It is important to understand that the juvenile system differs somewhat from the adult criminal system. One of the main differences at the outset of the case is that it is up to the Judge to determine whether the arrested and detained juvenile will remain in custody or go home with their custodian/parent(s). Youth are not able to “bond out” in the same manner adults do. It is important to make sure your youth is represented from the initial detention hearing and going forward.
I represent juveniles in misdemeanors, felonies and expunctions.
A juvenile misdemeanor is a lesser charge than a felony but may have serious repercussions attached. Some charges that fall under a misdemeanor are bullying, assault and battery, theft, and trespassing and drug possession.
A juvenile felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor and may alter the course of their life forever. The consequences of receiving a felony charge can interfere with being accepted into certain schools, going to the military or finding employment.
That may be an exaggeration. But divorce in a community property state can be complex. The emotional turmoil that couples face is only one part of the equation. Dividing the tangible assets acquired while married is a factor as well. It is easy to feel that one side is receiving an unfair portion of property but doubly so when one is surprised to learn that in Texas family court, property division has strong guidelines. By understanding the rules that courts in Texas use for property division, each side can minimize unpleasant surprises.
In Texas, a divorce follows a fairly straightforward process trajectory beginning with separation and ending in a final decree which outlines what the court deems to be the correct division of assets and post-divorce responsibilities by both parties. One of the points where complexity arises is from the facts surrounding what is community property and what is not. The definition of community property is very broad and even counterintuitive if you look strictly at external appearance of the documents that describe different types of property.
Community property in Texas is defined as:
Sec. 3.002. COMMUNITY PROPERTY. Community property consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.
Sec. 3.003. PRESUMPTION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY. (a) Property possessed by either spouse during or on dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property.
(b) The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence.
So, unless certain specific criteria are met, any property acquired by either spouse during a marriage is community property. Also, most debts acquired by either spouse are community debts. This can seem counter intuitive at times. For example, a home whose title is in the name of only one spouse, if purchased while married, is still considered community property and, in the event of a divorce, will be factored into the list of assets that will be divided in the decree. This brings us to an important point about community property. Many people assume that community property will be divided evenly between the two parties. This isn’t necessarily the case.
The judge in a divorce proceeding has latitude in assigning how much each spouse can receive in the judgement. First, if one spouse is the primary cause for the divorce because of infidelity, cruelty, conviction of a felony, legal abandonment, living apart for more than three years or if one of the spouses has been confined to a mental institution, the innocent spouse could receive a larger monetary portion of the community property. In addition, a judge could favor a spouse with considerably less potential earning power, poor health or other factors by giving that spouse a larger share of the community property to assist that spouse in supporting him or herself, post-divorce.
It is very important to understand how all of the elements of a particular situation can affect the outcome of a divorce. However, the unfortunate reality is that most people that find themselves negotiating the twists and turns of the legal system are ill-prepared to know what the best strategy is. The section of the Texas Family Code that just defines the basic rules of Community Property is 23 pages and almost 4500 words long.
Your only realistic choice is to retain competent legal counsel. Rogers Garcia Patton PLLC understands how overwhelming these life events can be and has even prepared a list of questions that can help you begin the process of collecting the information you will need to receive a fair outcome in your divorce. Even if you haven’t started the process and are just weighing options, it pays to go through our Divorce Information Questionnaire to give yourself an idea of some of the things you will need to know. Submit the questionnaire and we can contact you to learn more about your particular situation. We understand how difficult your situation and welcome you to reach out and let us get you the help you deserve.
US Citizen Spouses who sponsor an alien spouse for a green card in the United States should be aware of the requirements and obligations involved with the Affidavit of Support.
Sponsors of an immigrant spouse are required, during the process of gaining legal resident status to sign an Affidavit of Support. It’s one of the numerous documents involved in the process and, as with many documents of this nature, has details that are quite easy to over look. Read more
Divorce changes lives and that is scary. Whether you have children to care for or are concerned with the financial uncertainty of post-divorce life, we are here to answer your questions so that you do what is best for you and your family. It is our goal to come up with solutions and not endless legal battles to ensure that you have a secure and stable future.
A person in Texas can seek a divorce on fault grounds (like adultery, abuse, abandonment) or no fault grounds at all. It is our goal to resolve your divorce as quickly and inexpensively as possible without sacrificing anything you are entitled to or giving in on your rights. If you find yourself facing the prospect of a divorce and you would like to know your options, call RGP today for a confidential consultation.
