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San Marcos Texas Legal Blog

More states deciding fate of pets in divorce

While not on the same par as a child custody battle, for many couples, deciding who gets the pet may be nearly as upsetting. Pets are frequently the source of emotional support and an intangible security that may be a devastating loss following a divorce. Although Texas has not yet passed laws regarding the assignment of pets at the end of a marriage, other states are finding it necessary to address the issue head-on.

In most states, pets are considered property. This means that they are counted among the items to be divided in a divorce settlement based on their monetary value, not the level of affection with which they are held. This can be a difficult and frustrating concept for someone who loves a pet, and it is common for vindictive spouses to inflict pain by demanding the pet in a divorce settlement.

Tax law changes bring family law issues to the forefront

Usually, couples are running to the altar, but with recent tax changes, couples in unhappy marriages may be rushing toward a quick divorce. The new tax plan is wide-ranging, but one change in how alimony will be treated has some individuals wanting to close the deal before it goes into effect. In Texas, individuals considering divorce will also have to take state law into account, and family law advisors are still putting the puzzle together.

With the deadline for the change set as Dec. 31, 2018, this year may be a wild one for individuals already in the process of ending a marriage. In summary, the new policy is the opposite of how spousal support payments have been historically treated. In the past, the alimony payment was tax deductible for the person paying, and the person receiving payments needed to claim that money as taxable income. Now, the payments are not deductible for the payer, and the person receiving the money does not have to claim it. 

January is the busiest month for divorce, and here's why

Although people decide to call it quits on relationships throughout the year, January is typically the busiest month. More new divorces are filed this month than the others, and the experts have a few thoughts as to why. Texas residents considering a breakup in January may be able to look at this list and see some of their own reasons for divorce reflected there. 

Many divorces boil down to disputes about income, infidelity and incompatibility. January, with its promise of fresh starts, and coming hot on the tail of the holiday season, may see some of these issues at their breaking point. The holidays, for some, put pressure on a person to experience the ideal of family togetherness, intimacy and love. When the holidays come and go without experiencing these warm and fuzzy feelings, a person may realize that it's time to move on. 

What are some of the common causes for divorce?

Over the years, researchers have spent a considerable amount of time attempting to figure out what causes marriages to end. The results can vary widely from study to study, but a review of several studies does highlight some common reasons why couples divorce. More than likely, Texas couples either contemplating divorce or already going through the process can relate to at least one.

Money problems remain a point of contention with many couples. Whether it stems from a lack of money, someone's spending habits or some other dispute, finances prove to be a point of contention. Money is not the only thing couples argue about, however.

In today's world, more fathers win child custody battles

Without a doubt, courts here in Texas and across the country once favored keeping kids with their mothers. Even under questionable circumstances, family courts used to believe that children were better off with their mothers than with their fathers full time. Fortunately, that bias is fading away, and even though most courts would prefer parents to share custody these days, more fathers win child custody battles than at any other time.

In order to prevail in receiving full custody of the children, a father will need to show the court that it is in the best interests of the children to do so. As in any other court hearing, providing the right evidence is essential. In order to accomplish that task, it would help to know what factors the court considers.

Texas family law accounts for the fact that you life could change

When you finalized your divorce and/or child custody agreement, you may have attempted to account for the inevitable changes that life can bring. However, no one can account for every possible change, and there could come a time when you need to change the terms of your agreements. Fortunately, Texas family law accounts for the fact that you may need to modify, or even enforce, your divorce settlement or child custody agreement to better fit the current circumstances.

Perhaps you received an employment opportunity that requires you to relocate and you want to take your children with you. Or perhaps the other parent seeks to do so. In the alternative, your income may have changed, and you can no longer afford to make the child support payments previously ordered. At the same time, as children grow, their needs often change, and any agreements you and the other parent made regarding custody and visitation may need modification in order to continue to serve the best interests of your children.

How ex-wives can recover from divorce

Now that your divorce is over, you may find your life is a mess. Where do you start in getting it back together? What does getting it back together even look like?

Divorce is tragic and painful, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and happiness you did not experience before.  

Do I really need a prenup in case of divorce?

Prenuptial agreements are a fantastic planning tool for soon-to-be married couples. Virtually every couple in Texas could benefit from the protections afforded by prenups, but some people are understandably hesitant to utilize these marriage contracts. For those uncertain about whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for them, it is important to consider what is at stake in a divorce.

It is not uncommon for people to carry large amounts of debt, particularly when it comes to student loans and credit cards. Even if this debt was taken on before a marriage, it is possible that it could still be treated like marital property and subject to asset division. A prenuptial agreement can make certain that debt incurred before marriage remains separate property, and that any debt accumulated during the marriage is owed only by the person who took it out.

Texas reality stars feud over divorce agreement, alimony

Armando and Veronica Montelongo might be known for their "Flip This House" show, but the Texas couple has been divorced for years. Their split recently made news again when Veronica claimed that her ex-husband failed to make multiple alimony payments. She claims that he violated their divorce agreement, and the two headed back to court.

The couple was married for nearly 14 years before they finalized their divorce in April 2012. Their original divorce agreement stated that Montelongo had to pay $4,000 per week for alimony. This is in addition to an annual $250,000 payment. Both the weekly and annual alimony payments were supposed to continue for five years. Veronica claims that Montelongo missed some of her 2016 payments

Facing abuse allegations? You need child protection defense

Allegations of child abuse are understandably serious, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services -- DFPS -- will usually launch an investigation into such claims. This can be an understandably frightening period for families. Many are unsure of what child protection defense they might need or how to handle the possible removal of their children.

The first step following an abuse complaint is usually an investigation. These investigations can vary slightly, but typically involve a social services case worker or police officer visiting the home. Investigations not only involve viewing the interior of the home, but may also include an interview with the involved children. Parents and guardians are often interviewed as well, as are other potential witnesses, such as teachers and doctors.

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