A divorce is like an amputation: You survive it, but there’s less of you.”
— Margaret Atwood
Divorce is one of the most difficult events that one can go through; and even if you’re the one seeking the divorce, it can be scary. It is seen by many as the end of family. It does not have to mean this. It can simply mean that you’re turning the page and starting a new chapter in your life. Starting that new chapter requires careful handling of your divorce. A sloppy or needlessly bitter divorce will keep you from turning the page.
The divorce decree will make provisions for the children. It will talk about the rights and duties of each parent. It will refer to visitation, child support and health insurance. These are all a given. Most decrees have these provisions.
Our focus when dealing with any matters that in any way relate to the child is the emotional well-being of the child. As we often tell our clients, the child should not be forced to pay for the sins of their parents. The child should remain a child and not become involved in the divorce.
I remember being told by my mom, after my parents divorced, that I was now “the man of the house.” I was six.
One of the best ways to protect the kids from the divorce process is for the parents to remain civil towards the other. A big problem that we see in family law is when a party is so angry and bitter about the breakup that he/she declares war on the other spouse simply to cause pain. War is emotionally and financially expensive. The victims are typically the innocent, the children.
We believe that it is our role to do everything we can to insulate the children from the divorce, while at the same time being firm and analytical about protecting their best interest. Our approach is to be level-headed and to seek the application of the law, as opposed to throwing fuel on the fire. There is life after divorce. Ex-spouses will run into each other at school, extracurricular activities and weddings. Coming together at these events should be pleasant for the children and not stressful. This is our goal as we handle your divorce.
The divorce decree will divide the spouse’s community property and confirm their separate property. There is a presumption in Texas that all property acquired during marriage is community property. The court can only divide community property. Separate property is property that is acquired prior to marriage. Let’s say that you acquired your 1969 Mustang before marriage. Upon divorce, because the Mustang is your separate property, it cannot be divided by the court. You simply keep your car.
Because the court can only divide community property, you can see how important it is to determine what is and what is not community property. Part of the reason for this is that sometimes property acquired during a marriage is actually separate property. For instance, if a husband receives and inheritance during marriage, that inheritance is that husband’s separate property. Proceeds from that inheritance that are used to purchase other property during the marriage will remain separate property. So let’s say that the lucky spouse buys a residence. At divorce, the other spouse will claim that the residence is community property since it was acquired during marriage. The lucky spouse will now have to trace the monies used to purchase the house, to his inheritance. If unable to do this, the spouse will no longer be the lucky spouse, because there is the presumption that property purchased during marriage is community property.
Division of the marital property requires a steady and knowledgeable approach, that we bring to the table when it comes to the division of the estate.