Family Law Blog

Informing A Child About The Decision To Divorce

Thursday, October 12, 2017

If you have a child, and you and your spouse have decided to get a Divorce, it is likely you are pondering the best way to go about informing your offspring about the changes they are about to endure. Letting a child know that their parents are about to go separate ways can be a bit challenging, and extremely heart-breaking. Here are some points to keep in mind when starting the divorce process.

Be Sure To Let Your Child Know The Reasoning

Without getting into specifics, let your child know why you are deciding to get a divorce. Alerting them that you do not get along with your spouse as much as you did in the past or that you both believe you will be happier apart may not make your child feel better, but they will realize the truth in these words may lead to you having less stress and an overall positive outlook in the future. Let your child know they are in no way responsible for the divorce. Hearing this from their parents is important.

Work Out A Plan For Visitation If Possible

Do your best to work with your soon to be ex-spouse regarding the time each of you spend with your child. A sit-down discussion one-on-one about their well-being can be enough to get both parties to realize that your child should not be used as a pawn or for negotiating purposes. Their lifestyle and what is to happen soon should be foremost on your mind, as well as your spouse's. Keep their interests in mind with any decision you make throughout the divorce process.

Keep Things As Close To Normal As Possible

It is a good idea to stick with the same routines as much as you can. Incorporate visitation time with the other party into the schedule, making sure your child is well aware of the dates and times they will be seeing your spouse. Do not speak poorly about your spouse to your child, no matter how angry you are. This will help to keep your child from feeling as if they have to pick sides, leading to possible depression as a result.

The divorce process is extremely difficult. Pick up the phone and contact us to find out more about child custody, visitation rights, in addition to property and asset distribution today.


Social Security and Divorce: What Happens To The Benefits When You Split?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Social security is meant to help support you when you reach retirement age, and if you get married then you and your spouse's social security benefits are entwined. But what happens if you get divorced? Well, it really depends on how long you were married as the Social Security Agency points out.

10 Years is The Sweet Spot

If you were married for ten years, or longer, then it is possible to receive benefits based on your spouse's income. As long as you:

- Are 62 years of age (or older)

- Have not remarried

- Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive either retirement or disability benefits, and those benefits are greater than what you would receive for your own retirement or disability

If you meet the above qualifications, then you could be entitled to one-half of your ex-partner's social security benefits. Additionally, if you have remarried but you divorce, your marriage is annulled, or your partner dies before you reach the ten-year mark, then you could become eligible for benefits under your former partner's social security once again.

It's also important to remember that your ex-partner doesn't necessarily need to be receiving social security in order for you to claim your portion of it. If your ex-partner qualifies for social security (whether or not they're currently receiving any benefits), and you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can start receiving your benefits as soon as you qualify for them.

Divorce complicated social security, but the system can be navigated with relative ease if you pick up the phone, and contact the agency in question. They're typically more than happy to answer your questions, and walk you through the process until you're comfortable with how it works.

For more information on divorce, division of property, and how you can move on with your life after your split, simply contact us today!

Reasons to Choose Annulment Over Divorce

Thursday, September 28, 2017


It happens every day. Couples come to the decision that they no longer want to be together. If they were dating, the split is heart-breaking but simple. However, if they are legally married, splitting up is just ever so much more difficult. When it comes to dissolving a marriage, there are two choices: divorce or annulment.

Contrary to the belief, annulments aren't just for quickie weddings in Las Vegas, they can be employed for a number of reasons. Unlike divorce, an annulment can only happen if there are specific situations about the marriage. In most states, these include reasons of fraud, bigamy, underage or incompetent spouse, or the marriage has not been consummated.

Typically the difference between an annulment and a divorce is that an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened, but a divorce will always be on record. In days past when divorce had a negative stigma, seeking an annulment was the preferred course of action. However, today most people seek annulments in order to protect their property and possessions. If you can prove that a spouse was already married or lied about who they were, then a marriage can be annulled and even in an equal division of property states, they will have no claim on what is yours.

Annulments may be the preferable option for some, but if you do not fit the strict requirements, then you will have to settle for a regular old divorce. However, that doesn't mean you have to lose everything. With the right divorce lawyer, you can make sure your divorce goes smoothly and in your favor. If you are considering a separation, contact us today.

Inheritance Rights of Domestic Partners

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When it comes to registering domestic partnerships, couples share many of the same rights as marriage. However, there is no argument that there are some distinct differences in rights when it comes to domestic partners and married couples, which is why it is always worth looking into your rights as a domestic partner.

One of the many things that domestic partnerships often overlook, or just plain don't want to think about, is the end of life. Do inheritance rights of domestic partnerships differ from marriage? Knowing and not knowing could mean the difference between being well cared for and losing everything.

In marriage, when a spouse dies without a will or intestate, the estate will still pass on to their living spouse, but is it the same with a domestic partnership? In California, yes it is. California recognizes many of the same rights of domestic partners as it does with married couples, meaning that if one partner dies, even without a will, the other partner will still have inheritance rights akin to a spouse.

