the majority being securities.  The appeals court concluded the accounts did not meet the definition of “money.” Additionally, the court’s clarifying order stated that the decree was not a money award but a division of requirement accounts pursuant to a QDRO.

The appeals court concluded the wife was not entitled to postjudgment interest on any of the three accounts.  The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the wife’s request for postjudgment interest.

Seek Skilled Texas Legal Representation

Divorce appeals can be lengthy and complicated.  An experienced Texas family law attorney can advise you on your case.  Schedule a consultation with McClure Law Group at 214.692.8200 to discuss your case.


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