Archive for the ‘Texas Divorce Cases’ Category

Texas Family Law Attorney Shares Basic Information About Divorce in Texas

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

If you are considering a divorce in Texas and you are beginning to learn more about how the divorce process in Texas works, you are not alone. Each year, approximately seventy-five thousand Texans end their marriages. Unfortunately, the number of divorces that happen in Texas does not make it any easier for each person to navigate their divorce. Just as each marriage is unique, each divorce is slightly different than the others. Fortunately, there are quite a few common elements that are present in all or almost all Texas divorces. Learning about the essential elements of a Texas divorce is excellent preparation for working through the more specific details of your Texas divorce.

The key thing to know about divorce in Texas, or anywhere, really, is that working with a divorce attorney is time and money well spent because attorneys not only help their clients understand the divorce process, they help them work through it every step of the way. Divorce attorneys help their clients make decisions that will serve their best interest and choices that will keep the divorce moving along, possibly even with less conflict than they might have expected. Research indicates that divorced individuals who worked with attorneys to settle their divorce cases report higher degrees of satisfaction with outcomes of their divorce cases than those who either did not work with attorneys or who pursued resolution of their divorce cases through litigation instead of a settlement.

Divorce cases don’t get resolved overnight in Texas, or anywhere else. The typical Texas divorce takes between six months and one year from the date that one of the parties files for divorce until the date that the divorce becomes final. Another critical thing to know about divorce in Texas is that either you’re married or you’re not; there is no in between, no period of legal separation. You are married until your divorce is final. This is an important thing to be aware of because Texas is a community property state. In community property states, all property and all debt acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. During your divorce, it is crucial that you make financial and other decisions with that in mind, and with the aid of your attorney. Also, while Texas does recognize “no-fault” divorce, the issue of fault may still come up during your divorce case when it comes to deciding what a fair division of your debts and assets is. It is vital that divorcing Texans understand this so that they are not surprised when the issue gets discussed.

Divorce in Texas is much easier with a knowledgeable ally by your side. Your Texas Family Law Attorney can help you understand your options and pursue the best possible result in your Texas divorce case. If you have questions about your Texas divorce, call (903) 753-7499 today to schedule a consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. You can also visit our web page anytime to submit an online contact form.

 

Texas Family Law Attorney Reminds Divorced and Divorcing Texans to use Caution at Tax Time

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

One thing that it can be easy to overlook when you are divorcing or newly divorced is the tax consequences of your divorce. Whether your divorce affects your taxes for better or for worse, there is one thing that is certain – you will need to do your taxes at least somewhat differently than you did when you and your spouse were married. Some of the tax changes that relate to divorce take place before your divorce is even final, so it is essential that all divorced or divorcing Texans know what to do for their particular situation when tax time comes around.

Since every divorce is unique, it only makes sense that your taxes could be affected differently by your divorce than your friend’s or your co-worker’s. The only way to know for sure what to do at tax time is to ask both your divorce attorney and your tax preparer. If you usually do your taxes, it is well worth consulting with a tax professional for a few years, both during and after your divorce, just to make sure that everything gets filed as it should. You might eventually resume doing your taxes on your own, but for now, getting some professional advice is a good idea.

Three things that you may want to pay particular attention to regarding your taxes are your filing status, exemptions, and alimony. Depending upon whether your divorce is final or even how long it has been since you filed for divorce if it’s not yet final, your filing status may be different this tax year than it was last tax year. You may also have multiple options available to you for filing status, and your attorney and or your tax professional can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can select the filing status that will work best for you.

In divorces where there are children or other relatives in the home who get claimed as dependents by one or both spouses, divorce can bring about changes to the number of exemptions that each spouse can claim in any given tax year. Sometimes, exemptions even get used as a bargaining tool in divorce negotiations, as something that divorcing spouses can divvy up as part of their divorce settlement. As with all of the other tax issues related to divorce, it’s a good idea to consult with your attorney and tax preparer about your exemptions before you file so that you can be sure to do them correctly.

A third common tax issue in divorce cases is alimony. Your divorce may not involve alimony, but if it does, definitely check in with your attorney and your tax preparer about how you are to deduct it if you are the paying spouse or how to report it as income if you are the receiving spouse. There are particular rules for including alimony on your tax return, and it is essential that you follow them as they apply to your specific situation.

