Posts Tagged ‘Texas Family Law Attorney’

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.

Texas Family Law Attorney Talks about Divorces Involving Business Ownership

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Some couples have relatively few types of assets to concern themselves with when they divorce. Others may own real estate, investments, or even one or more businesses. If you or your spouse owns a business, or, if you own a business together, it is essential that you take great care to ensure that the hard work that either or both of you have invested into your business over the years gets preserved during your divorce.

Just as with other types of assets, the issue of how to handle business ownership in a divorce is best addressed by agreement of the parties, and not by a judge who knows little or nothing about you, your family, and your business. Regardless of the current level of conflict in your divorce, it is important that you and your spouse work together with your attorneys to discuss the future of your business, and that the two of you make every effort to reach an agreement about what that future is.

In addition to working with your attorneys to discuss the future of your business, it is often worth consulting with a financial advisor because they can provide you and your attorney with valuable information like estimates of the value of the enterprise and its assets, cash flow, and liquidity. When you have gotten a clear picture of what your business is worth, you can begin to think about how you would like to acknowledge that value in your divorce settlement. There are many ways that couples who own one or more businesses, either together or separately, can structure a divorce settlement.

If you own a business that your spouse is not involved in, you may want to think about what other assets could, when taken as a group, have approximately the same value as the business. Your spouse may be happy to take that group of assets while you retain ownership, control, and all of the other benefits of your business. Of course, it is possible that your spouse may prefer a different arrangement, or they may be the one who owns the business, and you may have to engage in discussion about what will work well for each of you. It is possible that either or both of you are interested in selling your business, or in selling your interest in the firm. These are all potential solutions that you can discuss with your spouse. As you have these discussions, keep in mind that there are many creative ways that spouses can structure a divorce agreement involving a business, and any solution that the two of you can come up with is likely to work better for your family than a solution that is devised by the court.

If either you or your spouse owns a business or you own a business together, a Texas Family Law Attorney can help you to account for your business and all of your other assets as part of your Texas divorce. To learn more, please contact attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to arrange a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Shares Tips for Managing Finances During and After Divorce

Friday, December 30th, 2016

If you are divorcing, you may wonder how you will be able to afford to take this much-needed step towards personal freedom. Divorce does cost money, but it is important that you do not put it off or even worse give up on it out of fear that you cannot afford it. The following tips can help you secure your finances before, during and after your divorce.

When divorcing spouses maintain a focus on agreement, they save money. Divorce is not easy, but the notion that cooperation can cut costs can be a powerful motivator to set conflict aside. One way in which agreement can reduce the financial burden of divorce is in the area of legal fees. It is important that each spouse retains his or her own attorney, but the amount of work that your attorney has to do on your behalf is directly connected to the amount that you will end up paying them. If you and your soon to be former spouse are approaching your attorneys with drafts of a divorce agreement that you have worked on together, you will not spend as much on legal fees as you would if you are fighting with each other through your attorneys about who should get which assets and what your parenting plan should look like, if you have children.

In reality, not all divorces can be resolved amicably. Fortunately, you can keep your costs down regardless of the level of conflict in your divorce. Knowing the details of your personal and household finances is one of these strategies. You can gather information about your debt and any marital debts that you and your spouse have, and you can do some research and find out what your household expenses are as well as what you might expect to pay to establish a new home for yourself.

Making financially wise decisions during your divorce can reduce not only the up-front costs of divorce but also the long-term costs. Divorce is an emotional process, but it is essential for your financial well-being that you do your best to address your emotional needs – through counseling, talking with supportive friends or whatever works for you – and make financial decisions from a purely practical frame of mind. For example, you may have to work through your feelings about your marital home before you can do an honest and sufficiently detailed calculation to determine whether it makes sense to try to keep it on either a short-term or a long-term basis.

As you and your soon to be former spouse work through your divorce, see whether the two of you can agree on whether to sell any items to make more cash available to pay off debts or divide amongst each other. There are laws that govern marital property, so you must check with your attorneys before selling anything because an improper sale is illegal. Selling items requires consulting with your attorney, but you are free to reduce your personal expenses by eliminating unnecessary spending, starting your new household with only the bare minimum of utilities and looking for ways to save money on one-time and recurring costs.

While you work to build a strong financial future for yourself, a Texas Family Law Attorney can help you pursue an outcome in your divorce that will meet your current and future needs. To learn more, please contact attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to arrange a consultation, or visit us online and submit a convenient online contact form.

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses How to Talk to Children about Divorce

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

There’s no doubt about it – thinking about talking to your kids about divorce can bring up many different emotions. You might fear that you will damage your beloved children by divorcing, or by making a mistake when you have the dreaded conversation. You might be angry that you are getting divorced and resentful that you even have to have the divorce talk with your kids at all. It’s possible that you are sad, anxious, or any other feeling or combination of feelings as well. Despite all of that, though, once you and your soon to be former spouse have decided for certain that you are divorcing, it is time for you to plan for this crucial conversation together, and for delivering the news together, as a united front.

Introducing your children to the fact that you and their other parent are divorcing is a serious subject and must be handled with the utmost care. It’s time to set aside your differences for the time being and work together to decide when the conversation will take place, map out who will say what, and agree on ground rules for creating a calm and reassuring tone during “the talk”. When planning a time to talk, be sure to allow for as much time as you will need, including plenty of time for questions – because there will be lots of those.

