Protecting Your Family's Future

Preventing a Financial Disaster After a Divorce

How to Deal with the Financial Downside of Divorce

With the U.S. divorce rate ranging between 40 to 50 percent, there are many people dealing with post-marriage life in Texas. The transition can be financially crippling for those who had combined savings and/or debts with their former partners. With a little preparation, however, couples can avert a lot of trouble later down the road. 

The Financial Harm of Divorce

Divorce can be financially straining for many exes. For one thing, separated couples will have to pay for two households using the same income they had before splitting. Additionally, the process of divorce can be expensive, especially if there are long, drawn-out battles. After all, getting divorced means hiring attorneys and financial advisors, both of whom could cost exorbitant amounts of money. To make matters worse, several individuals lack basic financial literacy. One could make bad decisions without knowing about it. The following are some of the most common financial consequences of divorce. 

  • Debt: When you get divorced, you and your spouse will have to split up any shared debt. This is all the more pertinent when one of the soon-to-be exes owes a lot of money, be it in the form of student debt or something else. Otherwise, either spouse could soon find themselves saddled with a financial burden they didn’t ask for but one that will haunt them for a long time to come.

  • Credit score: Speaking of debt, you should be aware of your former partner’s credit score and how this score will affect yours. After all, it would be regrettable if either party got punished for the lack of responsibility of the other.

  • Retirement: Divorce can even impact retirement. In fact, studies show that divorced individuals are at a higher risk of running out of assets while retired than non-divorced individuals.

  • Plans for the future: Not only can divorce harm a couple’s financials today, but it can also interfere with any plans they may have for the future. For instance, even though you may intend to send your children to college, a divorce might force you to reevaluate that decision. Any money you’ve saved in anticipation of college fees might have to be paid for alimony or child support instead.

Possible Ways to Minimize the Financial Damage of Divorce

Fortunately, you can prepare for the unique issues of your divorce. Consider the following methods for minimizing the financial damage.

  • Learn to be financially literate: It’s extremely important for both individuals in a marriage, regardless of who is the breadwinner, to learn how to be financially literate. This will protect their interests and help them plan for their future.

  • Get a prenup or a postnup: Prenuptial agreements can be a lifesaver. On the one hand, they can help couples figure out how they’ll split their assets long before negative emotions and resentment seep into the picture. On the other hand, by dictating how the assets should be split, they minimize the conflict on that front. The only problem is that many couples neglect to get a prenup before marriage. Fortunately, these spouses can resort to a postnuptial agreement, which can perform many of the same functions.

  • Plan ahead: Lots of problems that arise from divorce can be averted if the couple plans ahead. Going back to the aforementioned example of college fees — even though many divorced couples may find it difficult to foot the bill for education, they might have an easier time if they put their money in a 529 plan. The money will then grow tax-free and can also be withdrawn without fees so long as it is used for educational expenses.

  • Speaking to an experienced professional: Obviously, there are many ways you can shield your finances. Bearing that in mind, it’s wise to talk to an experienced attorney. Most divorce lawyers have seen countless cases before and are aware of the best tips and practices to protect your money. A good attorney will also be aware of the little nuances that the layman could miss, such as how alimony is taxable but mortgage payments aren’t.

With all that said, if you or someone you know is going through a divorce, contact Stewart Law PLLC today at (281) 420-8020. You can also find our offices in Baytown, Texas.

What to Know About the Various Grounds for Divorce

Understanding Grounds for Divorce in Texas

While Texas allows for a no-fault divorce, there are some grounds for ending a marriage that can be used to simplify the legal process. For the past decade, there have been right around 80,000 divorces every year in the Lone Star State. If you’re thinking about ending your marriage, consider getting in touch with a Baytown family law attorney who can help you understand the different grounds for divorce.

