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The process of divorce is difficult at any age or circumstance. However, it can be especially intimidating later in life. The more knowledge you have about how your divorce will affect Social Security benefits, the better prepared you’ll be for your retirement years following a marital breakup in Texas.

Here’s a glimpse at how divorce may affect your Social Security benefits in the years ahead.

What to Expect from Social Security Following Your Divorce

So, you’ve just gotten a divorce, and you’re wondering how this will impact Social Security for you.

To begin with, understand that you won’t be able to draw Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record unless you were married for at least 10 years. Even if your marriage came to an end three decades ago, you can still collect from your ex-spouse’s benefits as long as your marriage lasted a decade or more.

Both your ex-spouse and you need to be 62 years of age or older before you claim benefits as an ex-spouse. In addition, your divorce must have taken place at least two years ago before you can begin collecting under the umbrella of your ex’s benefits.

How Much Will You Receive in Retirement Benefits When You Divorce and Then Seek Social Security?

If you’re allowed to collect Social Security benefits after divorce based on your ex’s eligibility, your benefit amount will be 50% of the amount that your ex is to receive at his or her full retirement age. However, this is true only if you claim the benefit at your full retirement age. You can certainly claim your benefits at age 62, but you’ll receive less than 50% of what you’d get at your full retirement age, also known as your FRA.

Keep in mind that you won’t get your ex-spouse’s benefits based on their historical wages if it’s lower than what you’d get based on your own employment history.

What If You Remarry?

Perhaps you got a divorce and are seeking Social Security, but have remarried. In this situation, you’re not an ex-spouse any longer from the perspective of Social Security. As a result, you will receive your retirement benefit based on the work history of your current spouse rather than your ex-spouse’s. This is true no matter which party has a bigger benefit amount at his or her full retirement age.

Let’s say, though, that the person you married the second time around passes away or divorces you. In this case, you can actually claim benefits based on whoever has the higher benefit amount.

Following Divorce, Can Your Ex Impact Your Social Security Benefit?

One of your biggest concerns when it comes to divorce and Social Security may be how your ex-spouse might affect your retirement benefits. The truth is, there’s no way that your benefits will be denied or reduced if an ex decides to claim benefits in a particular way. In other words, whatever your ex does from a Social Security standpoint has no bearing on your benefit amount.

When you’re ready to pursue your retirement benefits, you can simply visit your local Social Security Administration office to get the process started. Just be sure to bring with you documents proving your divorce and marriage. The office will then explore what your retirement benefit options are, and you can choose the route that will yield the greatest benefit.

Do You Need to Discuss Your Social Security Benefits Claiming Plan with an Ex-Spouse Following Divorce?

Another major concern you may have when dealing with divorce and Social Security is having to communicate with your ex-spouse about your intentions to claim benefits from their Social Security record. The reality is, you do not need your ex-spouse’s permission to collect benefits stemming from their Social Security eligibility.

As long as you meet the government’s requirements for receiving benefits based on the record of an ex-spouse, you will receive the benefits due to you. And that’s true even if the length of your marriage to that ex is a lot shorter than the number of years you’ve been divorced. Also, the Social Security Administration will not tell your ex that you are drawing your benefits on his or her record.

When Should You Pursue Your Social Security Benefit Using the Record of Your Ex Following Divorce?

So, when exactly is a good time to retire and seek Social Security benefits on your ex’s record following your divorce? The answer to this question all depends on your personal view of how long you’ll live.

If you’re an active and healthy person in general, or if your relatives are known to live into their 90s, you likely need to prepare to spend between two and three decades in retirement. In this case, it may behoove you to wait longer to collect Social Security, as you’ll get a larger monthly payment amount based on your personal wage record.

As mentioned earlier, note that if you divorce and you’re planning to claim Social Security benefits on your ex’s record, even if you hold off until your full retirement age to claim these benefits, you’ll get no more than half of the ex’s benefit amount. So, it’s important that you plan for this accordingly.

Protect Your Future with a Solid Understanding of Divorce and Social Security Today!

Navigating the process of getting a divorce can no doubt be challenging from a financial standpoint. However, dealing with both divorce and Social Security at the same time can be even more complicated. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.

Get in touch with us at the Ramos Law Group to find out how your marital dissolution will affect your future retirement benefits and what your best option is for maximizing these benefits when you need them.

