Secret accounts, messages from strangers and reconnecting with old flames have all been made very easy with social media. Throughout my years as a paralegal, I have seen Facebook and social media as a factor in the demise of many relationships. Facebook Divorce Statistics According to FindLaw, “Information found on popular social networking sites has given divorce lawyers new tools in their divorce toolkits. Facebook and other sites are changing the legal landscape in divorce and child custody cases.” FindLaw reports that two-thirds of U.S. lawyers say Facebook is the primary source of evidence used in divorce cases. During a divorce or child custody case, your social media account is fair game. In fact, more often than not, opposing attorneys will request a complete download of the opposing party’s Facebook archive. This archive includes all those secret messages you thought you deleted and anything you’ve ever put on Facebook. This information can then be used [...]
Texas Family Law does not mandate a 50-50 division of property in a divorce. Under Texas Family Law, the Court is charged with a duty to divide marital property in a manner that is “just and right.” Appellate Courts find in some divorces that 80-20 property division is “just and right.” Depending on the size of the estate, we see disproportionate property divisions falling in the range between 51 percent and 60 percent quite often. Under Texas Family Law, a divorcing spouse may be entitled to a disproportionately larger share of the community estate depending on the facts of that particular case. Each case is unique and one of the primary factors the Court considers in making a disproportionate property division is disparity in earning capacity. If one party has an earning capacity of $150,000 per year and the other can earn only $30,000 per year, the Court may very well grant a disproportionately larger [...]
The Texas Legislature closed the 2017 session on May 29. Several laws were passed that affect Texas Family Law. Here is one small – yet important – child custody change in the statute that governs modification of an order for the Conservatorship, Support, or Possession and Access to a Child. Temporary Orders in a Suit to Modify Primary Conservatorship What the new language states is that – in cases where no parent has been granted the exclusive right to determine the child’s primary residence (primary conservatorship) – a court may not create a temporary order that has the effect of granting one parent this exclusive right. And also, no temporary order may be created that has the effect of changing or eliminating the geographic area within which a parent must maintain the child’s primary residence. This new language does provide for an exception when the temporary order is in the best interest of the child [...]
Texas Family Law Changes in the 85th Texas Legislature The Texas Legislature closed its biannual session for 2017. Although a Special Session may be called by Governor Abbott, it will not affect any Family Law issues. The Legislature did pass several bills that impact Texas Family Law. Here is one. Child Custody Evaluation The statute dealing with Child Custody Evaluations was revised this year. A significant change now offers more protection to child custody evaluators from being liable for civil damages arising out of the evaluator’s actions, recommendations made or opinion given in their capacity as a child custody evaluator. These protections have been in place for a guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem, and amicus attorneys for some time now. Finally those protections have been extended to evaluators. As anyone who has ever been involved in a child custody case knows, someone is always unhappy with the conclusions in a child custody evaluation. Many [...]
We encourage you to consult your decree or final possession orders; send desired summer possession period in writing before April 1
84th Texas Legislature Begins January 13, 2015 The Texas Legislature will convene on Tuesday, January 13 and run through June 1, 2015. The Law Office of Chris A. Spofford will watch the topics related to Texas Family Law and provide legislative updates and insight to our friends and clients about the 2015 Texas legislative session. As always, it is our commitment to be proactive in protecting our clients’ interests under Texas Family Law, which will continually evolve at the legislature and in the courts.
The Texas Legislature made changes in 2011 that impact many in the area of Texas Family Law. All of these Texas Family Law updates are now in effect: Termination of parental rights by a father after DNA testing New “fraud on the community” statute Protective orders enforced anywhere in Texas without transfer Guidelines for ordering possession for children under three years Spousal maintenance orders Voluntary termination of parental rights for men mistakenly adjudicated a child’s biological father. Senate Bill 785, codified into §161.005 of the Texas Family Code and effective as of September 1, 2011, now enables a man who has been adjudicated by the court to be the father of a child, or who willingly executed an affidavit of paternity believing he was the father, to terminate his parental rights after learning that he is not the biological father of a child. Note that a petition to terminate parentage under this [...]
In addition to the changes I discussed in my earlier blog entitled “Texas Family Law changes by the Texas Legislature in 2011,” significant revisions were made to the Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) statute by the Texas Legislature in 2011. In 1997, the Texas Legislature passed the first Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) statute under Texas Family Law. Until 2011, that statute remained basically unchanged. They made up for that in 2011. The primary changes cover: duration of the spousal maintenance order doubling the maximum spousal maintenance available a definition of gross income for purposes of determining the amount of spousal maintenance additional clarifications about suing for overpayment, ability to pay and justification for granting spousal maintenance Duration of a Maintenance Order The most significant change was to increase the maximum duration of a spousal maintenance order. In the old statute, maintenance could not be ordered for more than three years, regardless of the length of the [...]
2011 was a busy session for the Texas Legislature, with legal changes that will affect many in the area of Texas Family Law. There are a few items of higher significance and this Blog will address these four areas: paternal rights, community property, protective orders, child custody.