Child Support Modificatons

Child support, primary custody and visitation can be changed later. Texas law says these things can be changed if there is a material change in circumstances of the child or party. Material means important or substantial.

For child support, a party could lower child support if they can prove they make less money, and it is not their fault. You may also increase the amount someone owes in child support if they have begun to make more money.

For custody, an order can be modified to protect the safety of a child. Visitation can be changed to help a parent see their child more often. A parent may even want to decrease their visitation because of work. In some cases, it is better to have a visitation order reflect what you can actually do. To not exercise visitation that you have a right to can reflect poorly in later litigation.

Dealing With Property in a Texas Divorce

Texas is a community property state. Community means the property belongs to both spouses. Property acquired during the marriage is community property. Even property that was acquired while domiciled outside of Texas, but being dealt with in a Texas divorce, is community property. Texas Family Code 3.003 says that property possessed at the time of the divorce filing is presumed to be community property. Presumes means a court will make an assumption about the property, until someone proves otherwise. That is an important point-when a divorce is filed, you have to take active steps to protect and keep your separate property. You must prove it. Any doubt about the property is resolved in favor if the community estate. So if your lawyer asks for deeds, receipts and other documents, get them. Quickly. This relates to my article on the discovery process. More likely than not, if a trial is pending, one party will serve requests for information about your separate property. If you do not answer them, you will not be able to bring that evidence up at the trial. One of the alligator pits of family law litigation.

Separate property is property that exists apart from the marriage.

Separate Property in Texas:

personal injury settlements
property owned before marriage.

For example, say you own a house before you get married. When you file for divorce, the court will assume that the house belongs to both you and your spouse. The court does not know the nature of the property until you tell it. You bring the deed and mortgage documents to court to show when you bought the house. Then, the court will find that the house is your separate property. Separate property is not subject to a just and right division. In other words, separate property does not go into the “pot” to be divided up.

Gifts of Property

When talking about marriage and divorce in Texas, the issue of gifts can be complicated. Gifts to a spouse from a third party are separate property. Gifts from one spouse to another spouse are separate property. Income from a third party gift is community property. Income from a spousal gift is….separate property. So says Texas Family Code 3.005. The court will look to the spouse’s intent to figure out what is what.

What happens when a spouse uses separate property to purchase property that is used by the marriage? Well, this comes up when a spouse uses separate money to purchase or help purchase a house for the marriage. The house is often taken in both parties’ names. This creates a presumption (lots of those in family law) that the spouse using separate property money intended to give the other spouse a one-half interest in that property as a gift. The spouse who spent their separate money must beat the presumption by proof of what they intended when the transaction occurred.

Personal Injury Settlements

Personal injury settlements are separate property. EXCEPT: the part of a personal injury settlement that stands for loss of earning capacity. Texas Family Code 3.001(3).

Property Acquired by Agreement

Spouses can agree in a written agreement that certain property they have acquired or will acquire in the future, is separate property and that income or property arising from a spouse’s separate property will remain separate property. Texas Constitution Article 16, Section 15 and Texas Family Code Section 4.102. This is called a partition agreement.

Spouses can agree in a written right-of-survivorship agreement that all property subject to the agreement will become the separate property of the surviving spouse after the other spouse dies. Texas Constitution, Article 16, Section15.

During a divorce in Texas, property acquired by a spouse while domiciled in another state is considered separate property if it would have been separate property had the spouse been domiciled in Texas when it was acquired. Texas Family Code Section 7.002(b)(1). This is called “quasi-separate property.”

Dealing with Divorce Debt

Just because a debt was run up during the marriage does not always mean both spouses are liable. To be liable for a spouse’s debt depends on the type of goods or services the debt purchased and which property the creditor is trying to get. Basically, if your name is on the debt, you must pay for it. There is no community debt as such. EXCEPTION: the exception is if the debt was run up for life’s necessities, such as food, clothing, housing, maybe those connected to automobiles, both spouses are liable. I should also mention that even though a spouse is not obligated to pay a debt, payment of debt can be agreed to and made part of a settlement.