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Marriage is more than a loving relationship. It’s a legally binding civil contract that defines what you and your partner own. During divorce, it’s natural to want to preserve as much of your combined assets as possible, particularly if you were the one who earned them. But what you see as moving to protect your assets before divorce might actually be breaking the law. So what can you legally do?

Start with a Divorce Attorney

Solid legal representation is the key to protecting assets in divorce. A good attorney is going to make the difference between getting a good outcome for yourself and being run over by the system. At Ramos Law Group, we specialize in representing divorcing men and women, helping them to preserve as much of their assets as possible during the divorce process. In your initial divorce consultation with us, we’ll explain how the divorce process works and tie it to your specific situation.

The Law Enforces Fair Play

You might be tempted to conceal joint assets in a private bank account, lend them to a friend to hold onto, or otherwise disburse of joint assets so that they can’t be part of proceedings if you see a divorce on the horizon. Don’t do it. If caught, the court can hold you accountable for that portion of the joint assets, and there are severe penalties for not disclosing your assets completely during the discovery process.

If you suspect your partner of behavior like this, your attorney can work to uncover anything they might have done and hold them accountable. They can also have a temporary order filed to limit this kind of activity during divorce proceedings.

If You’re the “Monied Partner”

If you’re the one in the marriage who makes most of the money or controls most of the assets, you’re probably worried that you’ll lose it all in the divorce.

The good news is that that’s not how the system works. Protecting assets before divorce is fairly easy so long as you have an experienced attorney. For one thing, the Texas Family Code is written to prevent lopsided outcomes, where one ex does all the work and the other gets a free ride. For another, the courts in Texas aren’t interested in picking sides in a divorce. Their only interest is to consider the circumstances of your marriage and divorce, and more or less divide up the assets in line with those circumstances.

If You’re the “More Dependent” Partner

On the other hand, if your partner is the one who makes most of the money in the marriage, divorce can be terrifying. You can bet they’ll have an attorney to help them keep as much of their money as possible, so the question of protecting assets in divorce for you becomes a matter of survival, like having a place to live and money for groceries.

The good news for you is that courts will rarely divide marital assets in a way that causes extreme hardship for either party. If you cannot currently provide for yourself, the court will very likely find you eligible for temporary spousal support and maintenance, giving you a cushion so that you’ll have a place to live while you reenter the workforce. Long-term spousal support or alimony involves separate qualifications for inclusion in the final decree of divorce.

High Net Worth Divorces

If yours is a high net worth household, it makes the whole process of protecting assets before divorce considerably more complicated from both a legal and financial aspect. We recommend you speak directly with a specialist high net worth attorney here at Ramos Law Group.

These attorneys are trained and experienced in the proper identification and handling of assets and will work closely with you through the discovery process and mediation to negotiate a favorable divorce settlement, and, if needed, to make the case for you at trial.

Protect Your Interests and Well-being Today

In all of these cases, the common factor in protecting assets before divorce is hiring an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney.

Contact Ramos Law Group today to discuss your situation with a member of our legal team, and take the first steps to protect your property and yourself. Great service is our guarantee.

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There can be many unanticipated and ugly sides of a divorce. Financial abuse is one way that a divorcing person may try to attack or undermine their soon-to-be ex-spouse, and it can be absolutely devastating.

In these kinds of situations, an attorney can help you get access to funds that you rightfully deserve access to, and we can help you with a fair division of property in the final divorce agreement.

Identifying Financial Abuse

Divorce can be very expensive. If an unscrupulous partner has considerably more financial resources, they may try to extend the divorce process, making it too expensive for the other side to maintain. The goal is often to win a larger portion of shared assets, or a more favorable child custody arrangement.

Financial abuse in divorce includes when a partner cuts off access to shared economic resources, such as cash, bank accounts, and credit cards, in retaliation for the divorce or simply as part of a larger pattern of abuse. It can be an attempt at punishing you for defying your partner’s control, so that you’ll become obedient again, or it can be an act of revenge intended purely to harm you. Either way, this is a dangerous situation for you, and it constitutes a form of abuse.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to regain access to your economic resources. The first step is to recognize that it’s time to speak to an attorney. At Ramos Law Group, we have a highly experienced in dealing with the complications of divorce. Financial abuse is an area we specialize in, and it’s something we can discuss with you during your initial consultation with us.

You May Need a Temporary Order

In Texas, your attorney may file a motion for a temporary order to help stabilize your situation during a divorce. Financial abuse can be stopped by a court order that guarantees you access to the funds you need both for day-to-day living and for navigating the overall divorce process.

