Although courts are still open and conducting Zoom hearings, there is no doubt that many court cases are moving along more slowly than otherwise desired as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A potentially more practical and expedient method of divorce is collaborative law. Continue reading →
If your business partner is also your life partner, you need to consider a recent Texas high court decision. (read more)
Gonzalez v. Maggio, 500 S.W.3d 656 (Tex. App. – Austin 2016) is a Texas case that illustrates the complexities of ending a business partnership along side of ending a personal partnership. The Texas Court of Appeals reviewed how a husband and wife, who were also law partners, would divide their clients, fees, and remaining clientele.
The case arose out of a divorce in which the husband and wife had also formed a law partnership during their marriage. There was no written partnership agreement but it was undisputed that they shared in the capital, profits and losses 50/50.
According to a recent case from the Texas Court of Appeals in Dallas, a spouse’s secret recording of the other spouse at a time when the other spouse believed he or she was in a private setting can support a tort claim for invasion of privacy. Continue reading →
Can a married couple get divorced in Texas while the wife is pregnant?
It is highly unlikely.
Most Texas courts will not grant a divorce to a married couple if the wife is pregnant. Instead, the couple will have to wait until after the baby is born to finalize their divorce, oftentimes causing significant delays to the already lengthy divorce process. This is the case even if the husband and wife both want the divorce and are in agreement on all issues.
In many families, one spouse takes primary responsibility for all the family finances, including the preparation of the joint income tax return. A joint income tax return may provide tax benefits to families that would not be available from filing two separate returns. However, in order to file a joint income tax return, both spouses are required to sign the return. The result of filing a joint tax return is that each spouse is joint and severally liable for any reported tax liability, along with any additional tax, interest, and penalties assessed on the return by the IRS. Even if the couple is later divorced, both spouses remain joint and severally liable for the total liability associated with the joint return. But is this fair to the spouse who did not handle any of the family finances? What if the spouse was also the victim of abuse or domestic violence and was prevented from accessing any of the family financial records?
Congress and the Department of Treasury have created Innocent Spouse Relief, which gives the innocent spouse the ability to request relief from the IRS for the joint liability associated with any additional tax, penalties, or interest assessed on the joint return. To qualify for Innocent Spouse Relief, the innocent spouse must meet all of the following conditions:
Alex Graves, award-winning director of “The West Wing” recently finalized his divorce from his wife of 19 years. Pursuant to the final order, the spouses’ property was divided evenly. Does the State of Texas mandate a fifty-fifty division of property upon divorce? The short answer is “no.” Continue reading →
A Court in Houston recently reinforced the importance of honesty and full disclosure during the Collaborative Law process when it found that a husband potentially committed fraud by failing to disclose changing job circumstances. See Rawls v. Rawls, 2015 WL 5076283 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2015, no pet.).
A husband and wife in Houston chose to use Collaborative Law to complete their divorce proceedings in 2014. They successfully reached a settlement that included provisions for the wife to receive portions of her husband’s bonus over the next few years. Unfortunately, before the settlement agreement was signed, the husband received a job offer, which he failed to disclose to his wife, and he resigned from his job. Full and complete disclosures of such information is a critical part of the Collaborative Law process, because the goal is to make both parties feel safe to make informed decisions. The Houston Court is currently examining whether the husband committed fraud and breached a fiduciary duty under the Collaborative Law agreement he signed by concealing his job change from his former spouse during the collaborative law process. Continue reading →
When it comes to divorce, we have all heard that timeless adage that is passed between friends, co-workers, neighbors, and the rowdy crowd of stampers that amass for Saturday-night Bingo – “Never voluntarily move out of the marital residence.” A majority of the time, people are not exactly sure why they need to stay in the family residence, they just know that somewhere along the way, this sage proverb was firmly engrained into their psyche and should never be challenged.
The Texas legislature has taken a strong stance against family violence. Title IV of the Texas Family Code codifies the injunctive remedy of Family Violence Protective Orders. In Texas, an Applicant for a Title IV Protective Order must first satisfy the venue requirements and have a qualifying relationship with the Respondent. In limited situations, an Applicant may be afforded the opportunity to apply for a Title IV Protective Order on behalf of another. Continue reading →