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Joint Managing Conservatorships in Texas

Joint Managing Conservatorships in Texas

If you are involved in or considering a divorce in Texas and there are minor children involved, you need to get familiar with this term—joint managing conservatorship.

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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 Process for Filing for Divorce in Texas

Filing for Divorce

Filing for Divorce in Texas

If you are considering filing for divorce in Texas, you may not know where to start or what steps you’ll have to take to complete the process. Here’s an overview of what you need to do.

  • Determine whether you meet the residency requirements—To obtain a divorce in Texas, at least one of the parties must have been a Texas resident for a minimum of six months immediately before filing. You must also be a resident of the county in which you file for the 90 days immediately prior to the filing.
  • Decide if you will state specific grounds—In Texas, you can allege “insupportability” as the basis for a divorce. This is essentially an assertion that neither party was at fault. Otherwise, you must allege one of the six acceptable grounds for at-fault divorce in Texas.
  • File your complaint and meet the requirements for notifying your spouse—There are specific documents you must file to initiate a divorce. It’s best to have an attorney do this for you. You’ll also need to “serve” your spouse with a copy of the divorce complaint. There are also specific rules regarding how this may and must be done.
  • Respond to the complaint—If you are the defendant in the divorce proceedings and you disagree with anything stated in the complaint, you’ll have a certain time period during which you may respond and challenge those assertions. This is known as a “contested” divorce. If you don’t respond, it’s considered an “uncontested” divorce and the court will most likely enter a default judgment.
  • Resolve issues related to custody and visitation, support and property division—If you can’t agree on any of these issues, you will need to schedule hearings with the court to obtain orders resolving any disputes.
  • Obtain a signed divorce decree—Once all issues have been resolved, the terms will be put in a written agreement and signed by the judge. The terms of the agreement are binding and can be enforced in a court of law. Once the judge signs the order, your divorce is final.

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At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, our Baytown 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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Divorce in Texas—Some Basic Questions

Texas Divorce Law—The Basics

Whether you are filing or have been served with a complaint for divorce in Texas, you’ll have a lot of questions about the process. Here are some answers to basic questions.

How Long Does the Process Take?

It’s difficult to say with any certainty how long your divorce will take, as each situation is unique. If you can work amicably with your ex, you can come to agreement on issues related to custody, visitation, support and property fairly quickly. Under no circumstances, though, can a divorce be finalized during the 60 day period following the filing of a complaint.

Does Texas Recognize a Right to Alimony?

As more and more couples involve both working spouses, the need for alimony or spousal support has declined, but the concept still exists in Texas. Though the application of the principle is limited, an ex-spouse can petition the court for some level of support if he or she does not have the capacity to be self-supporting, or cannot take care of his or her own basic needs. Alimony may be:

  • Temporary—for a stated time, allowing the recipient to move toward self-sufficiency
  • Rehabilitative—paid until such time as the recipient becomes self-sufficient
  • Permanent—paid until the death or remarriage of the recipient

How Is Property Divided?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all property and debt acquired during the marriage is divided equally, with very few exceptions. Conversely, all property brought into the marriage is considered separate property and customarily goes back to the party who originally owned it.

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 281-420-8020 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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Texas Divorce Law—The Basics

Texas-Divorce-Law-The-Basics

Your marriage is in trouble and you are considering filing for divorce in Texas. Here are some important things to understand.

Eligibility to File in Texas

Texas won’t have jurisdiction of your divorce complaint unless you or your ex-to-be have lived in the state for at least six months immediately prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. In addition, at least one of you must have resided in the county where you file for a minimum of 90 days.

These requirements apply to military personnel, too. Though there’s no requirement that you lived in Texas before your assignment there, you must have been on active duty at a base in the state for six months prior to your filing.

