Family Law and the Process of Getting Divorced After Fifty

family lawIf you are considering a divorce, call our family law office to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.  Every couple and family is unique and so is their divorce. While it may only take a day to get married, getting divorced can take months and is far more complicated.  While it is common to think that divorcing couples are typically younger, there is a rising trend among the over fifty crowd to get a divorce.  If you are in this category, we recommend seeking guidance since it can be more complicated than it seems.

In those over fifty, we have found that it typically isn’t a monumental event that triggers divorce but simply a desire to bring the relationship to a close.  If you and your spouse are getting along but don’t want to be married, you may be able to resolve your divorce through mediation.  This is often a good solution for those over fifty, especially if you have been together for a long time and know how to compromise with each other.  Mediation is a non-binding method for reaching an agreement on how to divide assets and debts.  Since it is non-binding, there is no real risk of trying mediation.  Each party attends with their attorney and negotiates back and forth until a solution is reached.  Very often, small things like household furniture are divided first.  Then you can move onto the cars, homes, bank accounts, etc.  The benefit of mediation is that you can focus on what you can agree on first. This can allow you both to get into the spirit of compromise which can often help in resolving some of the larger issues.

When you do reach an agreement, those items will be written up in a document that each party can sign.  If there are things that you can’t agree on, you can try mediation a second time or have them decided by a judge in court.  As a family law office, we can represent you both in mediation and in the courtroom so that regardless of how the divorce plays out, we can help you to get through it.

One issue that the fifty and older crowd often struggle with is how to divide retirement assets.  Regardless of whether one spouse was working or both, this can be a complicated issue.  Even if the account is in one persons’ name, there is a case to be made that the account was possible due to the support of the other party.  We can review all of your assets and your retirement accounts in order to make a recommendation as to the best way to divide them.  If you have liquid assets that can be used to buy one party out of the retirement accounts, it can be easier.  If not, we may have to come up with a creative way for how to distribute payments down the road.  Regardless of how complex your financial situation is, we can help you to sort through it in our family law office.

What You Need to Know About Family Law and Common Law Marriage in Texas

Family LawWhile practicing family law, many people ask us questions about Common Law marriage, when it applies and what it means for couples.  Every state has different definitions and laws that define what makes a marriage, so it is important to understand what the regulations are for this state.  At times, people are considered legally married without even knowing it.

Here are answers to commonly asked questions:

I am living with someone.  Does that make us married?
According to the state of Texas, you may be. The answer depends on whether or not you are living together in a romantic “marriage” relationship or if you are simply roommates. Additionally, you need to tell people that you are married or introduce each other in that way.

I call my girlfriend my wife.  Does that make us married?
If you are living together and frequently use that term for each other, the law may consider you to actually be husband and wife.  If you don’t intend to marry your partner, you need to make it clear that your relationship is not a marriage relationship but a dating one. You must also agree to be married so if that conversation has never come up, you could be considered single. This can be confusing so if you are unsure if you are married or not, consult with an expert in family law.

If we apply for credit together are we married?
Potentially.  You still need to meet the other conditions such as living together, telling people you are married and agreeing to be married.  If you apply for credit together and check the box for being married without verbally introducing each other as such, that could still meet that aspect of the criteria.

Is there a timeframe for how long we need to live together first?
No, in the state of Texas, you can be married under Common Law by meeting the three key provisions even if you just started living together.  This is the one aspect that confuses a lot of people that move from out of state as many other states require couples to live together for several years or longer.

What happens if we want to break up?
Couples that are considered to be married under Common Law have to go through the divorce process just like married couples do.  This is a real surprise for people that never anticipated this. If the state believes you are married, based on your actions, you need to go through the entire process. That means you have to meet certain criteria in order to “divorce”, regardless of whether or not you knew you were married. This includes living apart for three years, abandonment for a year or longer, one person being confined to a mental hospital, cruelty or a felony conviction.  If you prove one of these factors, you may qualify for a divorce.

If you are unsure about the current status of your relationship, schedule an appointment.  We will review your situation and discuss the family law with you so that you know how to proceed and what your legal options are.

Family Law and How to Win in Your Divorce Case

Family LawIf you are getting divorced, it is important to know that family law can be complicated. Not only are their legal issues involved but emotions are also high. This can make the entire process stressful and overwhelming.  To top it off, most people want to win in their divorce case and you should considering that it has the ability to impact the rest of your life.

The Taylor Law Firm, PLLC helps people throughout the Henderson area that are going through a divorce.  There are several things that you can do before and during your case that will increase your chances of winning and getting the outcome that you desire.  Here is what you need to know.

  • Try counseling.  If you and your spouse can repair your marriage, it will prevent you from going through the process and dealing with the challenges that are created by being divorced.  If your relationship is not repairable, perhaps there is an opportunity to end it amicably.
  • Speak with a lawyer first.  You and your spouse may have discussed divorce for a while but have not done anything to move the process forward.  Before you make it clear that you are moving ahead, schedule a consultation with an expert in family law.  There may be certain things that you need to do to protect yourself ahead of time.  For example, you never know if your spouse will react by trying to immediately close down your credit cards, remove your name from the bank account, etc.  By creating a strategy ahead of time, you can protect yourself and your assets while positioning you for the win.
  • Know what you want.  If you know what you want out of your divorce, this will help you to achieve it.  You should make a list of the “must haves” and “don’t really care about” items.  Divorce typically involves a high level of negotiations and giving your attorney a list of these items will help them to do a better job of negotiating on your behalf.
  • Set a custody schedule you can live with.  When you and your spouse separate, the custody schedule you set may not be as temporary as you think.  Courts tend to stick with the status quo so don’t agree to a schedule, even temporarily that you don’t want to live with in the long run.  Your attorney can help you create a strategy for getting the custody arrangement that you want.
  • Work with a CPA.  There are many financial ramifications of divorce and working with a CPA can help you to plan for them.  Untangling assets is easier if you understand what you have and the tax consequences associated with your actions.
  • Try mediation.  Your divorce lawyer can mediate on your behalf to try and reach resolution on some or all of the issues in your divorce.  When you mediate (negotiate) with your spouse you retain more control over the process and outcome then if you go to court.  In court, the judge is in complete control and you never know what the outcome will be.

Hiring an expert in family law is important.  If you are getting a divorce call The Taylor Law Firm, PLLC at (903) 392-2275 to schedule your consultation.