What Are the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children?

In the U.S., there are high rates of domestic violence among live-in partners and married couples. Many people focus primarily on the men and women involved in these relationships, when in reality there is more to it. They forget that domestic violence has a more damaging impact on the children who are caught in the middle. This article teaches more about the impact on children who must deal with domestic violence.

Passive Victims

As many as 10 million children see at least one act of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Some children confront the perpetrator, but the majority of them do not act and remain silent. In addition, adult victims of domestic violence are also known to keep silent and not contact anyone for help.

Since children have fewer resources and communicative skills than adults, they are more likely to remain passive and allow the abuse to continue. However, they do not remain untouched by the abusive acts they witness. The more abuse they see, the more damages they will suffer to their mental and emotional state.

Damaged Futures

All children who grow up in violent households suffer some kind of long-lasting damage. For some children, the effects are minor and they are able to live fairly normal lives. For others, the effects are life-changing and obvious to everyone around them.

Many children naturally inhabit and imitate the behaviors that they grew up with at home. As teens, they talk back to teachers or become aggressive with other classmates. As they grow into adults, they become more violent and hostile to people around them, either verbally or physically.

However, many children have been known to turn their negative experiences into positive ones. As adults, they become counselors, police officers or motivational speakers in an effort to stop domestic violence. They work to prevent the same experiences from being repeated in other households.

The Importance of Legal Representation

The experts at Thornton Law resolve a wide range of cases that relate to domestic violence in Addison, TX. They help men or women who want to divorce their abusive partner and divide up their personal assets fairly. Lawyers help them to gain custody of their children and order regular payments for child support. Without proper legal assistance, it’s difficult and often impossible to remove yourself from an abusive partner.

Domestic violence in Addison, TX has long-term effects on children that are almost always negative. Lawyers are needed to protect the legal rights of the abused victims, which include the children. Contact the Thornton Law office to meet with a professional and discuss your situation in detail. It could make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

For more information on our Plano Family Attorney please visit our site.

What’s The Difference Between Alimony and Spousal Support?

Alimony or Spousal Support?

If you’ve been ordered to pay child support in the state of Texas, but you can no longer afford the required amount, you need to speak to an attorney. In Texas, non-custodial parents are required to pay child support until their child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from college. The ordered child support is based on the non-custodial parents’ income. If your income has recently changed, you may be able to request a modification of the order. However, you will need to go to court for that. Here are three reasons why you need to hire an experienced family law attorney before you request a modification to the current orders.

An Attorney will Understand the Law

When it comes to modifying the amount of support you pay for your child each month, there are specific laws that need to be considered. A family law attorney understands those laws, and how they apply to your specific situation. They’ll be able to help you receive the modification you need, based on the current support laws.

An Attorney will File the Appropriate Paperwork

If you’re going to be requesting a modification to your support orders, you’ll need to use the appropriate documentation. Each document will need to be filed in the correct order if you want your case to be heard. If you’re not familiar with the laws, you may file the wrong paperwork, which will jeopardize your case. However, your family law attorney will know exactly what paperwork needs to be filed, and when.

An Attorney will Know the Time Constraints

You might not realize this, but there are specific deadlines in place for filing court documents. Each legal document required for your case will have a deadline requirement attached to it. Failure to meet those deadlines may result in your case being denied. Unfortunately, if your case is denied due to deadline issues, you’ll be required to refile all the paperwork again. By hiring an attorney, you can avoid those deadline issues, which will ensure that your support modification case is processed in a timely manner.

Don’t jeopardize your support modification case. If you need to have your support orders modified, you need to first start by speaking to a family law attorney such as Thornton Law in Plano, TX. Trying to represent yourself in a support modification case could prevent you from receiving the assistance you need. The help of an attorney can make all the difference!