When a married couple mutually agrees that it is time to call it quits, the divorce process becomes simplified. For those that are lucky enough to remain on good terms through the divorce, RGP can assist you in completing the necessary paperwork to make the divorce official in a cost-effective and efficient manner. We can work out the issues with informal settlement conferences or mediation. RGP will work amicably with you and your spouse to ensure a smooth and inexpensive divorce process.
If you think that an uncontested divorce is right for you, we can help. Contact RGP today for a consultation.
Complex Asset Division
In a divorce one of the most important issues is dividing all of the property, assets, and debts that a married couple has accumulated over the years. These assets may include stock options, bonds, mineral rights, family businesses, retirement plans, and pensions. Some of these assets can be hard to valuate, causing conflict between the parties. We can help with business valuations, appraisers, and experts who can determine the value of these complex assets.
Under the Family Code, assets accumulated during a marriage is to be divided in a “just and right manner.” In practice, this often ends up being a fifty-fifty split, but judges are not required to split the property equally. In fact, judges may take into account a number of factors in determining what a “just and right” division should be in a particular case. Some of those factors are:
If a lot of these factors break in the direction of one party over another, the division of assets can be unequal. Every case is unique. To see how this applies to your life, call RGP to set up a consultation today.
Divorce With Children
When the marriage ends and there are children involved, Texas law requires that the divorce court determine child custody as well. This adds an extra level of complexity to an already difficult case.
This means that the divorce case must solve issues like who will make the decisions for the children, where will they live primarily, how much visitation will each parent have, how much child support should be ordered, and who will pay the child’s health insurance. Our aim will be to reach a custody agreement instead of endless court battles, leaving the decision up to a judge.
Protecting the best interests of your children is your number one priority, so it is ours too. We understand the complexities of a divorce that includes children and have the tools to navigate the complex legal landscape of such a case. If you would like to discuss the options for your children in the case of a divorce, call RGP today.
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With the prevalence of social media, we’ve seen a variety of changes throughout our culture today. From politics to our professional lives, everyone has to answer for the things that they put on the Internet through various social media accounts. Unsurprisingly, social media has also changed the landscape of divorce. Read more
Prenuptial agreements can be the right thing for a couple with complex assets or for individuals who are business owners with employees counting on the continuity of the company.
A prenuptial agreement must meet certain legal requirements to be enforceable in Texas. Those requirements are:
Although prenuptial agreements can seem in bad taste or overly distrustful, there are instances where they make sense and can offer a measure of security for both parties. If you are interested in a prenuptial agreement, contact our attorneys today for a consultation.
Adoption is a legal process where a child becomes part of a family other than the one of their natural birth. This process terminates the rights of the biological parents so that the adoptive family can gain possessory and managing conservatorship over the child in order to become the child’s legal parent(s). The adoption process is lengthy and takes time and patience by all parties involved.
There are other adoption alternatives that are available such as step-parent adoptions, third party interveners for possessory or managing conservatorship, and guardianship that may be more feasible options depending on the desired outcome and family situation. I educate clients on the adoption process and possible alternatives making sure everyone is aware of what the process entails.
Adoption is a wonderful process and provides opportunities for children and adults to create loving bonds and experience the joys of being part of a family.
Every child should have a forever family. Assisting a step-parent, foster parent, grandparent, or other individual in adopting a child and cementing that child’s forever family is one of the most rewarding experiences in the practice of law. We want to make this process simple and enjoyable for you.
At RGP, it would be our honor to take you through the adoption process, so that your child can make a seamless transition to becoming a permanent member of your family. If you are seeking assistance with adoption in South Texas, please contact us to set up a free consultation today.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence, or fear that you may be in the near future, it is critical that you speak to an attorney about a protective order. A protective order can prohibit a spouse from coming within a certain distance of you or your child and prohibit any and all direct communication. The subject of a protective order can face criminal penalties, including jail time, if he or she violates the order.
Domestic violence is a serious issue. Please contact us immediately if you need protection.
Things change. Your child support order should reflect your changing circumstances. In Texas, you are able to modify an order of child support if there has been a “material and substantial” change in the circumstances of a parent or a child. For a parent, this could include a recent job change, illness, or other unforeseen event in your life. The courts can also modify your child support order if it has been 3 years since the order was put in place and the amount of support under today’s law would be different by $100 or 20%.
If you would like your child support order to be evaluated, call RGP and set up a consultation today.
Rogers Garcia Patton, PLLC
310 S St Mary's St #865
San Antonio, TX 78205