Community Property


donations
The primary law governing donations or gift-giving between spouses is Section 3.005 of the Texas Family Code. It states that the property given by the spouse to the other is presumed to be given as a gift. It includes all the income and property that may result from this property. The Texas marital property law follows the community property system. Community vs Separate Property Community property is the property owned by both husband and wife. This, of course, excludes those considered as their own separate property. Separate property is owned by either spouse prior to the marriage. However, property acquired during the marriage may still be considered separate property. That is if the acquisition was by will, gift, inheritance, or purchased with their own separate funds. Separate property may also be agreed upon by the spouses through a written agreement exchanging or partitioning community property. Clear and convincing evidence is needed in order to prove that a property is actually a separate one. In cases where the classification of the assets is required, the inception of title rule applies. The determination of the character of a property can be determined at the time of the asset was acquired. The manner of how title is held is irrelevant in Texas when it comes to the determination of ownership. The inception of title rule considers the acquisition’s time and circumstance– not the name on the title of the property. Below are some examples: Situation 1 Ana owns a house prior to the marriage, so it is Ana’s separate property. Ana names the house to her husband, Bert, under the deed. Here, the deed is presumed as a gift to Bert and the house is believed to be Bert’s separate property. Situation 2 Ana owns a house prior to the marriage, so it […]

What About Gifts Between Spouses?


inheritance of adopted
Can the adopted child inherit from his or her adoptive parents? Yes. Under the Texas Probate Code, when a child is adopted legally or formally, they are treated in the same footing as a natural-born child of the adoptive parents. Therefore, if the decedent dies without a will, the adopted child has the same inheritance rights as the natural child. In cases of formal adoption, the state conducts an investigation to ensure that the adopting parents are qualified to adopt a child. The investigation may include but is not limited to inspecting their home and doing a background check on the applicants. The state must verify that the applicants have enough resources to provide for the adopted child. Once everything is in place, the judge then approves the petition for adoption. The adopted child will legally become the child of the adopting parents and he or she enjoys the same rights as a natural born child. This means that the inheritance rights of the adopted child extends not only to what he may inherit from the adopting parents but he or she will inherit from the adoptive parents’ decedents, such as the grandparents, and in some cases, uncles and aunts. Can the adopted child still inherit from his or her biological parents? Another issue at hand is whether or not the adopted child still has the right to inherit from his natural or biological parents. As a general rule, yes. The adopted child can inherit from both his or her birth parents and adoptive parents. This is only applicable if the natural or adoptive parents do not have testamentary wills and if there is no court order that especially prohibits a child to inherit from his or her natural parents. If the adoptive and natural parents have testamentary wills, their estate […]

What Can the Adopted Child Inherit?



illegitimate child
There are children all over the world that were born in less than ideal situations. These children do not have control over their circumstances, but are often subject to a level of discrimination or difficulty. Fortunately, the law in Texas offers degrees of protection. History The state of Texas did not provide inheritance rights for illegitimate children until 1991. That was the time when the Texas Supreme Court stated that the statutes that excluded illegitimate children from this right was unconstitutional, taking its cue from the United Supreme Court’s ruling. The ruling stated that depriving the rights of illegitimate children were a violation of the Constitution, specifically the equal protection clause.  The ruling stated that illegitimacy, like race or country of origin is beyond a citizen’s control. It is also not an indicator of his/her capacity to participate and contribute to society. Thus, using it as a basis for exclusion is a violation of the equal protection clause. Texas Probate Code  In accordance with that principle, the Texas Probate Code now states that illegitimate children can have the same inheritance from their parents as those of the legitimate children, under certain conditions. The key here is establishing paternity. There are many methods wherein a father can voluntarily declare that he is the father of a child. The most obvious way is through DNA testing, but he can also execute a voluntary statement of paternity in accordance with the Family Code or he can also legally adopt the child. The Probate Court also acknowledges consent forms signed by the father in cases of assisted reproduction, like in-vitro fertilization. It is also applicable to legitimate gestational agreements, provided the father is adjudicated to be the father. Once paternity is established, the child will gain inheritance rights as those with legitimate children.  In […]

Inheritance Rights of Illegitimate Children in Texas


divorce
For those who are married, the perfect world would be to not get divorced.  And should you have to get divorced, that it would be a quick, easy, and pain-free process.  The reality of that is not true.  District Court Judge John Roach and Attorney Laura Roach (husband and wife team) have seen too many people get hurt through divorces, especially ones that go to court. As a solution, the two have taken on a personal mission to make the process easier for couples who are going through a divorce.  They want divorce to become an amicable process and to save marriages where they can be brought back to life. The husband and wife duo believe that the key to a good divorce is through mediation.  John uses his experience in the 296th Judicial District Court while Laura uses her time as a partner at the firm Albin Roach PLLC to work people through the process of mediation. Years have gone by and divorce cases always felt the same to the couple.  The clients would go to court and they would be fearing the worst.  Heartbreak, despair, and the fear of losing your life’s progress all weigh on a client.  This weight can make them break down. One of the key parts of mediation is that it relies heavily on communication.  One of the hardest parts in a relationship is fair and honest communication.  As such, some couples learn through proper mediation that all they needed in their relationship was good communication.  Unfortunately, those people are only a small portion of the population. However, for those that don’t find the key to their relationship through mediation will still find something in the process.  Mediation is far less daunting than going to court.  It is also a far easier process.  Both […]

