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What happens to mineral rights in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2021 | Divorce |

In areas of the US that are rich in natural resources, divorcing couples may find themselves in disputes over mineral rights. The legal stipulations that govern mineral rights are virtually the same as the laws that govern other forms of jointly-held property. However, mineral rights are interpreted differently in different jurisdictions. If you’re an Oklahoma resident going through a divorce and need legal counsel on disposing of shared mineral rights with your soon-to-be-ex, here are a few points to consider.

What are mineral rights?

Mineral rights are widely classified as legal powers that dictate the right to sell, explore, and exploit mineral wealth that is associated with parcels of real estate. The rights are initially attached to property titles for specific areas of the property and can be leased, sold, or divided without affecting the integrity of the property.

Fee simple interests include regular titles and mineral rights; some other forms of property ownership may not include mineral rights. Before you determine which method is best for disposing of the mineral rights in a divorce, you must verify that you have control over the natural resources on your property.

The classification of mineral rights

Most states deem mineral rights “marital property” in a divorce. This applies to most cases unless you transferred or sold your mineral rights to another party. However, a lease agreement won’t affect your rights to obtain the natural resources on your property. Mineral-rich states often classify minerals as community property, which means the value of the minerals is evenly divided.

If you and your spouse are facing divorce and you have issues to resolve concerning mineral rights, speak with an experienced family law attorney in Oklahoma who could assist you through the process.