Monday, April 25, 2016

Should you Refinance your Home after your Divorce?

If you have gotten a divorce and you were awarded the home in your final decree, you may want to consider refinancing it.

There are times when doing so makes good sense.  Here are some of the benefits that you may receive from a refinance:

  1. You can help build your own credit.
  2. You can cut one more "tie" with your ex-spouse and move on to your own life.
  3. What you are doing about repaying the loan stays private between you and the lender and is not available to your spouse's eyes. 
  4. "Bookkeeping" is easier (for local property taxes, federal taxes and credits, potential sale of the home) because you will be the only owner. 
  5. You may be able to get better terms on your loan or even get cash out of the refinance in certain situations. 
Whether or not this would be a good option for you depends on your personal situation, but it is worth investigating. 

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Uncontested Divorce... or Not?

There is a lot of confusion about the term "uncontested divorce".

"Uncontested divorce" is sometimes used to mean "a divorce that has an agreement at the end of it, rather than a trial".  In that sense, it is used to mean a "cooperative divorce". However, just because there isn't a trial, that does not mean that the divorce is uncontested.

"Uncontested divorce" can also be used by some people to mean "no fault divorce". In this type of divorce, the parties do not assign fault to each other in the court paperwork. They simply say that they have "irreconcilable differences". But a divorce can be "no fault" and still  not be "uncontested" if the parties don't agree in advance on just one thing. (amount of support, who gets the car, visitation times, and so on.)

The true and completely uncontested divorce is one in which both parties AGREE on ALL the terms of the divorce and have already reached their own agreement about the split of property and debts as well as child support and visitation.   Sometimes the parties will even come to the initial legal consultation appointment together.    Although Texas law does not allow both parties to be represented by only one attorney, the true uncontested divorce features cooperation, information sharing, and an agreement that the spouses have reached on their own.

In a true uncontested divorce, the spouse who is the Respondent (the one who is not filing the initial petition) does not need to be served because s/he is happy to sign a waiver of service. If the respondent spouse later changes his or her mind and decides not to sign the waiver then the divorce is not uncontested.  An attorney cannot force a reluctant spouse to sign a waiver!

A family law attorney can help you with any of these situations.   If you have a "true uncontested divorce", you will want to write down the details of the agreement between you and your spouse and bring it to you consultation appointment with the attorney.    Having a divorce that is well-thought out in advance and truly uncontested can help save legal fees and emotional wear and tear on the family. Your family law attorney can prepare and file the paperwork and guide you through the process.

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Do you really have to take the Parenting Course?

If you have a pending divorce and you and your spouse have children together, you may have already been told that you have to attend a parenting class.  They are technically called "Parent Education and Family Stabilization Courses".

At a time when people feel overwhelmed by circumstances and changes, they are often unhappy to learn that they must take this class. Yes, it is required by a provision in the Texas Family Code. A party who does not take the class when required to do so may find that it affects their right to be appointed as managing conservator of a child, or affects their visitation.  A judge may even postpone signing the final order of divorce until both parties present evidence that they have completed the course.

The good news is this.  You may be able to take it online. Another piece of good news; clients often tell us that they dreaded taking it, but ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

Before you invest your time and money in a course, make sure that it is one that is approved by the divorce courts in your county.

Oh, by the way, don't forget to turn in your certificate to your attorney or to the court to show that you completed it prior to the final hearing.

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference." For Over Thirty Years.
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