For more information on our Dallas Child Support Attorney please visit our site.

What Happens In Texas If My Spouse Wants A Divorce But I Don’t?

If you’ve been hit with divorce papers, then know that you’re not alone. It’s actually pretty common for spouses to be served papers for a divorce that they don’t want to participate in, and we here at Thornton Law have witnessed this.

Here are some of the most common reasons why a spouse wouldn’t agree to a divorce:

1. They were side-swiped by the news of a pending divorce

It’s not uncommon for spouses to feel side-swiped by the news that their spouse wants a divorce. In your mind, the news might seemingly come from nowhere, but to your spouse who has actually filed for the divorce, it’s been getting closer to this outcome for a long time, in a variety of ways. In their mind, they’ve tried to warn you, but you haven’t paid attention.

2. They’re still emotionally involved

Few things are more painful than knowing that your spouse wants a divorce and you don’t, because you still have strong feelings for them. This is why the law in Texas requires a 61 day cooling off period in divorce proceedings.

As it’s fairly common for couples to reconcile after divorce papers have been filed, Texas requires a time for the spouses to make absolutely sure that they want to divorce. But you should note that if after the 61 day cooling off period has passed, your spouse still wants to move forward with the divorce, then they have the legal right to do so, regardless of how you feel about it.

3. They don’t want another person to be with their spouse

One of the most common reasons for divorces is adultery. If your spouse has found someone new to love, then they’ll need to divorce you in order to marry the other person. And even if there was no physical adultery, your spouse might decide that they’re in love with another person, and they want to continue on with life with the new person. This fact might break your heart, but since Texas is a no-fault state regarding divorce filings, your spouse has the right to initiate divorce proceedings, even if you don’t want the new person to be with your current spouse.

4. They don’t want to see the other spouse move on with their life

Sometimes, there doesn’t have to be a new person involved. You might feel that your life is going to be empty without your current spouse, and how dare they decide to start a new life without you in it? Therefore, you might feel tempted to cause them the same misery you feel, by refusing to sign papers. However, Texas law allows your spouse to leave you, regardless of how you feel about it.

5. They’re concerned about the welfare of the children

Many don’t want to divorce because they’re worried about the welfare of their children. If you and your spouse have minor children, then provisions will be made during the divorce proceedings for the financial and emotional welfare of your children. Texas law can’t force a spouse to remain married for the sake of the children, but the law will protect their welfare, as much as possible.

Divorce isn’t an easy time for you to endure, but we here at Thornton Law can help you to understand your rights and options from a legal perspective. The fact is, your spouse doesn’t need your permission to divorce you, but you can leave your marriage with your community and family rights intact. Contact us today, it can make a great difference in your case!

For more information on our Plano Divorce Attorney please visit our site.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting Full Custody During My Divorce?

Every divorce that involves children is complicated and usually ends up in court. If the case involves custody, you do not always get the results you want. At the same time, you don’t want to constantly argue with judges. Find a lawyer to guide you through the process, and also learn a few ways to gain full custody of your children.

Avoid Reckless Behaviors

Your first goal is to prove your competence as a parent and an adult in general. The first step is to avoid engaging in reckless, irresponsible behavior. Many parents lose custody of their children because they are known to live irresponsibly. Some are substance abusers, while others are gamblers or perpetrators of domestic violence.

So to start, show that you can think and behave rationally without causing harm to yourself or people around you. Prove that you can maintain this healthy behavior for several months and years. Then, review your chances of getting full child custody.

Show Interest in the Child

Judges cannot detect the emotions of others just by looking at them. As the parent, you are responsible for proving that you are genuinely interested in caring for the child on a full-time basis. Provide evidence that you visit the child regularly and care for all of their needs.

Maintain Stability

Throughout the divorce process, keep your life under control, both emotionally and financially. Prove that you have the steady job, stable home and solid mental state that is required to care for a child. Then, prove that your assets are more stable than those of your partner.

