1. Transfer of property
  2. Your Final Decree of Divorce will include language awarding property to you and your ex, however that is not the final step in the process of awarding property. Make sure that, if relevant to your case, documents such as Special Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trust or Powers of Attorneys are signed, notarized and filed with the proper entities. Don’t wait until an issue pops up down the road to discover that you never transferred the title to a piece of property, make sure it’s all handled quickly after your divorce is finalized.

  3. Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
  4. If you were awarded part of your ex’s retirement benefits in a 401k, you will need a QDRO to effectuate being awarded that money. A QDRO is a separate document from your final decree of divorce that is directed to the 401k’s plan administrator. It will also need to be signed by a judge before the money can be removed from the account. This cannot be done until after your final decree of divorce has been signed, but be prepared to get this finished soon after the divorce is granted.

  5. Name Change
  6. If you restored your last name to your maiden name you will need to take a certified copy of your decree to the DMV, social security office, banks, schools, etc. It can be daunting so it is best to deal with it as soon after your divorce as possible.

  7. Insurance Beneficiaries
  8. A divorce can impact your current life insurance policies if your former spouse was named as a beneficiary. Make sure to update all your policies, including any policies through your employment, to reflect a new beneficiary.

  9. Children-Related Issues
  10. Provide your child’s school a certified copy of your final decree of divorce in case any custody issues arise. Contact the Texas Disbursement Unit to set up your child support payments account or start making payments if you were ordered to pay child support. Update any medical professionals with your new name, address and relevant information.

If you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer, please give us a call at (713) 225-6200 or visit us on the web at RamosFamilyLaw.com.

1. Don’t involve the kids

Just don’t. Divorce is hard enough on children without added pressure or emotional blackmail coming from the parents. Don’t use your kids as pawns, don’t disparage your ex and don’t involve them in any pending litigation. It reflects poorly on you, your judge won’t appreciate it and it will have harmful effects on your children.

2. Don’t make unreasonable demands

You’re probably hurt and upset with your soon-to-be ex right now, but be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t insist on being name sole custodial parent when there is no evidence to show your ex is a bad parent. Don’t insist on being awarded a disproportionate share of the community estate or spousal maintenance just to “get back” at your ex. Unrealistic expectations make the process more litigious, increase legal fees and usually leave unhappy parties.

3. Don’t be adversarial

Divorce is emotional enough without being litigious and cutthroat. The majority of divorces are settled through informal settlement agreements or mediation. While sometimes extensive court battles are the only way to settle a divorce, more often than not it’s through agreement and you need to be open to that process. It’s not about winning in court; it’s about looking at the bigger picture and focusing on closing one chapter of your life as painlessly as possible.

4. Don’t refuse to communicate

This is especially important if you have kids or shared finances that require some level of communication while your divorce is pending. Don’t insist on going through your attorneys to schedule exchanging the kids or making sure your mortgage is timely paid. This only serves to increase legal fees and annoy the other party. If you absolutely cannot speak with your spouse then your attorney can facilitate communications, but try to be open to communicating with your spouse.

5. Don’t spend a lot of money or incur a lot of debts

A divorce forces couples to go from being supported by two incomes to just one income. It can be a very difficult time financially for some couples, don’t increase your burden by incurring additional credit card debt or make big purchases. This is also an issue for community property states where any assets or debts accrued, even while a divorce is pending, are considered part of the community estate and your spouse is entitled to their community share. Make smart financial decisions during the pendency of your divorce.

If you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Attorney, please give us a call at (713) 225-6200 or visit us on the web at RamosFamilyLaw.com.

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Under Texas Paternity Laws of the Texas Family Code, a child born during a marriage is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife. This means that the husband of the marriage is presumed to legally be the father, not the biological father. So if a woman gives birth to a child whose father is not her husband, her husband is still presumed to be the father unless additional steps are taken to adjudicate the paternity of the biological father. These steps include:

  1. Denial of Paternity – The husband must sign a denial of paternity form which states that he knows that he is not the biological father of a child.
  2. Acknowledgement of Paternity – AOP – Form 1608– The biological father of the child can sign an acknowledgment of paternity, which is filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. This form is where a biological father states that he knows himself to be the father of a child, binding to Texas paternity laws.
  3. Paternity Test – A voluntary or court-ordered paternity test of the child and biological child may be necessary to prove the actual paternity if an acknowledgment of paternity is not signed or is invalid.
  4. Petition to Adjudicate Parentage – Next you will need to file an original suit alleging that your husband is not the presumed father and request that the Court adjudicate the biological father as the legal father. This is where you will use the above documents to help establish paternity with Texas paternity laws.
  5. Divorce – If the paternity of a child is an issue during a divorce, the paternity can be adjudicated within the final decree of divorce using the above steps.

The resulting Order Adjudicating Parentage or Final Decree of Divorce, along with establishing paternity, will include provisions regarding conservatorship, access and visitation, and child support. Once a man has been adjudicated as the father of a child he is that child’s father for all legal purposes and now has a legal obligation to that child.

The Presumed Father in Texas Paternity Law

As a husband is the presumed father until he is determined to not be the father of a child of the marriage, he will be legally responsible for child support, medical support and taking care of a child that is not biologically his until the above legal steps are taken. As such, it is very important that a father protect his rights to either claim his biological child or prevent being responsible for a child that does not belong to him.

Connect with an Attorney

If you are currently married and want to establish paternity of a child that is not your husband’s, are subject to a court-ordered paternity test, or if you are the husband and you do not believe a child is yours, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC. We can help to navigate Texas paternity law and begin the steps to properly adjudicate the paternity of the child. You can also visit us on the web.

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.

