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Divorces

If this word has come up in your mind, we would like to offer you information so you can make an informed decision.

Texas requires an Original Petition for Divorce to be filed in the District Clerk's office of the County where you reside and a filing fee must be paid. The Petition identifies who the parties are, children, property issues and whether you require the Court to issue Temporary Orders during the pendency of your divorce case. If you are worried about filing the divorce because you either lack the funds to support yourself and your children or hire attorney, you have the ability to request Temporary Orders for child support, spousal support and interim attorneys fees. A hearing will be held shortly after you have filed the Petition for Divorce, the Court will make orders to protect the parties and children of the marriage and to maintain and protect the marital estate so that a just and right property division can be made between the spouses. Regrettably, sometimes, an a client needs an immediate order from the Court to protect themselves and or their children, an ex-parte restraining order or Protective Order may be filed with the Original Petition. Texas mandates a 60-day "cooling off" period after the Petition for Divorce is filed, before the Court can grant a Divorce.

There are three property estates in almost every marriage: the community property estate, wife's separate property estate and the husband's property separate estate. Separate property is property owned or "claimed" by the spouse before marriage; property acquired by a spouse during marriage by gift, devise or descent. Community property is all property other than separate property acquired by EITHER spouse during marriage. Problems I have seen in over 15 years of practice and trials: one spouse hides money from the other spouse, one spouse has control over most if not all of the property of the marriage, a premarital agreement was signed and you now have questions about the agreement's enforceability, a partition or exchange agreement was executed during the marriage, one spouse received a personal injury settlement during the marriage, transfers of money between separate property accounts and community property accounts, property acquired in other States or Countries, need for temporary spousal support (alimony), requests for a disproportionate division of the community estate, an independent tort (for example, assault, fraud, constructive fraud) should be alleged in the divorce, and whether a reimbursement claims or economic contribution exist between the marital estates.

How property is "characterized" - defined as separate property of husband or wife, community property or any combination of the three - is a hotly contested issue in some divorces. Separate property is not changed by the sale, exchange, or change in form of the property…generally. IF, and so long as, the separate property can be definitely traced and identified, it remains separate property regardless of the fact that the separate property may change in form. Even more complicated, is property with mixed characterization, property could be any combination of the above three estates. For example, a married couple buys a house, the wife's mother has given her daughter $10,000 every year for the past five years, the wife always kept the money in a separate bank account never transferring or withdrawing the money. The remainder of the purchase price, the couple finance at their local bank. Generally, the portion acquired by gift is separate property and the portion acquired by credit is community. Of course, there are exceptions to the foregoing, if your marriage has any of these issues, call us for an appointment to carefully discuss your options.

Just and Right Property division, what is that you ask? Just and right, means what it says, if it's "just and right" that you receive 70% of the community estate…that's what you get. This is a request for a disproportionate division of the community estate. Kathleen Collins has been very successful in receiving disproportionate awards of community property for her clients.

We were never married, but we lived together and said we were married, are we married? If you answer yes the next three statements, you are married: (1). There was an agreement to be married (between and a man and a woman), (2). After the agreement, you lived together in Texas as husband and wife, and (3). There you represented to others that you were married.

Articles

I think my spouse is hiding money

 

Collins & Associates
Attorneys
The Fassler Building
1004 Broadway Street   -   Galveston, Texas 77550
Phone: (409) 763-8616   -   Fax: (409) 763-2442
We are dedicated to providing top quality
legal services and to being responsive to our clients
Call for appointment, or email a question to: info@galvestonlaw.net

 

Unless otherwise indicated, Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship

 
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