Category Archives: Divorce

How Can I Enforce Court-Ordered Property Division?

Sometimes dissolution of marriage continues much longer and is more stressful than anticipated because one spouse refuses to follow the rules. In cases where an ex refuses to follow court-ordered property division, there are things you can do to help make sure the order gets enforced.

Enforcing Property Division in a Divorce

If your ex-spouse isn’t following the property division orders set out by the court, you’ll need to go back to the same court to have the order enforced. You’ll file a lawsuit asking the court to enforce the order. The lawsuit won’t ask the court to change the original order or your divorce decree in any way; it will just ask the court to specify how the property should be divided. 

As with other legal actions, the other party must receive notice. Then, they’ll need to respond or risk getting a default judgment made against them.

How Can I Enforce Property Division? | Texas Divorce
817-799-7125 – In cases where an ex refuses to follow court-ordered property division in Texas, you can take legal action, asking the court to enforce the order.

Timeline: When Can I Ask the Court to Enforce a Property Division Order?

You’ll need to wait at least 30 days after the court-ordered property division before asking the court to enforce it. But, don’t wait too long. There is a two-year statute of limitations on these claims. That means that you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date that the court issued the original order. (Of course, talk with a lawyer about your situation, even if you worry that the statute of limitations has passed. It’s better to be safe than sorry!)

Remedies: What Can the Court Do?

Perhaps the ex-spouse isn’t following the property division order because the order is unclear, so asking the court to clarify the order is a good starting point. If the motion to clarify does not result in the desired outcome, you can file a motion for the delivery of property.

If your ex-spouse still refuses to comply with the property division order, your lawyer can file a motion for contempt. Courts can order money damages and even have your ex-spouse sent to jail if they are found to be in contempt of court. The court can also force your ex-spouse to pay your court costs and attorney’s fees.

Get Help With Property Division Enforcement. Contact an Attorney.

Divorce is stressful enough, even when both spouses play by the rules. It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. If you need legal help with enforcing a property division order, you can start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you.

Source:

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/enforcing-property-division-divorce#toc-1

After How Many Years of Marriage May Courts Order Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples?

“How many years do you need to be married before courts will order alimony in a divorce?” 

It’s a common question that many people ask, especially when they face the end of a long-term marriage. The truth is that when a marriage ends, the assets that formerly supported one household must now be divided to support two. This can leave many divorcees worried that things might not add up. 

Questions about alimony—otherwise known as spousal support or spousal maintenance—often arise as a way to address apparent inequities.

Texas Spousal Maintenance Law

In Texas, courts can order spousal maintenance during the dissolution of marriage or in a separate legal proceeding specifically seeking maintenance. Courts may order spousal maintenance when two requirements are met. The first is that the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property after the divorce to meet that spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs.”

The second requirement can be one of a few different things (like domestic violence in specific situations, or that the receiving spouse takes care of the couple’s child with a physical or mental disability). The second requirement can also be that the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longerand lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

So, generally and without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples | Texas Alimony | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

A Longer Marriage Can Mean That Payments Continue for a Longer Time

What’s more, the length of the marriage is a factor that courts consider when they decide how much spousal maintenance to order and how long the payments should continue. The law specifically outlines that, unless the spouse’s ability to earn an income is otherwise limited:

  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was shorter than 10 years
  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was between 10 and 20
  • Payments cannot continue for more than seven years if the marriage was between 20 and 30
  • Payments cannot continue for more than 10 years if the marriage was 30 years or more

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Support

Of course, the law is very detailed, and a blog post can’t tell you everything you need to know in your case. The only way to get answers that apply specifically to your situation is to talk with a lawyer. If you’d like help sorting out legal issues related to spousal support and divorce, start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Is There Ever a Right Time to Get a Divorce?

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Fort Worth, we often hear from people who waited years before they divorced. They knew that the marriage wasn’t working a long time ago, but they tried to make it work. Sometimes, it was for the kids. Other times, it was due to financial insecurity or fear of what their families or friends might think.

While there is no right time to file for divorce, we can tell you this: Divorce is a personal decision. We have handled divorces between young couples who were married for only a short time. We have also handled gray divorces between couples who spent years and raised children together.

You’ll have to look for the signs and listen to your gut in order to decide what’s right for you. Sometimes, talking with a professional—like a lawyer or a therapist—can help you sort out your concerns. A professional can answer your legal questions, help you sort out your financial concerns and the emotions involved.

Is There Ever a Right Time to Get a Divorce? | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-755-1852 – At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Fort Worth, we often hear from people who waited years before they divorced. We can tell you this: There’s never a right time.

