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Posted on in Divorce

Bacalis, TX military lawyerIf you or your spouse is serving in the U.S. military, or has done so in the past, you know that military life can differ from civilian life in many significant ways. If you decide to divorce, virtually all aspects of the process, from the division of assets to determining child custody arrangements, will be handled somewhat differently than if you were both civilians—especially if either of you are still serving.

The Jurisdiction Question

Normally, a Texas court maintains personal jurisdiction over a divorce action when one or both spouses have resided in Texas for at least six months (and for at least 90 days in the county where the divorce action was filed.) This is also true in military divorces, but it is important to keep in mind that serving while keeping a permanent address in Texas is considered maintaining residence in the state. However, in order for a court to have jurisdiction over an active military spouse, the serving spouse must be served with a copy of the action and summons, so there is no question as to their knowledge of the proceedings. In the past, it was not uncommon for a service member to come home and discover that their spouse had divorced them without their knowledge!

It is also possible under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (50 USC 521) to postpone the proceeding for the entire length of a service member’s tour of active duty plus an additional 60 days if the proceeding is likely to be difficult and complex. It is in the discretion of the civilian court to decide whether or not to do so, but it is often granted, especially in times of war and elevated military conflict.

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Posted on in Divorce

Tarrant County divorce lawyerIn a world where access to information is as easy as typing a few search terms into your smartphone, it is rather surprising that so much misinformation about divorce continues to circulate. Some of the misconceptions may be attributed to long-held beliefs that can be difficult to change while others were once true but are not anymore. For example, you may have heard one or more of the following.

Divorce Myth #1: Half of Marriages End in Divorce

This common statement is not an accurate depiction of the actual divorce rate in the United States. It comes from a flawed comparison of the per capita rate of marriages and divorces in a particular year. Comparing the number of marriages against the number of divorces for any given year will result in skewed data. For example, some of the divorces that occur this year involve marriages that began 30, 40, or even 50 years prior—in other words, more than two generations ago. The actual divorce rate is closer to 40 percent than 50 percent, and it is markedly lower among younger couples.

Divorce Myth #2: Divorce Is Bad for Children

 Many couples make the mistake of “staying together for the children.” Research has repeatedly shown that doing so is often not in the best interests of the child. If a couple stays together but is often fighting, arguing, or giving each other the silent treatment, this can be very psychologically damaging to the child. If the atmosphere in the home is tense and unloving, a divorce may actually help the child to thrive. Children are very resilient, and if they are given love and guidance, studies suggest that it does not matter if that love comes from two separate households.

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Hurst divorce mediation lawyersTexas state law encourages parents to handle legal disputes using methods that allow for peaceful resolution. One of the best ways to peacefully get divorced is by using the help of an experienced divorce mediator. You may choose to use a lawyer who is also a mediator, or a mediator who is a marriage counselor, social worker, or psychologist. That is up to you. However, even if you and your spouse are committed to resolving your divorce through mediation, it is still important to have a Texas divorce attorney representing you. Here is why. 

An Attorney Gives You Legal Advice and Representation

While a mediator is essential for helping feuding spouses identify where they are in conflict and prioritizing resolutions to their problems, a mediator cannot offer legal advice to either spouse and cannot prioritize the well-being of one spouse over the other. This means a mediator may suggest a resolution that is decidedly against your best interests. Without the advice of an attorney who is looking out for you, you may agree to something that would put you at a significant disadvantage in the long term. 

An attorney who will help you with the mediation process should be equally committed to helping you avoid court litigation. She should be able to provide you with consultations as needed. However, she should also be able to advise you about the limits of the law and provide warnings when mediation may not be working to your benefit. 

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Tarrant County divorce lawyerIf you heard someone knocking on your door and answered it to find a sheriff or process server standing on your porch holding a packet with a divorce petition in it, you may have been caught off guard. Perhaps you knew your relationship was not doing so well, but you never formally agreed to divorce or expected notice to come like this. 

It is common for spouses who have been surprised with divorce papers to feel shock, anger, hurt, denial, or all of the above. In addition to these feelings, you may also worry that, in taking action first, your spouse has permanently secured the upper hand in your divorce. Fortunately, this is not true and you do not have to figure out how to respond to your spouse’s divorce papers alone. Read this blog for an overview of what to do if you have been served with divorce papers, and then contact a Texas divorce attorney who can help you take decisive action. 

What Do I Need to Look for in a Divorce Petition? 

For many people, one of the most frustrating aspects of getting a divorce is the confusing legal language and forms that seem to never end. You may have scanned over your divorce petition, unsure of what to look for or what certain parts of it mean. 

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Tarrant County divorce attorneyAn important step in any divorce is determining where you can file your divorce petition. Every state has strict requirements detailing whether someone is considered a resident for the purposes of filing for divorce. Having children can change your eligibility in one state or another, and some people may even have more than one option for filing. If you live in Texas - especially if you have recently moved here from another state - it is important to understand residency requirements so you know where to file for divorce. 

Texas Divorce Residency Requirements 

Texas requires people wanting to file for divorce to have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months immediately preceding filing the divorce petition. Further, residents who meet this requirement must have lived in the county in which they want to file for divorce for at least 90 days. If your spouse has lived in Texas for at least six months, you can file for divorce in Texas even if you do not live here. 

If you are a Texas resident but have been out of state for travel related to public service, such as members of the U.S. Armed Forces or government employees, or are a spouse of someone who has had to travel out of state for public service, you are still considered a resident of Texas in the same county in which you lived prior to your public service travel. 

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