However, not all states are as understanding. If the domestic partnership couple moves to another state, they may not be afforded the same rights. Some states will not recognize the inheriting rights of domestic partners at all. This means if they are not specifically written into a will as an inheritor, the living partner will receive nothing.

If you are in a domestic partnership in California, you enjoy a number of liberal rights, but that doesn't mean you don't need a lawyer when things go south. If you need legal representation, contact us today.

Four Reasons You Need a Prenuptial Agreement

Thursday, September 14, 2017

More and more marriages end in divorce. No matter how much you want your marriage to last forever, the odds may be against you. Because of this, prenuptial agreements are becoming popular.

Here are some reasons why you should have a prenuptial agreement (no matter how much you love the other person and don’t believe it will end).

  • Prenuptial agreements are there to protect you. Odds are against most marriages so if you have things that are valuable to you, you really need to protect yourself. It allows you to leave the marriage with what you came with. Your ex-spouse will not be able to take your valuables away from you. 
  • Prenuptial agreements are not just for rich people. If you (or your soon-to-be- spouse) have significant debt, a prenuptial agreement will protect each other. If there is still debt when you break up, you won’t have to pay your ex’s debt. He or she also will not be responsible for yours.
  • If you own a business, you need a prenuptial agreement. This will, not only ensure that the business stays in your name but will make sure that you get what you earn. It also goes the other way. If your business fails, your partner is protected against the loss.
  • Prenuptial agreements can also make divorce much easier. You will already know who is getting what in the event that you divorce so there will be less fighting. Couples with a relatively easy divorce are more likely to stay friends which is really important when there are children involved.

Though nobody wants to think about their marriage ending (especially right before the wedding), odds are that your marriage may not last. For this reason, it is important to have a prenuptial agreement in place. It will protect you and your soon-to-be-spouse.

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Three Ways To Know that Divorce is Right for You

Friday, September 08, 2017

Getting divorced is a difficult decision. Though it can be a long hard road, especially if you have children, it may be the best thing for your family. Before, during, and afterward, many people struggle with their decision, even if it was the right one to make.

Here are some ways to know that divorce is right for you (and your family).

There are no more feelings between you and your spouse. Many times couples still love each other but they see no way to make their marriage work. Throughout these divorces, there are too many hurt feelings. One or both of you may think that you can work it out eventually. However, if neither of you love each other anymore, a divorce could be a good thing.

You need to know if you are truly serious about divorce or you are just threatening with it, in order to change something. Many people threaten their spouses with divorce to make them change their mind about something. They may want to gain some control in the relationship or they may really just want to give their spouse a wake-up call.

You need to be ready for your life to change completely. Not only are you going to lose the person who was supposed to be the most important person in your world, your living situation, finances, and your whole life is going to change. If you have children, they may go through phases where they are angry and unhappy and you have to be prepared to deal with that.

Getting divorced may be the best thing that ever happens to you. However, if you are not ready, you will just spend more time grieving the life that you thought you were going to have. You need to make sure that you don’t have any more feelings for your spouse as well as be ready for all of the changes that are coming!

Contact us for all of your legal needs.

Child Custody Issues When One Parent Wants to Move to Another State

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What happens when one parent decides to move to a different state? The first thing to know is that if there is joint custody, you’re not permitted to move without the consent of the other parent or a court decision permitting it. Here are some other things you should be aware of.

Physical Joint Custody Vs Legal Joint Custody

Legal joint custody is when the child is staying with only one parent, but both parents have a legal say in the future of the child. In such cases, making a move will be a lot easier to accomplish. When there is joint physical custody, however, things will get a little more complicated.

Getting the Courts to Agree to a Move

It won’t be easy to get the courts to agree to a move. The court will take the ultimate well-being of the child into account, and that includes the emotional effects of moving away from a parent. You will have to prove that moving will be in the best interests of the child. If you can prove that moving is the only way to get reasonable employment, for example, or that the move is necessary for the educational needs of the child, the court may approve the move. Otherwise, you can move only if you leave your child behind. 

Visitation Rights After Moving

If the court agrees to the move, they will work out some sort of visitation agreement for the child. For example, if you are moving far away, the child may spend the summers with their other parent. Other communication method plans such as phone calls may also be set up.

For legal help with your child custody case, just contact us!

Who Gets Child Custody If Your Former Spouse Dies?

Friday, August 25, 2017

What happens when your former spouse, who was awarded custodial rights over your children, suddenly passes away? In most cases, custodial rights will revert back to you, the remaining surviving parent. However, other factors can come into play as well. Here are some common issues that arise.

If You Are Unfit

Courts will be looking out for the child’s best interests. In most cases, their best interests is to be with their biological parent. If, however, you are deemed unfit for taking care of them (for example, if you have a history of child abuse), the court will probably deny you custodial rights.