What Is a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

When married couples are looking to separate, the primary option available in Texas is to file for a no-fault divorce. This only requires the spouse to tell a judge that the marriage is essentially over and that neither partner can fix the marriage. At least one spouse is required to tell the judge that the marriage cannot be supported because of issues with incompatible personalities that have caused the relationship to be destroyed and have eliminated the possibility of reconciling. A no-fault divorce can be entered by just one spouse and proceed even if the other spouse objects to it. This usually allows the divorce proceedings to progress somewhat quickly.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Texas

In Texas, it’s also possible for one spouse to assert that there are fault-based grounds for divorce, of which there are six types. In order for a spouse to assert that there are fault-based grounds for divorce, they will need to have enough proof about the grounds that are being stated. Furthermore, they will need to show that these grounds warrant a divorce. If the grounds cannot be formally approved, the divorce will not be granted. The main grounds for a divorce that are acceptable by a Texas judge include:

  • Being separated or living apart for three years or longer
  • Being abandoned by a spouse for at least one year
  • The confinement of a spouse to a private or state mental hospital
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Felony where the spouse is imprisoned for one year or longer

Filing based on one of these reasons indicates that the reason was the cause for the divorce. However, the other spouse can get the opportunity to contest the reason for the divorce. This means that the grounds must be proved by the filing party.

How Condonation Can Apply to Your Case

In Texas, condonation is a type of defense that can be used within fault-based divorce proceedings. Given the highly emotional aspect of many divorce cases, it’s possible that one spouse can accuse the other of the aforementioned grounds solely to draw the proceedings out and make them more complicated for the other spouse. Laws in Texas have taken this specific situation into account and provide the spouse who is being accused with the ability to deny the claims and instead request a no-fault divorce if the spouse who has filed for the divorce actually condoned the behavior that they are accusing them of.

Although this type of defense can be used by individuals who are being levied with fault-based allegations, the judge must also believe that reconciliation is possible in order to accept the defense. Since fault-based proceedings can last for a lengthy period of time, this type of defense is mainly used to alter the fault-based divorce filing to a non-fault filing. The two things that a spouse must prove with this defense are that the other spouse forgave them for their actions and that they are remorseful and never committed the act again once they were forgiven. No matter what type of divorce you would like to seek, Baytown attorneys can help you identify what your best option is and when it should be used.

If any of the seven grounds for marriage apply to your case, call our Baytown family law attorneys today at (281) 420-8020. We would be happy to schedule a confidential consultation about moving forward with a divorce.

Dissolving a Common-Law Marriage in Texas

Common-Law Marriage and Divorce: What You Should Know

Texas is one of only nine U.S. states that recognize common-law marriage. The dissolution of this type of union can be fraught with many of the same types of issues that beset formally married couples who are contemplating divorce, so the services of a family law attorney can be very useful.

What Is a Common-Law Marriage?

A common-law marriage is a relationship between two people who are cohabiting and describe their relationship to family and friends as a marriage, but it hasn’t been formalized by a license or a ceremony. Common-law marriages can take place between same-sex couples as well as between a man and a woman. Each state that recognizes common-law marriage has its own sets of legal prerequisites and stipulations pertaining to this arrangement. The Lone Star State’s prerequisites are among the most liberal.

Some states stipulate continuous cohabitation over a certain period of time as a prerequisite for verifying the existence of a common-law marriage. In Texas, however, a common-law spouse only has to demonstrate that:

  • Both partners were older than 18 years of age at the time they entered into the relationship.
  • Neither partner was married either formally or informally at the commencement of the common-law marriage.
  • The two partners agreed to the marriage.
  • Following the initiation of the common-law marriage, the two partners lived in Texas as a married couple.
  • The two partners represented themselves to others as a married couple.

Additionally, Texas gives common-law spouses the option to sign and file a Declaration of Informal Marriage with the clerk of the county in which they reside. While the state does not use strict determinations that involve the chronological length of a relationship in stipulating the existence of a common-law marriage, if a couple has been separated for two years or more and has taken no formal steps to end the relationship, the state assumes the couple never intended to marry.

