What You Should Know If You’re Getting a Divorce in Texas

Divorce is never easy, and not knowing exactly how the divorce process plays out in Texas can add a considerable amount of strain to your life if you’re thinking about filing or have already started the process.

Here are some basic things you should know about divorce in the Lone Star state.

Texas is a no-fault state. This means that you or your spouse does not need to prove either one did anything wrong to get divorced. Some spouses will allege fault which may affect the division of property as you move forward. However, most divorces move forward on the supposition of insupportability.

There is a mandatory minimum waiting period. It takes a minimum of 60 days to get a divorce in Texas because of a mandatory waiting period. In addition, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of Texas for at least 6 months leading up to the divorce, and one of the spouses must also have been a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the filing.

Shortly after filing for divorce, if couples do not agree, a temporary hearings order will take place to clarify things such as living arrangements, a possession schedule for any children, temporary spousal and child support, and who pays which bills such as car payments, mortgage, and utilities.

Texas Is Not a Community Property State

Texas is not a 50/50 community property state. Judges do have some leeway when it comes to dividing assets if they see fault or bad behavior on one side or the other.

Alimony is a possibility, but it is difficult to qualify for it. The courts expect both sides to return to the workforce as soon as possible if they are capable of doing so.

Child support is clearly defined by the Texas Family code. If you are required to pay child support, you must pay 20 percent of your net income for one child, 25 percent for two and it goes up 5 percent for each child up to 40 percent.

Your spouse is not required to pay for your health insurance, but you may be entitled to purchase health insurance under the former spouses group plan.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 31, 2018 Comments (0)

The Basics of Real Estate Deeds

When you buy or sell a piece of property, you must convey that property by legally creating and transferring the property with the drafting and recording of a real estate deed. Some real estate transactions have the deed conveyed with the assistance of an attorney, while others do not. An attorney can provide valuable assistance by helping to determine what form of document is appropriate for the transaction, who must sign the deed, how the new owners will hold title, and if there will be any other interests or covenants that must be spelled out.

When conveying a piece of property, the buyer is known as the grantee, and the seller is known as the grantor.

The most form of deed is a warranty deed, also known as a grant deed. It not only transfers ownership, but also warrants that the grantor holds good title to the property.

By contrast, a quitclaim deed transfers ownership of the property, but does not guarantee what that interest is or that the title is in good standing. Quitclaim deeds are most commonly executed in informal transactions between friends and family members, or as part of a divorce proceeding.

Recording Your Deed is the Final Step

Deeds can either be created in joint tenancy or by tenancy in common. Joint tenancy means that when one person passes away, the owner’s share passes automatically to the surviving joint tenants. This is the most common arrangement with a married couple. Tenancy in common means that when a person dies, their share of the property passes down to their heirs or to the appropriate persons named in their will.

None of this becomes legal until the real estate deed, in Arlington or other Texas communities, is recorded. This takes place at an appropriate county office where the property is located. This might be a county recorder’s office, a land registry office, or a register of deeds. It is important to note that an owner’s interests are not fully enacted and protected until the deed is recorded.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 24, 2018 Comments (0)

What You Need to Know About Child Custody Issues

When two people divorce and children are involved, the custody of the children become the primary issue as to how a divorce will be settled. Determining child custody is a difficult process, and courts will take many factors into consideration before approving child custody rights.

Best Interests of the Children Come First

Overall, the guiding principle that courts use is putting the best interests of the children above all else. Courts take many factors into consideration when they deliberate on parenting plans, visitation rights, and which parent should receive primary custody. While many things come into play, they are all generally centered around the children’s happiness and security as well as the children’s mental, physical, and emotional well being. As such, some of the more important issues that are considered include:

  • Continuity of schooling
  • Continuity of providing health services
  • Which parent can provide a more stable home environment
  • Cultural considerations
  • Religious considerations
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • Childcare issues
  • Transportation issues
  • Pre-existing issues involving domestic violence or child abuse
  • Pre-existing issues involving drug or alcohol abuse
  • Visitation challenges due to scheduling or distance issues

In those cases where a child is old enough to express a preference as to which parent they want to stay with, the courts will also give this primary consideration as well.

If a Child Custody Battle Turns Negative

More often than not, child custody issues can become heated and emotional affairs. When a child custody in Mansfield battle turns ugly, it is not uncommon for one parent or the other to begin fabricating stories or overly accentuate the negatives of a home environment.

One of the biggest challenges a child custody attorney will have is refuting those accusations or completely disproving them. By doing so, they can actually put the other parent in a negative light, working against them in the final determination.

Obviously, the best course of action is to try and find compromise prior to entering court, and that can take place if both parents are in agreement that the children should not be used as pawns in the divorce.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 17, 2018 Comments (0)

How You Can Have Child Support Modification Take Place in Texas

At the time that you divorced from your spouse, decisions regarding the welfare of any children from the marriage were made as a part of the settlement. This included approving the parenting plan, determining who has primary custody, visitation, and other issues. One of the more important things that was also decided was how much child support one spouse or the other was required to pay. It was based on a number of factors, including the income of each spouse at the time of the divorce.

If those factors or income levels have changed, you do have the right to ask the court to modify your child support amount or to go through the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Review Process to see if a child support modification is possible.

The Modification Review Process

The Office of the Attorney General is the official child support enforcement agency in Texas and has sweeping powers regarding all types of child support issues. The only way child support can be modified is through a court hearing or by negotiating with your ex-spouse as part of the Review Process.

You can either apply online to the Office of the Attorney General, or contact the regional child support office for the county where you live. When you make an application, it establishes the Attorney General’s authority over your case. As a part of the process, you’ll be asked to provide several pieces of information such as previous child support orders, and other related personal information.

There are certain terms that must be met before a child support modification, in Arlington or in other Texas communities, will be considered or granted. It must be at least three years since your last order was put in place and the modification must represent at least a 20 percent or $100 monthly difference from what is currently on the books. An exception to this is when one or the other spouse’s circumstances have changed significantly, such as receiving a large inheritance, winning the lottery, or getting a major promotion and pay raise on the job.

Even if you and your spouse agree that the modification is warranted, it must still be approved by the courts. However, courts will almost always approve the modification if both spouses agree to the terms.

The Hixson Law Firm serves clients in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie and other nearby Texas communities.

johnlaw_admin Jan 10, 2018 Comments (0)

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