Family Law

10 posts

credit card debt texas divorce

Dealing with Credit Card Debts in a Texas Divorce

 The first thing people worry about when they start thinking about divorce is their children and their property. The children, the house, the cars, the money and other properties are things people think about the most when they’re on the verge of getting a  Texas divorce. If you happen to be in the same situation, these are subjects you need to seriously think about. Were there any debts incurred during your marriage? How seriously have you contemplated about the financial issues and responsibilities you have during your marriage? If you think that only the property and assets are divided when a divorce happens, you’ll have to think again. Debt is just as important as retirement accounts and properties and it is divided between the couple as well. The amount of responsibility each spouse needs to take at the time of the divorce for the debts incurred during the marriage is extremely important. Preparing for Debt in Your Divorce One of the most common debts in a marriage that are strongly debated about by both parties are credit card debts. When marital debts are divided, they can be handed to either of the spouses or both. Credit cards are a different […]

Divorce Gavel

Post-Divorce Proceedings And What They Can Mean

The process of a divorce is long and can be drawn out depending on whether both parties agree to terms or not.  A variety of other factors can complicate the process.  When the divorce decree is finally signed, a lot of people believe that the process is over.  This isn’t always the case. Often times divorce decrees come with terms and conditions that need to be followed such as property terms.  When one or both parties fail to comply with the decree, Texas Family Code Chapter 9 provides specific methods for dealing with such a situation. Either party can request that the Family Code be enforced.  This is done through filing a new lawsuit.  For those under a court-approved agreement, you can also file.  Chapter 9 filings do not bring with them the right to a jury trial.  Trial by a judge is the typical method of governance of such trial. The ability to file has been ruled by the courts as a result of enforcement of a prior lawsuit.  The case is not a criminal case but instead is under the Rules of Civil Procedure. In order to file for a personal property enforcement suit, one must file within […]

Managing A High-Stakes Divorce In Texas

Managing A High-Stakes Divorce In Texas

Any divorce is a complicated situation.  A lot goes on, from property management to custody.  Every decision has a lot of factors behind it that all need to be analyzed.  It is time-consuming and every day that the divorce goes on, it seems like it gets more complicated.  What do you do with a high-stakes divorce?  Read on for some guidance. Property Assignment in Texas There are two different categories that property can be assigned to.  These are: separate property (personal property) and community property.  Which category your property gets assigned to determines whether or not it will be split during the divorce or not. Personal Property In Texas Personal property is any property owner or claimed by a spouse before a marriage.  The most basic way to explain it is that it is, property that can be verified to belong only to one party in a divorce.  It can also include property that was specifically gifted to one partner or another.  Inherited property is the same way. During a divorce, personal property stays with its original owner.  That means that you don’t need to worry about whether it will be split between partners or not.  Both people in a […]

Child Support Withholding

How to Understand An Order/Notice to Withhold Income

If you have received an “Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support,” you must not disregard the document. This notice should be handled immediately as a Texas employer who knowingly fails to withhold court-ordered child support may be subject to a $200 fine for each pay period during which it failed to withhold income and remit child support to the appropriate agency. Additionally,  under Section 158.206 of the Texas Family Code, the employer who complies with the Order/Notice is not liable to the employee. However, as an employer it is imperative that you check your payroll records because Texas law mandates that you may not withhold more than 50% of your employee’s “disposable earnings.” Disposable earnings are the part that remains after mandatory deductions for medicare, federal income taxes, social security, union dues, nondiscretionary retirement contributions, and medical/hospitalization/disability insurance coverage for the employee and the employee’s children. There is a possibility that the Order/Notice could incorrectly exceed that amount and in that case seek guidance from your trusted family law attorney or another professional in human resources. Additionally, issues holding up a withholding order does not absolve the obligee from their responsibility to pay in the meantime. It is ultimately the […]

Divorce and Separation

Domestic Violence: Child Custody and Family Law

Domestic violence can have devastating effects on children. Batterers often use children to manipulate their partners. While the relationship continues, batterers may threaten to take custody of, kidnap or harm the children if the victim reports the abuse. After a battered woman leaves a relationship, batterers may use child custody disputes, visitation and joint custody arrangements as opportunities to threaten, intimidate, coerce and harm their former partners. From Kendall Segel-Evans, Wife Abuse and Child Custody and Visitation by the Abuser (1989). For a long time, domestic violence was not considered relevant to custody and visitation determinations. As explained in more detail in the Toolkit to End Violence Against Women, created by the National Advisory Council on Violence Against Women and the United States Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office, available in PDF and text formats, judges making custody determinations “routinely concluded that violence toward the other parent had nothing to do with one’s ability to adequately parent, and most court decisions revealed that judges did not believe that domestic or sexual abuse of one parent by the other fundamentally compromised the interests of the children.” As the Toolkit explains further, because of the ways in which batterers can use […]

