Family Law

Practice Areas

Divorces

Many complex legal issues are involved and considered when litigating a divorce case, such as whether the marriage was valid one (especially when one party is claiming the marriage was informal or common law), the characterization and division of the community property owned by the spouses at the time of divorce, spousal support for the financially disadvantaged spouse, and claims for reimbursements from one marital estate to another.  These legal issues are further discussed in further detail down below.

a. Informal Marriages AKA Common Law Marriages

For the Courts to grant a divorce would require the Court’s determination that the marriage in question is a valid one from the very outset.  Informal marriages (otherwise known as “common-law” marriages) have fact specific elements to be proven to for such an informal marriage to exist.  The parties to the informal marriage must (1) agree to be married and (2) living together in Texas representing to others that the parties are married.  Any claims of an informal marriage in a divorce proceedings must be brought no later than the second anniversary from the date of the alleged separation or from the date the parties began residing in different households.

b. Division of Marital Property (Community or Separate)

It is a misconceived notion that the division of marital property is always split right down the middle in equal portions to be distributed between the parties.  The fair and equitable division of marital property in a divorce proceeding requires an experienced family law attorney with the knowledge of the relevant law and familiarity of the fact specific nuances recognized in prior similarly published cases by the higher appellate courts and the Supreme Court in determining and evaluating the marital property in question.  Serious tax consequences may arise from the improper classification and evaluation of the property, which may further result in an unequitable division of the marital estate and other significant financial burdens on the disfavored party.

 

The state of Texas is recognized as a “community property” state.  Characterizing property as either community or separate is determined by the inception of title to the property, or the initial point in time of which a party has a legal claim to the property.  The basic general rule is that community property consists of property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage.  Property in dispute during divorce proceedings are generally presumed to be community property until one party can prove the property’s separate character by clear and convincing evidence that the property was (1) acquired prior to the marriage; (2) acquired by any individual by gift, devise, or will, and/or (3) the recovery of monetary damages for personal injuries sustained during the course of the marriage, with the exception of recovery of lost wages or loss of earning capacity.  The party’s inceptions of title of the property in dispute is very nuance specific and fact intensive.

c. Spousal Maintenance

Many spouses who find themselves at a significant financial disadvantage against the opposing spouse can further seek remedies through spousal support or spousal maintenance.  A situation like this would arise after the marriage has lasted at least 10 years, the financially disadvantaged spouse’s ability to earn a living to meet his or her basic and reasonable needs have deteriorated over time as a result of being the “stay-at-home” spouse or “housewife” with the intent staying home to maintain the upkeep of the marital residence and raising the children while the other spouse was the “breadwinner.”  The male husbands of the marriage were historically the financial “breadwinner” for the household, assuring the female housewives with a false sense of security their basic needs and the needs of their children were financially provided for through the husband’s sole income alone, especially during the early 1900’s.  However, over the decades as the American culture begins to grow more and more progressive each decade, that trend begins to decrease rapidly.

d. Reimbursements

Reimbursement is a cause of action requested in certain divorce proceeding in situations where the funds or assets of one marital estate for the enhanced benefit of the other marital estate.  There are many different scenarios in which this may occur, including the funds of one party’s separate property to enhance the benefit of the other party’s separate property.  Conversely, a party can further seek the reimbursement of the community property estate for the community funds and assets to enhance the value of the other party’s separate property.

e. Agreed Waiver Divorces

Our office offers legal services to spouses for a flat fee who are in agreement to dissolve the marriage without disputing any legal issues as to the division of any community property and/or the terms and conditions with respects to conservatorship, child support, and possession and access regarding the children of the marriage.  So long as the case remains undisputed between the parties and a waiver of citation of service is signed by the Respondent, the case shall remain charged as a flat fee from the filing of the petition to the prove up of the agreed divorce decree to finalize the case.

Accordion #2

Many complex legal issues are involved and considered when litigating a divorce case, such as whether the marriage was valid one (especially when one party is claiming the marriage was informal or common law), the characterization and division of the community property owned by the spouses at the time of divorce, spousal support for the financially disadvantaged spouse, and claims for reimbursements from one marital estate to another.  These legal issues are further discussed in further detail down below.

a. Informal Marriages AKA Common Law Marriages

For the Courts to grant a divorce would require the Court’s determination that the marriage in question is a valid one from the very outset.  Informal marriages (otherwise known as “common-law” marriages) have fact specific elements to be proven to for such an informal marriage to exist.  The parties to the informal marriage must (1) agree to be married and (2) living together in Texas representing to others that the parties are married.  Any claims of an informal marriage in a divorce proceedings must be brought no later than the second anniversary from the date of the alleged separation or from the date the parties began residing in different households.

b. Division of Marital Property (Community or Separate)

It is a misconceived notion that the division of marital property is always split right down the middle in equal portions to be distributed between the parties.  The fair and equitable division of marital property in a divorce proceeding requires an experienced family law attorney with the knowledge of the relevant law and familiarity of the fact specific nuances recognized in prior similarly published cases by the higher appellate courts and the Supreme Court in determining and evaluating the marital property in question.  Serious tax consequences may arise from the improper classification and evaluation of the property, which may further result in an unequitable division of the marital estate and other significant financial burdens on the disfavored party.

 

The state of Texas is recognized as a “community property” state.  Characterizing property as either community or separate is determined by the inception of title to the property, or the initial point in time of which a party has a legal claim to the property.  The basic general rule is that community property consists of property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage.  Property in dispute during divorce proceedings are generally presumed to be community property until one party can prove the property’s separate character by clear and convincing evidence that the property was (1) acquired prior to the marriage; (2) acquired by any individual by gift, devise, or will, and/or (3) the recovery of monetary damages for personal injuries sustained during the course of the marriage, with the exception of recovery of lost wages or loss of earning capacity.  The party’s inceptions of title of the property in dispute is very nuance specific and fact intensive.

c. Spousal Maintenance

Many spouses who find themselves at a significant financial disadvantage against the opposing spouse can further seek remedies through spousal support or spousal maintenance.  A situation like this would arise after the marriage has lasted at least 10 years, the financially disadvantaged spouse’s ability to earn a living to meet his or her basic and reasonable needs have deteriorated over time as a result of being the “stay-at-home” spouse or “housewife” with the intent staying home to maintain the upkeep of the marital residence and raising the children while the other spouse was the “breadwinner.”  The male husbands of the marriage were historically the financial “breadwinner” for the household, assuring the female housewives with a false sense of security their basic needs and the needs of their children were financially provided for through the husband’s sole income alone, especially during the early 1900’s.  However, over the decades as the American culture begins to grow more and more progressive each decade, that trend begins to decrease rapidly.

d. Reimbursements

Reimbursement is a cause of action requested in certain divorce proceeding in situations where the funds or assets of one marital estate for the enhanced benefit of the other marital estate.  There are many different scenarios in which this may occur, including the funds of one party’s separate property to enhance the benefit of the other party’s separate property.  Conversely, a party can further seek the reimbursement of the community property estate for the community funds and assets to enhance the value of the other party’s separate property.

e. Agreed Waiver Divorces

Our office offers legal services to spouses for a flat fee who are in agreement to dissolve the marriage without disputing any legal issues as to the division of any community property and/or the terms and conditions with respects to conservatorship, child support, and possession and access regarding the children of the marriage.  So long as the case remains undisputed between the parties and a waiver of citation of service is signed by the Respondent, the case shall remain charged as a flat fee from the filing of the petition to the prove up of the agreed divorce decree to finalize the case.

Accordion #3
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