Look for the Signs That It Might Be Time to Divorce

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to leave your spouse, it’s a good idea to look for some telltale signs, including:

  • You’ve already started to make divorce plans. You might not be ready to admit it to yourself yet, but when you’re arranging things so that it would be easier to divorce, it’s a clear sign that you may be ready. Separating your financial lives, interviewing for a new job and doing research on the Internet are all things that people do when they know in their hearts the marriage isn’t working.
  • You’re feeling fearful. When you live in fear of your spouse’s temper, or when your spouse takes abusive actions, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to go. Many spouses live in fear for months or even years before they decide to leave a marriage. It can start to seem like things that would otherwise be unheard of are normal.
  • You always argue, or you never do. Arguing all the time can be a sign that it’s time to divorce, especially when you find yourself doing things to provoke your spouse. But, not arguing at all can also be a sign that a marriage isn’t working. Sometimes, when spouses stonewall each other, it can be more detrimental to the marriage than yelling.

Need Advice About Your Divorce Decision? Ask a Lawyer.

If you aren’t sure whether you want a divorce, talking with an attorney can help bring you clarity. The consultation is confidential, so your spouse will never know you had the conversation. And there’s no pressure to act unless and until you’re ready.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions and help you understand what the process and future might look like if you moved forward with a divorce. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Source:

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a26040141/should-i-get-a-divorce/

Can I Date While Getting a Divorce?

Relationships are complicated. Sometimes, an interest in a potential new partner becomes the impetus for a divorce. Other times, a divorce takes so long that life continues for months or even years. Spouses become eager to make a connection with someone and to feel desirable again. No matter what the reason, many people find themselves wondering whether it’s okay to start dating before the divorce is finalized.

Of course, each situation is different and it’s impossible for an attorney to give legal advice without meeting the client and knowing their individual situation. 

Is Dating During Divorce OK?

Generally, most divorce lawyers tell their clients to avoid dating while the divorce is pending. Here are several reasons why.

Dating Causes Tensions 

When your soon-to-be ex learns that you are dating someone new, they are less likely to treat you favorably during the divorce process. You may experience increased challenges when it comes to child custody and property division – even if your ex originally claims to be supportive.

Dating Can Cause a Divorce to Take Longer and Drive Up Costs

When your spouse is less likely to cooperate with you, they are more likely to make legal challenges that can increase the cost of your divorce and the time it takes to finalize.

Dating Can Reflect Negatively on You 

When the divorce is pending, you are still technically married. In any divorce disagreement where your ex calls your moral character into question, dating may be used against you. While courts aren’t known to be especially harsh on dating, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s Best to Give Yourself Time 

A marriage that didn’t go well and a divorce that caused tensions can take a physical, mental and emotional toll. Giving yourself time can help you heal and learn who you are as a single person before becoming part of a couple again. You may find that you feel stronger and bring more to your next relationship when you’ve had time to rebuild on your own.

What to Do Instead of Dating

While your divorce is pending, you should avoid dating. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid having a social life. Experts recommend staying active with a group of friends instead of just one person. Be clear about your situation and set expectations upfront. If you are feeling lonely, it might be a good idea to find a divorce support group. Many local churches offer them, for instance.

Contact Us for a Consultation About Your Divorce

So, it’s probably best to avoid dating. However, every situation is different. The team at Schneider Law Firm, P.C., is there to support you in your situation.For a confidential consultation about your divorce, call our Arlington office at 817-755-1852 .

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces

Divorcing spouses often worry how they will make ends meet. They know the income that once supported one household must now be divided to support two, and they’re unsure what impact that will have on their finances. 

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we usually talk with our divorce clients in detail about their financial situations to make sure their interests are protected. Part of that conversation is talking about spousal maintenance (which our clients often refer to as “alimony” or “spousal support”).

Texas Courts May Order Spousal Maintenance in Some Cases

In our state, Texas Family Code Section 8.051 says that Texas courts may order spousal maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance if that spouse will lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs when the marriage ends. The spouse seeking maintenance must meet additional criteria, including:

  • Having an incapacitating mental or physical disability: Medical records are often required to prove the existence of the disability if it’s disputed.
  • Having been married for 10 or more years and now lacking the ability to earn sufficient income: This often applies to housewives who have spent more than a decade at home taking care of the children and running the household.
  • Being the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires significant care because of mental or physical disability: The child can be any age, from just born to a grown adult. Like with an adult’s disability, medical records are often required to prove the disability if it’s disputed.

