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Dallas Family Law Blog

Cheating, divorce and spousal abuse

Marriages fall apart for many different reasons. Sometimes, couples can work with each other to repair the damage that has been done, but many marriages are never able to overcome these hurdles. For example, infidelity and spousal abuse are common reasons for a couple splitting ways. In some instances, these two issues may be connected with each other. For example, someone may be so upset with their spouse's affair that they physically or verbally abuse their partner. Or, someone may decide to cheat on their spouse because they are upset about abuse that they have to endure.

Spousal abuse is a serious problem and, in some cases, it can be life-threatening. If you ever feel that your well-being or the safety of your children is in danger, it is imperative to take steps to protect yourself right away. Sadly, some people have waited until it is too late. There may be a number of avenues available if you decide to address domestic violence, such as ending a toxic marriage or even pursuing a restraining order.

Could there be drama in your divorce?

Texan parents don't always have the luxury of having a peaceful divorce. This can be difficult not only for you, but for your child as well. Lisa E. McKnight, PC, always prioritizes the well-being of children involved in divorce and will work with you to defend your rights as their parent.

Unfortunately, divorces can become very personal quickly. This is especially true for people like you, who are fighting to hold on to your child. On one hand, many of the older conventions of divorce no longer hold true. It isn't always the mother who immediately gets custody. Likewise, the person who makes the most money isn't automatically deemed the "best fit" for custody, either.

Goodwill in celebrity divorce

Regardless of a Texan resident's status financially or socially, divorce is a difficult process to go through. Not only is the status quo of a person's life torn up, but they could also take a big financial hit in addition to the emotional and mental stress. Celebrities sometimes have additional weight to deal with just by being in the eye of the public, too.

Divorce Mag states that these goodwill in celebrity divorce is essentially the amount of earnings they receive that is more or less tied to their celebrity status. In other words, if they didn't hold that status, they would have made less money doing the same things. It also creates the potential for future earnings based on reputation alone, so long as that reputation is good.

Divorce petition needed to start divorce proceeding

The thought of breaking free from your marriage and starting a new stage of life, where you live independently, may be appealing if you are unhappy in your marriage. However, you may understandably be unaware of how to kick-start your divorce process.

An essential first step in divorce in Texas is to file your divorce petition. Here is a glimpse at what the petition-filing process involves in the Lone Star State.

Comedy shows reinforce stereotypes about domestic violence

Domestic abuse in Texas tends to follow a predictable pattern, but the roles played by each partner are not always what people expect. According to FindLaw, research suggests that the numbers of men and women committing domestic violence against a spouse or partner are nearly equal to one another, yet men who are the victims of violence are less likely to report it, which unfortunately gives credence to the stereotype that a man is always the abuser, a woman always the victim. 

According to The Daily Dot, men in abusive relationships may be reluctant to report for fear that authorities, shelters or advocacy organizations will not take their claims seriously. The sad truth is that popular entertainment has conditioned audiences to view a woman hitting a man as a comical situation. The tropes have been around for years: the meek, milquetoast male character cowering in fear before the looming presence of the angry woman, hair in rollers, brandishing a kitchen implement such as a frying pan or a rolling pin as a weapon, the threat of violence imminent. The tropes have adapted as times change, and current entertainment presents them as variations on a theme. Viewers are now more likely to see "Friends'" Rachel smack Ross with a magazine than a frying pan-wielding housewife, but the laugh track prompts the audience to laugh even though audiences would certainly react in horror if it were Ross hitting Rachel.

Jarecki to receive spousal support from ex-wife Silverstone

In the past, when a couple divorced in Texas or elsewhere, the general assumption was that the husband earned more money than his wife and therefore, the wife would receive spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance) from her ex-husband upon their divorce. However, as more married couples are both earning paychecks, it is increasingly common for a wife to pay spousal support to her ex-husband. When either or both of the spouses are Hollywood celebrities, it may be that the wife is a bigger star making more money, meaning the court will be more likely to award spousal support to the husband.

Such is the case for Alicia Silverstone, star of the 1995 movie "Clueless," who recently saw her divorce from Christopher Jarecki finalized in court. The actress had filed for divorce in May after an unannounced two-year separation. According to Silverstone's representative, the decision to split was mutual and the couple remains good friends with one another. According to court documents, the couple will share custody of their seven-year-old son.

Texas court sentences Brazilian couple for kidnapping grandchild

It is not only foreign-born parents who may face consequences for attempting to bring children from the U.S. to their countries of origin unlawfully. The law may also hold grandparents who kidnap their grandchildren, or who aid a parental kidnapping, to account for their actions. A couple from Brazil is discovering this first hand as a Texas court recently fined them each a significant amount of money, as well as sentencing each to short prison terms, for assisting their daughter to relocate her son to their home country without the consent of his American father. 

The couple's daughter married a doctor from Houston in 2008 and gave birth to their son the following year. She and her husband initially shared custody of the boy after their divorce in 2012. In 2013, when the little boy was three years old, his mother allegedly obtained permission for her son to visit Brazil under the pretense of wishing him to attend a family wedding. Her ex-husband filed criminal charges against the child's mother and her parents when the child did not return by the time they had agreed upon. 

A parenting plan may make dealing with child custody easier

You are just beginning the divorce process, and one part of you cannot wait to make a new life for yourself without your future ex-spouse. However, the other part of you is worried about who will end up getting custody of your child.

The great news is that many divorcing parents in Texas and other states resolve child custody conflicts without having to go to court. They do this by putting together mutually satisfactory parenting plans.

Texas fathers can leave their children an inheritance

Fathers who live in the Dallas area often worry about what will happen to their children in the future, when their parents are no longer around to support them. Whether a father is married, divorced or single, any Texas father can still provide for his children after he passes away by passing on their assets. There are a number of ways fathers can accomplish this.

When it comes to Texas law, fathers have great latitude to leave their children an inheritance. Smart Asset explains that unmarried parents who do not have wills shall have their property passed on to their children. Even children that are born out of wedlock are granted full inheritance rights by state law. They are not only permitted to inherit from parents, but also from the ancestors or other descendants of their parents.

Take your co-parenting game to the next level this holiday season

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, most Texas parents are eagerly making their holiday plans. Whether booking flights or buying the perfect ingredients for a family favorite, it is an exciting time of year. But what are you supposed to do now that you are divorced? Co-parenting through the holidays can be difficult, but not impossible.

Worried about missing out on precious holiday moments? You are not alone in this. Many other divorced parents struggle with this time of year. Here are some tips to implement on top of your established child custody agreement.