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Hidden Assets in a Texas Divorce

Whenever a person is going through a divorce, it is often their main goal to obtain the best property division possible. This can help the healing process and set that person up for success in the next chapter of their life. Unfortunately, many people find that while going through a Texas divorce, their spouse may have been hiding assets throughout their marriage or are attempting to hide assets now that a divorce is pending.

It is vital to find an experienced family law attorney licensed in Texas who has a background in successfully finding hidden assets and getting the best property award for their client. The Ramos Law Group and its team of legal specialists are skilled at knowing what to look for and identifying hidden assets. What considerations are there when thinking about hidden assets in a Texas divorce?

First, a quick refresher on community property. As Texas is a community property state, any and all assets that were earned during the duration of the marriage are subject to a just and right division in a divorce. This does not include any items that are separate property, such as items owned prior to marriage or items received through a gift or inheritance. This article is assuming any “hidden assets” are community property and should be divided by a divorce court.

Discovery and Disclosures

There are a couple ways the parties are required to disclose assets in a divorce proceeding:

  1. Local Disclosures – For example, the Harris County family court system requires that parties disclose paychecks, tax returns, bank statements, and a sworn inventory and appraisement by a certain date. A sworn inventory and appraisement is a notarized/verified document that is supposed to contain an accounting of ALL property, including all assets and debts, with supporting documents showing current statements. Should the divorce matter go to trial, the trial judge will rely on the parties’ inventories when making a final property division.
  1. Written Discovery – The discovery process is where a party sends the other party written requests for tangible documents. These requests can go back to the date of marriage (which is when the community property would begin accruing) and can cover paychecks, bank statements, retirement statements, PayPal/Venmo histories, credit card statements, HSA accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. Any type of property or account history may be requested.

Using the documents received from either disclosures or discovery, a competent family law attorney is able to pinpoint any discrepancies or suspicious transactions that may point to hidden assets. For example, if a party is getting cash advance on a credit card that can be detected by looking at credit card statements. Or if paychecks show automatic deposits being made to multiple bank accounts. In this technological world where everything is traced, it is becoming exceedingly difficult to hide property and the tools discussed above are often used to find any hidden or undisclosed assets.

Forensic Accounting

But what if your spouse is smarter than the average spouse and it appears they have successfully hidden community assets? If that is the case, then your legal team can hire a forensic accountant. This is a CPA or accountant who specializes in reviewing accounts and financial documents to pinpoint suspicious activity or trace the whereabouts of missing funds. Forensic accounts are well-versed in tracing items like offshore accounts or cryptocurrency.

A forensic accountant is also helpful in determining a spouse’s actual income. Often a spouse will attempt to deflate their actual income to help reduce their child support or spousal support obligations. A forensic account will review their paychecks, tax returns, bonus structures, compensation packages, and any other documents evidencing income and actually compare to see if their stated income is accurate. This method is especially helpful when dealing with self-employed spouses who can commingle their personal and business expenditures to show a reduced income.

What if Hidden Assets Are Discovered?

The Court has several methods of dividing community property and if a spouse is determined to have hidden assets or attempted to defraud the community by hiding assets, the Court may do any of the following:

  • Awarding a spouse all of the previously hidden assets (or awarding the innocent spouse any nondisclosed assets not specifically awarded in the decree);
  • Finding the sneaky spouse in contempt of court and awarding attorney fees to the innocent spouse.

There is a statute of limitation of two years on any assets discovered after the divorce has been finalized. So if your divorce was recent and you discover that assets existed your spouse did not disclose and were not divided in the divorce, it is imperative you contact a family law attorney to assist you in pursuing claim to those assets even if the divorce has already been finalized.

Time is of the Essence

While there are several helpful tools in tracking undisclosed or hidden assets, it is still important to contact an experienced family law attorney if you become aware that your spouse (or soon to be ex-spouse) is hiding assets. Cash and valuables can disappear and be difficult to recover, even if the existence can be proven). If you are considering a divorce and believe assets may disappear or be hidden, it’s best to begin the search and tracing process sooner rather than later.

The Ramos Law Group, PLLC and its legal team have handled many cases that dealt with hidden assets and have the resources available to help you if you believe your spouse has hidden community property.

