In this article, you will discover:
- The definition of community and separate debt.
- How to be approved for modification in family court.
- The costly side to DIY divorce agreements.
How Does Texas Handle The Division Of Debt In A Divorce Case?
Debt amassed during a marriage is considered community debt and will be divided equally between the parties unless there is evidence that one spouse should not be responsible for that debt. Anything accrued after the parties separate is typically considered their own separate debt.
Which Final Family Court Orders Can Be Modified In Texas?
Final orders regarding the parent-child relationship can be modified—orders that establish possession, access, etc. Apart from showing a material and substantial change in the child’s life, there is a waiting period for modification of one year from the time the order was rendered. Those seeking to modify only a child support amount must wait three years before asking for this modification.
What Must Be Proven To Approve A Modification Of A Family Court Order In Texas?
To modify a family court order, there must be factual changes that show one party has violated the order continually and in such a way that it needs to be modified. If we are looking to modify a child support order, the fact that the obligor—the person who is supposed to be paying child support—makes a whole lot more or a whole lot less money would be grounds to modify that order.
In terms of an order of custody with possession and access, that can be modified if the primary parent is completely uncooperative or has demonstrated some behavior that makes it inappropriate for that person to be the primary parent. At the same time, if there has been bad behavior or constant lack of visitation on the part of the non-custodial parent, the primary parent might ask for a modification as well.
Can The Other Party Appeal A Court Granted Modification In Texas?
When someone files a modification, there is an opportunity to answer that modification. You also are allowed to put on evidence and testimony, with at least one, if not two, hearings on the matter. You can ask for temporary orders during the modification and then final orders. The final orders would be subject to appeal to a higher court.
What Is A Pre-Nuptial Agreement Under Texas Law? What Are The Benefits?
A pre-nuptial agreement, or prenup, is when the parties agree ahead of time on how the community estate will be divided upon the dissolution of the marriage. There can also be a recognition of what’s considered separate property in that agreement. Upon divorce, there is much less to argue about in terms of how the community estate will be split.
These agreements can be contested, but there would have to be evidence of fraud or coercion when it was signed. In other words, if someone signed a prenup and wants to argue it upon dissolution of the marriage, they would have to show they were substantially and materially lied to, and they wouldn’t have signed the agreement had they known the truth. They could also argue they were forced or coerced into the agreement.
In Texas, Can I Handle My Divorce On My Own Or Should I Hire An Experienced Attorney?
Under the law, you can represent yourself in divorce, but you absolutely should not. I see folks come in often who have done an incomplete job of putting together the required details to get a good, clear, enforceable, final order. Often, they are confused, and the other party is confused. They have created a whole mess that functionally has to be completely reworked when a disagreement arises. Disagreements tend to arise more often on those orders because of the lack of clarity.
While you are permitted under the law to go pro se and represent yourself in a divorce, I never advocate that folks do this. It will be less expensive and take you less time, in the long run, to hire an experienced divorce attorney to get all those details down in writing, so everyone has clarity about how things should proceed in the future.