Wasted Days and Wasted Nights — Do I Have a Common Law Marriage?

Texas law recognizes common law marriage based on three basic elements, all of which all must occur at the same time:

1) Co-habitation (did you live together?)

2) Holding yourself out as husband and wife (did you wear rings, file taxes as married, or did you put out there you were married on loans applications?)

3) Agree to be married 

Texas courts generally try to do the right thing, but the burden of proof is on the one who claims a common law marriage exists when not formally married.

Never invest your home, your future, your wealth on someone who cannot or will not commit. The results are often sad and unfortunate in the case of a separation because the law does not provide you with a community property share unless you can prove common law marriage through clear and convincing evidence. 

Years of cleaning up after and taking care of a person you are not legally married to may end you up not only with a broken heart, but in the poor house as well.

For more information, please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for your free consultation.

I’ve Been Served With a Temporary Restraining Order With My Divorce – What Do I Do?

Under Texas law, temporary restraining orders are meant to keep the peace during a divorce, provide protection of evidence and community property, and keep the other parent from hiding the children or moving away with them until a hearing is held by a judge within 14 days of application.

  • The first thing to do is seek out a lawyer and read the entire document.  Read it thoroughly, make notes, and be sure to have your lawyer explain any word or concept you don’t understand.
  • The second thing you should do is retain a lawyer to file a counter suit and apply for your own restraining order, so that all is fair and equal for the hearing.
  • The next thing you should do is gather witnesses and evidence of any issue that is being contested. 

Very often, judges like for things to remain as fair as possible with regard to finances and as normal as possible for the children with no major changes occurring unless there is possible danger or neglect.

For more information or help with a legal issue, please call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form.

Texas Divorces — Who Gets the Tax Refund?

Under Texas law, anything of value acquired during the marriage, including a tax refund, is presumed to be community property. That means that both spouses have to split it evenly, right?  Not necessarily. It is not that cut and dry. The court takes into consideration specific factors on a case-by-case basis with the objective of a fair and equitable division of the marital estate.

Sometimes, the parties have been living apart, so the court can divide the return based on the length of time of cohabitation with the children.  Other times, back child support is due as a result of living apart, so the tax return can be taken for the purposes of paying the back child support.

The United States tax laws govern who shall claim the children for tax refunds, so it is always advisable to seek an independent opinion from a certified tax professional.

Ultimately, however, division of the tax refund belongs in the province of the divorce court.

Call us for a free consultation to learn more at (956) 428-2822.