Find an experienced Family Law Attorney

Family lawyers deal with matters that involve divorces and custody battles. For each client, they create an individualized plan to help you gain full custody of your children. The types of recommendations vary with each client. Good lawyers may recommend that their client wait until they become more stable before seeking custody. Visiting the judge once is more sensible than going before the court multiple times and getting denied each time. Overall, Thornton Law professionals recommend the best solution for each individual client’s life.

The divorce is hard enough, but it’s more complicated when children are involved. It could take years to gain full custody of your children, and even longer if you work with an incompetent lawyer. From the start through to the end of your divorce, work on increasing your chances of an approval. Contact the Thornton Law office to learn more about their family law services.

For more information on our Plano Child Custody Attorney please visit our site.

How to File for a Divorce in Texas

In Texas, petitions are filed to end a marriage due to an irretrievable breakdown. Petitioners have the right to choose any grounds that apply when starting their case. The petitioner must meet all the requirements to receive a final decree. Local attorneys provide assistance for individuals who need answers about filing for a divorce.

The Prerequisites of Filing

All petitioners must meet the residency requirements before filing. The individual must have lived in Texas for no less than six months and their current county for ninety days. Military members can file in Texas if they were stationed in the state for at least six months. Pregnant wives must provide full disclosure of their pregnancy. The state doesn’t allow wives to file a petition until after the child’s birth. A failure to disclose the pregnancy could nullify the final decree and lead to fraud charges.

What Grounds are Used in Texas?

Adultery or infidelity is a common fault-based ground used in cases. It indicates that a spouse was involved in an extramarital affair. Evidence of the affair is used to support the claim.

Abandonment indicates that the defendant left the marital home without any intentions of returning. The standard requirement for the ground is one year. However, couples could claim abandonment after one year or indicate that they’ve lived separate lives after three years.

Incarceration and mental incapacity are also grounds used in the proceedings. A spouse must be in prison for at least one year to claim incarceration grounds or be admitted into a mental facility for no less than three years to use mental incapacity or insanity as the grounds.

Intolerable cruelty or domestic violence require evidence of threats or abuse. A record of arrests for abuse or domestic violence provides evidence to support the claim. The petitioner also acquires a protection order to protect them or their children from additional attacks.

How are Marital Properties and Assets Divided?

A community property state requires an even split of all marital assets. The assets include but are not limited to the marital home, automobiles, pension and/or retirement plans, IRAs, and stocks and/or savings accounts. Additional monetary payments are provided to balance out any shortcomings in marital property divisions.

Conditions that Apply to Spousal Support

A petitioner receives alimony if their spouse was convicted of domestic violence and/or if the couple has been married for no less than ten years. If alimony is awarded, the duration and value of the payments depend on specific factors.

The spouse receives alimony if their earning capacity prevents them from supporting themselves after the divorce. The spousal support is provided to cover specific medical expenses and/or to support them if the spouse has a disability that prevents them from working. The payments are provided while a spouse completes career-based training or degree program.

Temporary alimony is provided until the spouse completes the educational program and increases their earning capacity. Lifetime alimony is provided when it was included in a prenuptial agreement. It is also required if the spouse is unable to increase their earning capacity due to their age or a permanent condition. The lifetime alimony arrangements end if the individual remarries.

In Texas, petitioners file a motion to end their marriage when it isn’t possible to continue the relationship due to intolerable conditions. The petitioners must follow all laws associated with their case. Petitioners who are ready to start a petition contact Thornton Law in Plano, Texas, directly or visit to schedule an appointment now.

For more information on our Plano Family Attorney please visit our site.

How is Debt Divided in a Divorce in Texas?

If you are heading to a dissolution of your marriage, you need to have a basic understanding of the divorce process in Texas. One of the areas in which you need to become familiar is the manner in which a Texas court divides debt in a divorce case.