Proving the Existence of a Common-Law Marriage

Proving that a common-law marriage existed can be problematic after the fact, particularly if one of the two partners disputes its existence. Family courts often use inference to verify the existence of the relationship after determining that one person used the other individual’s surname. Courts also examine:

  • Joint tax returns
  • Co-signed leases
  • Joint purchases
  • Inclusion on health care and life insurance policies
  • Applications for public benefits

common-law marriage

Common-Law Marriages and Property Rights

In Texas, common-law spouses are presumed to have the same rights in property disputes as those who’ve been more formally married. Texas is a community property state, which means that, with a few exceptions, all property, profits and debts acquired during a marriage are assumed to belong to both people.

This stipulation applies whether the marriage was contracted by a license or through common law. As a common-law spouse, you are entitled to benefit from the same equitable distribution of assets from which a formally married person is entitled.

If your common-law spouse dies intestate, you have the right to claim a portion of his or her estate as long as you can demonstrate the validity of your common-law marriage.

Common-Law Marriage and Divorce

Obtaining a divorce in a common-law marriage follows the same ground rules in Texas that apply to dissolutions of more formal marriages with the added complication that spouses must first prove to the family court that they were actually married. In Texas, there are several grounds for divorce in a common-law marriage, which include:

  • Insupportability
  • Mental or physical cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Felony conviction
  • Confinement in a mental hospital
  • Abandonment
  • Separation

Note that “living apart,” which is grounds for the dissolution of a more formal marriage, cannot apply because it is only relevant when spouses have lived separately for three years or more. In these situations, the state assumes that common-law spouses who’ve been living apart for two years or more never intended to wed.

If you’re thinking of ending your common-law marriage, contact a family law attorney at Stewart Law in Baytown, Texas, at (281) 420-8020 for the support and assistance you need from a family law attorney.

Understanding Retirement Fund Division During Divorce

Dividing Retirement Funds in a Texas Divorce

When people in Texas decide to divorce, they may be concerned about how it will affect their retirement years. Retirement accounts may be held in either person’s name, so the spouse who doesn’t own the account may be unsure about how the divorce will affect his or her ability to retire in the future. When you understand more about property division, it can help you make the right decisions for yourself and your family. A Texas divorce lawyer can offer important advice about retirement fund division during divorce.

Marital Retirement Fund Contributions Are Community Property

Contributions that were made to retirement accounts during the marriage are considered community property. While premarital contributions are considered separate property, those made during the marriage are considered to belong to both partners regardless of whose name is on the account.

Different types of retirement accounts include:

  • IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts)
  • 401(k) and 403(b) plans
  • Roth IRAs
  • Company pension plans
  • Defined contribution accounts

In some cases, a single retirement account can contain both community property and separate property. If contributions to the account began before the marriage but continued throughout its duration, it will be necessary to value the account properly in order to understand the extent to which it can be divided in the divorce.

retirement fund division

Marriage Length Can Affect Retirement Fund Division

For retirement plans like 401(k)s, 403(b)s or IRAs, the length of the marriage is not important. The retirement funds do not need to be split evenly between the spouses. Separate property and community property must be divided, but judges can also make decisions that reflect unequal wealth, parenting time and other factors.

However, Social Security benefits, military retirement funds and some pensions have alternative rules about spousal eligibility. In these cases, the length of the marriage is relevant, and people who have been married for longer have greater rights. A Texas divorce lawyer can help people understand the value of their retirement funds and how divorce will affect them.

Military Retirement and Social Security Benefits

In order to be eligible to receive benefits under your spouse’s Social Security benefits, you must have been married for 10 years or longer. This type of access is based on your spouse’s work record. It can help people in long marriages where one person stayed home with the children while the other spouse worked at outside employment. The entitlement to spousal benefits can also depend on your own Social Security benefits that you accumulated through your work career. Spousal Social Security benefits after divorce do not diminish your spouse’s ability to access his or her full benefit.

