Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mineral Rights -- No Longer Ignored

Whatever your position is on whether and where gas drilling should be permitted in Tarrant County, Texas, there is a lot of leasing going on and mineral rights have become a hot topic in divorce cases. In a Collaborative Law case in Tarrant County, mineral rights need to be on the agenda when dealing with property division. The mineral rights can come into play in several ways.

(1) The parties may own rural land in Tarrant County. If there's been no oil or gas leasing, someone will probably want to buy or lease the land (and minerals). Either way, there's some money to be made that can be divided along with the other assets of the marriage.

(2) If the parties own some developed land in Tarrant County, there probably has been or will be some leasing activity in the area. Some companies are buying properties, but most are just leasing.

(3) If the parties own any property in other counties, they should investigate whether there is any oil or gas activity in those areas. The biggest gas field in Texas right now is centered around Tarrant County, but oil activity is picking up around the state as the price per barrel continues to climb.

(4) If the parties' land is already leased, the royalties (if and when received) can be shared. If the initial bonus payment is still around, it can be divided or offset between the parties.

(5) Leases have generally been more profitable when neighborhoods band together or land owners lease large tracts. It's probably better not to try to negotiate a lease individually.

If your Collaborative attorneys don't know much about mineral rights, they can bring in an oil and gas specialist to help out, just like a parenting specialist or divorce financial planner is often brought in. While mineral rights may not be a big issue in other areas, in Tarrant County, they can have a major impact on the bottom line and they should not be ignored.

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