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When Can You Get an Annulment of a Marriage in Texas?

 

Annulment of a Marriage in Texas

As a general rule, when your marriage has fallen apart in Texas and there’s no reasonable prospect to fix things, one of the parties will file for a divorce. There may be other options, however, depending on the circumstances. One of those options is an annulment. What is an annulment of a marriage in Texas and when is one available?

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal a finding of law that treats the marriage as if it never existed. Accordingly, the typical issues addressed in a divorce—custody and visitation, support and property division—are irrelevant. Both parties can move forward with their lives accurately stating that they have not been married.

 

Annulment of a Marriage in TexasWhen Can You Get an Annulment in Texas?

There are very specific instances in Texas where an annulment is available:

  • Where one of the parties is over 16, but under the age of 18 and was married without either parental consent or a court decree
  • Where, at the time of the wedding, one of the parties lacked legal capacity to consent to marriage. This may be as a result of intoxication or mental illness.
  • Where one of the parties used fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence or duress to compel the other party to go through the marriage ceremony
  • Where one of the parties was permanently impotent at the time of the wedding and the other party had no knowledge of that fact
  • Where one of the parties was divorced within 30 days of the marriage, and the other party had no knowledge of that fact
  • If the annulment if filed less than 72 hours after the marriage license is granted

Contact Us

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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Common Mistakes When Dividing a Marital Estate

Common Mistakes When Dividing a Marital Estate

When your marriage ends, one of the most challenging jobs can be the division of the debts and assets of the marriage. In your rush to be over with the divorce, don’t make these common mistakes when dividing a marital estate. Contact a Baytown divorce lawyer for assistance.

Make Sure You Account for All Assets and Income

According to a recent study, nearly 20% of all divorces proceedings involve assets hidden by one of the parties. Take the time to make certain you know what’s out there.

Don’t Forget to Change Information on All Financial Accounts

There’s no benefit to keeping any joint accounts with your ex. In addition to bank accounts, you need to change credit cards, investment accounts and any debts/loans, including your mortgage. It’s also critical to change the beneficiary on life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts and investment portfolios.

Dividing a Marital Estate

Don’t Ignore the Tax Implications

One of the ways in which people commonly don’t end up getting a fair deal has to do with the potential tax consequences of owning certain property. Experts say it’s important to determine whether the dollars you are receiving are pre-tax or post-tax dollars. For example, if you take assets in an IRA in exchange for allowing your ex to keep the house, you will incur a tax obligation when you take distributions. However, your ex may incur no tax consequence upon the sale of the house, provided the net gain on the sale is below that allowed under the Internal Revenue Code.

Don’t Let Your Decisions Be Affected by Your Emotions

When you let your emotions take over, it’s hard to make rational decisions. It can be hard, but you have to view the financial aspects like a business transaction. In addition, don’t try to establish your own value for a house, or for personal property. Always get a professional to appraise marital assets at fair market value.

Contact Us

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.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

Understanding the Community Property Laws of Texas

Community Property Laws of Texas

In a divorce, determining how to divide of the assets and obligations accumulated and incurred during the marriage can be a challenge. For centuries, the prevailing approach was the concept of “equitable distribution,” where the court would try to find a “fair” solution if parties could not come to agreement on their own. In those jurisdictions, unfortunately, significant time and money can be spent trying to determine what is fair. If you have questions about the community property laws of Texas, contact a Baytown family law attorney.

Texas, however, has joined a minority of states in implementing a different system, one designed to simplify the process—the community property approach. Under the Texas community property laws, the court starts by identifying the character of marital property—is it separate property or is it community property. As a general rule, any property owned and brought into a marriage is separate property and rightfully goes back to the owner in the event of divorce. All other marital property is considered community property, with two exceptions:

  • Property obtained by gift or inheritance
  • Property that both parties agree is separate property

It’s also important to understand that all property generally retains its character as separate or community property, even if it changes form. For example, if you own a home before the marriage, but sell it, the cash proceeds will be separate property, unless you commingle it with marital property. Accordingly, you don’t want to put proceeds from the sale of separate property into a joint marital account.