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Maintaining Your Standard of Living After Divorce

Divorce is a financial strain on even the most budget-minded person. Typically, a divorce results in a two-income household becoming a one-household. Even more jarring, sometimes a household that relied on one breadwinner becomes two households on one income. Financial woes or stress are to be expected when going through a divorce, but how can a person really prepare for a divorce financially and maintain their current standard of living? The Ramos Law Group has a few tips for you if you are contemplating going through a divorce.

1. Review Your Existing Financial Needs

Under the Texas Family Code, the family law court system takes a critical view of financial needs. The Court considers costs in the mindset of “are they reasonable and necessary expenses?” Rent, legal fees, business operating costs, utilities, food, clothing, vehicle expenses and even items like tithing and entertainment expenses are all under the umbrella of “reasonable and necessary.”

Should you have a hearing or trial on the issue of temporary support or post-divorce maintenance, the Court is going to want to see a Financial Information Statement that lays out exactly what each party’s monthly expenses are, or as close to possible for each month as things fluctuate.

It is important to have this information at the outset of your case as it will help guide your legal team through the litigation process in terms of goals for support or a final property division. It is helpful to have documentation (bills, credit card receipts, tuition documents) to evidence the needed expenses.

2. Cut Extra Costs

Divorce takes an emotional toll on all involved and it can be difficult for parties to cut items they are accustomed to; it can feel like additional punishment. But a monthly tanning membership or big game hunting trips do not fall under the umbrella of “reasonable and necessary expenses.” If your income allows for it then by all means go ahead, but if parties are litigating over support in Court it can be almost guaranteed the Court is not going to consider those types of expenses as reasonable and order another party to foot the bill. It makes the pill a bit easier to swallow the review the previous six months to a year of expenses and flag expenses that just aren’t all that necessary in the grand scheme of things before the divorce process even gets started. 

3. Plan for the Future

Many parties going through a divorce are desperate to cut the cord and just want out. They are not thinking about the long-term implications of the divorce settlement. But it’s important to do so as what you agree to in a divorce settlement today can hurt you when you file taxes next year. Be mindful of the tax implications of any retirement fund transfers. It’s always better to roll any 401k money you receive from a spouse into an IRA or other fund than take the cash option as there are tax consequences. But some parties need the cash option for a down payment on a home. Talk to your legal team and a financial planner to really think about the long-term results from any divorce settlement. It may feel like you won the lottery with a cash out option on your ex-spouse’s retirement fund but it is going to hurt the next time you file taxes.

It’s common for a person going through a divorce to want to jump into the next chapter of their life – new house, new car, new job – but sometimes it is better to let things settle before trying to start a brand-new life. It can be beneficial to see how you function within the structure of a one-income household with a new budget before jumping in to any new financial obligations.

4. Accept That Certain Things Will Change

Divorce is going to have an undeniable impact on the majority of parties’ standard of living. The Courts do their best to try to mitigate this and make a just and right division of community property, but there is almost always still a void or some sort of effect. It can be helpful to remember these changes may be painful but just a small stepping stone to the next chapter. Things like operating within a restructured budget take an adjustment period.

5. Be Responsible

Divorce can be difficult for even high-worth individuals. For those on the lower end of the income scale, it can be devastating. Accruing some debt during the divorce process is normal and expected. If there are any other avenues, avoid incurring high credit card fees during the divorce process. The Courts typically award debt to the party whose name the debt was incurred in so any credit card debt is likely going with you in the divorce. For certain things like car repairs or attorney fees it can be a necessary evil, but review your budget or try to cut expenses rather than incur frivolous debt.

The same goes for cashing out any small retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. You may feel like you absolutely need the cash (and you might, so this is fact specific) but make sure you are thinking about the tax implications as well.

Each case is different and no couple has the exact same income and expenses. If you are going through a divorce or believe a divorce is on the horizon, gather your financial documents and consult with a licensed Texas divorce attorney like the Ramos Law Group. We can help review your expenses, review your property portfolio and strategize a plan to get you out of your marriage and onto the next chapter of your life with as minimal upset as possible.

