Lisa E. McKnight, P.C. - Family Law Specialist
Contact Today
for a Confidential Consultation
Phone: 214-528-4191
Toll Free: 866-586-5149
Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Avoiding legal mistakes in a Texas divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally-charged event, which could lead to mistakes that have long-term consequences. Common errors include choosing the wrong type of divorce or choosing the wrong divorce lawyer. In some cases, opting for mediation or collaborative divorce can help maintain a civil relationship between all parties, which may be in the best interest of the children. In addition, staying civil during the divorce process may lead to a faster resolution of the case.

This may save both parties thousands of dollars while obtaining a result that both sides can tolerate. Those who are fighting for child custody or for alimony may wish to refrain from posting on social media. Anything that is posted may be used against the individual who posted it as most judges will admit it into evidence during a divorce proceeding.

Dealing with pet custody in a divorce

During a divorce, who gets to keep the pets can become an emotional issue for many Texas couples. Although courts have traditionally treated family animals as personal property subject to the normal rules of asset division, many have now started to look at the matter in a way similar to how child custody and visitation issues are determined.

Treating a dog or a cat as purely personal property often led to questions of valuation that were not easily determined. Sometimes the pet was used as a bargaining chip in exchange for another asset, which often led to conflict and undue pressure.

Child custody and substance abuse problems

Many Texas residents are of the belief that if a parent has a history of substance abuse, that fact will be enough to prevent them from seeking and being granted custody rights for their children. While the courts will consider their substance abuse issues, that alone is normally not enough for a judge to prevent them from having visitation or custody.

In many cases, the other parent will ask the court for such things as supervised visitation in which a third party supervises the child's visit, random drug and alcohol testing of the parent or even that the substance-abusing parent not be allowed to drive their children. It is important for people to understand, however, that just because such restrictions are requested does not automatically mean they will be granted.

The Garner-Affleck divorce and prenuptial agreements

Many Texas residents may have read that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are divorcing after more than 10 years of marriage. From a family law perspective, one of the more intriguing aspects of their divorce is the timing of when Ms. Garner's petition was filed. Ms. Garner filed her petition seeking divorce 10 years and one day from their marriage date.

There are a few reasons why the timing is important. Under California law, reaching the 10-year anniversary is important as doing so makes the lower-earning spouse eligible for more spousal support and for a longer duration than if the marriage ends prior to 10 years. Another factor may be if the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place, as many wealthy couples do. In many such agreements, settlements are greater when people reach certain milestones, and some have settlements payable per year of marriage from the higher-earning to the lower-earning spouse.

Google co-founder divorces wife after 8 years

Texas investors may have heard that Sergei Brin, the co-founder of Google, has officially divorced his wife of eight years. A judge in Santa Clara County approved the divorce settlement in May 2015. The couple first separated in 2013 and, around that time, Brin was having an affair with an employee who worked in the Google Glass division.

The couple continues to live close to each other and are raising their two children in a cooperative fashion. It was reported that Brin and his ex-wife had a prenuptial agreement in place, which means that the divorce shouldn't impact Google significantly. Brin is estimated to have a net worth of $30 billion. His former wife is the founder and CEO of a human genome startup, and Google was an early investor in the company.

Shared parenting offers benefits

When Texas parents are going through a divorce, child custody is often a concern. In the past, it was often the case that one parent would end up being awarded primary physical custody of the children, with the other parent having limited time with the kids on weekends and certain holidays. Most often, it was the mother that was awarded custody. Unfortunately, these agreements sometimes left noncustodial parents and children feeling like strangers to each other.

A change has started to emerge around the country, with society developing different ideas about the parent-child relationship and the importance of children having ample time with each parent. As a result, there been a move toward shared parenting in which each parent gets to spend significant amounts of time with their child or children. While this isn't always possible, in many cases where there isn't a lot of conflict between parents, shared parenting can make a great deal of sense.

Polygamist sect leader grants child custody to wife

Some Texas residents may have heard of Warren and Lyle Jeffs, two brothers who head a radical sect of the Mormon church. While Warren Jeffs is considered the leader, he is currently in prison, and his brother Lyle is in the process of going through a divorce from his first wife. Because the sect encourages polygamy, it is believed that she is one of several wives. In April, a judge granted her primary custody after hearings in which she said she feared her children would be taken away from her.

The couple have a 14-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son, and they will see their father during the summer and every other weekend. According to the mother's lawyer, many large trucks have been leaving the church compound, and he believes that children are being moved.

The interplay of divorce and Social Security

Many Texas residents have likely heard that famous actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck appear to be ending their marriage. The pair has indicated that they plan to complete their divorce prior to having been married for 10 years, dividing up assets worth nearly $150 million.

One interesting aspect is that by divorcing before their 10th anniversary, they will be forfeiting the right each have to receive spousal benefits through Social Security when they retire. While with their wealth it is unlikely either of them will need to rely on Social Security to fund their retirement, it of course plays a big factor for many other couples.

Understanding divorce finances

Many people in Texas forget to think carefully about their future financial well-being while they are planning to end their marriage. Although divorces can be very emotional, it is vital for spouses to consider how their marital assets will end up being divided during the process. If people decide they simply don't want to think about these and other financial matters, they could end up paying for the oversight for years to come.

In many marriages, one spouse takes on more responsibility of the household finances and marital assets. Even if a spouse is not used to handling the financial assets, they should become familiar with them before and during a divorce. The greater a spouse's understanding of their marriage's finances, the better equipped they will be to negotiate for a fair divorce settlement.

Jon Gosselin wants primary custody of only 1 of his 8 children

Jon Gosselin, the divorced father of eight children that appear in his ex-wife's TLC reality show "Kate Plus 8," has expressed an intention to ask for primary custody of only his 11-year-old daughter. This high-profile celebrity custody case illuminates issues of interest to Texas residents grappling with child custody issues.

It has been reported that Gosselin said that his 11-year-old daughter complained that her mother was cruel for reportedly forcing her to appear in new episodes of the television show. Citing her accusation, Gosselin plans to attempt to alter the custody agreement that granted primary custody of all eight children to Kate Gosselin when they divorced.

FindLaw Network