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Collaborative Divorce

Divorce is difficult, but not all divorces are created equally.  Here in Austin and Greater Metro Area, more and more people are choosing to resolve their family law issues via the collaborative process.  Collaborative divorce is a method of dispute resolution where the spouses agree from the beginning that they are each going to retain attorneys who will work as settlement specialists and who will not engage in court battles. Here are the top 5 reasons any Texas couple considering a split should choose collaborative divorce:   Privacy Rather than have their dirty laundry aired in a public courthouse, spouses going through a collaborative divorce resolve all issues through privileged and confidential discussions in a private conference room. This can be especially important for business-owners, professionals, and high-profile Florida residents who are concerned about the public release of either financial details or embarrassing personal shortcomings.   Respect By its very nature, divorces that go through the court system are adversarial.  They pit husband versus wife, mother versus father, as each side tries to prove to a judge that he or she is a better parent or deserves more money.  In contrast, collaborative divorce is a team-based method of conflict resolution, where […]

Five Stages of Grief In Divorce

Divorce is a trauma, and anyone going through this trauma may be helped by speaking with a counselor or therapist.  Additionally, you should consider whether the collaborative family law process may be helpful to your family, as it is a private form of dispute resolution that generally involves a neutral facilitator, who usually has a mental health background.  This is in recognition that divorce is not just a legal matter, but also a highly emotional matter. Regardless, below are the five stages of grief you may experience if you are going through divorce:   Denial It is not uncommon for spouses to deny that the divorce process will go forward. At this point denial sets in, and so the former spouse may ignore correspondence received from the other spouse’s attorney or waive of the other spouse’s movement towards divorce as “just a phase.”   Anger Spouses may experience anger while going through divorce.  Anger at the other spouse for wanting the divorce, anger at themselves for perceived failures, and anger at the world for being a place where divorce happens. It is best to let other’s deal with their anger while remaining neutral.   Persuasion Spouses may attempt to bargain to avoid […]

Grandparent Rights in Texas

Grandparent rights are one of the areas of family law that seems to be constantly evolving. At the moment, in terms of custody, a grandparent really doesn’t have a significant legal advantage over anyone else. Most of the determination goes primarily to substantial past contact with the child, and the child’s best interest. One could argue that there is always somewhat of an unspoken understanding that a child staying attached to their biological family is preemptively better, and I would agree, but that is really only codified at the moment as to the parents, and not the grandparents. It wasn’t always this way, there used to be more specific standing for grandparents to seek custody, but over time, things have shifted to favor the place and people with whom the child has had the most contact. The first thing to take away from this as a grandparent is that it is important to maintain constant contact with your grandchildren if you want to protect that right. The more attached you and your grandchild are, the easier it will be to show how it is in the child’s best interest to be in your custody. If you haven’t seen your grandchild […]

Family Law: First Client Interview

There are a lot of things that I like to cover in a first client interview. As a board stroke, the first thing I like to go over with clients is determining what the current status quo is. This is important for a number of reasons, but primarily because a judge’s predisposition at a temporary order hearing is typically to maintain permanency for children and not to rock the boat. The other reason is to discuss what with my client what things are good about the status quo, and what things we will be looking to see if we can modify, either via agreement or via judicial intervention. I typically try to get a feel for my client as a person as well. Is this a person who is motivated by rationality and finances? Are they motivated by emotion? Some combination? This determination has relevance as to what stance is taken with opposing counsel and the bench, as I try to tailor my own persona to how my client would wish to be perceived to a certain extent. It also has relevance to things I would ask for, as well as my own personal dealings with my client. Do they […]

Welcome to the Texas Family Law Blog!

This is just a quick introductory post to let everyone know what I intend to do with this blog. There are a couple purposes, one of which is occasionally I see an issue that intrigues me, or that I simply want to rant a bit about. Another reason is that I see a lot of people confused about various family law issues that could be easily answered in a few minutes. Many of these people don’t even really need an attorney, and hopefully this blog might help them be better educated about some topics. Additionally, some people think they know more than they do, and this blog might help them question that belief and either do more research on their own, or consult an attorney. Things may change as time goes on, but hopefully this will be a good source of information for the public. If anyone sees information they disagree with or think is wrong, please write a comment about it or send me a message. I will read it, I promise! I am also not infallible by any stretch of the imagination, and the quicker I correct my mistakes the better. Just to note, this blog is designed […]