The parties to a divorce can agree to property settlements that are contrary to the Texas community property laws, but the court will always have the discretion to review and reject such agreements, should there be evidence of fraud and misrepresentation, undue influence or duress.

Community Property Laws of Texas

Contact Us

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.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

The Community Property Laws in Texas

community property laws in texas

Community Property Laws in Texas

As part of a divorce proceeding, you and your spouse will need to divide the debts and assets accumulated or acquired during the marriage. In Texas, as in a handful of other states, community property laws apply to the distribution of a marital estate. For questions about community property laws in Texas, contact a Baytown family law attorney.

Understanding the Concept of Community Property

Community property laws essentially hold that all property obtained during a marriage is considered equally owned. Accordingly, in a divorce proceeding, the parties are entitled to an equal split of the property. There are a few exceptions to the rule:

  • Any property brought into the marriage is considered separate property, not subject to equal distribution
  • Any property obtained through inheritance is excluded
  • Any items gifted to one spouse by the other are not subject to equal division
  • Any recovery for personal injury is not included, unless it was intended as compensation for lost wages

Though Texas is a community property state, the courts still have discretion to consider certain factors when allocating property, as the law requires the court to make a distribution that is “just and right.” Accordingly, the court may consider the needs of minor children, any marital infidelity or even a disparity in education and earning power when dividing the marital estate. If the marital estate includes a retirement plan, you will need a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to effectively allocate those funds.

Contact Us

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.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

The Division of Property under the Texas Community Property Laws

The-Division-of-Property-under-the-Texas-Community-Property-Laws

It’s a common misperception that you only have to worry about the division of marital property if you have a substantial marital estate—multiple homes, an investment portfolio or business assets. That’s not the case. Unless you pay attention and assert your rights in Texas, you could lose half of any property you owned free and clear before you got married.

Texas is a community property state. In essence, that means that all property acquired during the course of the marriage is considered community property and must be equally divided upon divorce, with a few limited exceptions. Here’s how it works.

When you file for divorce in Texas, all property will be inventoried and identified as either community property or separate property. Community property is that which you obtained after the wedding, but before the divorce complaint was filed. Separate property is any property that you owned before the marriage. As a general rule, property retains the character it had when acquired. So, if you purchased a home before your marriage, it will typically be considered separate property, even if some payments were made during the marriage.

There are specific exceptions to the rule that property obtained during the marriage is community property:

  • Any gift or inheritance is considered separate property
  • Any property purchased with funds earned before the marriage is separate property
  • Any property that the parties agree in writing is separate or partitioned is separate property

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 “Camped Out” on Million Dollar Marital Property

Sharafat Khan, a 69-year-old Lakeview resident, spent nearly six months living in the front yard of his seaside mansion after his wife asked him to leave, demanded his keys, and changed all the locks. Though Khan maintained that he had no access to any money, rendering him essentially homeless, he admitted that his camp-out on the couple’s front lawn was essentially a protest, telling reporters that he could stay with friends, but prefers to be on “my own property.”

Khan has let it be known that he is diabetic and has high blood pressure, concerns that have brought visits from the Lakeview police on more than one occasion. After neighbors and passersby started bringing him food, his wife posted a sign on the front lawn, asking people not to leave food for him. “If you want to feed him, take him to your house,” the sign read, also expressing concern that any food left might become infested with maggots.

Khan’s family, however, has not shared the sympathy with his situation that his neighbors have. His 30-year-old son, Zain, said that Sharafat Khan physically and emotionally abused his wife, citing a September 2008 incident where Sharafat Khan was arrested for domestic violence. Zain also said that his father stole money from marital accounts to give to relatives in California. Zain has taken his father for medical and psychiatric treatment, but says his father always leaves and returns to the front lawn of the marital home.

