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Sugar Land Divorce Law Blog

Same-sex divorce request denied by Texas judge

Recently we discussed how the Defense of Marriage Act has affected Texas legislation and rulings. A recent ruling by a lower Texas court has confirmed the way gay divorce has most recently been perceived and decided in Texas. The same-sex couple requesting a divorce were originally married in New Hampshire in 2010 where the marriage was deemed legal. The couple now lives in Texas and requested a divorce through the Texas courts.

The judge assigned to their case ultimately struck down their couple's request for a divorce. However, the judge did give much testimony as to his decision. According to the judge, his "hands are tied" due to the restrictions laid out in the Texas Family Code that was voted on in 2005. The Texas Family Code governs how divorce proceedings are handled including everything from child custody to asset division. According to the Texas Family Code, same-sex couple's marriages are not recognized as a legal union; therefore, a divorce cannot be granted to a marriage that was never recognized to begin with.

How do I divide art in a Texas divorce?

Divorces can be complicated and can cause confusion. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It's simply a matter of how you approach the division of assets during the divorce. For couple's with a high net worth, art can be an investment that is heavily sought after by either party. There are a few things to keep in mind when dividing art as part of the divorce proceedings.

Experts have noted that dividing art during a divorce can be as big of a dispute as custody arrangements. That is because art can have a stronger emotional connection to the owner. Serious art collectors may never marry because they are so concerned about what may happen to their prized collection. There are a few ways for divorcing couples to avoid taxes and have a peaceful negotiation about their art collection.

Defense of Marriage Act and it's affect on Texas

Recently, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA has been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Many have questions about what this means for same-sex couples as related to their marriages or sometimes their divorces. Marriage and divorce for same-sex couples have been tricky; currently marriage and divorce are legal in some states -- and in others not allowed. Some states are split on the issue.

Section 3 of DOMA prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriages between gay and lesbian couples. This is true even if the couple's home state recognized their marriage. This applies to federal programs that can have an effect on same-sex couples. Section 3 was struck down because it did not allow "equal protection" to same-sex couples as laid out in the constitution.

What to do if experiencing parental alienation

It is always recommended that divorcing parents try to amicably discuss their custody arrangement with the best interests of the child in mind. The demeanor in which the parents handle the custody decisions can have positive or negative effects on the child. Sometimes, one parent can use tactics to push the other parent away from the child. This is called parental alienation.

Parental alienation is characterized by one parent using negativity toward the child to push the other parent away from the child. It is recognized by several characteristics including:

  1. One parent continuously degrades the other parent
  2. One parent is the scapegoat for everything
  3. The child feels guilty whenever he or she expresses love toward the alienated parent

Wendy Davis' rep claims divorce settlement reported inaccurate

Wendy Davis' highly publicized divorce was splashed across headlines nationwide. Alongside her ex-husband, they owned Safeco, which they sold to cover their high asset divorce settlement. Now that she is running for governor of Texas, the financial details of the divorce have come under scrutiny.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a person familiar with the settlement, reported Davis' share to be six million dollars, which Davis' representative is claiming is incorrect. He has requested that the publication retract the statement and list their source providing that settlement figure. The amount that Davis collected from the sale of Safeco is the financial seed in her run for governor. After the divorce, she was issued a contract naming her an officer of the succeeding entity, Republic Title of Texas.

How are military pensions and benefits divided during a divorce?

In an earlier blog post we discussed why military divorce is different from, and sometimes more complicated than, regular civilian divorce. A big question many military families have during a divorce is what happens to their benefits as provided by the military? Many aren't sure if the benefits are still awarded to the spouse who is a non-military member. A military divorce settlement will include benefits and pensions to the non-military person based on Texas state law.

There are a few circumstances that override whichever state law is governing the military divorce. According to the "10 Year Rule" if the marriage lasted ten years or longer the Defense Finance and Accounting Service or DFAS will pay the non-military spouse's pension wages directly. Regardless of the time of marriage, the court may still require pay to the non-military spouse as part of the divorce settlement. However, instead of the money coming directly from the DFAS, it will be designated to come from the military-affiliated spouse.

Oil tycoon's divorce filing raises questions about securities

Hundreds of Americans file for divorce every day. In most divorces there are financial aspects to settle such as who gets the house, or how to divide the 401k. A recent divorce filing has shocked the business world as one of the richest men in the world prepares to battle for his own finances as well as those of his publicly traded company. Harold Hamm and his company Continental Resources will be affected by the high asset divorce settlement that will be played out the in the courtroom in the coming months.

The couple, married 26 years, is now mulling through divorce proceedings -- and they didn't sign a prenuptial agreement. This means that everything accumulated between the start of the marriage and now is technically up for the division of marital property. This would include the business assets accumulated to an estimated $20 billion.

Why single fathers should have equal access to paternity rights

You're a good father. Or you want to be. However, the mother of your child is making it nearly impossible for you to spend any time with your child. Historically it has been difficult for unmarried fathers to preserve parental rights. However, times have changed and we at Michael D. Tracton PC believe fathers have every right to pursue their parental rights.

The first step in determining unmarried fathers' rights to visitation and paternity rights is establishing paternity legally with the court. When paternity is voluntary, and the parents are not marriedthis consists of the parents sitting down and signing paternity paperwork. If the paternity is disputed the legal process will include a DNA test to prove or disprove that the father is the biological father. Only after this process is completed can visitation and child custody be decided.

Why legal paternity affects your finances in Texas

Fathers who are unmarried to their child's mother may have a more difficult time gaining paternal rights as mentioned in our most recent blog. The legal significance of this paternity goes farther than just a father's name on his child's birth certificate. There are several legal benefits and implications that change the responsibilities of father and the relationship with his child.

There are a variety of ways for a father to claim paternity of a child. Involuntary paternity occurs when the mother, or the state, seeks to prove paternity of the child in a court of law. By contrast, voluntary paternity occur because the father actively seeks paternity of the child. The child can be related by blood or not; voluntary paternity occurs in situations such as the father marrying the mother of the child after the child is born (and signing a legitimization form).

Pets now a battleground for Texas divorce

In a previous post this blog has already discussed how pets can be protected during divorce from a violent spouse. It has becoming increasingly common for people to count their pets in their assets -- even listing pets in prenuptial agreements also known as "pre-pups." But when this wasn't thought of, it can be a rough-and-tumble argument over who gets to keep their furry friend.

Pet ownership has surged over the years totaling 179 million dogs and cats in homes across America, according to the Humane Society. Many Americans now endure a lengthy court battle to ensure they get to keep their furry companion. One of the most recently publicized pet custody battles occurred when a divorcing lesbian couple argued over custody of their miniature dachshund. One argued that it belonged to her because it was given as a gift and the other claimed it was hers because she financially supported the dog.