Texas is a “no fault state” which means that a person can plead for divorce without alleging that either spouse is somehow responsible for demise of the marriage. One may allege adultery as a ground for filing divorce; however adultery is not a crime in the state of Texas. If you’re hoping your cheating spouse will face criminal repercussions for their actions, it’s not going to happen in Texas. So why would a person plead adultery as a ground for a Houston divorce? There are two main reasons: (1) in order to receive a disproportionate share of the community estate or (2) for reasons related to child custody and conservatorship issues.

The Texas Family Code mandates that a court must divide a marital estate in a “just and right” manner. Fault in the breakup of the marriage and the financial benefits a spouse would have received from the continuation of the marriage are factors a court may consider in dividing an estate in a just and right manner. The existence of adultery alone will not result in a disproportionate award of the marital estate to the innocent spouse. The innocent spouse must prove to the Court that the adultery was the cause of the breakup and either that because of the breakup the innocent spouse was deprived of future financial benefits or that the adulterous affair resulted in a waste of community assets through gifts made to the cheating spouse’s significant other.

If custody of the children is at issue during a divorce, a Court may consider allegations of adultery when making a decision regarding the children. Courts do not take kindly to parents who bring extramarital affair partners into the lives of the children or who engage in adultery in front of the children. Children are vulnerable during a divorce and the commission of adultery in front of the children speaks volumes as to a parent’s character. When a Court is scrutinizing a person’s capability to be a good parent; proof of adultery can be detrimental to a parent in regards to child custody and conservatorship.

The Houston divorce lawyers at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC are knowledgeable in all areas of family law including divorce.  Please contact us with any concerns or questions you might have.

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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Social networking is a popular past time in today’s society. Facebook currently has more than 901 million active users and Twitter currently has 500 million active users.  There are countless other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn or MySpace that serve as outlets for people to share their lives.

The chances are good that you or your spouse have a social networking account, so it is very important realize that what you post on your social networking site can have consequences on your divorce. According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in the past five years 81 percent of its members had used or faced evidence collected from social media websites during divorce proceedings. Below are some tips to help you keep your social networking from having a negative impact on your divorce.

  1. “De-activate” your profile. DO NOT DELETE. Deleting your profile once a divorce suit has begun has been viewed by some courts as removing potential evidence (spoliation of evidence). Deactivation temporarily takes your profile offline and will keep other persons from posting or tagging you in incriminating photos or posts.
  2. If you absolutely cannot live without social networking, please keep the following tips in mind:
    1. Change your password: Your soon to be ex-spouse may know your password and log into your social networking site in an attempt to get damaging information on you. Change it! This will keep your private messages and post safe from prying eyes.
    2. Privacy Settings: Use the most restrictive privacy settings as possible to make sure that only your friends and people your trust are able to view your posts. Limit your profile so that you must approve posts and tagged pictures or check-ins before it is published on your wall for all to see.  But remember that privacy settings aren’t foolproof and social networking sites change their policies frequently; post as if that the last person you would want to be viewing your information is still able to do so.
    3. Beware of your “friends”: Your friends may unwittingly share a photo or post that could be damaging toward you and your pending divorce. Or a friend who is still close with your spouse may forward incriminating screenshots or photos gleaned from your page. Keep that in mind while posting on any social networking site.
    4. Think before you post: Once something has been posted on the Internet it cannot be recovered. Just because you deleted a post doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been saved as a screenshot or that it can’t be recovered through the discovery process. Don’t post angry rants about your spouse or photos of you with a beer in your hand while posing with your new significant other. Anything you post can be used against you, so think before you post!

Information from your social networking sites is discoverable under Texas law. Facebook has made it easier than ever for users to download a PDF copy of their entire profile and more divorce attorneys than ever are requesting that information during divorce proceedings. Realize that what you post on the internet could have very real consequences on the outcome of your divorce.

The Houston Divorce Attorneys at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC are knowledgeable about the impact social networking sites can have on your divorce. Please contact them with any concerns or questions you might have.

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.

Now that you have been served with an Original Petition for Divorce, you are the “Respondent” in your divorce case. As the Respondent, it is crucial that you act as soon as possible to protect yourself and avoid having a default judgment taken against you.
Once you have been served you have roughly 20 days to file an answer and make an appearance in your divorce suit. If you fail to make an appearance within the allowed time period, your spouse can go forward with a Default hearing, where often they are granted everything they request in divorce court. This means they can be awarded property and rights related to your children that you are entitled to (Child Custody).

It is important that you get an answer on file with the Court as soon as possible. You may also take the opportunity to file a counterclaim, which is the legal document where you get to request your own relief from the Divorce Court. You may also request a temporary orders hearing if your spouse failed to do so in their original pleadings.
You may not want to divorce your spouse or you may think that your refusal to comply with the legal process will prevent them from getting a divorce. A refusal to appear in court or to sign any documents will not prevent a divorce from occurring; it will just prevent you from having your rights adequately represented. Don’t be mistaken by thinking you can prevent your spouse from getting a divorce, be proactive and protect your rights.

Don’t sign anything without first consulting with a competent Houston divorce attorney. Your spouse may ask you to sign a “Waiver of Service,” which may include language that allows a case to be considered by the Court without any further notice to you. This can also result in a default judgment being taken against you. It’s important to know what you’re signing and protect your rights, consult with a family law attorney who can advise you on how to proceed in your divorce.

For the reasons stated above it is imperative you meet with a competent Houston divorce attorney to go over your rights and options as soon as you have been served. Being served with divorce papers can be an upsetting experience and many people don’t know what step to take next. How you respond to being served will guide the rest of your divorce proceedings so it’s important you start off on the right foot.

Your first action item is to contact a highly qualified Houston Divorce Attorney Mary E. Ramos. She can help you take the correct first step after being served and protect you and your assets during the divorce process.

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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