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Sugar Land Divorce Law Blog

Same-sex marriage not recognized in Texas, impossible to divorce

Same-sex marriage is an evolving issue across the United States. Just a decade ago, same-sex marriage wasn't recognized in any state. Now, same-sex marriages are recognized in a handful of states, and growing. While couples have flocked to these states to legally wed, once they return to their home states where their marriage isn't recognized, there have been discrepancies that they may not have foreseen. Such is the case for a woman who wants a divorce from her same-sex marriage legalized in Washington in 2010.

The woman is one of many same-sex spouses whose marriage was legalized, but now wants a divorce. However, the woman lives in Texas, which is one of the states that does not recognize same-sex marriage. If a state doesn't recognize marriage, then it cannot recognize the divorce of that marriage. Confusion has ensued for her and many couples about what comes next.

Collaborative divorce available in Texas

Divorce causes serious financial, emotional and family strain. When two people divorce, the lives of the couple divorcing, and anyone connected to the couple, are uprooted. When there are high assets involved in the divorce, it can be in the best interests of everyone, if a collaborative divorce approach is utilized. Such divorce filing is possible in Texas.

Collaborative divorce is not available in every state, but it is growing in popularity. Collaborative divorce is different from traditional mediation because it allows the parties to meet and work out their differences with a trained third-party before the court proceedings. This can help to ease the tension of the arguments that often happen in court. With regard to the finances, this type of collaborative law could help divvy up 401k's, savings, or any debt currently owed by the couple.

Spousal maintenance, now easier to get in Texas divorce

Divorce is a sad, stressful and common occurrence across Texas these days. There are many aspects to consider when filing for divorce. A person's financial well-being may be at the top of that list. This can become even more complicated when a couple has to divide shared marital property in a high asset divorce. Just because there are many assets to be divided doesn't guarantee spousal maintenance or alimony will be paid to the less financially-endowed spouse. However, a change in Texas legislation back in 2011 may make it easier for a spouse to receive spousal maintenance.

Texas legislation on spousal maintenance became effective in 1995. That legislation made it impossible to qualify for spousal maintenance unless the marriage was 10 years or older. Amendments were made to this in 2011 wherein the court now takes into consideration marriages less than 10 years old. Details such as disabilities of the spouse or child, or lack of education or skills to gain employment are now measured when the courts consider awarding spousal maintenance. The 10 year rule now only exists when the requesting spouse cannot provide for his or her minimal needs.

Community property applies to debt in Texas divorces

When going through a divorce people often wonder what is next in their personal lives. Before beginning a new life, however, divorcing spouses must conclude the old one. This includes the division of marital property. When going through a divorce that has a high net worth, it is especially important to understand financial issues and how assets and debts could be divided between the parties.

Rights and responsibilities for assets and debts can be different depending on the state where the couple lives. Texas, for example, has community property rules. This means that if one spouse incurs debt during a marriage, both parties are responsible for that debt during the marriage. That means that if a spouse has debts to pay and the couple is still legally married, the person owed the debt can go as far as garnishing both spouses' paychecks to get the money. However, after the marriage, the debt is owed only by the spouse who incurred it. The exception to this rule is where the debt was incurred to pay for home necessities or used out of a joint account.

Rape victim could share child custody in Texas

According to The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, 237,868 people are raped every year, with 60 percent of the rapes going unreported, and 97 percent of rapists spending no time in jail. Some of these instances of rape result in pregnancy. The mother has two options in the case of pregnancy after rape, either to abort the child or continue with the pregnancy. In Texas, a woman may be unaware that under Texas law, her attacker could sue for parental rights.

The Texas family code gives protection to a woman who conceives as a result of rape. It gives her the option to terminate the pregnancy. However, it does not specify enough about what happens if she keeps the child. This allows for a judge's discretion in determining whether to grant custody or visitation rights to her attacker.

Texas fathers denied legal parenthood of biological twins

As gay marriage continues to evolve around the U.S. there are legal situations related to the subject other than if the marriage is legally recognized. There are questions of paternity, divorce, and asset dispersion just to name a few. In the state of Texas gay marriage is not yet recognized by the state. This leaves two gay men, married in Washington D.C., in paternity limbo while their biological twins are not listed as their children on the birth certificates.

After marrying in D.C. last summer, the two men began the process with a surrogate (who is not the biological mother) to carry their twin boys. Each father is related to one of the boys.

Jewel announces divorce from Ty Murray on her blog

When most people think of the divorce of a high-profile couple, they think stress and months of bashing each other in the press. This often happens since famous couple's typically have a high net worth divorce to reckon with. The amount of money and assets to be divided can bring out the worst in people. Such doesn't seem to be the case for singer Jewel and her husband of 16 years, Ty Murray. The couple has resided on a Texas ranch for the past several years with their son and recently announced their plans to divorce.

Jewel and Murray seemed to have a wonderful marriage that welcomed a son in 2011. Jewel has had a successful career as a singer and Murray, a professional rodeo cowboy. However, July 2, Jewel went to her blog to explain their mutual decision to divorce. Jewel stated, "... we have no desire to damage ourselves or each other in the process (of divorce)..."

Texas law sends dad to jail for failing to pay child support

After a divorce is finalized and the details of child custody are decided, many fathers think that the dispute is over. But that is not necessarily the case. Take, a Texas man whose rights as a father and, indeed, his right to freedom may be in jeopardy due to a new law in Texas.

A Houston father is currently locked in a custody battle for his 12 year-old son. To make matters worse, he has been sentenced to six months in jail due to a new Texas law that allows family court judges the discretion to jail delinquent child-support payers - even if they have paid in full before the hearing. This father's situation is unique in that his employer is actually the party at fault for the child support money failing to reach the mother on time. This evidence was presented during the appeal process but not at the hearing where he was found in contempt for late child support payments.

How involved should dads be in their kids' lives?

When Texas couples divorce and often proceed to live in different households, questions about which parent a child lives with may arise. Many people associate mothers with being the nurturing parent, starting before the birth and continuing through adolescence. However, one science writer who did a survey on fatherhood, based on scientific research, may reveal just how important father involvement is in a child's life.

The survey states that beginning in the womb, a fetus is able to take in more nutrients because of certain genes inherited from the father. After birth, a father's presence may also help improve a child's vocabulary, as mothers may often be more in tune with their child's language set, using words that the child is more familiar with.

Parenting skills leading factor over gender in custody disputes

Residents of Texas know that divorce is more than the division of two people; oftentimes there are children stuck in the middle of their parents' dispute. We have already examined the statistical increase in joint custody cases, but it is important to know why fathers are filing for joint custody more than ever before.

A common fear for divorcing fathers may be that custody will be granted to the mother and that the father will have to fight tooth and claw for any visitation. Times have changed and there are more equal rights, especially for women in the workplace. This has led to more fathers becoming stay-at-home dads. According to a recent Pew Research Study, stay-at-home dads have increased from just 5 percent in 1989 to 21 percent in 2012. In addition, a professor at Northern Illinois University's College of Law believes that many of today's judges and lawyers came from divorced homes where contact with their father after a divorce came from a few overnights and visitation. This background of the judges may also be contributing to the shift.