If you have questions about your Texas divorce, call (903) 753-7499 today to schedule a consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. You can also visit our web page anytime to submit an online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks About Premarital Agreements

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Did you know that years ago, couples who planned to marry in Texas could not make premarital agreements? Premarital agreements are becoming more and more commonplace among modern couples, so it can be hard to believe that there was ever a time where couples could not enter into them. The Texas Constitution prohibited all couples, both those who were married and those who were anticipating marriage, from making any agreement that would change the character of their marital property.

Married couples were the first to be permitted to make agreements regarding their marital (community) property. In 1948, the Texas Constitution got amended to permit spouses to contract with each other to designate some or all of their community property as separate property via a document called a marital agreement. Couples who were not yet married could not contract with each other regarding marital property until 1980. Since 1980, the process for contracting with a future spouse regarding ownership of property has evolved into a strict set of requirements that are set out in the Texas Family Code and the Texas Constitution.

If you plan to marry in Texas, you may create a premarital agreement. As with anything else, the key to knowing whether something will benefit you is understanding more about it. For example, a couple who is anticipating marriage would want to know why some couples choose to have them to determine for themselves whether they need one.

Premarital agreements can serve a few different purposes, including limiting future alimony, preserving family assets, ensuring specific parenting practices, clarifying tax obligations, and setting forth the parties’ rights and duties during the marriage, among other things. While there seem to be few boundaries on what you can put in a premarital agreement, please know that there are some limitations. You and your future spouse may not contract to do things that violate any criminal laws or that go against established public policy.

It might also be useful for you and your future spouse to understand who typically enters into premarital agreements. There is no one specific class or category of people who enter into premarital agreements more often than others. With this in mind, couples who are considering marriage must understand that premarital agreements are only a good idea if both parties want one. A premarital agreement is a legally binding document, so no one should ever enter into one under any circumstance besides wanting to have one because they believe that it will benefit them and their future spouse. For example, if you’re considering it just because your future spouse wants it, because your parents want the two of you to have one, or because their parents want you to get one and you either don’t want one or do not see that it will benefit you, do not enter into the agreement. If you and your future spouse agree that you want to enter into a premarital agreement because it will be good for each of you, then it’s time to work with a Texas Family Law Attorney to explore what you plan to include in your premarital agreement.

If you have questions about your Texas divorce, call (903) 753-7499 today to schedule an initial consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. Alternatively, you can visit our web page anytime to submit an online contact form.

 

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses Reconciliation

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Divorce is a process; it’s not just an event. For any divorcing couple, some length of time passes between the filing of divorce papers and the date that the divorce becomes final. The length of time that it will take for a couple to divorce depends upon a few factors, including the laws of the state where they are divorcing. Each state has a timetable for divorce proceedings. The length of a couple’s divorce also depends on the couple, and whether they work through the process quickly without having to discuss much, or whether they battle hard and delay the process by being unable to work out an agreement on the issues in their case instead of going to trial. There are also situations where divorce proceedings get put on hold or even abandoned completely because a couple decides to try to reconcile or does indeed reconcile.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently announced that they are taking a break from their divorce proceedings. While the two are not back together, they are working on some of the things that contributed to the demise of their relationship, and they have decided to pause the proceedings to see where things go. Other celebrity couples have done similar things, with some continuing to divorce and some letting the initial divorce filing fade into the background while remaining married, for better or for worse, sometimes for a long time and sometimes for just a few months or years before finally deciding to call it quits.

If celebrities are pausing divorce proceedings to consider reconciliation, you can be sure that many other people who are not celebrities are doing it, too. If you are divorcing and the thought of taking a break to work on things or think about things seems like it might be a good idea, there’s no harm in exploring the possibility. You can always forge ahead if you get the feeling that the divorce should continue. Of course, if the mere mention of the word reconciliation or taking a break to work on things makes you feel angry inside, then don’t do it. Many people put a lot of thought and effort into working through things before they file for divorce and once they have gotten to that point they are sure that it is the right choice for them. If that’s you, keep on moving through your divorce with confidence,

One of the ways that a couple can explore the idea of reconciliation is through couples counseling. Counseling can be beneficial regardless of whether the two of you decide to divorce or stay together. It can help you talk through some things that could make divorce proceedings go more smoothly, or it could make you realize that divorce isn’t really what either of you wants or needs.