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One of the most challenging issues in getting a divorce as a doctor that owns their own medical practice is that their practice may be subject to division as a community asset. Accurate valuation, goodwill, and status of the practice are critical influencing factors on a judge presiding of the matter. Hiring a licensed family law attorney in Texas who can counsel, advocate, and ensure compliance every step of the way while protecting the doctor, the practice, and the family is an important first step in the divorce process.

Separate vs. Community Property and Its Impact

The first determining factor as to whether a spouse has any rights over a private practice is whether it was acquired before or during the marriage. This distinction is vital since Texas is a community property state. Community property is defined as jointly owned assets acquired during the marriage and can be divisible upon divorce. Separate property is obtained before the marriage and is not divisible between the spouses during a divorce.

Even if a practice was started prior to the date of marriage, there can still be a community property element. This can include shares if it is a partnership or issues stock, if an ownership interest from a partner is bought after the date of marriage, etc. The income is its own consideration since income was earned by the practice during the course of the marriage, any income earned from it will most likely be considered community property. Therefore, its value is subject to consideration as part of the doctor divorce settlement.

Since the nature and characterization of a practice can be very complicated, it is important to get a qualified attorney who can review the practice and determine its characterization.

The Value of the Business

In divorce cases and settlements involving doctors, the value of the practice is the most commonly used rubric in dividing the business. The structure of ownership and nature of the practice also plays a role in this determination as well. A business valuation is made by examining two types of assets: tangible and intangible property. Tangible assets are physical in nature, like the building, furniture, and equipment. Intangible assets include intellectual property, goodwill, and accounts receivable.

Goodwill

Goodwill is a medical practice's ability to generate referral business, positive reputation, and a future legacy. It is more challenging to calculate goodwill since it is based upon the doctor and the practice itself. A divorce for doctors and the impact of goodwill centers on specific facts related to the practice. For instance, goodwill can be valued higher when the practice does not hinge upon the doctor's reputation, name, and services as seen in a partnership.

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Methods of Dividing a Practice During Divorce

Many divorce cases involving doctors result in settlement. This often takes the form of a buyout agreement for a portion of the value of the medical practice. This can be done by either a lump sum payment, a structured payment schedule or the other spouse could receive a larger portion of other assets, such as retirement or real property.

But every situation and practice is unique; only a family law attorney in Texas can counsel a medical professional on the various legal issues regarding the valuation and division of the medical practice

Call Ramos Law Group

At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, our firm is equipped and staffed with professionals who can help calculate your practice's value, intellectual property, and goodwill. Our property division lawyers are prepared to argue for your rights in the courtroom and have a track record of obtaining excellent results for our clients

Contact us today to speak with an attorney about your case and start down the path to the best possible result.

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Half of all marriages end in divorce. The factors that impact this number have been long-studied and include age, ethnicity, childhood, and generation. Another factor in predicting the divorce rate of a couple is their careers. Job demands and income play an intrinsic role.

According to job search powerhouse, Zippia, and data analyzed from U.S. Census data, the career you choose can play a major role in the efficacy of your marriage to be satisfying and successful. The most common concerns that are addressed by loved ones include:

  • Lower pay rates
  • Long work hours
  • Emotional stress
  • Travel time away from home

While it's unfair to assume that having a family and career are impossible achievements, your chosen career can play a role in the breakdown of a marriage if left unmanaged. Proactivity and genuine love for the other person can supersede most issues.

Let’s take a look at the jobs with the highest divorce rate by industry.

1. First-Line Enlisted Military Supervisors

The job with the highest divorce rate is first-line enlisted military supervisors. The divorce rate for this group is a staggering 30% according to the study’s findings. Speculative belief regarding the strain placed on marriages is attributable to long deployment times and high stress. First-line enlisted supervisors likely have firsthand experience in combat which carries its own burdens and emotional strains that may carry over into the marriage.

2. Logisticians

Logisticians come in at number two in our list of jobs with the highest divorce rates at 17%. For these professionals, job security is high, and pay averages $74,590 annually. However, supply-chain management does not equal a steady 'supply' of marital bliss. This cause could be due to more stress and high workload demand. Excessive overtime demands do not seem to help either.

