Oil and gas resources on a property can be a financial boon for the owner of that land. So long as someone obtains the mineral rights when purchasing a property, they will then have control over any oil or gas deposits that exist on their land. They will often have the option of either leasing mineral rights to a company or sometimes even starting their own small extraction operation.
For some property owners, the revenue generated by oil and gas leases or production can cover part of a mortgage or even provide the household with income. If the property owners end up divorcing, the oil and gas operations at the property or income from a lease could end up influencing the divorce proceedings for the couple.
Property division can be more of a challenge
There are a few ways in which oil and gas resources can add additional complexity to an upcoming divorce. In some cases, those resources can affect what the property is truly worth. Couples may need to bring in professional help to secure an accurate valuation of the property for the purpose of dividing their assets in the divorce. Oklahoma’s equitable distribution rule can help couples achieve fair outcomes for property division during a divorce, and the process requires the disclosure, valuation and division of marital assets.
In cases where there may be an opportunity for a lease in the future, the financial value of the lease could also play a role in the total value of the marital estate and how the couples divide their shared resources and their debts. That future income might also lead to one spouse making a claim for spousal support or alimony.
Especially in scenarios where one spouse expects to retain the marital home and any mineral rights attached to it, it may be necessary for couples to collaborate or negotiate a property settlement outside of court to achieve the exact results that they desire. Recognizing that certain assets, like oil and gas leases or extraction revenue, may add an extra layer of complexity to an upcoming divorce can help those preparing for marital dissolution in Oklahoma better protect themselves during that process.