When you plan out what you are going to say, it is important to be truthful without placing blame or bringing negativity to the table. For example, instead of saying that you are divorcing because one of you has been unfaithful, you can say that your relationship is not working out. Be sure to include plenty of reassurance that each of you loves each of your children and that you always will, because even though you might think that is obvious, it is not always visible to children, and you can’t say it too many times. Reassuring children that it is not their fault is also important. You know your kids best, and it may be helpful to think of some things to include in the conversation that will speak to each of them about things that are most important to them. This might mean talking about whether they’ll be remaining in the same school, talking about having two homes, discussing spending time with each parent, talking about spending time with friends, or anything else that you know the feel strongly about.

When it’s time to sit down with the kids and have the conversation, stick to your plan and create a gentle and reassuring tone for the discussion. Keep your conversation simple, age-appropriate, and relevant to your children’s lives, be sure to ask them whether they have any questions afterward, and answer questions as honestly as you can without being negative or disrespectful. By following the aforementioned suggestions, you can use this challenging conversation to set the stage for healthy relationships between each of you and your children as well as a cooperative and healthy co-parenting relationship between the two of you.

Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra – Your Texas Divorce Attorney

Get answers to your questions about Texas divorce today – call Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499.

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses the Impact of Divorce on Children

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Divorcing parents are likely to have heard many things about how their divorce is likely to affect their children, and not all of those things are good. Perhaps well-meaning friends or family members have shared their opinions about the topic. Maybe your spouse has weighed in on the issue, especially if they do not want to get a divorce. Wherever the negative information is coming from, you need to hear the other side of the story and it goes like this: each child is affected differently by divorce, and not all effects of divorce on children are negative. If ending your marriage is the right choice for and your spouse, there is a good chance that your kids will benefit from the split, especially if the two of you handle it (and them) with the utmost care and respect.

Both parents and children experience a range of emotions during the divorce process. While the age of a child and the relationship between that child and each of his or her parents do shape the child’s experience of the divorce, there are other factors that influence it as well. For example, sibling bonds can become stronger. This strengthening of the sibling relationship has been documented in many different types of divorce scenarios, including the typical situation where the children all travel between their parents’ homes together. However, it also occurs in sibling groups where the children are not always all together in the same place at the same time.

Another possible effect of your divorce on your kids is relief. This is especially so in situations where the marriage has been strained for some time. Children sense tension, and even when parents take great care to argue out of earshot of the children and otherwise conceal the divide between them, the kids are often aware that all is not well in the home. When parents separate, there may still be some tension, but it will be significantly reduced and will continue to decline as time passes since the divorce. As the amount of tension between parents decreases, so will the children’s experience with it.

Divorce can also show children resilience and problem-solving in action. The attitudes and actions of you and your spouse are a major factor in your children’s overall experience with your divorce. When the two of you work together to, for example, figure out how to earn enough money to support two households, your children will see how you were able to solve that problem by working together to find a solution that works for the family as a whole. Likewise, if your children hear the two of you communicating with each other in a respectful way, they will see that people who disagree can treat each other with kindness and respect.

As you can see, divorce does not have to be a negative experience for children. Parents can continue to maintain loving and supportive relationships with each of their children throughout and after their divorce. Divorcing parents can take comfort in knowing that they have the power to shape their children’s experience of divorce for the better by making positive choices about how they approach their divorce and their interactions with their soon to be former spouse.

Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra – The Ally You Need for Your Texas Divorce

Get answers to your questions about Texas divorce today – call Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499.

Texas Family Law Attorney Discusses the Mathematics of Divorce

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Many people view divorce as an emotional process first and a practical process second. It is not unusual that people think about it in that way because divorce is, at its simplest, undoing something which two people did because of the feelings that they had for one another. It is important that divorcing couples remember that there is also a practical, mathematical side to divorce. In fact, it is the mathematical information that you will explore during the divorce process – the information that you will see regarding property, assets, and even parenting time – that you can readily use to assess what your options for settling your divorce.

When people get divorced, they are likely to have ideas about what they would like to accomplish as a result other than ending their marriage. These ideas are usually connected to numbers. For example, it is possible that you know what percentage of parenting time would be ideal for you. Also, you may know which items of personal property you would most like to have, as well as what the values of those items are. It is a good thing to think about your divorce in terms of numbers like these because you’ll need that information to determine how the things that you most want could fit into a fair distribution of the marital estate. It is possible to take the numbers that are related to the property and parenting situations of you and your spouse and combine them in many different ways. This good, because it increases the possibility that the two of you will agree on one of those possible combinations and be able to turn it into a divorce settlement instead of going to trial.

I realize that it can be difficult to see past all of the emotions to see the numbers related to your divorce for what they are. For example, you may have a strong attachment to your marital home, and you may want to pursue a settlement that would keep you in that home. Unfortunately, it is possible that given the numbers associated with your particular situation, buying out your spouse’s share of the home would not be a wise financial decision. If you discover this, look at the numbers again and see whether it might be better if you sell the house and split the proceeds. If that does not appeal to both of you, know that there are many different ways in which couples can choose to dispose of their homes. Likewise, parenting time agreements are as unique and varied as the couples who create them, and they contain all kinds of different percentages that work for the families who abide by them.

When you look at the numbers in your Texas divorce, you can get a sense of how a proposed settlement could affect your life now and into the future. We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to acknowledge the numbers that you see in terms of what they mean regarding the outcome that you want. However, it is often less difficult to do that than it is to deal with the long-term fallout of accepting a proposed property settlement or parenting agreement that does not serve your best interests.

Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra – Support for Your Texas Divorce

Learn more about Texas divorce today – call Texas Family Law Attorney Alex Tyra at (903) 753-7499 to learn more about your legal rights and options.