3. Mechanics and Auto Technicians

It makes sense that mechanics and auto technicians hit heavy on the divorce front at a whopping 17 percent. With a median annual salary of $39,550, financial instability likely puts a strain on the marriage. Mechanics also have some of the highest rates in illness and injury along. Physical demand leads to daily exhaustion which does not exactly breed an environment conducive to one-on-one family time.

4. Military Enlisted Tactical Operations and Air Weapons

Female military members experience higher divorce rates than men in the same position

Another not-so-surprising job with divorce rates among the highest includes military enlisted tactical operations and air weapons personnel with a divorce rate of 17%. Plus, divorce favors one gender over the other. Enlisted women experience higher divorce rates than their male counterparts according to a study completed by Princeton University. It's not all doom-and-gloom: career enlisted members have a lower divorce rate than those entering the field for a shorter period.

5. Chemical Technicians

In Zippia's study of divorce rate by industry, chemical technicians have been identified as a career that may affect the longevity of a marriage. At a divorce rate of 15%, closer inspection of day-to-day activities may give away clues as to why this rate is so high. Time commitments, supervisory functions, and demand for attention-to-detail may leave little room for emotional connection at home.

6. Food Services Workers

Food service workers hold jobs with the highest divorce rates in the industry.

Food service workers, such as line cooks, chefs, and waiters, made the top ten of this list at a 15% divorce rate. For starters, the average median annual income is $20,180 that likely puts a strain on the marriage. Work hours are typically long and irregular and may leave a lot to be desired for traditional leisure time with family members.

7. Enlisted Military, Any Rank or Position

This isn't the first time we've seen military members in the top ten list of jobs with the highest divorce rates (see # 1 and # 4 of this list). The average divorce rate for military members is 15%. As previously noted, job demands, relocation, and deployment times are top contributors to the ever-expanding high rate of divorce for our country's heroes. Re-entry to civilian life is stressful for the serviceperson and the readjustment for his or her family members.

8. Non-Farm Animal Caretakers

Who would have thought that those who care for animals would face divorce rates higher than others? A 15% divorce rate may signal a higher rate of compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue occurs when a person is repeatedly exposed to traumatized people or animals. This exposure can lead to bouts of depression and fits of anger alongside marital neglect.

9. Clerical Library Assistants

Clerical library assistants also have the jobs also among the highest divorce rates

The person sitting at the counter, checking out your books, and setting up meeting rooms has a 15% increased likelihood of getting a divorce when compared to other divorce rates by industry. Perhaps the reason for the higher divorce rate is attributed to mostly part-time work with an average $25,810 median salary per annum.

10. Engineering Technicians and Professional Drafters

Moreover, finally on the list of jobs with the highest divorce rates is capped by engineering technicians and careers similarly situated. Engineering technicians and professional drafters experience a divorce rate of 14%. Perhaps this higher rate is due to a failure to nurture a marriage in favor of the demands placed on them by scientists and engineers to transform projects through creative problem-solving. Travel to construction sites could also create a larger divide between a married couple and lead to growing apart over the long-run.

The Takeaway: Jobs with the Highest Divorce Rates

Having a job with the highest divorce rates by industry is not always equated with divorce. Many people in these industries forge strong bonds with their partners to beat all odds. They’re the ones who stay aware of the pitfalls and communicate with each other as issues arise. Following suit may help you create a happy, healthy marriage that is not bound by choice of career.

At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we know that sometimes a marriage can break down no matter what career paths you and your partner have chosen. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer in Texas can help you file for divorce and get you set on the path to the best possible outcome.

Schedule a no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team when you contact us today.

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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.

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“Joint custody” in Houston, Texas is a very broad term. It doesn’t necessarily mean a 50 / 50 split of actual possession of the children. It is a form of child custody arrangement that addresses how certain rights and duties when it comes to raising their children are assigned as well as how time with the children is divided.

Even in a very equal ruling, the split may be closer to 53/47, with the primary or custodial parent getting 53% of the time with the child and receiving child support.

How the rights and duties and possession schedule are decided is a matter of each individual case, but is often a variation of the standard possession order. Parents who have less custody of their child (or are named as the “Possessory Conservator” per the Texas Family Code) are often ordered to pay child support, exercise a possession order schedule and may have less rights and duties than the other parent (the Primary Conservator).