Marriage confers certain rights on both parties to community assets. Temporary orders are not uncommon in divorce proceedings, and you should not be afraid to ask your attorney if one would help out in your situation. Visit our Temporary Orders page to learn more.

Contact Ramos Law Group to Stop Divorce Financial Abuse

Divorce is a stressful time and can bring out the worst in people. But the legal system provides protections to people going through this difficult time, so don’t wait to take advantage of those protections.

At Ramos Law Group, we have an experienced team of family law attorneys who know exactly how to deal with these kinds of situations and can give you the quality legal advice and representation you need in order to take full advantage of the protections available to you.

Contact us today to discuss your situation. Don’t wait for abuse to get worse: Put a stop to it now.

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Sadly, abusive marriages are not entirely uncommon. It happens to both men and women. If it happens to you, the best thing you can do is get out. Unfortunately, the divorce process may exacerbate this behavior from an abusive spouse, and things may only become more difficult in the short term.

Identifying Abuse

Even if your spouse does not physically hit you or destroy your property, their behavior may still be firmly considered abusive. Psychological abuse is common in divorce and often stems from the abuser’s recognition that their victim is escaping from their power. That loss of control can feed the abuser’s resentment and insecurity.

Avoid Engaging with Abusive Conduct, and Document Abuse

In divorce, verbal abuse and psychological abuse aren’t something you can “win.” You may have a history of arguing with your spouse, but, either way, it’s time to stop. This not only helps you out at the moment but will strengthen your divorce case as well.

If you’re already living separately, good. Keep communication limited to business, and keep it on-topic. If a conversation descends into abusive behavior, end it.

If you’re still living together, it’s time to make plans to get out. Don’t wait until your divorce is finalized. Psychological abuse is dangerous and exhausting, and it’s healthiest to remove yourself completely from the abuser. In the meantime, do your best to avoid engaging.

It’s also important to keep a personal journal and use it to document the abusive behavior. Every day that abusive conduct occurs, write about what happened in your journal. Be as thorough and impartial as you can, even if you argued back or did something unflattering. Do not tell your spouse about this journal, or use it to threaten them. Save it for your attorney. This will help the case for your divorce. Psychological abuse is something the court will want to see evidence of, and this is exactly the kind of documentation they will pay close attention to.

Ask Your Attorney About a Protective Order

In Texas, the family law code provides a legal tool to protect people from violence and abuse by their divorcing spouse. These are often known as “restraining orders,” but in Texas, they’re called protective orders. You can learn more on our Protective Orders page, and it’s also something you should discuss in your initial consultation with us.

Are There Children?

If you also have children in the house, it may be more urgent that you begin your divorce. Verbal abuse and psychological abuse toward children can permanently scar them, and lead to generational abuse patterns. You can learn more on our Child Custody and Child Support pages.

Contact Ramos Law Group Today

It’s not easy to choose divorce. Psychological abuse, however, is not something you should accept. The experienced family law attorneys at Ramos Law Group can help you get started on the road to escaping your abusive marriage and moving on with your life.

Contact us to discuss your situation today, and say no to abuse once and for all.

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You or your partner has finally said the big words: “I want a divorce.” In Texas, the law provides a straightforward legal process for this to happen. But you’ll need a guide, an experienced attorney who can take you through the process successfully.

At Ramos Law Group we specialize in divorce and will work hard on your behalf to get you a good result. To get started, you’ll need an initial divorce consultation with us. That’s where you’ll speak with a qualified family law attorney to understand the legal process and personalize it to your situation.

Answering Your Major Questions

After the first words “I want a divorce,” there are a few major questions that come up again and again with our clients.

Are You Financially Dependent on Your Spouse?

If your spouse is the one who makes most of the income or otherwise controls most of the assets in your household, divorce can be especially traumatic. Perhaps you had chosen to support the relationship or children over your own career. Now you’re facing the prospect of going up against your ex and being vastly outspent by them in the divorce proceedings. You’re probably afraid of being left with nothing, and asking yourself: “Will I have someplace to live?” “How will I survive?”

These are the kinds of fears that keep people in an abusive relationship far too long. No one should have to live with that kind of trauma, and you are right to commit to getting a divorce. When you’ve said “I want a divorce,” in Texas, you have the options to make it happen even if you are dependent on your partner.

