Category Archives: Houston Divorce Blog

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Cost of Divorce

Many couples do an online search to find out what is the average cost of divorce in the state of Texas. What they find could be alarming because a divorce can be costly particularly if the couple cannot come to an agreement. It is not wise for a couple to enter into the divorce process without legal counsel and each spouse will need their own attorney. When you add in the hourly fees, court costs and paperwork, the average cost of divorce will add up to a large amount. It is not cheap to get a divorce.

Most couples that get married never believe that their marriage will end up in divorce. It is an unfortunate fact that many marriages will come to an end. This type of action is best served with the help of qualified divorce attorneys. While a couple may first think that they can’t afford an attorney, it is unwise to go to court without one. The cost of divorce is higher when attorneys are hired, however, it is money well spent in the end because an attorney will advocate for their clients both in and out of the courtroom.

A divorce attorney in Texas is going to work for their client. They will help them file the initial petition and also walk them through other aspects of the divorce. The assets and debts will have to be divided up as well as personal property. Child support and custody arrangements will have to be agreed upon if there are children. Parenting classes will have to be attended by both parents as well. An attorney will help their clients sort through all of the requirements so that it is all done according to the law and on time.

When a couple wants to find out what is the average cost of divorce in Texas , they need to add the fees of a qualified attorney to the calculations. An attorney is going to help their client navigate the legal system as it pertains to their circumstances. This is not going to be an easy process or a cheap one. Divorce is messy and expensive but it can be less burdensome with the help of experienced legal representation.

Quality legal firms desire to help individuals out through any means necessary so they let you know about Texas debt collection laws through their website or schedule an initial consultation with them. You can explain the situation and they can provide legal recommendations that will assist in getting you the help you need.

Texas Family Code Sale of Homestead

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Often we receive inquiries from married couples about whether their spouse has the legal right to sell the homestead without their knowledge & consent even if the homestead belongs to their spouse prior to marriage (i.e. separate property). The simple answer is, NO. The Texas Family Code § 5.001. clearly states that, “Whether the homestead is the separate property of either spouse or community property, neither spouse may sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse except as provided in this chapter or by other rules of law.”

Before we discuss the exceptions to the aforementioned rule, let’s try to understand how homestead is defined in Texas. The relationship between homestead and Texas goes back to early 1800s to the times of Stephen F. Austin. However, the legal definition of homestead comes from the Property Code § 41.002 which defines it in terms of urban & rural home and the corresponding area. However, no distinction is made in terms of value of the property. This definition only refers to real property & fixtures and therefore cannot be applied to movable ones which are not considered as the parts of a property. Also, the distinction made between urban & rural is a matter of litigation and thus you require an experienced Family Law attorney to help you with these complex matters.

According to the Texas Family Code § 5.002., given the homestead in question constitutes a separate property of the petitioning spouse, sale of homestead could be initiated if the other spouse is judicially declared incapacitated. This is the first exception to the joinder clause given in the Texas Family Code § 5.001. The same is true even when the homestead is a part of community property (Section 5.003.).

Chapter 5 of the Texas Family Code also mentions certain unusual circumstances that qualify as exceptions to section 5.001. The petitioning spouse could proceed with the sale of homestead irrespective of whether it’s a separate or community property, if the other spouse has: disappeared and the petitioning spouse has no knowledge about his/her whereabouts, permanently abandoned the homestead in question as well as the petitioning spouse, permanently abandoned the homestead in question and the spouses also are permanently separated, or been a prisoner of war or absent from a public service of the Unites States as reported by an executive department of the United States.

Hence, if you are facing any of the problems mentioned above, you must sought legal counsel from a Family Law attorney so that you can properly file the petition keeping in mind the various time frames that must be complied with while filing the petition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

A Guide to Alimony Laws in Texas

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Alimony can be defined as a financial support provided by one spouse to the other spouse in the event of a divorce so that the other spouse could meet his/her minimum reasonable needs. However, Texas Family Code assumes that alimony is not necessary; hence, award of alimony in Texas is a rebuttable presumption in which the burden is on the spouse seeking support to prove (rebut) the need of alimony. There are three types of alimony awarded in Texas during the divorce litigation: temporary spousal support, contractual alimony, and maintenance.