The Different Types of Filings

Like all other states, Texas offers no-fault divorce, where you simply have to indicate that you had irreconcilable differences. However, you can also allege fault, which may give you advantage in custody, support or property determinations. The factors that can be stated as cause for divorce in Texas include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Physical or mental cruelty
  • Confinement to a mental hospital

Child Support, Child Custody and Visitation

Child support is calculated using a state-established formula, taking into account all income of all parties. The court always has the discretion to amend the order, based on the needs of the child and a parent’s ability to pay/provide. Custody and visitation are based primarily on the best interests of the child, but the Texas courts favor involvement by and regular contact with both parents.

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 281-420-8020 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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Who’s at Greater Risk for Divorce—Doctors, Lawyers or Business Owners?

Who's-at-Greater-Risk-for-Divorce-Doctors,-Lawyers-or-Business-Owners

It’s a cultural stereotype that doctors lead the way when it comes to divorce—the long hours, the high income, and the stress all are considered to contribute to the high rate of divorce among medical professionals. But a recent study indicates that other professions may be in greater peril of marital discord.

According to a study conducted by the British Medical Journal, in which more than 6.5 million divorces were reviewed, including nearly a quarter of a million involving medical professionals, doctors trail many other professions. The research showed that less than one in four (24%) of physicians went through a divorce. Health care executives had a significantly higher rate—31% –and nurses were even higher, at 33%. Though lawyers divorced more often than doctors—27% experienced a marital breakup—the rate for non-medical professionals as a whole was 35%.

One area where medical professionals did experience high numbers of divorces—female doctors. The study found that female physicians were 50% more likely to be a party to a divorce than their male colleagues. Researchers say the challenges of being a working mother in the medical profession account for much of the difference. In an interesting twist, the data showed that the rates of divorce when up for female doctors who worked more than 40 hours a week, but went down for male doctors when they worked overtime.

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 281-420-8020 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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Online Divorces Now Simpler in Texas

There’s a new online method for filing for divorce in Texas, and many believe it will greatly simplify the process, providing benefit to many Texans. Texas Divorce Online offers a three-step methodology for resolving most divorce issues:

  • Create an account
  • Respond to an online questionnaire
  • Submit your case for processing

Once your case has been received, a licensed attorney will review it and prepare all necessary documentation. Because of the questionnaire, the pleadings can be customized to meet your specific needs.

It’s important, though, that you ask yourself a few basic questions to determine whether an online divorce is in your best interests. Such a process may be ideal if you have no assets, no children, and nothing to distribute or fight about. But here are some red flags that ought to lead you to contact an experienced family law and divorce lawyer:

  • How complex is your marital estate? Did you bring property into the marriage? Did you receive an inheritance during the course of the marriage? Under the community property laws of Texas, your marital estate can be divided between those assets that constitute separate property (brought into the marriage, acquired by inheritance, received as a gift, etc.) and community property (essentially all other property). Separate property goes to one person, whereas community property is divided equally.
  • Are there minor children? If so, you’ll have to determine who gets custody (now called “managing conservatorship”) and what visitation (now called “access”) will look like.

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 281-420-8020 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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Texas Man Beats Charge Filed by Ex-Partner

A Texas man was acquitted of theft charges after confiscating his daughter’s iPhone 4. Ronald Jackson, a Dallas native, says he saw what he considered to be an “inappropriate” text message on his 12-year-old daughter’s iPhone and took it away from her. The girl’s mother, though, contended that she had purchased the phone and called local authorities, reporting that Jackson had stolen the phone. When police arrived, Jackson refused to turn over the phone, saying police had no right to interfere with his efforts to be a parent to his daughter.

When Jackson refused to turn over the phone, his ex, Michelle Steppe, convinced the city attorney’s office to have a citation for theft served upon him. The city attorney proposed a plea bargain, whereby Jackson would have all charges dismissed if he returned the phone. He refused and hired an attorney. In response, the city attorney changed the charge to a higher grade misdemeanor and police issued a warrant for his arrest. Jackson was taken into custody, but posted a $1,500 bond.

