Can Community Property Money be Used to Pay for My Divorce?

In most cases, funds that may be secured through joint bank accounts, credit cards obtained during the marriage, and through the legal pawn of property acquired during the marriage may be used to secure reasonably priced legal services for a divorce.

Often times, it’s critically important a competent attorney is secured to ensure that along with your divorce, a restraining order goes into effect relating to expenditures of community funds, sale or gift of community property, and how the bills get paid while a divorce is pending. Child support and custody is also decided.

Courts also allow one to apply for additional attorney fees if the husband or wife is using a disproportionate share in order to cover their attorney fees. An example of this is when the husband scrapes up $2,500, but wife cashes our her 401k and pays $50,000 in attorney fees. In this event, the husband could apply for $22,250 of that amount or the equal amount, if available, for attorney fees.

Call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

Does Adultery Matter in Texas Divorces?

Texas is a no-fault state. That means you can get a divorce here without having to prove it was the other spouse’s fault. 

One can also allege that the other party cheated and seek a disproportionate division of the community estate when clear and convincing evidence is present of the adultery.  

Sometimes, an attorney will need to search financial records to track down hotel room charges, odd gifts, and other expenditures that are out of place. Even odd ATM withdraws, when combined with other evidence, tell the tale of betrayal.

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

Annulment of Marriage in Texas

Annulment of a marriage is not the same as a divorce. Divorce is the dissolution of a valid marriage. Annulment ends a marriage that was not valid to begin with.

Grounds for annulment include:

  1.  Impotence.  If one spouse is permanently unable to have sex and the petitioning spouse did not know about the impotence at the time of the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment.
  2.  Intoxication.  If one of the spouses was too intoxicated during the wedding ceremony to have had the capacity to consent to marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment provided that the spouses did not continue to live together after the effects of intoxication wore off.
  3. Incest.  Spouses who have a familial relationship closer than first cousins do not form a valid marriage.
  4. Fraud.  If one of the spouses “tricked” the other into marrying him or her by hiding or lying about something essential to the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment.
  5. Bigamy.  If one of the spouses was already married, the later marriage is not valid.  However, if the earlier marriage is dissolved and the spouses of the later marriage continue to live together, the later marriage is not eligible for annulment.
  6. Underage.  Marriage between spouses, either of whom was under the legal age to get married, is not valid.  Annulment does not necessarily have to be filed by the underage spouse; a parent or guardian can file on their behalf.  If the marriage continues past the legal age of 18 (or 16 with parental consent or a court order), it is no longer eligible for annulment.
  7. Duress or force.  If one of the spouses was threatened, forced or coerced into the marriage, the marriage may be eligible for annulment as long as the spouses did not continue to live together after the duress was no longer present.

Is your marriage eligible for annulment? Call us at (956) 428-2822 or complete our online form for a confidential and no-obligation consultation.

Who Gets the Family Pet in Property Division?

Divorce is a very difficult time for most people.  Apart from the obvious issues like support, child custody issues and access, and property division issues, there’s also the matter of who gets the family pet.

Many pet owners have a strong mutual attachment to their furry friends.  A recent report from the American Pet Products Association reveals that pet industry revenues were expected to be more than $75 billion in 2019.  The expenditures are for food, veterinary care, gifts, clothes and even portraits of the pet. In fact, the term “fur babies” has become quite common as more and more people have come to regard their pets almost as children.

Some jurisdictions have taken the divorcing parties’ emotional attachment and the welfare of the pet into consideration.  In 2010, an Alabama appeals court ruled that “where a pet is the subject of a division of property, the courts sometimes consider the best interest of the animal”.  The Vermont Supreme Court said that family courts “may consider … welfare of the animal and the emotional connection between the animal and each spouse”.

However, contrary to how many “pet parents” In Texas view their pets, the courts in Texas (and many other states) regard them as being “marital property” to be awarded or disposed of like any other piece of property such as cars and appliances.   

In property settlements, whether the “property” be animate or inanimate, your wisest course of action is to get the best legal representation available.  

Call The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 for a free consultation or complete our online form.

Enforcement of Summer Possession in Texas Family Law

The Texas Family Code Standard Possession Order is one of the most misunderstood and controversial areas of visitation in Texas. It is broken down into two very different versions that are based on whether the parents live more than 100 miles from each other, or less than 100 miles from each other.

The Standard Possession Order summer visitation also may change up, depending on whether the parent entitled to summer possession designates dates for visitation prior to April 1st, that are different than the standard dates that begin on June 15 (if you are over 100 miles from where your children reside) and July 1 (if you are less than 100 miles from where your children reside). Also, the custodial parent can designates one weekend in between the 30 days visitation (if less than 100 miles) or the custodial parent may designate two weekends in between the 42 days (if more than 100 miles).

Here are some simple tips in dealing with summer possession:

1) Make sure and notify the other party three different ways, such as email, text, and certified letter of the pick up of the children (even if the court order clearly states it).

2) Keep an agenda over the summer of activities for the children that focus on bonding, developing the children’s education, and having fun.

3) Provide generous electronic access to the other parent, so the children feel comfortable, so long as it at a time that does not interfere with activities.

4) Order education apps or computer programs with lessons and tracking ability to work on the weakest subjects that child has problems with, according to their most recent report cards, You can always ask the teachers for recommendations.

For further information on how one can make sure their visitation rights are enforced, made up, or the other party is penalized for not providing court ordered visitation without a legitimate excuse, call Ricardo A. Barrera with the The Barrera Law Firm, PC at (956)428-2822 for help.

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