Based on the facts presented, a Texas court may order a temporary spousal support for a spouse during the ongoing divorce litigation. This type of alimony differs from the other two, as there is no tax paid on this support money (income). Contractual alimony is not court ordered and the spouses themselves enter into a contract in which they agree on the duration and amount of money to be paid as alimony. As IRS treats the alimony money as income, the support seeking spouse has to pay income tax on this amount. Maintenance is the court ordered alimony which is only awarded if certain requirements are fulfilled. Like contractual alimony, income tax has to be paid on spousal maintenance also.

If the spouse seeking maintenance doesn’t have sufficient property (which includes separate property as well) to meet the minimum reasonable needs, then the court may order alimony support provided the following requirements are met:

Conviction or deferred adjudication for a criminal offense is found against the spouse (from whom maintenance is requested), which can be perceived as an act of family violence as described in the Texas Family Code (section 71.004) committed against the support seeking spouse or children of marriage in the two years prior to the filing of the divorce or during the duration of the divorce case; or

If the spouse seeking maintenance has an incapacitating physical or mental disability which impedes him/her from earning sufficient income to fulfill minimum reasonable needs, spouses in question are married for 10 years or longer with the spouse seeking maintenance not capable of fulfilling minimum reasonable needs independently, or spouse seeking maintenance has the custody of a child of the marriage (irrespective of the age) who has physical or mental disability which requires extensive care and personal supervision which hinders the custodial parent to earn enough money to fulfill his/her minimum reasonable needs.

Apart from the aforementioned requirements, the spouse seeking maintenance also has to show to the court that she/he made enough efforts to earn sufficient income and developed required skills so as to provide for her/his minimum reasonable needs during the separation & divorce litigation. The monthly amount of maintenance as given in the order is lesser of $ 5,000 or 20% of spouse’s average monthly gross income.

The duration of the maintenance also differs as it’s contingent on many factors. The court-ordered maintenance has a maximum duration of five years if the spouses were married for less than 10 years and the eligibility as discussed above is met, or the spouses were married for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years. If the spouses were married for more than 20 years but less than 30 years, then the spousal maintenance is for seven years. For more than 30 years of marriage, the duration of maintenance is ten years. However, if the maintenance is awarded on the basis of physical or mental disability of spouse seeking support or that of child as mentioned in the second point above, then the duration of the maintenance order continues till the time such disability stays.

About the Author

Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce & family law attorney,  who practices in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris and Fort Bend County Texas family law courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Michael Busby Jr. 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Houston, Texas 77057 (713) 974-1151 Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

Remembering Your Children through A Divorce

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When married couples reach a point where the relationship is no longer savable, and divorce seems to be the best option, there is a lot to think about. You’re going to need to think about how to find the best divorce lawyer in Hockley or your city. You’re going to need to split assets. Most importantly however, you’re going to need to protect your children through the entire process. Our children are the future of our country, our family, they are our future!

However, at a young age, they have incredibly fragile minds and wild emotions. Because divorce is an incredibly emotional process for everyone involved, children have no choice but to go through the emotionally draining process with their parents. Every time the parents go to the divorce lawyer in Hockley or another city, there is going to be an unsettling feeling throughout the home. As assets are divided and the family is separated, the children may not be able to comprehend what is going on.

This is where you, the parents come in. First, you need to remember that no matter how angry or upset you are with your husband or wife, or how draining the divorce process is, your child is your future, not the reason for your heartache. That being said, he or she deserves a truthful explanation. Explain that mommy and daddy just can’t seem to see eye to eye and that it has nothing to do with them. Both parents love them more than anything in the world and the divorce will never change that.

Throughout the next few years, your children are going to experience a lot. One family divided into two means that they will be visiting their mommy or daddy instead of living with them. It also means that the family home might change schools might change, and your children may need to create an entirely new social life for themselves. All of these dramatic changes will impact different children differently. However, no matter how they impact your children make sure that they know that you love them and that you are there for them every step of the way.

