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 →
In light of the specific issues that are faced by litigants in family law cases, the District Courts of Dallas County have promulgated a series of orders (collectively the “Dallas County Standing Order Regarding Children, Pets, Property and Conduct of the Parties”) that applies in every divorce suit and every suit affecting the parent-child relationship that is filed in Dallas County. The Courts have determined that the Standing Order is necessary “because the parties, their children, and the family pets should be protected and their property preserved while the lawsuit is pending before the Court.”
Cloud-based software, such as iCloud from Apple, has made sharing information like pictures, text messages, and communication a breeze. Families often link accounts to share music, pictures, and other media. Apple explains, “Set up iCloud on all your devices. The rest is automatic.” And when Apple says everything, it means everything. Lately, iCloud has provided a new way for spouses to learn about infidelity–when it pops up automatically on their screens.
Monique Honaman, a writer at the Huffington post, recently brought up some of the issues that accompany the automatic sharing of all of the data on your phone. In a column titled “iCaught on iCloud,” the author posts stories of people who found out about infidelity on iCloud. Continue reading →
The legalization of same-sex marriage may only be a few months old, but Texas’ informal marriage laws may provide for marriage recognition dating back decades. On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage in every state of the Union. Since the rendering of the Court’s ruling, counties across the state of Texas have issued thousands of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Upon receipt of a marriage license, these couples become eligible to enter into formal marriage. However, Texas also recognizes informal marriage, frequently referred to as common law marriage. Texas allows parties to an informal marriage to hold, as their legal wedding date, the earliest date at which all statutory requirements of an informal marriage were satisfied. What does this mean for same-sex couples who satisfied the statutory requirements before the legalization of same-sex marriage in Texas?
Under the Texas Family Code, an informal marriage may be proved by evidence that: (1) a declaration of marriage has been signed; or (2) by showing that the parties agreed to be married and after the agreement they cohabited together, in Texas, as a married couple, and represented themselves to others, in Texas, to be married. (see Texas Family Code 2.401). Upon satisfaction of the second prong, the couple may file a declaration of marriage and list, as their date of marriage, the earliest date at which all requirements were concurrently satisfied. Of course, same-sex couples are now afforded the ability to enter into informal marriage. The question is, however, will same-sex couples who satisfied all requirements of the law be allowed to declare their marriages to a date prior to June 16, 2015?
Initially, it was believed that state officials would hold that same-sex common law marriages could not be dated before June 26, 2015, as same-sex marriages were void ab initio under the law. However, with respect to a recent declaration of marriage filed by a same-sex couple in Tarrant County, Texas, the Texas Department of State Health Services stated that “Applicants, regardless of gender, may apply for an informal marriage license using any date applicable to their relationship.” Accordingly, this Tarrant County couple was allowed to date their informal marriage to 1992.
Understanding separate property laws is crucial for divorcing spouses. If a spouse can prove certain property as his or her separate property, then the Constitution of State of Texas prohibits that spouse from being divested of his or her separate property. As such, separate property is “off the table,” so to speak, when it comes to division of the estate either by a court or through a settlement agreement. Therefore, if a spouse is able to prove certain property as his or her separate property, then such characterization can dramatically influence the framework for settlement negotiations and/or relief sought from the Court. Continue reading →
Friday, June 26, 2015, was unquestionably a historic day in the realm of family law, constitutional law, and for the country as a whole. On this day, a majority of the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. Justice Kennedy, who delivered the majority opinion of the Court, was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan in this momentous decision. Continue reading →
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 →
By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about what happened to Bobby Flay at his Hollywood Star celebration. For those who have not heard, Bobby Flay was graced with the presence of a jet with a “CHEATER” banner while laying down his Hollywood Star. We can only imagine how embarrassing that was for him. Yikes. Since he filed for divorce from his wife in April, most people are blaming Stephanie March- thinking she is the mastermind behind the act. Let’s assume she was for discussion purposes- is this a great strategic move by her attorneys, or a big mistake?
When you file for divorce in Dallas County, Collin County, or Denton County, your Original Petition for Divorce (the first pleading you file requesting a divorce) must have attached to it what the Court calls standing orders. These orders enjoin (or restrain) any party who has filed or served with the petition from committing certain acts.
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.