In pre-trial motions, the Dallas County Criminal Court threw out the case, saying that the state had not produced enough evidence to go to trial. Jackson’s attorney says he plans to file a complaint in federal court for violation of his client’s civil rights. He also acknowledged that Jackson still possesses the iPhone.

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 281-420-8020 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.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Tips on Winning at Life after Divorce

The end of your marriage can be devastating, leaving you feeling emotionally paralyzed. Though it may clearly be the best solution for everyone involved, it’s hard not to feel like a failure when you can’t make your marriage work. Here are some tips for moving forward after the divorce is final.

  • Say what you need to say—Often, what leads or contributes to divorce is a lack of communication. Frequently, this stems from a fear of where that will lead—arguments, hurt, divorce… Now it the time to put that type of behavior to rest. You’ll have a better chance of a happy life and a successful relationship in the future if you get into the habit of being open and honest about everything.
  • Take time to reacquaint yourself with “yourself”— Chances are pretty good that you have made a lot of sacrifices trying to keep the marriage together, including many of the things you love to do. Now is not the time to get into another relationship. The void in your life may incline to do just that, but you will be better served to get back in touch with who you are, what you value, and what makes you happy.
  • Try new things—After a divorce, you don’t have to worry about what anyone wants but you. If something seems like it would be fun, try it. You won’t have to worry about anyone else’s approval.
  • Let the past be the past—The past can be instructive, but you don’t want to live there. There may be things you need to say, just to get them out of your system, but don’t wallow in what went wrong. To the extent possible, look to the future and to the possibilities that lie there.

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) 420-8020 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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Tax Tips for Divorcing Couples

In the midst of a divorce, one of the last things you may think about are the potential tax ramifications of ending your marriage, but financial counselors say it’s something you need to address.

Child Support and Alimony Payments

It’s important to understand the tax consequences of both child support and alimony payments. Child support payments are taxable by the recipient. Furthermore, they cannot be claimed as a deduction by anyone paying child support.

Alimony payments are treated differently under state and federal tax laws. As a general rule, alimony is considered income and must be reported as such, provided the payments are made pursuant to a valid divorce or separation agreement, and the payments are made in cash (not in kind). Likewise, if the same conditions are met, alimony payments may be deducted by the payer.

Filing Status

If you are in the middle of a divorce at the end of the tax year, you can choose to file a joint return, or file as “married filing separately.” If your divorce becomes final before the end of the tax year, you must file as either single or as “head of household.”

To claim your children as exemptions on your return, you must be considered the custodial parent. Generally, the parent with whom the child spent the most amount of time will be considered the custodial parent for tax purposes. You can, however, claim your child if the custodial parent waives the exemption in writing.

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 281-420-8020 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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Workshop Helps Parents Protect Children after a Divorce

In the aftermath of a divorce, when there are children involved, one of the big challenges often comes when non-custodial and custodial parents must interact. The communication problems that likely plagued the marriage can also present problems when parents must talk about issues involving the kids. Recognizing that many parents may lack the tools for effective communication in these situations, marriage and family therapist Anne Buettner has developed a workshop, entitled “Parenting from Different Homes,” to help parents of divorce.

Buettner identifies certain fundamental rules for parents of divorce:

  • Rule #1Never denigrate or badmouth the other parent, especially when children are present. Your child loves both parents. When you speak negatively about your ex, you are essentially speaking badly about your child, telling them that their love for the other parent is unfounded.
  • Rule #2Don’t ever use your child as an intermediary. If you have something to say to your ex, say it directly to your ex, preferably when your child is not within hearing distance. Making your child the messenger puts a lot of pressure on them. They may fear communicating the message incorrectly, or that the other parent will think they are siding with you.
  • Rule #3Make certain your child knows that he or she is not the cause of your divorce. This can be tricky. You don’t want to point the finger at your ex. If you say nothing, though, your child may conclude that it was their fault. This is really the best time to acknowledge your role in the breakup. You don’t need to go into detail, but you won’t lose your child’s love simply by saying “I made some mistakes.”

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) 420-8020 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.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

 
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