Another thing you’re going to need to think about is custody. Will one parent have full custody of a child and the other has visitation rights? Will both parents share joint custody of their children? If so, what percentage of the time should each parent care for the children? All of these questions need to be answered and are best answered with the help of your Hockley divorce lawyer. While making these arrangements, your lawyer will tell you to keep in mind that in most cases, the best thing for the child is to have both parents around. The only case where that is not true is when one or both parents are abusive or incompetent in a way that could slow the development of the children. So, always do what is best for your children, leaving your emotions aside!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a Divorce, Family Law, & Houston Divorce Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 



How fair are divorce laws in Houston?

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As your Houston divorce lawyer will tell you, the law envisages an ideal situation where family forms the basic unit of the society. It has therefore made it pretty difficult to divorce, while also considering the right of a spouse to terminate his/her marriage due to a number of reasons. The law feels that the divorce’s major casualty is the children involved. It has therefore devised very intricate methods of protecting the children from exposure to a problem that arises through a fault that is not of their making. The most a Houston divorce lawyer can do is to assist you get what is your equal share of your contribution to your marriage.

Divorce sort of works like the insurance industry where the insurer will seek to return you to the same position you were before the occurrence of a risk. As a party to divorce proceedings, you cannot seek to benefit from the misfortune of your spouse or that of your children. What the law seeks to do is equitably share the marital estate and reward the kids as much as possible by protecting their financial future, and emotional and physical well-being. The bottom line of any divorce proceeding to children is the eventual loss of faith in the very people who helped bring them to this world.

All divorce attorneys agree with one thing; kids should be left out of the marital problems of their parents as much as possible. However, many parents seek to use the kids to get back at their spouses. The law poses, should this be the case? It certainly should not be the case. The law thus punishes those seek to use the kids as the human shield against their spouse’s vitriol.

Whether you are trying to get a legal redress for a wrong committed against you by your spouse, your first avenue should never be a divorce. Legal experts and psychologists agree that divorce leaves more cracks than existed before its commencement. The letter and the spirit of the divorce law are for the divorcing parties to agree on as many elements of the divorce as possible. This happens to shield the kids from the acrimony that arises from court proceedings. It therefore makes the court decisions as painful as equitably and fairly possible to encourage out of court settlement

As the world gets more intolerant, divorces have increased. This was not the initial intention of the constitutional provision for divorce. It was meant as a last resort move in a marriage that could clearly not work. However, a lot of people have made a mockery of the law. It has become an industry unto itself, with some marriages lasting 12 short hours. The Houston divorce lawyer feels that the law has been abused and divorces have given a bad name to his profession. His is a profession that is supposed to help genuine cases of disagreement, emotional and physical abuse.

So are the Houston divorce laws fair? It is a question that needs further deliberations. One can only hope some repeals will come sooner than later to make the laws stricter than they already are, if they are going serve the purpose they were drafted for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a Divorce, Family Law, & Houston Divorce Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

 

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com

 

 

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If you are searching for Houston divorce lawyers or other Houston family law attorneys, consider Busby & Associates. Our firm can provide you with a divorce attorney in Houston, Texas an experienced family law attorney, who is ready to work for you. Both Michael Busby and his Attorneys appear in family court 3 to 5 days a week. We are mostly in Harris and Fort Bend County, although we appear in other counties on occasion. Please review my posts on Divorce and Family Law  Blog In  Houston Texas for useful information. The Divorce and Family Law  Blog In Houston Texas  has over 100 posts for almost every fact pattern. Please me to discuss if you have questions or do not see your fact pattern.

About the Author

I have 14 years in the family law courts of Harris County and the surrounding counties.  I typically bring a case to final trial every other week.  I have at least three mediations a week.  Also, I attend at least one temporary orders hearing in a family law matter or a divorce once a week.  Hiring an attorney can be daunting.  Typcially fees can range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands dollars.  Our prices are slightly below market and service is above local standards.  Please review my  Divorce and Family Law  Blog In Harris County, Houston, Texas   I handle cases from the simple and routine, which are very affordable to the contested child custody Jury Trial in Houston, Texas.  Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com  Busby & Associates Divorce & Family Law Information Blog In Harris County, Houston, Texas