In some cases, courts can order a spouse to pay spousal maintenance when that spouse has been convicted of a crime that constitutes domestic violence against their spouse or children. Several different crimes constitute domestic violence, including sexual assault.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Divorcing spouses often worry about how they will make ends meet. Here’s what you need to know about Texas spousal maintenance law.

“Minimum Reasonable Needs:” What Does That Mean?

The law says that a person is eligible for spousal maintenance when they lack property to provide for their “minimum reasonable needs.” But, what does that mean? There is no set amount. Instead, minimum reasonable needs are determined on a case-by-case basis. What may be reasonable for one person is different for another. In many cases, attorneys can guide their clients through putting together a reasonable budget based on their history and their predicted needs after a divorce.

How Is the Spousal Maintenance Amount Determined?

The amount of spousal maintenance that someone pays or receives is determined on a case-by-case basis. While you might be tempted to compare yourself to a couple you know or read about in the news, it’s best to talk with a lawyer directly about your own situation.

If courts order spousal maintenance after divorce, you should know that there is a cap on the monthly payment. A spouse will pay no more than the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of their average monthly gross income. This is different from child support, which courts calculate based on net income.

There are tax implications, too. Spousal support is paid from post-tax money. So, the spouse who receives it does not have to pay tax on it. This can have huge tax implications.

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Maintenance

Because spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis, it’s best to talk with a lawyer about your own situation. Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Sources: 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.71.htm#71.004

Changing Lives, Changing Circumstances: Life After Divorce

Let’s assume a typical family unit: husband, wife, two kids, and a dog. The family lives in a nice, middle-class neighborhood in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, with a home, two cars, and a few 401(k) retirement accounts from various career roles over the years.

Unfortunately, the marriage is in trouble and is heading toward divorce

The divorce goes relatively smoothly. There are issues and disagreements to resolve, but the divorce is amicable. The parties agree to do what’s best for the children—to keep a sense of family continuity after the divorce, even though the family will no longer live under one roof. And they agree on issues like spousal support, which for two years the ex-husband pays on time and in full when due.       

But then a mishap: the ex-husband is hurt on the job and can no longer afford to pay the same amount of spousal support, at least temporarily. What happens next? 

Everything Changes but Change Itself 

To quote or paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, everything changes but change itself. In other words, we can depend on at least that in life. The circumstances that held during the divorce, at the time the decree was entered and the divorce finalized, may not continue to hold in the months and years afterward. 

People get remarried. They have children. They go back to school. They find new jobs, out of town or even out of state. They get sick or injured, experience financial difficulty, and can no longer comply with the terms of the divorce decree, as described in our hypothetical scenario above.

What are your options when life happens?         

Post-Divorce Modifications

Court orders are enforceable against the respective parties. Judges expect the parties to abide by the terms set forth in those orders, from how much you pay in spousal support to the specific, day-to-day responsibilities related to parenting, as outlined in custody and visitation agreements. That said, the law recognizes Heraclitus’s remarks about change and allows for post-divorce modifications in some circumstances.

Here are a few additional (and common) examples:

  • As the children get older and more independent, their wants and needs will change.
  • When an ex-spouse remarries, his or her financial needs may change.
  • If an ex-spouse suffers a long-term disability and loss of income, his or her ability to pay spousal support will change.       

No Court Order Is Permanent  

Based in Arlington, the attorneys of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., help our clients adjust to life after divorce in changing circumstances. For a confidential consultation, call 1-817-799-7125 today.

The Immeasurable Value of a Temporary Order in a Family Law Crisis

Panic. Stuck. Frozen. These words might spring to mind if you’re facing a family-related crisis. Perhaps your spouse announced that he is leaving. Or you yourself want to leave—need to leave in cases of domestic abuse—but you’re afraid to take action because you simply don’t know what to do.

You can’t take action because your spouse controls the household finances (a common scenario), and you have a legitimate need for access to cash for basic necessities like food, housing and transportation, whether or not you stay in your home. And that need is heightened when you have children under your care.

Fortunately, the temporary order helps people facing these circumstances get “unstuck.” Temporary orders can help to reduce panic. Read on for more detail on how this important legal tool works.                

Common Reasons for Pursuing a Temporary Order

In divorce and family law, there is a range of circumstances that might require a temporary order, including the need for spousal support (a.k.a. alimony), child custody and visitation, and rights to property like cars and the home. (There are other circumstances, but for purposes of this blog post, we will focus on these.) 

