Varghese Summersett

Divorce proceedings can be complex, especially when significant assets and joint property is involved. In some Texas divorce cases, the court may appoint a “divorce receiver” to manage, protect, and sometimes sell marital assets, especially property or real estate.

In this article, we explain the role of a receiver in a Texas divorce case, when appointing one becomes necessary, and how they can impact your divorce proceedings.

But first, please watch this informative video by divorce attorney Wade Griffin, who offers an excellent overview of the role of a divorce receiver, including the advantages and disadvantages of having a receiver control the sale or refinancing of joint property.

What is a Divorce Receiver in Texas Divorce Proceedings?

A receiver is a neutral third party appointed by the court to manage specific assets or property during a legal dispute, such as a divorce. Their primary role is to ensure that assets are managed fairly and equitably until the court reaches a final decision. Unlike mediators or arbitrators, receivers have the authority to take control of, collect, and sometimes even sell the assets in question.

In the context of a Texas divorce, a receiver can manage anything from a jointly-owned business to real estate and financial accounts. Their involvement ensures neither party can misuse or deplete the assets, preserving their value for equitable distribution.

When is a Divorce Reciever Appointed?

The court does not appoint a receiver in every divorce case. Typically, a receiver is called in under specific circumstances where asset management becomes a contentious issue. Here are some situations where the court may find it necessary to appoint a receiver:

High-Value Assets

When a divorce involves high-value assets, such as businesses, significant real estate holdings, or substantial financial portfolios, the court might appoint a receiver to ensure these are managed appropriately. High-value assets often have complex financial structures that need expert management to preserve their value.

Contentious Divorces

In cases where the divorcing parties cannot agree on how to manage their joint assets, a receiver can step in to take control. This prevents either party from making unilateral decisions that could negatively impact the asset’s value or the other party’s interests.

Risk of Asset Dissipation

If there is evidence that one spouse might dissipate or hide assets, the court may appoint a receiver to protect those assets. This ensures that all assets are available for equitable distribution, preventing any unfair advantage.

When divorce receivers are appointed in Texas divorces

Why Are Receivers Appointed?

Receivers are appointed for several reasons, all aimed at ensuring fairness and equity in the management of marital assets. For example, a court may appoint a receiver if one of the parties is not complying with court order regarding property division. This could happen if one party is preventing the property from being sold or managed properly.

Here’s a closer look at why the court might decide to bring in a receiver:

Preventing Mismanagement

One of the primary reasons for appointing a divorce receiver is to prevent asset mismanagement. In contentious divorces, emotions can run high, leading to poor financial decisions. A receiver ensures that assets are managed professionally and remain intact. For example, if one spouse is actively involved in a business that is being mismanaged, the court may appoint a receiver to protect the property.

Ensuring Fair Distribution

A receiver helps ensure that assets are fairly distributed between both parties. By managing and possibly liquidating assets, a receiver can convert complex holdings into more easily divisible forms, such as cash, making it easier to achieve an equitable distribution.

Protecting Both Parties’ Interests

In some cases, one party may have more control over the marital assets, creating an imbalance. A receiver levels the playing field, protecting both parties’ interests equally and ensuring neither party is disadvantaged.

How the court appoints divorce receivers

How the Court Appoints a Divorce Receiver

The Texas Family Code section that discusses the appointment of a receiver in a divorce case is Section 6.502. Here are the key points from that section:

  • Under Section 6.502(a)(5), while a divorce suit is pending, the court may render an order appointing a receiver for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties.
  • The court must give notice and hold a hearing before appointing a receiver
  • Within 30 days of being appointed, the receiver must give notice of the appointment to any lienholders on property under the receiver’s control.
  • Within 7 days of the appointment, the court must issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the appointment of the receiver.

So, Section 6.502 of the Texas Family Code gives the court authority to appoint a receiver over marital property during a pending divorce case, after proper notice and a hearing. The receiver’s role is to preserve and protect the property, and certain procedures like notifying lienholders and issuing findings must be followed.

The appointment of a receiver is considered an extraordinary remedy, so the court must find it necessary to protect the property interests of the parties involved.

Responsibilites of a divorce receiver

Responsibilities of a Divorce Receiver

The specific duties of a receiver in a Texas divorce case can vary, but generally include:

  1. Asset Management: The receiver takes control of specified assets, managing them to prevent waste or loss. This can involve overseeing business operations, maintaining property, and handling financial accounts.
  2. Preservation of Value: The receiver is responsible for preserving the value of the assets under their control. This includes making necessary payments (such as taxes and insurance) and ensuring proper maintenance.
  3. Reporting to the Court: Receivers regularly report to the court on the status of the assets, providing detailed accounts of their actions and the current condition of the assets.
  4. Distribution of Assets: In some cases, the receiver may be tasked with liquidating assets and distributing the proceeds according to the court’s orders.