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

Divorce and Property

The Division of Property in a Divorce

It’s a common misperception that you only need to worry about the division of property in a divorce if you had a substantial net worth. Whether you lived in an apartment or a mansion, drove an old pickup or a Mercedes, lived from paycheck to paycheck or on a trust fund, you can still amass a substantial amount of marital property, and a lot of debt. When the marriage is over, you want to get your fair share of the assets and you don’t want to be responsible for more than your fair share of the debt.

In an ideal situation, you and your ex will amicably divide debts and assets, making adjustments if one of you keeps a large asset, such as the family home. Unfortunately, when you’ve struggled to agree in a marriage, it’s equally difficult to agree on the disposition of assets and liabilities when it ends. In Texas, if you can’t come to a resolution on your own, your property and obligations will be allocated under the state’s community property laws.

Under the community property laws of Texas, assets owned or used by couples in a marriage are identified as either community property or separate property. Any property owned by one of the parties before the marriage will be deemed separate property and will be returned to the owner as a part of the divorce proceeding. Assets that are purchased during the marriage are considered community property and their value must be divided equally between the parties. All property retains the character it had when acquired. Accordingly, a house purchased with a mortgage before marriage will remain separate property, even though it is partially paid for during the marriage.

There are limited exceptions to the community property rule in Texas:

  • Any property obtained by gift or inheritance is separate property
  • Any property purchased during marriage with funds earned before marriage is separate property
  • Any property that the parties legally agree is partitioned or exchanged by written agreement is separate property

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

60What Is the Purpose of a Separation Agreement?

The separation agreement is a legal document that means that a wife and husband have decided and agreed to live apart. The couple will have to entered into the separation agreement voluntarily. To be valid, it must be signed by both husband and wife in the presence of a notary public. It is not a divorce, however.

In addition to legally declaring that the couple is going to be living apart as they contemplate getting a divorce, the purpose of this document is to come to terms about issues such as child support payments, spousal payments, property and debt division, custody of the children and parenting time and visitation, tax and insurance matters.

It is not necessary to have a separation agreement in order to get a divorce. However, the separation agreement can facilitate a smoother legal process through divorce as it most often reduces the court and attorney costs, time, and friction between the two spouses, as they will have already decided who gets what by the time of the divorce.

Some states allow for a faster divorce if a separation agreement is in place and all issues have been decided. It can be particularly useful in this regard as the couple will already be coming to the family court having sorted out each person’s responsibilities and legal rights vis a vis marital property and debt, personal property, IRAs, support, and parenting time and custody.

Contact a Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women in divorce and other family law cases for 8 years. If you have questions about getting or paying child support, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation regarding default and uncontested divorces, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

What Is the Difference Between ‘Separate Property’ and ‘Community Property’?

“Community property” and “separate property” are the core concepts when it comes to property division during a Texas divorce.

The definition of separate property in the Texas Family Code is:

  1. “The property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage”
  2. “The property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent” (“devise” means inheritance)
  3. “The recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage”

Separate property can change forms but remain separate property. For example, if the husband had a $25,000 savings account before the marriage, and he used the money to buy a car after the marriage, that car would be separate property.

The definition of community property under Texas law is, “Everything else.”

But let’s go into a little more detail. Community property is all the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage or while the divorce is pending. Community property also includes earnings from separate property. For example, if the husband kept his $25,000 in the bank instead of buying the car, the $25,000 would be his upon divorce but the wife would have a legal right to a fair share of all interest earned on the $25,000 during the marriage.

One item of property can be both separate property and community property. For example, a husband and wife buy a horse costing $5,000. They pay $2,500 from husband’s separate bank account that he had before the marriage and they pay the remaining $2,500 from a joint bank account containing their earnings during the marriage. Upon divorce, the horse would be 50 percent the separate property of the husband and 50 percent community property.

The Texas State Historical Association has an interesting article explaining the history of Texas community property laws.

Property settlement agreements are final, meaning that divorced spouses cannot return to court to ask the judge to divide community property in a different way. You need to make sure you get a fair and equitable distribution the first time around. Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women in divorce and child support matters for 8 years. For an initial assessment and consultation of your divorce case, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

 
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