Note that all of these rights—financial support, child custody, access to the car and home—concern day-to-day practical reality: How will you cover household expenses? Who will care for the children? Will you have a car to get where you need to go? 

If you are separating, and especially if your relationship is acrimonious, these questions need to be answered. That’s the purpose of a temporary order, which puts a framework of behavior into place that all parties must follow while the divorce or family law matter proceeds.   

Spousal Support 

In many cases, one spouse essentially controls the household finances—and could decide to retaliate or increase control over the relationship by restricting access to cash. With a temporary order, the judge can impose specific guidelines for behavior: For example, an order that your spouse must not close or freeze bank accounts.

Child Custody and Visitation 

Allegations of physical or emotional abuse heighten the stakes. Even if there are no allegations of this kind, the temporary order puts into place specific guidelines for parenting. Who will pick the children up from school? Who will take them to the dentist? Who will care for them? In many cases, both parties can continue doing what they have always done, but the temporary order helps both parents get (and stay) on the same page.     

Property Rights to the Car and Home 

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of temporary orders: You need a car. You need shelter. Some of our clients worry about whether they will have access to a car and to the home in a divorce or other family law matter, especially if they have children under their care. The temporary order can make this need explicit as the case proceeds.       

Learn More About Temporary Orders in Texas

Based in Ft. Worth, the attorneys of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., are available to walk clients through the process of securing temporary orders in a range of divorce and family law scenarios. Speak with us today. Call 1-817-755-1852.

Evaluating Divorce Issues Through the Lens of a Business Decision

We’ve all heard of marriage as a partnership. Similar in kind to small business partnerships, the spouses share responsibility (to one degree or another) over household chores, finances, children, and so on. The spouses also share the benefits that come from their partnership, such as the shared home, family vacations, a degree of financial security, emotional support, etc.

But what happens when the marriage draws to an end?

To be sure, marriage is not a business; it’s a personal relationship. And divorce is the termination of that relationship (subject to future and ongoing commitments involving children and spousal support). It is definitely not as impersonal as many business decisions can be. But there are benefits to evaluating divorce through the lens of a business decision. 

These benefits include greater objectivity in decision-making, reduced stress and anxiety for all parties, including children, and (in general) reduced legal expense. We examine each of these in turn below.  

Objectivity: Keeping a Level Head

Divorce is not the end of the world. This realization may help you come to terms with the initial shock of divorce (if it comes as a surprise) or with feelings of frustration, doubt and failure that arise from a troubled marriage. If divorce is not the end of the world, it is not necessary to fight with your spouse over matters that can be resolved rather easily (the old motorcycle in the garage, for example). This saves time and energy for the truly important decisions involving valuable property, household finances, spousal support, child custody, and parenting plans, to name a few.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Divorce is a significant stressor—and that’s so in some divorce cases more than others. You cannot eliminate stress and anxiety entirely, but you can manage it. In some cases, our client simply cannot “get along” with his or her spouse, and emotions run high. There may be no way to avoid this. But even in those cases, taking one or two steps back when making a decision may lead to a better result and reduce overall stress.  

Reduced Legal Fees

There is no way to guarantee the ultimate cost of any legal proceeding. In general, uncontested divorce cases cost less, simply because there are no issues to resolve. The parties both agree on property division, spousal support, child custody and visitation. On the other hand, contested divorce cases often involve significant disagreement on these issues—and this is where business-minded decision-making comes into play. Objective decision-making often leads to optimal results in terms of your finances and relationships post-divorce—and reduced legal fees because your lawyer spends less time to resolve issues.        

Let Us Help You Make Optimal Decisions 

From our law offices in Arlington, Texas, the divorce and family law attorneys of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., help our clients make sound decisions that protect their finances and their future. We serve families in the Arlington, and Mansfield, Texas areas. Call 817-799-7125 for a confidential consultation. 

Divorce is Not the End of the World (Even Though it Can Feel Like It)

Divorce is Not the End of the World (Even Though it Can Feel Like It)

The psychological literature is clear: Divorce can be extremely stressful—for everyone involved, from the parents to the children. Psychology Today cites our unique ability to make up stories (as human beings) as a major factor in how we deal with stress. For many people, a difficult marriage headed toward divorce is a “story” about disappointment and failure. That story can cause significant stress—but it’s just that: a story. 

And we all have the power to change the stories that we tell ourselves.  

Seek Out an Objective Viewpoint

The old phrase “losing the forest for the trees” applies here. We are all at risk of losing the forest for the trees when we are muck-deep in our day-to-day reality, especially when we’re facing the particular stresses of divorce and its related concerns like talking with your kids about it. It can be hard to maintain your objectivity. 