Fortunately, divorce courts rarely split up marital property and assets in such a way that it causes severe financial hardship for either spouse. If you presently have no means of providing for yourself, spousal support and maintenance is a definite possibility. Through a combination of keeping property (like the house) and receiving regular payments, spousal support provides you with a helping hand so that you can get a job and get back on your feet without ending up homeless or hungry.

Let Ramos Law Group Guide You Through a Successful Divorce

You’ve already taken the biggest step. You’ve said, “I want a divorce.” In Texas, you need an experienced family law attorney to help you take the next steps of actually getting the legal process underway.

Contact Ramos Law Group today to begin the journey of a successful divorce, so that you can get past this stressful time and move on with your life with a fair division of property and custody.

Each state has its own set of laws that govern the division of property during a divorce or dissolution of marriage. Community property is a term for the assets that a married couple owns together.

There are nine states that recognize the philosophy of community property, including Texas. Which assets are considered separate or community property is what guides the Texas court systems through the divorce process.


What Qualifies as Community Property in Texas Divorce?

Any asset that was acquired during the marriage is considered community property in Texas. This means that any asset earned or acquired during marriage– be it earnings, retirement accounts, real property, personal belongings, etc – are subject to a just and right division in a Texas divorce.

Fighting over money in divorce

Even if an asset is in one spouse’s sole name, for example, a 401k retirement account or motor vehicle, if it was acquired after the date of marriage then it is considered community property in a Texas divorce.

The nature of community property in Texas divorce does not change no matter who earns the asset or contributes toward the community estate. Even if only one spouse earned community income or all the community assets are under only one spouse’s name, community property law requires that all assets be subject to a just and right division. This means a spouse that never worked or earned substantially less than the other spouse is entitled to a just and right division of the community property.

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Assets from Before the Marriage

Any asset that was in existence prior to marriage is not considered community property. An asset that existed prior to the marriage is characterized as separate property.

Separate & Community Property in Texas Divorce

Some property can be characterized as both separate property and community property in a Texas divorce. For example, if a party had money in a retirement account on the date of marriage and continued to contribute after the date of marriage. Then there would be a community property interest and a separate property interest in the same account. Some property, even if acquired during the marriage, cannot be characterized as community property in a Texas divorce. This includes property that was acquired via gift, devise or inheritance. Any assets acquired by those means will remain as that spouse’s separate property.

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Proving Separate vs. Community Property

There is a presumption that all property acquired during a marriage is characterized as community property. The burden of rebutting that presumption is on the party claiming the property is separate property.

A court cannot divide or award separate property; it can only address the division of community property in a Texas divorce. To prove that an asset is a separate property, a party must be able to prove the date of inception occurred prior to the date of marriage or that it was obtained through gift, inheritance or devise.

Speak With an Expert Attorney

Stamping a Certificate of Divorce

Given the intricacies of the community property system and the importance of preserving all of your community property rights, it is highly advisable that you consult with a licensed Texas family law attorney who has experience in dealing with the division of community property in a Texas divorce. A licensed Texas divorce attorney with experience in dealing with the division of community property will be able to review the details of your estate and provide advice as to a proposed division.

Call Ramos Law Group

If you are considering a divorce in Texas and have assets to divide, please contact the Ramos Law Group to speak with one of our licensed attorneys about your case.

If you are the first to file for divorce, you will be known as the Petitioner. Ultimately, the differences between who files first are minimal but there are some procedural considerations as you will see below.

The Petitioner May Choose the County

If there are multiple counties in which the courts could have proper jurisdiction, the spouse to file first ultimately chooses the county that the matter will be heard in. If your spouse lives in another Texas county, it may be advantageous for you to file in the county closest to you. In Texas, It is sometimes better to file for divorce first so that the courthouse can be as close to your home as possible.

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Control of the First Hearing Date

The party to file first is usually in control of the first hearing date for temporary orders, if temporary orders are requested in their case. Temporary orders may be requested for various reasons, but primarily parties want to establish provisions for conservatorship, child support, interim attorney’s fees, interim spousal support, temporary use of personal property, and temporary financial matters. Additionally, depending on how long your spouse waits to speak to an attorney before the hearing date, your attorney may end up having more time to prepare for the hearing.

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Temporary Restraining Orders

If you are concerned that your spouse is wasting community funds or hiding other assets, it is better to file for your Texas divorce first. Then you may get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in place. A TRO is intended to maintain the status quo while your divorce is pending. For example, a TRO will prevent your spouse from selling or transferring any assets, canceling your insurance, or destroying any evidence related to the divorce.