The opposite of joint custody is “sole custody,” where one parent retains all exclusive rights regarding their kids. The courts don’t like to award sole custody unless there is a very good reason. For example, a history of substance abuse or neglect.

How Is Custody Decided?

It is important to understand that, no matter how much you dislike your ex, and no matter how messy the divorce is, these things by themselves don’t necessarily mean that sole custody is a good outcome for the kids. Instead, when making decisions on sole or joint custody in Houston, Texas, the courts look at the best interest of the children. Some of the most important questions include:

  • Can each parent take care of the kids, both physically and financially? (If you have been a stay-at-home parent, don’t worry: This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker; you might be awarded spousal maintenance to give you time to reenter the workforce.)
  • Will the kids have a safe and stable home with each parent?
  • Has each parent been involved in their children’s lives so far?
  • Will the kids’ daily lives be severely disrupted in some way (for instance, by moving far away)?
  • What arrangement do the children themselves desire (if they are 12 years or older)?
  • Is either parent dangerous or a bad influence on the kids?
  • Is each parent willing to accept that the kids might wish to maintain their relationship with the other parent?
  • The answers to these questions will help determine the specifics of your arrangement for joint custody in Texas.

Texas-Sized Terminology

In Texas, the legal name for custody is conservatorship. There are two types of conservatorship:

Possessory conservatorship is more commonly known as “physical custody.” It refers to where the kids will live and what sort of possession schedule will be awarded.

Managing conservatorship is more commonly known as “legal custody.” It refers to the power to make decisions about the children’s education, healthcare, and so forth.

It is possible for arrangements of joint custody in Houston, Texas to involve any combination of both kinds of custody, depending on your particular circumstances.

For example, if one parent has a disability that would make it hard for the kids to live with them, they might have a custody arrangement where they have a limited possession schedule but share joint rights and duties for the children.

Alternatively, a parent who can provide a safe home for the kids but is terrible about planning for the future and saving money might have equal physical custody but limited ability to manage the children’s finances (for example, an inherited estate).

Typically, both forms of custody are shared in an arrangement that the courts or the parties deem to be in the best interest of the children.

What If My Ex Looks Good on Paper but Is Bad for the Kids?

This is a thorny issue that comes up very often in custody disputes. Sometimes, there is a genuine case of one parent putting on a good public face but doing bad things at home. If this is true of your ex, then Ramos Law Group can help you document these parental fitness issues and demonstrate them to the court or a mediator. It is important to do your best to document these instances to provide solid evidence rather than a “he said-she said” situation. Documentation can come from school records, social media, text messages or emails, medical records, etc.

What If I’m the One Being Accused as Unfit for Custody?

If you’re the one being accused of parental unfitness, we can help you defend against those accusations by refuting them if they’re false. It is especially important to consult with an attorney for swift legal action if a protective order has been filed against you.

If there is some truth to the accusations, it is not necessarily a deal-breaker. The court’s primary goal is to preserve a relationship between the child and both parents. It’s still very possible for you to earn joint custody in Houston, Texas or elsewhere, as long as there is nothing that would be deemed harmful to the best interests of the child.

The Ramos Law Group can help you do this by charting a path for you to overcome or minimize any weakness in your fitness as a parent. For instance, if you have anger issues, it will go a long way in court if you can show the judge that you’ve been attending counseling sessions. If you’re bad with money, you can open a savings account and prove that you’re capable of financial responsibility. We may also be able to help you by going through a mediation process rather than litigating everything in court.

Our goal is always to help you get the rights you deserve when it comes to joint custody in Houston, Texas.

What If Things Change Down the Road?

Custody arrangements are not always permanent. A court can modify them if circumstances change as long as the children are under the age of 18. If you’re worried that an upcoming custody dispute will end unfavorably for you, here at Ramos Law Group we can help you prepare both to get the best outcome possible, both today and down the road.

Advice for Dads

There’s a common belief that the courts treat fathers unfairly, giving preferential consideration to mothers when it comes to arrangements for joint custody in Houston, Texas and the surrounding counties.

