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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Houston Business and Family Law Blog

What child custody and support rights do same-sex parents have?

Child support and custody issues can be difficult for any couple to navigate. However, there may be some unique problems that same-sex couples have to face when they split up. If the couple used a surrogate to bring their child into their lives, then the court may have to make even more complicated decisions related to child custody and support.

Courts always consider first and foremost what's in the best interest of the child. It's also their responsibility to protect the interests of all interested parties such as biological, adoptive and surrogate parents when making child custody and support decisions.

Make sure all custody decisions reflect kids' best interests

When you make the decision to divorce your child's other parent, that decision will quite naturally affect your child. Some divorces are more amicable than others, but if you are in the throes of a particularly acrimonious split, every decision you make and action you take can come under intense scrutiny by your soon-to-be ex-spouse's attorney and the court itself.

So, how can you make the best decisions for your kids during your divorce?

Thinking about spending everything before your divorce? Read this

You're more than just hurt over your spouse's behavior and request for a divorce. You're furious. You feel used and betrayed, and you aren't really interested in splitting your assets fairly. In fact, the thought has occurred to you that you should just sell everything of value that you own, empty the bank accounts and go on a lavish spending spree or an extended vacation.

Don't do it. When people take revenge on their spouses in a divorce by intentionally spending all of the marital funds in an unnecessary manner, that's called the dissipation of assets -- and it can get you in big trouble with the court.

Facing a contentious divorce? Get prepared first

The media makes it seem as though everyone who gets a divorce does so amicably and parts as friends. While many couples here in Texas and elsewhere may fit that bill, not everyone does. You and your future former spouse may not be in a position to part ways amicably. In fact, you may be headed for a contentious divorce.

Despite what people may say, ending a marriage is not easy. Both parties will go through at least some emotional turmoil. After all, you are parting ways with the person you thought you would spend your life with. If you believe the emotional fallout from your divorce will prevent you from staying out of court, you may want to take some time to prepare before you announce your intentions.

Will Texas recognize an international divorces?

Generally speaking, a divorce obtained in another state will also be recognized in Texas based on the guiding principal of "comity," or courtesy and consideration. But what if your divorce was granted in a foreign land?

The United States is not party to any treaties that requires courts here to recognize a divorce decree in a foreign land. Because the principle of comity is still important, however, many foreign divorces will be recognized in this country as long as:

  • Both parties were properly served with notice of the pending proceedings (so that they could object or defend their interests)
  • Both parties had an opportunity to be heard during the proceedings, if they so desire
  • At least one party to the divorce was a resident of the United States at the time of the proceedings

Divorced parents can reduce back-to-school stress

While schools in Texas and across the country make plans for reopening, you may be among the many parents who have an additional complication. If you are recently divorced or separated from your child's other parent, you may have many concerns about how the next school year will play out and how your custody arrangement will hold up.

Undoubtedly, back to school is already a stressful time, and you will want to keep as much of that stress away from your child as possible. Many parents in your situation find that being proactive can prevent some conflicts and minimize the anxiety for themselves and their children.

What happens to your spousal support when you meet someone new?

The spousal support that you receive following your divorce is important to your security. This is why you need to understand what can happen if you start living with someone.

Under Texas law, spousal support terminates when you remarry -- which you may already expect. However, the law also allows for support payments to cease when you "cohabit" with someone else romantically "in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis." Exactly what that phrase means is somewhat open to interpretation. Therefore, you need to be cautious about your relationships until you are certain that you're prepared for your support payments to cease.

Preparing for the financial effects of divorce

Getting a divorce means that your day-to-day life will change significantly. You may find yourself having to get a job, obtain new living arrangements, handle legal matters and deal with various details that can lead to considerable stress. Though you may know that ending your marriage is in your best interests, you could still have concerns about how it will affect you financially.

Unfortunately, many women in Texas and across the country tend to face financial difficulties during and after divorce. However, that does not mean that you should put off ending your unhappy marriage in order to remain financially stable. It simply means that it would likely benefit you to prepare for those potential difficulties ahead of time.

3 ways social media can damage your custody case

Do you have a social media account? Just about everyone in American is online and connected somehow to social media. That is proving increasingly problematic when parents end up in custody battles because many divorcing couples don't realize that everything they put online is "fair game" in a custody fight.

Custody fights generally center around the fact that two people each think that the other is a terrible parent -- and they're usually determined to prove it. Since the court will make custody decisions based on whatever is in the child's best interests, anything that makes one party look somewhat less-than-parental can become an issue.

What happens to a house you owned prior to marriage in a divorce?

When it comes time to get a divorce, there's a big difference between community property and separate property. Community property is subject to division and has to be split with your spouse. Separate property does not. Why, then, is your spouse trying to claim that the house you owned prior to your marriage isn't really your separate property?

Well, because that house may not actually be entirely your separate property any longer -- even if it is still just in your name. Here's why your spouse may be laying a claim:

  • You used community funds to pay the mortgage and the utilities. That includes money that came from your paycheck alone, since everything you earned during the marriage was considered community property.
  • You did repairs on the home or remodeled part of it during the marriage using money that came out of the "marital pot." That means that your spouse is now unable to access that money any other way.
  • The value of the home, measured by the amount of equity you have in it, has increased. Over the course of your marriage, those repairs or renovations that you made enhanced the value of your property, and your spouse may lay claim to this.
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