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Houston Divorce And Family Law Blog

What is considered marital property in Texas?

When going through a divorce, you are often forced to deal with a myriad of issues. One of the most difficult issues may be that of property division. You may have strong emotions tied to your property and assets, making it hard to determine who is entitled to what in the divorce settlement. Texas is a community property state, meaning all marital property is divided equally in half between spouses. Yet, it is important to know just what constitutes marital property, so you can be sure you get everything you are entitled to in the final divorce settlement.

While you may think of the family home, vehicles, furniture and possessions as marital property, there are some things you may not consider. All of the following are considered community property and are eligible for division in the final decree:

  •          Expensive art, coin, car, coin, book and antique collections
  •          Lottery ticket winnings and income tax refunds
  •          Memberships to exclusive golf and country clubs
  •          Term life insurance policies
  •          Travel reward points and other program points
  •          Trademarks, copyrights and patents

Should you decide on child custody out of court?

Child custody is often one of the most contentious and difficult issues for Texas parents to work through in a divorce. It is not easy to decide what will happen to your children and make decisions that will affect the future of your relationship with them for years to come. You know your kids deserve to be happy and have stability, and for many Texas parents, this is why they choose to resolve custody issues out of court.

There are many benefits to creating a parenting plan out of court. One of the main reasons is that it allows you more control over the final terms of the order. It can also reduce stress and allow you to account for things that may be unique to your family. When working on your custody order, it is beneficial to keep your focus on what is truly important, which is the best interests of the children, and not temporary emotions.

Sharing custody after a divorce

No one goes into a marriage anticipating a divorce, but sadly that becomes a reality for many Texas families. The biggest concern you may have is how to best divide the time your child or children will spend between parents. We here at Law Thompson, P.C. understand the many complexities you face when devising a schedule for child custody. 

According to Time magazine, in years past courts generally preferred to see children spend most of their time with a primary caretaker. This also meant that a child usually lived the majority of his or her days in one residence. However, that notion has been replaced with the viewpoint that it is extremely important for your child to bond with both you and your former partner, meaning he or she will split time between two homes. 

Custody disputes and negative emotions

When a dispute over the custody of a child surfaces, the situation can have a far-reaching impact on the lives of both parents. For example, a parent may have to take time off of work in order to prepare for court and attend a hearing. Or, someone may struggle with the other parent of their child falsely accusing them of wrongdoing. In the digital age, many people have also had to struggle with false rumors and the spread of certain types of information over the internet. In this post, however, we will look at the emotional impact of a custody dispute.

When custody issues arise, a parent may be flooded with negative emotions. For example, they may become very angry, or they could struggle with depression. Anger may carry over into parents' lives in different ways, affecting their other relationships and their ability to perform well at work. In fact, anger and other negative emotions can even impact a parent's ability to secure a more favorable outcome in their custody case.

Texas residents need an estate plan

Texas residents may think they will not need an estate plan until they are senior citizens. However, an estate plan can be beneficial even when people are young. There are several reasons people may want to put together an estate plan in the near future.

One of the benefits of an estate plan is that it allows people to decide what will happen to their personal property. Forbes says that the state usually picks beneficiaries and gives them the assets when there is no will. This means that if people do not write a will explaining which people should receive their assets, they typically have no control over their belongings after they die. Additionally, some people may want to donate money to charity. When someone creates an estate plan, he or she can make sure that different organizations receive the intended donations.  

How does community property work in divorce?

When it comes to dividing marital property during a divorce, there are either community property or equitable property states. As a community property state, Texas courts divide marital property in a specific way. When you are preparing for your divorce, it can help to understand how community property law operates.

FindLaw explains that community property states divide marital property equally, regardless of the earning potential and assets of each spouse. Everything you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be considered marital property, with a few exceptions. For example, the following situations would apply:

  • Property you gained before you were married and which you retain sole ownership of, such as your car and assets from your own small business which your spouse was not involved in, remain yours and are not considered marital property.
  • Property you and your spouse purchased together, such as a home and vehicles, are considered marital property.
  • Gifts, inheritances and family heirlooms that you received while you were married are considered your own property and will not be divided with your spouse.
  • Joint debt is also considered marital property to be divided.

The difference between a contested and uncontested divorce

If you are considering filing for divorce, you may be wondering what it will look like once you are in the midst of it. There are two types of scenarios that typically play out when a couple is divorcing. The first is when both spouses are very bitter and the conclusion is delayed due to constant battling back and forth. The other is when both parties have been open with each other about the divorce and even agreed on most, if not all the issues that are between them.

Both situations fall into the categories of contested or uncontested divorce. What is the difference between the two? There is more to it than you may think.

What is full faith and credit?

As difficult as child custody issues in Texas can be to resolve, matters become even more complicated when one parent moves out of state, whether by choice or by necessity. If you are a parent dealing with interstate custody issues, whether you are the parent moving or the parent left behind, you should know that moving your children to another state does not nullify the existing child custody agreement. According to FindLaw, the federal Full Faith and Credit Law requires states to abide by and enforce valid custody orders made elsewhere and prevents them from modifying orders made in another jurisdiction. 

In an interstate custody dispute, determining which state has jurisdiction is vitally important. The law considers the state where the child has lived with one or both parents for at least six months to be the home state. All custody and visitation determinations made in the home state are subject to the Full Faith and Credit Law, including initial orders, temporary orders, permanent orders and modifications. 

Making child custody modifications

Texan parents who have gotten a divorce understand that child custody is one of the toughest parts to handle. While custody arrangements may seem set in stone, that isn't always the case. There are certain situations in which a child custody order can be modified.

Verywell Family looks at some of the reasons to request a child custody modification. The top reason a court will reconsider is if the child is endangered in their current environment. They will examine how the child feels about the situation, whether or not they're in immediate danger, and what sort of danger they could be in. A common example is if there is domestic violence in the household. 

Holiday dos and don’ts for divorced parents

The holidays can bring many things with them. For parents, this can include worries about whether the kids will have a good time. These concerns can be especially pronounced for parents who have recently gone through a divorce. A divorce changes many things about what the holidays look like for a family and has the potential to inject a lot of added emotion into the season.

It is important for parents to remember that, in the midst of these changes and emotions, they can take steps towards helping the holidays stay joyful for them and the children. These measures include:

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Houston, TX 77014

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