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Tarrant County Family Law Blog

The more assets you have, the more complicated divorce becomes

A lot of people think that divorce can be simple, even handled without attorneys. They may believe this even while they are unable to discuss critical aspects of the divorce calmly with their former spouse. The truth is that divorce is a very complicated process.

The divorce decree is Texas is binding, and mistakes in early paperwork can come back to haunt you later. While it is possible to obtain post-divorce decree modifications, that requires a lot of effort and paperwork. It makes more sense to handle everything properly the first time around. Generally, that means working with a divorce lawyer.

Checking Phone and Computer for Evidence of Cheating

Is it a good idea to access your spouse's e-mail account or cell phone without that person's knowledge?  This could be a good way to find out of your spouse is cheating or to find out other information that may help you get a leg up in your divorce case.  The answer is no, it is not only not a good idea, but it is against the law.   

COMMUNITY PROPERTY AND SEPARATE PROPERTY

During the divorce process, you may hear your attorneys discuss terms like "community property" and "separate property" with you. Attorneys throw these words around often in family law cases, and we often assume that non-lawyers know what the terms mean. After all, during law school, attorneys take a semester-long course devoted to marital property that teaches us about community and martial property. Here's a quick "Cliff's Notes" version to help you better understand and begin thinking about the characterization of the property you and your spouse own.

What's the Difference between "Custody" and "Possession"

A Term that gets thrown around frequently by clients is"50/50 custody." Generally, what parents mean when they say this, is that they would like to have physical possession of the child 50% of the time.

Custody is an umbrella term that encompasses both conservatorship and possession and access of the child.  Conservatorship is the legal authority to make decisions concerning where the child lives, along with medical and educational decisions for the child.  Possession and access to the child is governed by a possession schedule in a court order that the parents follow.

What is an Inventory and Appraisement in Divorce?

During the pendency of your Divorce case, our office might ask you to complete and Inventory and Appraisement worksheet.  The Inventory and Appraisement requests a lot of information, and can be overwhelming for clients.  Understanding both theimportance and the function of the Inventory and Appraisement can help make the process of completing the worksheet easier for clients.

Don't mix up child support and visitation rights

If you're like many mothers who maintain primary custody of your child after a divorce, depending on timely child support payments from the child's father can be a risky proposition.

There are many reasons why a father may be undependable in paying child support, some of which may indicate character deficiencies, while others could simply result from a patch of bad luck.

ARE THE WORDS "MEDIATION" AND "COLLABORATIVE LAW" BAD?

Settling your case by mediation or collaborative law is not bad and does not mean that you are weak or that your attorney isn't aggressive enough.  Settling your case rather than going to trial can often mean that you can gain more of what is important to you.  You can decide what property you really want and what property is not as important to you.  When you compromise, you are in charge of how the outcome of your case will be.  Settlement, mediation and collaborative law are not bad words.

Paying your child support on time is critical in Texas divorces

Divorces rarely bring out the best in people. You and your former spouse may be fighting intensely over how to separate your lives. One of the most hotly contested areas is probably custody, visitation, and support for any marital children. Regardless of how much you love your children, it can be frustrating to pay so much of your income to provide for them when you get to spend such little time with them. In order to protect your chances at a favorable custody decision, as well as your financial future and freedom, you must comply with court ordered child support, regardless of your concerns.

What Happens With Credit Card Debt In A Divorce?

How do you divide credit card debt when getting divorced? What if the debt is in both of your names? What if you have much more debt in your name than your spouse? The important thing to know about credit card debt is that no court can interfere with the contract that was signed between the person and the credit card company. So, if you have a credit card in your name and your spouse did not co-sign that agreement with you, you will ultimately be responsible for paying the debt. This is true even if the debt was incurred during the marriage. Texas is a community property state. Which means that anything acquired during the marriage is community property. (With the exception of gifts, inheritances and personal injury awards.) That means that any debt incurred during the marriage is a community debt. The judge could order that your spouse pay all or a portion of a credit card debt that is in your name, or you could make an agreement with your spouse to that effect. But if that happens, you are setting yourself up for problems. The reason is this: If your spouse fails to pay the credit card company as agreed or ordered, the credit card company will come after you for payment. If you don't pay, your credit will probably suffer. You could file a motion to enforce with the court to try to force your spouse to pay his portion of your credit card debt, but all you can get from the court is an order. The Judge cannot punish your spouse by putting him/her in jail as punishment. There is no debtor's prison in Texas (or in the U.S.) Meanwhile, your credit is damaged and you have probably spent money hiring an attorney to help you with the enforcement. A better way to deal with credit card debt when negotiating a property settlement in a divorce is to agree that the party who's name is on the credit card agrees to pay that debt. If one party has more debt in his/her name, then one way to make the property division more "fair" is to let the party with more debt get more of the assets. This will offset the amount of debt a person takes. Call Hoppes & Cutrer, LLC for questions regarding division of property in a divorce. 

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