If you are considering divorce and you have questions, call our office at (903) 753-7499 today to plan an initial consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. If you prefer, you can visit us online anytime to submit an online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Shares Three Top Relationship Woes

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Divorce begins with marriage, a marriage in which something has gone so wrong that the divorcing spouses believe it to be beyond repair. Divorce attorneys learn a lot about relationships as they help their divorcing clients navigate the legal process that ends their marriages. One of the things that divorce lawyers learn through working with their clients is that although there are many reasons that marriages fail, there are a few reasons that stand out as common marriage busters. If you are considering divorce and you recognize one of these common culprits as the reason why it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether you and your spouse might invest in your marriage by exploring the issue before investing time and money into getting divorced. When spouses realize that their marriage is in trouble and they start to talk about why they gain information about whether there’s a possibility for the marriage to be saved or whether the two of them are past the point of no return and moving forward with divorce is the healthiest option for them.

Children are undoubtedly a source of great love and joy to their parents. Unfortunately, spouses who have kids also have the potential to experience a marital breakdown in a way that couples without kids do not. It has very little to do with the children themselves, but it does involve each spouse’s beliefs and expectations regarding the care and upbringing of their kids. Raising kids takes a lot of time and effort, and disputes often arise from a difference in expectations regarding how spouses divvy up parenting time and responsibilities. Disagreements about family rules and discipline are also often cited as a major source of marital stress.

All couples could potentially fall prey to a ruined marriage due to a lack of communication. While people differ in how they communicate and the amount of communication that they prefer, it’s easy to see that little to no communication within a marriage can quickly become a deal-breaker. Communication within the context of marriage involves many things, from daily responsibilities and scheduling to beliefs, values, and feelings. We are not designed to read minds should we be expected to “know” what each other is doing or feeling. This is why when couples don’t talk, misunderstanding and resentment build and build until one or both spouses becomes angry and fights rather than conversations become the couple’s default method of communication.

A lack of intimacy, both the sexual variety and the non-sexual closeness that couples can maintain through their words and actions, can bring a marriage to its demise. Humans are made for closeness, and the physical and emotional connection that a couple can experience within their marriage is unique to that relationship. When one or both spouses stop reaching out to each other in an affectionate way, their bond becomes weaker and weaker until they feel more like roommates instead of spouses. If a couple is unwilling or unable to reconnect with each other, the marriage is likely to fail.

If you are considering divorce, call us at (903) 753-7499 today to arrange an initial consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. If you prefer, visit us online anytime to submit an online contact form.

 

Texas Family Law Attorney Says Parents Are Disappointed at Failure of Equal Custody Bill

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

During the last legislative session, a bill that would have made 50/50 custody agreements automatic in most divorce cases failed. Disappointed parents rallied to express their disappointment in the failure of a bill that they feel would have protected the health and well-being of the children of divorced and divorcing parents.

House Bill 453 was authored by State Representative James White (R-Woodville), wrote the bill, which would have meant a departure from the traditional divorce custody model where the mother would be given full custody of the couple’s children to a model that would automatically give divorcing parents 50/50 custody. Many divorced parents whose children spend less than half of their time with them lament their current custody arrangements and feel that the lack of adequate time spent with their children negatively affects their children’s relationship with them. The bill was similar to proposals that are under consideration in at least four other states, and it is worth noting that in nearly twenty other states, shared custody is required or at the very least expected in the absence of a compelling reason for a different arrangement.

The parents at the rally felt that the value system that underlies the primary-custody-to-mother custody model has changed, which means that the courts should change their custody model to acknowledge the shift away from father-as-breadwinner/mother-as-homemaker families towards the more typical dual career family. In addition to and perhaps even more important than keeping with changing times, shared parenting is beneficial for both children and parents. It preserves the psychological role of each parent as equal to the other, which creates less distress for the children during and after the transition into two households. Parents who get equal parenting time are also less likely to have conflict. This is not to say that there’s a complete absence of conflict, only that the overall level of tension and conflict gets drastically reduced which benefits everyone. Shared parenting also allows for economic equality, and in situations where child support goes from one parent to the other, there is much less discussion of it or resentment of it when parents get to spend equal time with their kids.

There are some situations in which 50/50 parenting is not a beneficial situation for parents or children. Some examples include high levels of persistent and unresolved conflict, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Conditions that would make shared parenting physically or emotionally unsafe are not the only circumstances which would make 50/50 custody less than desirable. The careers and desired location of the parents can also be a reason for parents to choose a custody arrangement that does not provide for equal parenting time. The children’s’ ages and emotional needs are also essential considerations in any discussion and determination regarding custody.