The good news is that, legally, this is no longer true. In the past, due to stronger views about the roles of men and women in society, and the fact that many mothers stayed at home instead of working, the courts often did grant favorable custody arrangements to women. Today, however, this is illegal and the focus is on the children’s needs rather than traditional gender roles. The courts must consider the rights of each parent regardless of gender. (This also applies to certain other traits, such as race.) And most courts get it right!

The bad news is that old beliefs die hard, and sometimes there is still a prejudice against fathers. However, since it’s against the law, you can fight it. Ramos Law Group offers divorce and custody lawyers for men who can help walk you through the steps you need to take in your proceedings for joint custody in Houston, Texas.

You Need an Experienced Custody Lawyer

Many good parents lose custody rights because they did not properly prepare their case or put on the best possible evidence or legal arguments. Ramos Law Group has a long record of experience in winning custody disputes and getting parents the rights they deserve.

If you’re involved in a dispute for joint custody in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding areas, we can help! Contact us today to discuss your situation and get the ball rolling toward a healthier, happier tomorrow for you and your kids.

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Sometimes you can make it work. And sometimes you can’t.

Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas begins with some serious soul-searching. Oftentimes, people stay in a marriage long after they should. Maybe you still love your partner. Maybe you feel like they can change, and overcome their problems. Maybe you feel like a divorce would ruin your personal life or reputation. Maybe you’re afraid of being alone. Maybe you’re afraid of losing custody of the kids.

The decision to divorce must be yours, but, once you’ve taken that step, this is where Ramos Law Group shines: Our highly experienced divorce attorneys have a long record of winning cases. We can help you get a divorce with terms in your favor.

The Signs that Tell You When to Get a Divorce in Texas

  • If your partner is physically, verbally, or psychologically abusive to you or your children, and you are too afraid to confront him or her, or you have confronted them already and they haven’t changed. In situations like these, you should also consider asking your attorney to file a motion for a protective order.
    (You should get to a safe place if you are in danger. Here are some domestic violence shelters in the Houston area, some of which also serve men or LGBT spouses.)
  • If your partner doesn’t love you, doesn’t show any interest in anything you do, or treats you as an annoyance or a needy pet.
  • If you have stopped loving them, and can no longer give them the support, emotional availability, and enthusiasm they deserve.
  • If your partner has a substance abuse problem or a financial problem that is destroying your family, won’t do anything to get help or change their ways, and the downward spiral is threatening your own safety and survival or that of your kids.
  • If your partner has betrayed you in some way that you cannot forgive. Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas sometimes means being brutally honest with yourself, and admitting what your true limits are.
  • If you’re only in the marriage for practical reasons, such as money or to keep the marriage together for the kids, and it is eating away at you.
  • If the only thing stopping you from a divorce is fear of being sued and losing custody of your children or losing your cherished possessions.

Be Ready with a Plan for the Next Steps

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a divorce, the best thing you can do is begin planning for a soft landing on the other side. In other words, the best answer to the question of when to get a divorce in Texas is: When you’re ready.

In practical terms, this means making financial preparations for all of your upcoming expenses, including potentially moving.

Financial Preparation

Prepare financially by building up some savings in a separate bank account that only you can access. You will have many expenses coming up. You’ll have to buy new things. And there will be legal fees too. Don’t just plan on putting it all on the credit card. This can trap you in a cycle of debt.

Spousal maintenance may be a possibility, but it isn’t awarded to everyone, and you will likely face significant expenses before it kicks in.

Logistical Preparation

Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas means making practical plans. Where will you live? How will this affect your job? What about your health insurance and other forms of insurance? What will happen to the kids, the pets, etc.? What if you own a business?

You will need to come up with answers to all of these questions. Even if circumstances change and you don’t end up sticking to your plan, having a plan is very important.

Let Ramos Law Group Help

When it’s time to get a divorce in Texas, it’s time to get a divorce attorney too. Your attorney will do so much more than just help you with the legal paperwork. At Ramos Law Group, we will be your champion in the legal system. We will represent your interests in court and in mediation. We can help you with a contested divorce.

We have a record of winning divorces with favorable outcomes for our clients, and we can help you too. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

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