Texas courts will go to great lengths to keep children close to both parents, however, lifting geographic restrictions or modifying geographic restrictions can be done. Every child custody case is unique and courts will consider numerous factors involved in establishing or lifting geographic restrictions. In this blog, we examine what a geographic restriction is and factors the court may consider when determining whether or not to modify the geographic restriction in the child custody order. Our experienced family law attorneys will help identify your options and discuss custom solutions that best fit your current situation and goals.
In most child custody orders, the primary parent, otherwise known as the custodial parent, is given exclusive rights to establish residency of the child, though often restricted to a geographic area. A geographic restriction is an order from the court, whether included in a divorce decree, paternity decree, or an order in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, in which the court specifies a geographic area in which the child must reside. As an example, in Harris County, a child custody geographic restriction may order that the primary parent must establish residence of the child:.
Circumstances can change, which often necessitates modification of your Court order. Lifting geographical restriction is one example of a request for modification of a parent child relationship. Though generally it is not an easy fight, lifting geographical restriction may be approved by the Court so long as it is in the best interest of the child. Reasons for the move the courts may consider in deciding whether to modify the geographic restriction or not include:.
This is true even if the property is not physically received until after the final decree of divorce. For example, if the day before the divorce is granted a wife contracts to purchase a new home with closing set off for one month later , or a husband enters into a partnership agreement, this will be characterized as community property.
Moral: be careful and be patient. Judges have a fairly wide range of discretion in deciding who gets what in a property division. Equitable does NOT mean equal. Neither you nor your spouse is automatically entitled to a numerically perfect half of everything. The factors that the court will take into consideration include:. Remember, each one of these is only a factor for consideration.
At least in theory, no one factor should completely decide the case; however, every judge is different. Some judges will put heavier importance on some factors due to their own personal opinions and experience. Your lawyer should know or be able to find out what your particular judge tends to place emphasis on and how he or she tends to rule on property division.
This will help you and your lawyer strategize your case. Most married couples accumulate debt during their marriage.
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Car loans, mortgages, student loans, credit card bills, and other types of debts are among those that will need to be divided during divorce. The parties may become jointly liable for a debt if one spouse acted as the agent for the other when acquiring the debt, or if the debt was for a basic living expense. The courts will carefully examine the nature of each debt the parties have accumulated in deciding who is responsible for what. To determine who gets the house in a Texas divorce, one must first examine the nature of the house itself—was it acquired during the marriage, or before?
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Was the house given to one spouse as a gift, or was it inherited during the marriage? If the house was acquired before the marriage, was inherited, or was gifted, the house may stay with that individual. If the house was acquired during the marriage, it is community property—both spouses own the house, regardless of how it was titled or who paid the mortgage each month. Dogs, cats, and other pets quickly become part of the family. In a divorce, who gets the dog?
Who gets the cat? Though these furry friends may be considered children in a marriage, legally, they are viewed as personal property. Therefore, rules of property division govern who gets the pets in a divorce. Texas is a community property state, which means that all property acquired after the parties were married—until their divorce is final—is the joint property of both spouses. If the pets are not separate property, the courts will look at who primarily took care of the pets taking them to vet appointments, feeding them, and so on and who is better equipped to take care of the pet.
In some cases, the parties may actually work out a custody agreement for the pet, where both parties get to spend time with the pet—much like a child custody agreement!
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A business is viewed by Texas family courts as an asset. Assets must be divided during a divorce. There are several different outcomes for the family business in a Texas divorce. In some cases, each spouse may continue to own the business after the divorce. In other situations, a judge may order the parties to sell the business and split its profits.
In this scenario, the spouse that is being bought out may receive assets equivalent to the value of his or her share of the business. Many business owners worry about the future of their companies once a divorce has been initiated. However, it is better to plan ahead to ensure a business is fully protected in the event of a divorce.
One way to protect a business is to include it in a prenuptial agreement. In a prenuptial agreement, the parties may lay out how their assets will be divided in case they divorce.
In this situation, one party may be able to protect his or her business from being divided or sold in a divorce. If the parties did not execute a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement with similar terms may be created after the parties have gotten married.
If multiple partners or shareholders are involved in a company, it is possible to protect their share of the business by having their spouses sign a document that states they have no interest in the business in the event of a divorce. However, Texas does have spousal support, which are funds paid by one spouse for the support of the other spouse. Texas was the only state in the nation in which a court had no authority to order alimony to be paid after the final divorce.
It is best to talk with your attorney about the availability of spousal support in your case, as each case differs greatly. Also, the parties may, by agreement i. The tax law on alimony has changed in the tax year so be sure to talk to your attorney and tax professional.
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Texas is strict when it comes to awarding spousal support. In a divorce in which one party is seeking spousal support, the requesting party must show:. Of course, the parties may also agree to a spousal support arrangement, regardless of whether any of the above factors are present.
Once the court has determined that an award for spousal support is appropriate, the following factors will be used to calculate a spousal support amount:. Each of these factors will be carefully considered before determining how much spousal support one party has to pay to the other. Texas allows for temporary spousal support to be awarded during divorce proceedings.
If one spouse does not make as much money as the other, a judge may award temporary spousal support on a temporary basis. Doing so may protect assets from creditors during the divorce proceedings, if one party cannot afford the payments on those assets such as the marital home.
In Texas, spousal support is set to certain terms—it does not last forever. The length of the marriage largely determines the duration of spousal support. The rules are as follows:. The courts will generally make the duration of spousal support as short as possible, unless the spouse receiving spousal support cannot earn a sufficient income for basic needs because of a disability, caring for a child of the marriage, or another reason that prevents the spouse from becoming self-supporting.
COBRA benefits provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of are available to the former spouse of an employee that works for an employer with 20 or more employees. The law states that employers must offer continuation coverage for the first three years after a divorce. An application must be filed within 60 days from the finalization of the divorce to receive COBRA benefits.
After spousal support has been ordered, there may be a number of reasons to modify it. The party requesting the modification must show a significant change in circumstances since the amount was ordered. Examples include:. It should be noted that spousal support payments may stop automatically if the spouse receiving payments remarries.
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If the spouse receiving payments begins living with a romantic partner, payments may also be terminated, but evidence of the relationship must be presented in court before this happens. Finally, if either spouse dies, spousal support terminates. Child custody is one of the most hotly contested issues in a divorce.
There are a few different child custody arrangements in Texas. Child custody is referred to as conservatorship in Texas. With a sole managing conservatorship, the children live with one parent, and the visitation rights of the other parent may be the same as joint custody arrangement. The visitation arrangement will change depending upon the facts of each case. A sole managing conservatorship is generally awarded if the parents cannot get along or if there has been a pattern of violence. To modify an existing child custody order in Texas, one must file a modification case.