Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law
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Dallas Family Law Blog

Active, passive business appreciation impacts property division

Owning a Texas business can provide you with a lucrative income as well as a sense of pride and accomplishment. You may understand the inner workings of your company and feel prepared for various obstacles that could potentially arise and cause conflict within your business operations. However, you may feel less prepared for what your business will face when it comes to dividing assets in divorce.

If you created a prenuptial agreement, you may have sidestepped this issue by coming to agreement terms before the marriage even took place. However, many people do not utilize this document, and if you did not, portions of your company could go to your soon-to-be ex-spouse. During the property division process, active and passive appreciation of your business could play important roles.

What can a Texas father do to protect his rights?

Divorce or the break-up of a domestic relationship is, almost invariably, an emotionally difficult process. As a couple begins to understand that the future is going to hold something different than they had likely foreseen, each one may lash out in anger or frustration, creating more problems than there may have been previously. When children are in involved, this can be even worse, as parents may end up using the kids, even unintentionally, as pawns or wedges in an attempt to hurt the other former partner. When this happens, Texas fathers may end up with legal questions about how they are going to continue having a relationship with their children.

While the law does not give preference in child custody or other matters to a party based upon gender, there are those who believe that family courts favor women for child custody. Whether this is an intentional preference, or simply one based upon the conditioning of society that women are better nurturers, the perception that this occurs creates anxiety in many fathers going through a divorce. What steps, then, may a father take to help ease the worry that his request for custody will not be taken seriously?

Can one modify an existing Texas child custody order?

"There is no constant but change." So goes a tried and true piece of conventional wisdom. Basically, because time is continually passing, everything in the world changes, whether it wants to or not. The same may be said for the circumstances Texas residents find themselves in after a divorce or break-up of a domestic relationship. Whether it is a new job, or a need to move to different hours of work, or to a different residence, the situations of both parties to a family law case can change, sometimes dramatically. Because of this, what may have been the best solution at the time a decision was made on issues like child custody or visitation may no longer be viable.

When this occurs, what are parents to do? First off, it should be noted that if parents can agree on a change, they are usually free to implement it, though it may sometimes be in their best interests to memorialize it in the form of a court order so that there are no misunderstandings later. If there is no agreement, however, it is not impossible for one party to request a change, but there are some facts that he or she will have to show to the satisfaction of the court.

Can a man take back an official admission of paternity?

There's an old saying that one cannot be "a little bit pregnant." That is to say, a person is either pregnant or she is not. Similarly, in a biological sense, a man is either the father of a child or he is not. Legally speaking however, things are a bit more complicated. For example, if a couple is married, any child born to a female partner is presumed to be the child of a legal husband, until that presumption is overcome by evidence. A non-married man may also be considered the father of a child if he has made an official acknowledgement of paternity, either at birth of subsequently. But what if he later decides he is wrong? Is it possible for a Texas 'father' to disavow the paternity of a child?

Under Texas law, it is possible to rescind acknowledgement of paternity, under certain limited circumstances. First, there is a time limitation. The rescission of a paternity acknowledgement must occur prior to the 61st day after the acknowledgement becomes effective, or before any proceeding involving the child is filed before a Texas family court, whichever comes first. This is true even if the action filed does not technically bring the matter of paternity into issue, such as an action for child support. So, first off, the latest any man will be able to rescind an acknowledgement of paternity is 60 days after the effective date of said acknowledgement.

Is an uncontested divorce right for me?

Divorce does not always have to be an awful, long, drawn-out process. For couples in Texas who are ready and willing to work together to negotiate their settlement terms, the finalization of the marriage dissolution can happen pretty fast by filing an uncontested divorce.

Traditionally, the divorce process involves a lot of back and forth, arguing and disputes over settlement terms. Not every couple wants to go through all of that, however. That is the beauty of the uncontested divorce. There are some things that may not be so great about this route as well, though. It all really depends on what you want to get out of it.

Are Texas prenups always enforceable?

Prenuptial agreements seem to be staging a bit of a comeback. While for many years, the idea of asking a proposed marital partner for a legal agreement that contemplated the ending of the relationship prior to death was considered unromantic at best, and incredibly tacky at worst, there seems to be more acceptance of the idea recently. This may be due to millennials being more likely to cohabitate before marriage and being more likely to see finances as separate rights, rather than something to collectivize.

Whatever the reason, with the use of prenuptial agreements becoming more frequent, it may be a good idea for Texas couples to understand when such agreements are valid, and when they are not. Of course, like many legal contracts, prenuptial agreements need to be in writing, but unlike most other contracts, they can be entered into without the legal concept of 'consideration,' which requires each party to receive something of value.

Social media may complicate your divorce

Now that you have taken the step to start divorce proceedings, you may also want to scrutinize your use of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are such a normal part of many lives, and you may be surprised to learn that they are also becoming a normal part of many divorces.

In fact, you may not realize how much you share with the cyber universe until you try to imagine your status through the eyes of a custody judge or your spouse's divorce attorney. While you may have nothing to hide and simply use your social media to vent, even those innocent status updates may be interpreted negatively against you.

What are the main ways to enforce child support?

It is the policy of the State of Texas that children should be supported by the contributions of both of their parents. This means that even if the parents choose not to reside together with the children, they will each still be legally responsible for the financial support of their children. To this end, like most other states, Texas has established guidelines that use the incomes of each parent to determine what each"s share of the child support should be. Generally speaking, the parent with whom the child lives, known as the "custodial parent" (or sometimes, depending on the circumstances the "sole conservator" or "primary joint conservator,") will receive child support payments from the "noncustodial parent."

What is an "AOP," and how does it affect Texas fathers' rights?

Being a parent is a special role, and often brings with it numerous emotions, both positive and negative. On one hand, a parent can feel proud, happy and excited at the love and possibilities a child brings into the world. On the other, there can be uncertainty, anxiety and doubt about how to go about caring for such a fragile being, and what difficulties may appear in the future.

These negative feelings can be exacerbated, if there is uncertainty as to the actual parentage of the child. Or, whether a person will have full access to the child and the right to contribute to decisions about its welfare. This can be especially true about fathers, particularly if the child is born out of wedlock.

The benefits of collaborative divorce

The divorce process can be challenging as emotions can run high and important concerns must be addressed. Important divorce-related issues include property division, child custody, child support and alimony which all may need to be resolved. While couples are strongly encouraged to reach agreements regarding these concerns themselves, they may face challenges doing so and the family law process can help.

In addition to the traditional divorce process which involves the family law court and litigation, other options are also available including mediation and collaborative law divorce. Collaborative law divorce is a process that encourages divorcing couples to work together in a collaborative fashion to reach shared resolutions concerning divorce-related issues. The collaborative divorce process allows the divorcing couple to work together alongside their representatives and other professionals, including financial professionals and mental health counselors, to resolve divorce-related issues.