Equitable Division of Assets and Debts

The state of Texas utilizes the equitable division of property standard in a divorce case. Under this legal standard, the assets and debts of a married couple are subject to being divided in a manner that is deemed fair and equitable based on the facts and circumstances of a case.

Equitable division does not mean that the debts accumulated by the parties to a divorce during a marriage are split equally between them. An equal division only occurs if that proves to be the fair way in which debt should be distributed between the spouses.

Equitable division of assets and debts can be contrasted with the community property standard. The community property standard does require an even division of assets and debts unless there exists a compelling reason to divide in a different manner.

The equitable division standard is used in the majority of states in the United States. The community property standard is used in about 10 states, including California.

What is Marital Debt?

Only marital debt is subject to division in a divorce case. In other words, if a spouse accumulated debt before a marriage, those financial liabilities are not subject to division during divorce proceedings. The same holds true for assets or property.

If a spouse accumulated some type of debt without the knowledge of the other spouse, the individual who did this may well be responsible for dealing with this debt on their own following a divorce. The other spouse will not be penalized for the misconduct of the spouse that secretly accumulated debt during the marriage.

Financial Disclosures at the Start of a Divorce Case

When a divorce case commences in Texas, both spouses are required by law to complete financial disclosure statements to the court and to the other spouse. These disclosures represent a starting point in determining what assets and debts are going to be subject to distribution during the marriage dissolution proceedings.

Retain a Skilled Texas Divorce Lawyer from Thornton Law in Plano, Texas

It’s best to protect your legal rights in a marriage dissolution case by taking a proactive approach and retaining a skilled, experienced Texas divorce lawyer, like Robert Thornton at Thornton Law in Plano, Texas. The first step in hiring a divorce attorney is to schedule an initial consultation.

During the initial consultation, a lawyer will provide an evaluation of your case. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, including about the Texas divorce process.

For more information on our Plano Divorce Debt Attorney please visit our site.

What is Divorce Discovery?

Going through a divorce is always a challenging process. The belongings, assets, and even debts of a married couple must be divided up in a way that is as fair as possible for both parties. Also the custody of any children must be arranged. As this is a complex situation with high emotion, courts have developed a process for dissolving a marriage as painlessly as possible. Divorce discovery is the first major step in this process.

The Purpose of Divorce Discovery

The discovery process is basically an exchange of documents and information that will be needed to completely dissolve a marriage. Commonly exchanged information includes:

Financial documents such as tax returns, bank statements, and wage stubs
Deeds or appraisals for community property
Statements made under oath, also known as depositions, regarding events during the marriage

This and any other relevant information revealed during the discovery process is designed to help the courts come up with a solution that is as fair as possible to everyone involved. Although the ones above are the most commonly revealed in the discovery process, almost any information can be requested if it is important to the divorce proceedings. A lawyer can help you find the documentation that you need to give the courts a clear picture of your situation as well as decide what to request from your soon-to-be former spouse.

Discovery is not limited to information about your finances. You may be asked for an admission, in which you can either admit or deny an accusation. You may be asked to describe how much time you spend caring for your children or how you have spent funds in the past. This process can be extremely painful. You may have to admit to mistakes or hear new and shocking information about your spouse.

Common Pitfalls

There are several common financial mistakes that can be made, resulting in bad-ending divorce discoveries. The most common is dishonesty. It is important to be as honest as possible with your lawyer so they can help you to develop a winning strategy. In addition, it is important to be honest with the other side in the discovery process. Lies and misleading statements are usually found out, and the courts do not look kindly on them. Lastly, it is important not to guess. Everything you say or submit should be precise, provable, and completely true.

Divorces can be emotionally and financially draining, so it is important to have the best legal help available. You deserve someone who is knowledgeable, professional, and completely on your side. Without this help, you are likely to lose your case. If you live in or near Dallas and are considering a divorce, contact Thornton Law today. We can help you get through this difficult time as painlessly as possible and get a fresh start for a new and successful life.

For more information on our Dallas Divorce Discovery Attorney please visit our site.

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