Mediation: An Ease to The Destructive Nature of Divorce



house after divorce
A major aspect that is affected by divorce is the finances of the spouses. If not handled well, this can turn into a big chaos before, during and after the proceedings. A lot of the assets and properties will be in consideration for division but in this article, we will focus on the house. If not adjudged in one of the parties favor, one will be tossed out of it while one remains in it. There are two options for this. The first one is selling the house, and the second one is that the spouse who remains in it will continue paying future amortizations without obliging the other spouse to pay for such.  Selling the House In most cases,  the best way to go is usually selling the home which will be part of the divorce decree. The spouses will have to hire a realtor who will put the house on the market and then have the home sold in the terms the spouses have agreed upon in their Final Divorce Decree. After such process, dividing up the proceeds of the sale can assist both spouses in starting their lives again after the divorce proceedings.  Remaining in the House If one of the spouses decides to remain in the house and the other spouse did not oppose to such decision, it is then important to determine whether he or she will qualify for a refinance of the mortgage based on the income of the spouse who will be staying. If refinancing is possible, then the next step to take to start the process in relation to the terms of the divorce settlement is working with the lender so that the process will be done correctly. The spouses will be entitled to whatever their shares of the home’s equity will […]

What Happens to the Mortgage After Divorce?


snooping around
While most think that being married means being one with your spouse, it doesn’t mean that you shed your individuality. Yes, you will share many things with your spouse, but no, you do not become one. Each of you has rights and you can even invoke this against the other. Setting boundaries is not meant to put a wall between you and your spouse, it is a healthy mechanism to preserve your individual rights – and sanity! Trust and respect are the foundations of a good and lasting marital relationship. If you trust your spouse, you should respect his or her rights. And even if you don’t want to, you still have to. After all, it’s what the law mandates. The Texas Constitution recognizes and protects personal privacy from intrusion that is unreasonable. Texas protects individuals against numerous forms of invasion of privacy. This includes public disclosure of private facts, among others. You cannot invade the privacy of your spouse A person cannot intentionally intrude upon another’s seclusion, solitude, or private affairs through physically invading their property or by eavesdropping on a private conversation via microphones, wiretaps, or spying – even when married to each other. Also, snooping around is a big no-no. Snooping around between spouses has been increasing as the technology for modern surveillance becomes more accessible and affordable. Marriage does not remove an individual’s right to privacy A case in Texas ruled by the state’s Court of Appeals stated that there is nothing in Texas law that suggests that the right of privacy is only applicable to people who are unmarried. The actions of a spouse in recording the other spouse who the former believes is in complete privacy, could be considered as an invasion of privacy. This violation is considered a tort that could entitle the […]

Right to Privacy Between Spouses



credit card debts
When getting a divorce, there are a lot of things that have to be taken into account. First, you should get a lawyer and figure out how to go about your divorce. Of course, you also have to think about where your children, if you have any. Your lawyer should also advise you regarding conjugal properties. What to do with all the things you both own? How do you go about dividing your money? Who pays for what now? What happens to the debts you share? Marital Debts Marital debts are debts incurred during your marriage and before the awarding of a divorce decree. It can be split among the spouses by the court or based on the settlement reached between the pair. This applies in the state of Texas and makes debts like that are the easiest kind to settle. Credit Accounts The kind of debt that may be more difficult to handle are debts on credit accounts. Credit accounts that are opened during your marriage that are under either your name or your spouse’s name, sometimes even under both your names, are harder to settle as there is still the possibility of debts being incurred after your marriage. Figuring out who pays for what in the credit accounts after the divorce may become more confusing. What normally passes off after divorce is that any purchases made by either partner after the divorce is their obligation and must be compensated. The only problem with this is that any unsecured credit card debts, if left unpaid, they may end up piling interest up until it becomes too heavy a burden. This will make it harder to pay for. Steps You Can Take with Regard to the Debts Things can be done with regard to credit accounts such as settling them […]

Do You Divorce Your Debts too During a Divorce?


military divorce
Do military divorces differ from normal divorce procedures? Military life can be pretty tough and rigorous. People who enlist in the army are selfless and courageous. Making the decision to serve the country this way is definitely not an easy path to take. These people in the military put the lives of other citizens before their own and they are exposed to dangerous situations on a daily basis. This is nothing short of brave and is definitely admirable. Our soldiers are true heroes who keep on moving frequently all over the country and even across the world. This is a sad thing because it means staying away from their family and loved ones for long periods of time. What’s even sadder is the fact that this can cause a lot of strain in their relationships, especially for those who are married. Military divorces is sadly a common and regular occurrence. If you are married to a serviceman, you would know that his life will keep on changing and the ground which you place your relationship won’t always feel stable. Your marriage will be stressed no matter how healthy your relationship with your spouse is – because of constant moving from place to place within a short notice. The fact that military men get deployed into various warzones can be a root of stress and anxiety too. Though couples try hard to stay married despite these challenges, some of these marriages eventually end up in military divorces. Difference Between Civilian Divorces and Military Divorces As you might have already guessed, military divorces are different from civilian divorces. Military divorces include certain elements that you won’t be able to find in a normal divorce. Most of the time, military divorces also include various issues that you won’t be able to encounter in […]

Military Divorces in Texas