Depending on how long your spouse served in the military, you may be able to access spousal military retirement benefits after divorce. If you are eligible, you would be able to receive payments directly from the military retirement system.

Researching Spousal Retirement Accounts

In cases where a divorce is more heavily contested or financial secrecy is an ongoing factor, one person may be concerned that his or her spouse is hiding retirement accounts. Employer-based programs are generally visible on an earnings statement or paycheck stub. Other types of accounts will often send statements or tax information. A Texas family law attorney can also help you research whether your spouse’s employer provides pension plans even if he or she intends to hide the information.

In addition, once a divorce has been filed, generally, neither party can make withdrawals from retirement accounts without a court order. In many cases, this type of restriction is automatic. In other situations, your family law attorney can seek a specific order from family court.

Properly Dividing a Retirement Fund

After the divorce is final, you can take action to make sure the retirement accounts in question are divided according to the agreement or court order. To divide an IRA, you will generally need only the divorce decree to enforce the order. However, in most other cases, such as with 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans or pensions, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is a specialized court order for this purpose. This court order will be drafted by your divorce lawyer and signed by the judge, and it will lay out the specific division requirements for the account. It is critical to divide these accounts properly in order to avoid hefty taxes and fees.

If you are concerned about how divorce could affect your retirement and need to plan for the future, reach out to a Texas family lawyer. Call us at Stewart Law PLLC at (281) 420-8020 to schedule an appointment at our office in Baytown.

How a Contested Divorced Differs From an Uncontested One

Differences Between Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce

Having a good understanding of the main differences between an uncontested divorce and a contested divorce should provide you with the information you need to select the type of divorce that’s right for you. Even when you’ve done everything you can to make a marriage work, there are times when the only thing left to do is seek a divorce. In the state of Texas, the divorce rate was 2.6 per every 1,000 inhabitants in 2015. When you’re considering filing for a divorce, the two options available to you are a contested divorce and an uncontested one, and you should be familiar with each one before beginning your divorce proceedings.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

The big reason that there are two main types of divorce is because there are a variety of issues that must be agreed upon by both parties. These issues include:

  • The custody of any children
  • The division of property
  • Division of any debt
  • Payment of both child and spousal support

The only way to proceed with a divorce is for both parties to agree on each of these four issues. An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses will agree on every issue without needing to go to court. Determinations about child support amounts and spousal support will generally be made as an agreement between the two individuals that is binding when they’re filing for a divorce. This type of divorce is typically the less complicated one.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

The four issues mentioned previously can be very complicated to handle. Even if both spouses agree on 99 percent of the issues, that final percentage point can be the difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested one. There are times when a contested divorce will begin but an agreement is eventually reached before the case actually goes in front of a judge. This is referred to as a settlement and is largely similar to an uncontested divorce. Even if it appears as though a contested divorce is the only option left open to an individual, the assistance of a family law attorney may be able to help bring both spouses to an agreement.

contested divorceA contested divorce can be a complex one. A judge will hear every detail of the case and make determinations on all of the aforementioned issues. A contested divorce will typically arise because of hefty financial stakes, technical aspects that may be difficult to resolve, or comprehensive issues that might require knowledge of the law to solve. While an uncontested divorce can be completed without ever going to court, a contested one must go before a judge. The process is a lengthy one that typically begins with the signing of a divorce petition and extends through the discovery process and the actual trial. Another option to consider during divorce proceedings is divorce mediation, which involves a third party that handles negotiations between each spouse.

How to Navigate the Divorce Process

While it’s possible to navigate the divorce process by yourself, you might want to obtain the assistance of a family law attorney like ours. Our divorce attorney can help you understand your rights when it comes to a divorce. If you decide to retain the services of our attorney, she will help you navigate the divorce process. A divorce can be as simple or as complicated as each spouse makes it. However, we understand that it can be difficult to divide marital property or make a decision on child custody without the advice of an attorney, which is why we aim to handle most of the work for you.