In light of the failure of the bill that would mandate 50/50 custody in most divorces, it is critical that parents remember that they are free to design a custody arrangement that will work well for themselves and their children instead of having the court decide who gets how much parenting time. If you have custody questions related to your Texas divorce, call  (903) 753-7499 today to schedule an initial consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. Alternatively, you can visit us online anytime to submit an online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks about the Problem of Child Marriages

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Did you know that Texas has the second highest child marriage rate in the country? Between 2000 and 2014, four thousand Texans got married before their eighteenth birthdays. In 2014 in Texas, 6.9 out of every 1000 people who were between the ages of 15 and 17 got married. Presently, approximately two thousand Texas youth get married every year. Under current law, individuals who are sixteen or seventeen years of age can legally marry if they have permission from one of their parents, and people who are under sixteen can also marry if a court gives them permission to do so. Fortunately, this could change soon if lawmakers decide to increase the minimum age for marriage to eighteen years of age by passing Senate Bill 1705.

When very young people marry, in Texas and elsewhere, it isn’t always about love. Some parents force their children to marry early, often to older spouses, so that the children will be “taken care of.” Unfortunately, far too many of these unions become abusive, and the younger spouse often feels completely powerless to stand up against the older spouse upon whom they may have become financially dependent.

Former child brides provided compelling testimony in support of raising the minimum age for marriage. One woman was only fourteen years old when she married someone who was twenty-six. She became a mother shortly after that. As she looks back on how her life unfolded, she realizes that she was not at all prepared, either physically or psychologically, for either of those major life changes, let alone both of them so close together. Her marriage lasted four years, and during that time the woman felt powerless because of her age, and she got abused emotionally, physically, verbally, and psychologically. During her marriage, she asked her mother if she could go back home, and she was told “no.” She had been permitted to enter a marriage that she was not legally old enough to make a decision to end. Fortunately, she did divorce her husband when she was able to do so – other child brides remain trapped in abusive marriages because of poverty or the effects of abuse on their psychological well-being that make them feel as though they are unable to leave their marriages.

If the age for marriage gets raised to eighteen, couples who want to marry can get emancipated and then they can marry, or they can wait until they are of age. The protective effects on Texas youth that could result from raising the minimum age for marriage far outweigh the effects of any additional efforts, such as waiting until age eighteen or getting emancipated before then, that couples who were determined to marry would endure on their way to the altar. Since minors would have to get emancipated before they could marry, they would be legally able to divorce if they ever needed to.

In Texas, marriage and divorce laws do occasionally change. If you have any questions about your Texas divorce, a family law attorney can help you find the answers that you need. Call our office at (903) 753-7499 today, to arrange a consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. You can also visit us online to complete a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Says Women in India are Asking for Greater Court Oversight of Divorces

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

The rules of divorce are not uniform throughout the world. In many countries like the United States, divorce is a legal process that must be done through the court system to be valid. In some places, though, divorce does not always have to pass through the court system. For example, in India, a man may declare a divorce from his wife, irrevocable and effective immediately, simply by saying or writing the word “talaq” three times.

The idea of an instant and irrevocable divorce may seem strange enough because no such provision exists here in the United States, but the rules for divorce in India are even more unlike American divorce rules in that they do not apply equally to men and women. A wife may not declare “talaq” against her husband. If a woman in India would like to divorce her husband, she must consult with a cleric first, and there is a formal process that she must follow if she would like to receive financial support from him.

Women in India are becoming increasingly frustrated with the problems that come from having unequal divorce rules for men and women. One out of every eleven Indian women who have married has had one or more marriages that ended with “talaq” divorce. When women are divorced by “talaq,” it is tough for them to get financial support from their former husbands, so the divorced women and their children are at a high risk for poverty. It is evident from the accounts of many Indian women that “talaq” divorce creates a permissive environment for physical and emotional abuse. Many women remain in physically and emotionally abusive relationships because they have no way of supporting themselves and their children economically and they fear that if they stand up to their husbands and ask them to stop the abuse, then their husbands will get angry and divorce them by “talaq.” Some of the women who have experienced “talaq” divorce have petitioned the Supreme Court of India, seeking a ban on instant divorce. Lest we think that such a ban is unlikely, it is important to remember that some nations like Pakistan, Egypt, and Tunisia that once allowed “talaq” divorces have banned the practice and have given responsibility for overseeing divorces to their judicial systems.

Opposition to a ban on “talaq” divorce comes from some members of the Muslim community who feel that it is an integral practice within the religion of Islam. However, not all Muslims agree. Some Muslims say that the provisions for divorce that are in the Quran not only apply equally to men and women, they also require a couple to think things through and try to reconcile before they may divorce. The Supreme Court of India will examine the issue and determine whether a ban on “talaq” divorce would be constitutional.