If Your Spouse Left a Will

If your spouse left a will stipulating who should be the guardian of your child, that will generally not have any direct effect. Your spouse did not own your child. The courts may, however, take your spouse's suggestion into consideration in their final ruling when analyzing what will be the best thing for the child.

If a Third Party Intervenes

Although you will usually be awarded custody, a third party can still intervene. A grandparent or other relative has the right to petition the courts for custody. They will usually have to prove that staying with you will cause harm to the child.

If Your Spouse Remarried

What if your spouse remarried? The existence of a stepparent may complicate things. If the stepparent formally adopted the child and your parental rights were terminated, they will generally retain custodial rights unless you adopt your child again. If, however, the stepparent did not adopt the child and you still retain parental rights, things may be different.

Contact us for legal help in any case involving child custody so that we can help you out.

Property Division: Who Pays The Bills During A Divorce?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

stressed-couple-sitting-at-counter-paying-billsGetting divorced is the sort of thing that tends to eat up all your time and attention. You worry about your kids, you worry about your finances, you have to keep your court dates straight, file the right paperwork, and talk to your attorney to make sure everything is going smoothly. And that's if you and your partner are going your own ways amicably; if you're not, then you have to attend negotiations with someone who is trying to fight you on every ground involved in this divorce.

A lot of stuff can fall by the wayside while you're understandably involved in this process. Your social life, your hobbies, and even your career can all take serious hits from your divorce. It can affect practical things, too. Things you might not even think about when you first start your proceedings. Things like, whose job is it to keep paying your bills while going through this divorce?

Generally, It's Whoever's Name Is On The Account

When it comes to paying bills during a divorce, the answer is usually pretty simple; which name is on the account? That's who pays the bills, according to Simple Texas Divorce, because they're still that person's bills. If your spouse has a credit card or an on-demand movie account, those are still their bills, to be paid on-time just as if there wasn't a divorce proceeding going on.

That might sound simple, but things can get complicated when both of you are listed on an account, and you are both held liable for the bill. For example, say you're getting divorced, but you both still live together in the same house. If both your names are on the power bill, for example, then you're both on the hook for it. That means it's up to the two of you to figure out some way to cover the expense that is amenable to all parties involved.

However, this requirement needs to be reflected based on your current living arrangement. If you are separated, and each of you has your own places where you live, you should update your billing information to reflect that. Everything from credit cards and banking, to utilities and your Netflix account, should be divvied up, with each of you handling your own part of it whenever possible.

Lastly, though, it's important to remember that you can't just shut off a service during a divorce proceeding. Any account closures will need to be joint, and negotiations will have to involve both parties. Otherwise, that could cause further complications to the divorce. After all, it isn't just about what paperwork you submit, or what you say in court; it's about how you are living your lives, and what actions you're taking throughout the divorce process. Every action is throwing a stone into a pond, and the ripples can have consequences when the court makes a decision.

Can I Take Money Out of My Account?

It can get nerve-wracking, examining every financial decision through the lens of your divorce. However, as Bedrock Divorce points out, all of your shared assets as a couple will need to be assessed and split before you can both go your separate ways. That includes savings accounts, retirement accounts (like a 401k), and pretty much any other resources. Which is why it's important not to touch those accounts, or to do something like taking out a loan against your 401k, without communicating about it, and making sure it's something you both agree on. Sometimes you'll need to dip into these accounts to pay your bills while the divorce is going on, but any one-sided activity could hurt you when it comes time to divide the marital assets.

For more advice on what you can do to make your divorce go smoother in Texas, simply contact us today!

What About Our Home After a Divorce?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Divorce can be a devastating experience. Not only are you splitting from someone you once loved, but you must divide your assets. One of your biggest assets is likely your home. Deciding who gets the home can be a difficult and contentious decision, which should ideally be made by you and your ex rather than be left up to a judge's decision. When making decisions about your home, you have several options.

One of You Keeps the Home

Sometimes, the best solution is for one of you to keep the home. In some cases, the one keeping the home may buy out the other person, allowing one spouse to have the home while the other has the money.

One of you keeping the home is also often a good solution when you still have children at home. The children can continue to live in the home until they are grown. In some cases, the house may then be sold. In other cases, the person living in the home may continue to live in the home even after the children have moved out.

Sell the Home

For many splitting couples, selling the home and splitting the profits is the best solution. This might be the best solution if both of you want the house or if maintaining the home would cause a financial burden for the person wanting to keep the house. It is also often a good option if neither person wants to keep the home, especially if both people want to make a fresh start, in a new community, far from the memories of that home.  

Each Keep One

If you own more than one home, you may be able to come to a compromise where you each get one home. Of course, this may require some serious compromising on one or both of your parts, especially if one home is worth significantly more than the other.

Unfortunately, your home is just one of the property division issues you will face during your divorce. Contact us to learn how we can help you through the divorce process.