When you file for a divorce in Texas, there’s a large amount of paperwork to fill out and a substantial number of rules that can determine how and if you can file for a divorce. If you believe that you need assistance with these aspects of the process, our family law attorney is on hand to help you with whatever you need.

No matter which type of divorce you’re facing, call our family law attorney in Baytown at (281) 420-8020 to set up a consultation.

Talking With Your Child About Divorce

How to Talk With Your Kids About Divorce

According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Filing for divorce is never an easy choice, and when you have children, things become even more complicated. If you’re preparing to go through a divorce and you and your partner do have children, then make sure you discuss these family changes with your children.

Starting the Conversation

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of divorcing when you have children is simply starting the conversation about how your family is about to change. No one wants to begin a conversation that can be scary, painful, or emotional, but it’s important to include your children in the process so that they understand what’s going to happen.

Make sure you and your partner sit down together with your children. This will help present a united front as you speak with your little ones about what’s going to happen. Remind your children that the divorce isn’t their fault. Explain that you’re not mad at your children or angry with them. Sometimes, parents choose to divorce, and it doesn’t mean they don’t care deeply for their children. It’s vital that you reinforce the idea that the divorce isn’t your child’s fault as many children struggle with the reasons for a couple’s separation.

Ensuring Open Communication

Ask open-ended questions as you talk with your children. Encourage them to share their thoughts and concerns during this time. The most important thing to remember is that you, your former partner, and your children all need to be able to talk with each other. You’re all in this together, and although your family dynamics will be changing, you’re still a family.

Avoid becoming angry or frustrated when you speak with your children. You and your former partner should aim to speak in calm, low tones as you discuss the process with your kids. Keep in mind that it’s normal for kids to feel a variety of emotions, including confusion, anger, and frustration. Your children may also feel sad. Take a deep breath, but try to remain focused and calm as you discuss the process with your children.

Easing Fears

If your children feel scared, understand that this is a normal emotion. Take necessary steps to eliminate as much fear as possible. Remind your children that you and their other parent still love them. Explain how sleeping and living arrangements will change. If possible, read with your kids books about divorce. Most importantly, answer as many questions for your children as you can. While you don’t need to reveal specific reasons for your divorce, remind your children that the divorce isn’t their fault.

You may also choose to seek divorce support from a mediator or even a family counselor who can offer further ideas for sticking together as a family and help you and your children communicate during this time. Counseling sessions may be attended by you, your children, and your former partner. You may attend family counseling in a group or individually. The primary goal is to help ease your children’s transition, so don’t be afraid to reach out and get the assistance your family needs during this difficult time.

How Your Attorney Can Help

As you prepare for your divorce, a lawyer can offer the guidance and assistance you need to move forward. Stewart Law LLC has a family law attorney who’s ready to answer your questions and guide you through the legal process as you and your partner separate. Whether you want to legally separate from one another or you’re ready to begin the divorce process, reach out for a confidential consultation. Call our office in Baytown at (281) 420-8020 today to receive the assistance you need. We’re ready to help you and your family as you prepare for the next stage of your life. Our attorney will strive to address any concerns or questions you may have.

What to Keep in Mind When Considering a Divorce

How to Determine If Divorce Is Right for You

If you are currently in an unhappy marriage and are thinking of filing for divorce in Texas, there are some things that you may want to consider. Divorce is very common in the United States, which is displayed by the fact that around 40-50 percent of all married couples will eventually obtain a divorce. In the event that you do decide that a divorce is right for you, our divorce attorneys will be able to help you through the process.

Have You Tried to Make It Work?

Deciding to file for a divorce is a very personal and major life decision to make, which is why you may want to ask yourself if you’ve tried to make the marriage work. There are times when it’s possible to save the marriage. One of the primary methods used in an attempt to save a marriage is marriage counseling, which could help you and your spouse pinpoint fixable problems in your relationship. However, both spouses will need to agree to attend counseling with a professional marriage counselor.