In Texas, the laws of the State of Texas govern all divorce proceedings. If you have questions about your Texas divorce, a family law attorney can help you find the answers that you need. Call  (903) 753-7499 today to schedule a consultation with Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra. You may also visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks about Pets and Your Divorce

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Most couples and families regard their pets as members of the family. We take them with us on adventures, we curl up with them on the couch, we play with them, and we love them in so many ways. In return, they love us faithfully and bring so much joy into our lives. When a couple who has pets divorces, they will need to decide how they will handle the care and company of their pets.

A recent change to the divorce laws in Alaska requires courts to consider the “well-being of the animal” in divorce cases where custody of a pet is contested. The change went into effect this past January, and it makes Alaska the first state to require that courts address the needs of an animal when they make decisions about how they will assign ownership of that animal in a divorce case. The law permits courts to assign ownership of an animal to one party or the other or to order joint custody in situations where the well-being of the animal would be served best by that arrangement.

Most states, including Texas, treat animals as personal property. When a couple divorces, the issue of who will get to keep which animals gets addressed in the property settlement portion of the divorce proceedings. Even though animals are considered property under the law, divorcing couples who have pets are free to make agreements about how they want to handle issues associated with pet care and ownership.

If you have pets and you are divorcing, you might already be aware that your pets will experience your divorce on both a physical level and an emotional level. You and your pet may both already be experiencing feelings associated with the change in the amount of time that you spend together if that has already changed for you. These feelings, along with the fact that pets who spend time with each of their “people” adjust more easily to their new lifestyle, are good reasons to do your best to work things out with your spouse as far as agreeing to a schedule for pet care and making an agreement about pet-related expenses. Any agreement that the two of you create on your own will serve your needs and the needs of your pets much better than a judge-designed court order can because the court will simply consider the pets as property and distribute them as part of your property agreement.

If you have pets and you are getting divorced, be sure to take the time to talk about your pets with your spouse. Pets can be treated more like family members and less like property when a divorcing couple makes an agreement regarding their care and custody instead of leaving the matter of their disposition to a judge. If you have questions about how to address the needs of your pets in your Texas divorce, please contact Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a consultation. Alternatively, you may visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses Proposed Bills That Would Make Divorcing More Difficult

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Two recently introduced bills could make getting a divorce in Texas more difficult if either or both of them pass. State Representative Matt Krause introduced SB 93 because he wants Texas to do away with no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce is a divorce based upon “insupportability,” which means that one or both spouses find the other intolerable, and they cannot work things out. The second bill that he introduced, HB 65, would increase the waiting period for a Texas divorce from 60 days to 180 days if the couple has minor children.

If no-fault divorce is no longer an option in Texas, the party who is seeking a divorce will have to name one of the six fault-based grounds for divorce in their divorce filing. The six options that they have to choose from are confinement in a mental hospital, cruelty, adultery, abandonment, living apart, and conviction of a felony. Not only will they have to name the grounds for their divorce, but they will also have to present evidence that their alleged grounds for divorce are true.

The potential consequences of taking no-fault divorce off of the table may include less privacy, fewer divorce cases settling outside of court, and people engaging in behaviors that they may not have chosen if no-fault divorce were an option. Some couples who do have fault-based grounds for divorce currently choose no-fault divorce because they don’t want to disclose the details of why their marriage failed in court or during alternative dispute resolution. These couples may want to focus on the legal mechanics of their divorce and address healing from the things that went wrong in their marriage through therapy. They may have other reasons for not wanting to select a fault-based grounds for divorce. Whatever their reason is, removing no-fault divorce as a choice will eliminate the privacy that citing “insupportability” currently provides.

Citing a fault-based grounds for divorce and then having to provide evidence to support it can increase the amount of conflict between divorcing spouses. It is possible that an increase in conflict could stand in the way of some couples being able to resolve their divorces through mediation or reach divorce settlements before their scheduled trial date. Divorces that get mediated or which settle before trial cost less; and both parties are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of their divorce than parties whose divorce cases were decided by the court. This makes sense because when parties go to court, one “wins” and the other “loses”.

In a marriage where the spouses have fallen out of love and have no desire to try to fall back in love, being able to call it quits without some major event happening can provide relief for both spouses. Unfortunately, if no-fault divorce is taken off of the table, a spouse may decide to have an affair or engage in an activity that falls under one of the other fault-based grounds for divorce. After all, they would need some “reason” to end their marriage when they would have preferred to end their marriage amicably with a no-fault divorce and then pursue a different relationship, live apart, or otherwise move on with their life without engaging in that behavior.

If you would like to learn more about divorce in Texas, please contact Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to schedule a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.