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DIVORCE ATTORNEY COLLIN COUNTY TXWhen you’re going through a divorce, seeking counsel from an experienced divorce attorney will be one of the wisest decisions to make. By finding a divorce attorney Collin County TX trusts, you can be assured they understand that divorce proceedings can really take a toll on all members of the families involved. Even in the most amicable of divorces, spouses and their children may find it difficult to navigate life during and after the divorce. It is the job of your attorney to guide you through this process and help you understand your rights and responsibilities during a divorce, while also assisting you in making the best decisions for your family.

Divorcing Your Spouse: Where to Start

Each state has different laws that govern divorce proceedings, so it’s nothing to be ashamed about and not uncommon if you feel confused about where to start. The process of filing for a divorce certainly isn’t easy for everyone, which is why it is very beneficial to hire a divorce attorney Collin County TX has to offer.

In Texas, you can file for a divorce on the grounds that your spouse did something wrong — which is called a “fault” divorce — or you can file for a “no fault” divorce. Grounds for a fault-based divorce may include adultery, abandonment, confinement in a mental institution, or cruel treatment. No-fault divorces in Texas are based on insupportability. An experienced and board-certified divorce attorney in Collin County TX will help you determine if you should file fault or no-fault based on your situation.

What is Considered Community Property and What is Considered Separate Property

Texas is a community property state. When dividing property, the assets are split into two different categories: community and separate.

When you’re going through the divorce process, if the parties are unable to agree, the court will make a determination of what property is community and what is separate. Why is this important? Because the court can only divide the community property of the spouses. The court cannot divide a party’s separate property.

Community Property

Community property is identified as the assets and debts acquired during the marriage. These items can be divided during the divorce. Community property is not defined in the Texas Constitution, but is defined in the Texas Family Code. Case law has defined community property as any property or rights acquired by one of the spouses after marriage by toil, talent, industry or other productive faculty, and as property gained during marriage other than by gift, devise or descent that is the product of the unique, joint endeavor undertaken by the spouses. Profits made by a spouse through trade, speculation, investment or venture, whether using community or separate funds during marriage, are community property. Businesses and business interests may be community property, and thus may be divisible upon divorce, whether they are sole proprietorships, partnerships or corporations. As with other property, a spouse attempting to claim that a business interest is his or her separate property must overcome the community property presumption by tracing the origin of the interest. All property that either spouse possesses upon dissolution of the marriage is presumed to be community property. The introduction of contrary evidence ends the presumption of community property.  That does not mean that the court will divide the property fifty/fifty to each party. Texas operates under the system wherein the court determines what it considers to a just and right division of the property. This is why it is so important to be able to prove separate property; it is not subject to the just and right division of the estate by the court. Parties claiming certain property as their separate property have the burden of rebutting the presumption of community property, and to do so, they must trace and clearly identify the property in question as separate by clear and convincing evidence.

Separate Property

In general, the Texas Family Code defines a spouse’s separate property as follows: A spouse’s separate property consists of:

(1) The property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage;

(2) The property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise or descent; and

(3) The recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except for any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.

A court cannot divest a spouse of his or her separate property in dividing the marital estate upon divorce. The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is defined as that measure or degree of proof that will produce in the mind of the trier of fact, a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.  

In most divorce cases, both parties seldom completely agree on what property is separate and what property is community. By hiring a respected divorce attorney Collin County TX has relied on for years, you can get the peace of mind you and your family deserve to represent you during the court proceedings.

Avoid mixing marital property with separate property.

One key tip is not to comingle separate property with community property. For example, if you deposit your paycheck into an account that only maintains the monies you received from inheritance, you may create comingling problems. If a court makes a determination that the funds in an account are so hopelessly comingled that it cannot determine what portion of the funds are separate and community, it may decide that the funds are community property, thus dividing them as community property. If you’re at all unsure, a lawyer can explain how to keep your separate property separate.

If you’re trying to protect your premarital property during a divorce and you have questions about how to do so, you need to speak with a divorce lawyer that can understand your unique situation and protect what is rightfully and legally yours as soon as possible.

When to Hire a Divorce Lawyer

While you do not have to hire an attorney to file for divorce, trying to navigate the waters of divorce without the help of a divorce attorney Collin County TX families trust is not recommended. Again, even spouses who are willing to negotiate with each other often do not fully understand the intricacies of property division or the necessary language to include in parenting plans. In situations that are more adversarial, a qualified and experienced board certified lawyer will advocate for the best interests of you, their client, and your family. If you and your spouse cannot agree on each and every detail concerning your children or how to divide your community property, it’s advisable to hire a Collin County divorce attorney to protect your rights immediately.

Divorce Law FAQ: Tips for Divorce Court

If you do end up going to court, preparing for these proceedings can be incredibly stressful. You might be scared about saying the wrong things or worried that your spouse might try to trick you. While testifying in divorce court can definitely be nerve-wracking, knowing what to say and do can make everything a little easier.

  • Dress to Impress: Dress for the courtroom like you would for a job interview or church, or at least business casual.
  • Don’t Be Hostile Toward Your Spouse’s Lawyer: While your spouse’s attorney probably isn’t your favorite person, you shouldn’t display open hostility toward him or her. Such displays can negatively impact a judge or jury.
  • Be Careful of Your Body Language: It can be very frustrating if your spouse misrepresents facts while on the stand. However, you should resist the urge to rolls your eyes, sigh or say things under your breath. Judges and juries notice these things and will not be impressed by your behavior. Your attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine your spouse about their statements.
  • Answer the question that is asked: Listen to the question that is asked by your attorney or the other party’s attorney and answer that question. Do not try to get in additional information. Your attorney will have the opportunity to ask follow up questions as deemed necessary.

These tips are just a few common suggestions that divorce attorneys often give their clients. It’s important to remember that each case is unique and that a qualified divorce lawyer should be able to prepare you well for any courtroom proceedings.

Getting divorced is never an easy task. You can simplify things by being properly prepared. When you have any questions or concerns regarding your divorce, including what is community and/or separate property, you need not hesitate to contact your family law professional, someone that has the commitment to thoroughness, compassion and expertise you deserve.  Finding an experienced, board certified family law attorney with familiarity of the specific court your case will be held in will be extremely advantageous and beneficial to you and your family.

This information is being brought to you by Mark L. Scroggins and Scroggins Law Group, PLLC. Mr. Scroggins is one of the Collin County Texas divorce lawyers who is board certified in family law and has over 25 years of experience working with divorcing parties on which you can rely.

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