Custody of Minor Children

Have You Considered the Costs?

One of the biggest considerations to keep in mind before filing a divorce is the costs associated with doing so. Assets may have to be divided, and you may need to consider what types of costs you will need to pay during and after the marriage. If you currently live in a house that is owned by your spouse, will you be able to afford renting an apartment or putting a down payment on a new house? If you have children, will you be able to afford taking care of them on your own? Since there will invariably be a large amount of after-divorce expenses that you will be tasked with paying, it’s important that you try to budget for these expenses before you even file for a divorce.

Have You Thought About Child Custody?

One of the more contentious aspects of a divorce is child custody. In most cases, the best option for child custody is to find an arrangement that both parties can agree to. If it’s proving to be impossible to come to some form of an agreement, the court will make a decision about the type of arrangement they believe to be the best-case scenario. One aspect to consider about child custody is that there will invariably be numerous extracurricular events or school activities that your children will participate in over the years, which are events that both parents might want to partake in. As such, consider addressing this in the final child custody agreement.

Starting the Divorce Process

When you have considered all of the aforementioned points and believe that it’s time to file for a divorce, the first step in this process involves the filing of a petition, which must be filed by at least one spouse in court. This petition will identify what the grounds are for the divorce in question, which is something that a lawyer will be able to assist you with. Once the petition has been formally filed, you can continue along the remainder of the process.

During this time, you may want to consider mediation, which is a divorce option that allows the case to be settled with a third-party mediator as opposed to being taken in front of a judge. This option is primarily used by couples who are able to agree on most or all aspects of the divorce, which extend from child custody agreements to the division of property. If you believe that any of these points will be contested, our divorce attorneys will be able to help guide you through the divorce proceedings and handle every aspect of the case for you.

Call Today

If you feel as though divorce is the best option for you, give us a call to schedule an appointment with our divorce attorneys in Baytown. We can be reached at (281) 420-8020.

Comprehending Child Custody in the Divorce Process

What You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws

While few couples embark on life’s journey together with the expectation that their marriage will end prematurely, the American Psychological Association notes that 40 to 50 percent of marriages will result in divorce. If you and your partner have chosen to separate from each another, make sure you understand what your rights and obligations are regarding child custody. Here are some things you should understand.

Who Gets the Kids?

One of the first questions to be brought up during the divorce process is which parent the children will be staying with. If you and your partner both want to remain actively involved in raising them, you may find that joint custody works well; however, many couples find that sorting out the details of where the children will live and go to school can be tricky.

Custody of Minor Children
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how you’d like to divide your children’s time and care, you may experience a custody dispute. In cases where there is a custody issue that cannot be settled by the individuals involved, a family law attorney may be able to offer guidance and assistance.

During a divorce, going to court is sometimes necessary to resolve certain problems. If you and your partner simply cannot agree on who will have custody of the children or how to arrange visitation, the court may be required to decide these issues. Your divorce lawyer can advise you as you prepare to meet with a judge who can settle your dispute and determine how custody will be shared.

Types of Custody

Settling on custody arrangements for a child involves more than just choosing where the little one will spend his or her weekends. Did you know there are different types of custody? You and your partner will quickly discover that you’ll not only need to arrange for the physical custody of your child but also the legal custody.

Physical custody determines where a child lives. For example, if your child lives with you one week and your former partner the next week, you will have shared physical custody. If your child lives only with you and does not see your former spouse, you will have sole physical custody. Note that when physical custody is shared, one parent may still be the primary caregiver.

Legal custody may also be shared, but one parent is sometimes awarded sole legal custody. This type of custody includes more than just where the child resides. Legal custody includes the power to make medical decisions for the child, the ability to determine the child’s religion and the power to choose where the child attends school. Even if you are awarded sole physical custody, you and your partner may still be awarded joint legal custody. This means that even if your child doesn’t live with the other parent, your former partner may have a say in how the youngster is raised.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you’re going through a divorce, you know that emotions can quickly become unruly. Whether you were married for two months or two decades, it’s possible to have a difficult time communicating effectively with your former partner. A family law attorney understands this, which is why it’s important to seek assistance from a lawyer who can help facilitate communication while simultaneously informing you of your rights and obligations. The lawyer you retain can also assist you with paperwork, documentation and legal representation if you need to appear in court.

