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dancingIn a recent Texas appellate case, a wife appealed from a final divorce decree that incorporated the terms of the couple’s mediated settlement agreement. After she and her husband entered into the agreement, she asked the trial court to set it aside.

The couple had married in 1997 and had no kids. They decided to divorce in 2015 and mediated their differences. They signed an agreement dividing up their property and debts, but it was contingent on a short sale of a house they owned. The husband was awarded the interest in the property, and the wife had to sign certain documents. She would be paid a portion of the proceeds from the sale. Meanwhile, the husband got all of the interest in their two trusts.

A few weeks later, the wife tried to withdraw, and the trial court granted the motion. The husband asked the court to sign a final divorce decree, while the wife tried to quash the agreement. The husband asked a receiver to be appointed, claiming that the wife refused to sign the papers in order to facilitate the property sale.

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Rising Stars Robert Epstein and Francesca Blackard

McClure Law Group, PC is proud to announce that both partners, Robert Epstein and Francesca Blackard have been voted by their peers as Texas Rising Stars for 2017 in Super Lawyers Magazine and Texas Monthly Magazine. Only 2.5% of attorneys in Texas receive this noteworthy distinction of a Texas Rising Star.

The attorneys are nominated by other attorneys in the state, making this an exceptional designation as they are recognized by their legal peers. At McClure Law Group, PC we strive for excellence and are proud to have both partners applauded for their hard work and dedication to our clients.

For more information on these two partners, you can access their bios by clicking here: Robert Epstein :: Francesca Blackard

 

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For any of you Gossip Girl fans or parents of Gossip Girl fans, you probably remember Serena van der Woodsen’s mother, Lily van der Woodsen. Her real name is Kelly Rutherford, and her life is just as dramatic as the scenes of the popular TV show.

Rutherford’s marriage to Daniel Giersch in August 2006 has led to all sorts of personal trouble for her. They had their first son Hermes in October 2006. In 2008, she was pregnant again with their second child, but ended up filing for divorce from Daniel  in December of the following year. Their child, Helena, was born a few months after the date of filing. Since then, Kelly and Daniel have been in a seriously heated custody battle. Things took a major change in the divorce suit when in April 2012, Kelly’s attorney allegedly leaked information concerning Daniel’s improper business activity in the United States…which got him deported. Custody win for Kelly? Think again.

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Perhaps the most frequent questions we encounter from clients shortly after filing for divorce are “How long is this going to take?” and “What happens next?”  Of course the answer to these questions depend upon Continue reading →

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Last month was an exciting one for Texas family law attorneys.  During this year’s legislative session, our friendly representatives down in Austin had their hands full with a number of new bills that sought to alter significant portions of the family law landscape.

There were three bills that passed their way through a House committee but ultimately were voted down after strenuous lobbying by the Texas Family Law Foundation.  The first bill that was voted down was HB 4093, which sought to repeal section 6.001 of the Texas Family Code.  Section 6.001 provides that “the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”  Had HB 4093 passed and been signed by Governor Abbott, parties seeking divorce would have to prove another valid ground for divorce, including adultery, cruelty, living apart, or abandonment.

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Many clients come to our law firm extremely worried that the second they get married, their spouse is automatically entitled to half of their wealth- regardless of the duration of the marriage or when they acquired their wealth. As reported in the news, Keyshawn Johnson is getting divorced from his wife after only 7 months of marriage. Does this mean he has to give up half of his entire wealth? The short answer is no.

Division of property in Texas divorce suits is not 50/50 – Texas law reads that there shall be a just and right division of the property. Yes, most Courts believe that should look something like a 50/50 split, but that does not mean that has to be the case. There are numerous factors outlined in the Texas Family Code that can sway a property division one way or another.

So let’s use Keyshawn Johnson as an example- He was married 7 months. Absent a finding of common-law marriage in Texas, his wife would only be entitled to half of any income accumulated during the time of marriage- in this case 7 months. Any money Keyshawn Johnson earned prior to marriage is his separate property and not considered in the property division. But, it is important to note that Keyshawn Johnson would have the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that any asset he wishes to exclude from a property division is indeed separate in nature.

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