Billings Law provides you with superior legal representation
Billings Law combines skill with sensitivity to guide you through the entire legal process of your divorce. We work hard to resolve cases quickly and efficiently so that you can begin to move forward with your life without further emotional or financial damage. Although we try to achieve your desired outcome without resorting to litigation, we have consistently achieved excellent results when litigation becomes necessary.
We recognize the financial, emotional and legal complexity of the divorce process. Technically, divorce is defined as “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.” That said, anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the division of finances, assets and property represent only a small percentage of the divorce process. Divorce is more than a legal process. It is a major life transition with many complexities. People are not always functioning at their most rational level. Billings Law recognizes the intensely emotional nature of divorce and utilizes experts from various fields to maximize your likelihood of achieving your desired outcome. (e.g., psychologists, social workers, CPAs, forensic accountants, financial advisors).
In addition to handling child custody issues the Law Office of Patricia Billings handles the following issues related to marriage and divorce:
To have a common law marriage in Texas, you and your partner must: (i) agree to be married; (ii) “hold yourself out” to other people as spouses, meaning that you represent to other people or behave in such a manner as to cause others to believe you are legally married; and (iii) live together, like spouses, in the state of Texas. If the court makes a finding that a common law marriage exists between two people, the common law marriage has the same legal consequences as a ceremonial marriage. This means that you would have to file for divorce if and when the marriage ends just as you would if you had a ceremonial marriage.
Texas recognizes the validity of both pre and post marital agreements. A pre-marital agreement (prenup) is made between two people before they enter into a marriage. In general, prenups control, among other things, the division of property, rights to alimony and the rights to the death benefit of a life insurance policy. Child custody and child support cannot be determined by a prenup. A post marital agreement (postnup) is a written agreement entered into after a couple gets married. Postnups focus primarily on the assets and other financial concerns during the marriage or in the event of a divorce.
In Texas, annulment is also referred to as declaring a marriage “void.” Annulment and divorce are different. Divorce ends a valid marriage. Annulment ends a marriage that should not have been valid to begin with. In Texas, grounds for annulment of a marriage are: incest, bigamy, if one of the parties was underage, intoxication, impotence, fraud, duress or force.
During a divorce, the marital estate will be divided according to Texas community property law. In a divorce, Texas presumes that all property owned by the spouses is community property and can be divided by the courts. That said, for couples with complex estates, property division in Texas divorce cases can be very complicated. Some issues that may arise include: (i) what happens if one spouse had separate property that earned income during the marriage; (ii) what happens if one spouse had an inheritance prior to the marriage but spent it during the marriage on shared assets; (iii) the division of business ownership; and (iv) the division of pensions.
The world’s fascination with the wealthy elite can add fuel to the fire in a high net worth/high profile divorce. When significant assets are involved, the process is usually longer, more contentious and more complicated. Determining the value of the different types of assets (investment, real estate, intellectual property, companies, etc.) and whether assets are separate or jointly owned requires much work and can often lead to drawn out court battles.
Military divorce is similar to civilian divorce in Texas in many ways. If a member of the military’s primary county of residence is in Texas and they have been deployed elsewhere, Texas retains jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings in most situations. In terms of dividing up the marital property, the same rules that apply to civilians apply to members of the military. The major exception is that the divorcing couple must have been married for at least ten years when the military member was on active duty in order for a dependent spouse to receive any disbursement from the military retirement account.
Ceremonious Marriage, Common Law Marriage, Adoption and Divorce: In Texas same-sex couples are afforded the rights to enter into ceremonious marriages and common law marriages under the same conditions as heterosexual couples. Furthermore, same-sex couples may adopt children. Finally, same-sex couples can seek and obtain divorces in the same way heterosexual couples do.
The three most common times that a party wants a name change are: (1) when he/she gets married; (2) when he/she gets divorced; and (3) the name change for a minor child.
Alimony is the most commonly used term for a regular payment one spouse makes to another after a divorce. The spouses may agree to alimony or the court may order it. In Texas, there is a presumption against awarding spousal support absent a showing of mental or physical disability on the part of the spouse seeking alimony. Even when courts grant alimony, they do so for the shortest amount of time necessary. The court may also order, or the party may request, periodic hearings to ensure that the circumstances haven’t changed.
Sometimes, procedural errors at the trial court level warrant appeals. You may appeal any family law decision, whether it involves custody, child support or the division of property. It is important to note, however, that it is very difficult to win on appeal since you must prove that there was an abuse of discretion by the court that decided your case.