Remember that support is available. You don’t have to face divorce on your own. In fact, you shouldn’t. Our team is ready to assist you through the entire process, including dealing with disputes regarding physical and legal custody of the children. Stewart Law is prepared to handle your case as you move through this challenging period and on to the next stage in your life. To arrange an initial consultation at our Baytown office, please call us at (281) 420-8020 or contact us by email. We’d be happy to answer your questions and discuss your options.

Fathers’ Rights: Increasing Your Chances of Getting Physical Custody of Minor Children

Fathers’ Rights in Texas Divorce

For most of the history of divorce, mothers have been favored by courts for physical custody, often under what was known as the “tender years” doctrine, a theory that mothers were biologically better equipped to nurture small children. Though Texas has rejected the tender years doctrine, it’s still overwhelmingly more likely that a court will award physical custody (now known as managing conservatorship). As a father, there are specific things that you can do to increase your chances of securing physical custody of your children. Contact a Baytown family law attorney to learn more about fathers’ rights in Texas divorce.

fathers rights in texas divorce

The Best Interests of the Child Standard

For decades, the primary consideration when establishing custody in Texas has been the “best interests of the child.” The court will typically look at a wide variety of evidence and factors, all with an eye toward what will best promote healthy a emotional and physical environment for the child. With that in mind, here are some of the questions the court will likely ask:

  • What has been the nature of your relationship with your child?—How does the child view you? Have you been an active and meaningful presence in their lives? The court will be inclined to grant primary custody to the parent with whom the child has spent the most time and has the strongest bonds. Accordingly, did you participate in all the daily routines—dropping off and picking up at school, disciplinary measures, doctor’s appointments, baths and bedtime? The more you did, the better your chances of getting custody.
  • Can you get along with your ex-spouse?—The courts in Texas prefer that both parents have a meaningful role in the lives of minor children, and look with disfavor on a parent who belittles or denigrates the other parent. If you can show that you will maintain a positive relationship with the child’s mother, that will be viewed positively in custody determinations.
  • Are you prepared to be a parent?—If  you want custody, you have to be able to show the court that your primary focus, after the divorce, will be on parenting your children. If the court perceives that you’ll be more interested in your own personal development, or in new relationships, they may conclude that such a lifestyle is not in the child’s best interests.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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The Impact of Adultery in a Texas Divorce Proceeding

The Impact of Adultery

It’s a well-known fact that marital infidelity is the single most common cause of divorce, both in Texas and across the United States. Even though Texas has adopted no-fault divorce, you can still allege adultery as the cause of the breakup of your marriage, and you can obtain an advantage in divorce proceedings. Contact a Baytown family lawyer for help with the impact of adultery in a Texas divorce.

Adultery and Alimony

Though a court always has the discretion to award alimony in a Texas divorce, the court may deny spousal support if it finds that the spouse requesting alimony was unfaithful during the marriage. The court will customarily look at whether both parties engaged in extra-marital affairs. In situations where the person who participated in an adulterous relationship is asked to pay alimony, and it can be shown that the marital infidelity was the cause of the dissolution of the marriage, the court will almost always require alimony.

impact of adultery

Adultery and Property Division

Under the community property laws in Texas, the fact that one of the parties was unfaithful can be used to reduce that person’s share of the marital estate. In addition, the court can also take money spent on an affair into account when dividing property.

Adultery and Child Custody

As a general rule, evidence of infidelity cannot be entered into proceedings involving custody and visitation, unless it can be shown that one parent abandoned minor children while engaged in an adulterous relationship.

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At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, our family law attorney brings more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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Stewart Law PLLC