In fact, it can feel like divorce is the end of the world. Your story then becomes a story about how your spouse wronged you, how your children will never recover, and so on. But nothing could be further from the truth.

An objective viewpoint—from a divorce lawyer, a family therapist, a psychologist—can give you the space you need to evaluate your situation with a level head, as well as a roadmap for moving forward. That’s one of the primary reasons you should see a trusted advisor.   

Changing the Story About Your Divorce

As divorce and family law attorneys, we help our clients evaluate their stories. Sometimes the stories are accurate. Often, only parts of the story are true, while other parts aren’t so true. Frankly, it is next-to-impossible to maintain an objective viewpoint on your own, and so it’s no surprise to find that your story isn’t entirely true. 

For example, you may say to yourself: “I’m going to lose my relationship with my kids.” Or: “I’ve never handled the finances and I stayed at home to raise the kids. I’m going to be out on the streets.” These are all valid concerns—but these concerns are exaggerated. 

While it’s true that divorce can strain family relationships, as one example, the key is to reflect on the fact that there is life after divorce. Divorce is not the end of the world. You and your family will continue to exist afterward. The question is: What steps will you take to ensure that you maintain a good relationship with your kids? Because that is more than possible.

Tell Us What Worries You

From our office in Ft. Worth, our role at Schneider Law Firm, P.C., is to provide the answers and insight that you need to maintain your objectivity and take solid steps for your future. Call 817-755-1852 today for a confidential consultation.

Source: Psychology Today: Where Are You On The Divorce Stress Scale?

How Health Insurance Works in a Texas Divorce

Many families are insured through an employer-sponsored health care plan provided by one spouse’s employer. When divorce becomes a reality, one spouse faces the prospect of losing health care coverage, an issue that causes a great deal of tension, particularly if children are involved. Questions about this topic are among the most common we receive at our Fort Worth, Arlington, and Keller / Alliance offices, so we wanted to share some basic information here on the blog that you may find helpful.

During the Divorce Process

Upon filing for a divorce in Texas, the judge has the power to issue various temporary orders that spell out the responsibilities of both spouses during the divorce proceedings. Typically, one of these orders will specifically address health care coverage.
In nearly all cases, the court will issue an order preventing one spouse from changing any health care arrangements while the divorce is ongoing. That means, for example, that a spouse cannot simply drop you from coverage in retaliation for your decision to file for divorce. These orders also prevent a spouse from making any changes affecting health care coverage for the children until the divorce is complete.

After the Divorce Is Complete

We’ll address coverage for children first. If the spouse who insured the family is the non-custodial parent after divorce, he or she can still be required to carry the children on his/her insurance, assuming he/she is still insured. A Qualified Medical Support Order (QMSO) can be obtained to enforce this obligation.
Coverage for ex-spouses is more complicated. To start with, good lawyers will often include in the divorce settlement a stipulation that the spouse who provided health coverage during the marriage will continue to do so for a set period of time after divorce. Absent such a stipulation, under Texas law the dependent spouse’s coverage automatically ends when the marriage ends.
COBRA becomes a key factor for the dependent spouse. COBRA allows a dependent spouse to remain on an ex-spouse’s health coverage for up to three years. To obtain this benefit, however, the dependent spouse must enroll in COBRA within 60 days of eligibility. Coverage is forfeited if this deadline is missed.

What if a Spouse Isn’t Eligible for COBRA?

Texas law allows people who aren’t COBRA-eligible or who have exhausted their COBRA benefits to use state-sponsored health care coverage. This is sometimes called “mini-COBRA.” Generally, the following rules apply:
If a dependent spouse isn’t eligible for COBRA, he or she can remain on the ex-spouse’s employer-provided plan for up to nine months
If a dependent spouse has exhausted COBRA coverage, he or she can obtain state-sponsored health coverage for six months after COBRA ends

Payments for Health Coverage

The responsibility for paying for premiums differs for every couple based on their specific situation and what arrangements they reach. Under most QMCSOs, premiums for children are deducted directly from the insured parent’s paycheck. Spouses using COBRA are usually responsible for their own premiums.

Learn More About Health Coverage and Divorce

Find out more about how your family’s health insurance could be affected by divorce by talking to an attorney in the Arlington office of The Schneider Law Firm. We’re ready to answer all your questions. Call 817.799.7125 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:
https://info.legalzoom.com/health-insurance-laws-during-divorce-texas-26098.html
https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/3-myths-regarding-divorce-and-health-insurance/