How a Receiver Can Impact a Texas Divorce Case

The appointment of a receiver can significantly impact a divorce case in several ways:

  1. Ensuring Fairness: By managing and preserving assets, a receiver helps ensure that both parties receive a fair share of the marital property. This is particularly important in cases where one spouse is suspected of attempting to hide or deplete assets.
  2. Reducing Conflict: A receiver’s involvement can reduce conflicts between the divorcing parties by providing a neutral party to oversee disputed assets.
  3. Expert Management: Receivers often have expertise in managing complex assets, such as businesses or investment portfolios, ensuring these assets are handled properly during the divorce proceedings.

The Role of a Divorce Receiver in a Texas Divorce

Qualifications of a Divorce Reciever

The Texas Family Code does not explicitly outline specific qualifications for a receiver appointed in a divorce case. However, here are general requirements and considerations:

  • The receiver must be a neutral third party with no financial interest in the marital property they are appointed to manage and sell.
  • Texas courts typically require the receiver to be a resident of Texas.
  • The receiver must be able to obtain a receiver’s bond, which means having good credit and sufficient liquid asset.
  • The court will consider the receiver’s background, education, training, and prior experience as it relates to managing the type of asset(s) involved (e.g. real estate, business, etc.)
  • The receiver should have relevant professional designations, licenses, and ability to engage appropriate third-party professionals if needed
  • Ultimately, the court determines the suitability of the proposed receiver based on the specific circumstances of the case

While not an absolute requirement, courts often prefer to appoint receivers who are experienced real estate professionals, attorneys, or those with relevant business/asset management expertise when dealing with marital property like homes, businesses, investments, etc

Does a receiver have to be a realtor?

Does a Receiver Have to be a Realtor?

In a divorce case in Texas, a judge may appoint a receiver to manage and sell certain marital assets, including real estate properties. Here are some key points regarding the appointment of a realtor as a receiver in a Texas divorce:

  • The court has the authority to appoint a receiver to take possession of marital property and sell it under certain circumstances, such as when the parties cannot agree on how to dispose of the property.
  • The receiver is typically a neutral third party, but in some cases, the court may appoint a realtor as the receiver to manage and sell a real estate property that is part of the marital estate.
  • When a realtor is appointed as a receiver, they are acting in a court-appointed capacity separate from their typical role as a real estate agent. The receiver has a fiduciary duty to the court and must follow the court’s orders regarding the management and sale of the property.
  • The receiver is entitled to reasonable compensation for their services, which is typically paid from the proceeds of the sale of the property or from the marital estate. The compensation amount is determined by the court and may be different from the typical real estate commission.
  • The appointment of a receiver is considered an extraordinary remedy, and the court will only do so if it finds it necessary to protect the property or the interests of the parties involved.

In summary, while it is not a common occurrence, a judge in a Texas divorce case does have the authority to appoint a realtor as a receiver to manage and sell a marital real estate property. In such cases, the realtor acts as a court-appointed receiver and is entitled to reasonable compensation set by the court, separate from a typical real estate commission.

Other Professionals Who Can Serve as Receivers

Receivers can come from various professional backgrounds, depending on the nature of the assets and the needs of the case. Examples include:

  1. Accountants: For cases involving complex financial assets, an accountant may be appointed to manage and account for these assets.
  2. Business Managers: In cases where a business is a significant marital asset, a business manager with experience in the relevant industry may be chosen.
  3. Attorneys: Sometimes, attorneys with experience in receivership can be appointed, especially if the case involves legal complexities.

In Texas, while a receiver must be competent and impartial, there is no specific requirement that they be a realtor. The selection of a receiver is based on the nature of the assets and the specific needs of the case. The court will appoint an individual with the appropriate expertise to manage, preserve, or liquidate the assets in question, ensuring a fair and equitable process for both parties involved in the divorce.

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Facing Divorce? Contact Us

Divorce is a complex process, and the appointment of a receiver adds another layer of complexity. However, understanding the role of a receiver, when they are appointed, and why they are appointed can help you navigate your divorce more effectively. By ensuring that assets are managed fairly and equitably, receivers play a crucial role in protecting the interests of both parties in a Texas divorce case.

If you are facing a divorce and think a receiver might be necessary for your case, contact us today. Our experienced legal team is here to guide you through every step of your divorce, ensuring your interests are protected and your future is secure. Call 817-203-2220 today to schedule a consultation.

Dallas Divorce Lawyer

Varghese Summersett is a premier criminal defense firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Our attorneys focus exclusively on criminal law and represent clients charged with crimes at both the state and federal level. We handle everything from DWI to capital murder to white collar crime. Collectively, our attorneys bring together more than 100 years of criminal law experience and have tried more than 550 cases before Texas juries. All of our senior attorneys served as former state or federal prosecutors and four are Board Certified in Criminal law, the highest designation an attorney can reach. We are the firm people turn to when the stakes are high and they are facing the biggest problem in their lives. - Contact Varghese at  
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