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A TRO will stay in place for 14 days, and it is recommended to follow it up with a temporary mutual injunction with the same or similar provisions for coverage of the entire remaining time of the divorce proceedings. See this list of standard injunctions for examples.

Responsibility for Drafting a Final Agreement

The responsibility for drafting a final agreement, if one is reached at mediation, will usually fall to the Petitioner’s attorney. This does mean that you absorb some of the additional cost to cover the drafting time, but it also means that your attorney can make sure that the Final Decree of Divorce gets drafted in a timely manner.

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Additionally, we often experience issues with receiving final decrees from other attorneys who have just let their paralegal draft an order straight from a form generator. Having to revise an order that has not been given the proper amount of attorney attention can often end up costing the client more to revise than it would have for your attorney to just draft the final order themselves.

The Bottom Line

It is better to file first for your divorce in Texas if:

  • You want a divorce court close to home
  • You need to protect joint assets or evidence
  • You want to resolve the divorce process quickly

Call Ramos Law Group

Start the process of your Texas divorce with a call to the family law experts at Ramos Law Group. Reach us at 713-597-7274 or contact us online.

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Very few people seeking a divorce want to see the process drag out longer than necessary. Divorces can be difficult and expensive. If you’re seeking a divorce, you likely don’t want to spend a lot of time and money in the process either. But the answer to how long a divorce takes in Texas will depend on a number of factors. An experienced divorce attorney can typically help you estimate the timeframe during your initial consultation.

What to Expect

Truth be told, there is no such thing as a quick divorce in Texas. Texas requires a minimum 60-day waiting period between filing for divorce and issuing the final divorce decree. The court cannot have a hearing until 60 days after the complaint is filed. This is considered a “cool off” period, and it gives the spouses time to think and decide if they really want a divorce. In cases where domestic violence is involved, the court may waive the 60-day waiting period.

Once the two parties are ready to move forward, the court will be able to schedule a hearing to take place sometime in the future, and how long the divorce takes in a Texas court depends upon the numerous and varied legal complexities involved in the case. Most couples find it takes longer than two months to officially dissolve the marriage.

Uncontested Divorces

The 60-day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court. If the divorce is “uncontested”, meaning the parties agree to all divorce terms, then the divorce may be finalized any time after the 60-day waiting period. Usually, these divorces are much more efficient. Sometimes, the divorcing couple decides upon the terms of their divorce before filing, while other couples reach their agreement soon after. In these situations, the divorce may be finalized almost immediately following the 60-day waiting period.

Contested Divorces

defendant, plaintiff, and lawyer seating inside divorce courtroom

A contested divorce will usually take much longer to resolve and require more legal fees. How long an uncontested divorce in Texas takes often depends upon how much information each party needs to gather from the other. Each side will have time to conduct discovery, which is a time when your attorney may demand that your spouse produce certain financial evidence like bank statements or credit card bills. Your attorney should do all they can to determine what you’re entitled to in the divorce agreement, and they should negotiate with your spouse or their attorney to get you a good settlement before facing trial. However, if you cannot reach an agreement the case may go to trial.

Many divorce cases do not end up in a trial, but if they do, they can take several days or even weeks to resolve. At trial, a judge will hear testimony and review evidence about the divorce. At the end of the trial, the judge will issue an order with the terms by which the divorcing couple must comply.

If you have questions about how long your divorce in a Texas court will take, contact Ramos Law Group today for a consultation.

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It is always in a party’s best interest to respond to discovery. This is for two main reasons. First off, it can hurt your ability to put on evidence at trial. Under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, failure to timely respond to discovery may prevent a party from being able to admit evidence at trial. If you plan on using witnesses at your trial and they are not timely disclosed during discovery process they may not be able to testify on your behalf. Evidence can be of the utmost important during a legal dispute, responding to discovery ensures evidence important to your case can be heard at trial.

The second reason it is important to respond to discovery is that the court may take action against a nonresponsive party. A court may grant the opposing party’s motion to compel discovery and attorneys fees, which does not help your case in the eyes of the court. If a party again fails to respond to discovery after a motion to compel is granted, the court may impose sanctions. For those reasons it is very important to respond to discovery in a timely manner and to the best of your abilities.

Disclaimer: The material obtained from this site is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your own legal situation.
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