Social Media and Your Divorce

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The best San Antonio divorce attorneys will tell you that everything you post online can be used against you in court! Whether you are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other types of social media, you are leaving a footprint of your life out for the world to see. If you are in the middle of a divorce case or a custody case, this can have a huge impact on your divorce. As a San Antonio divorce attorney, I have used all types of social media in court. I have used social media to prove things such as infidelity, neglect of children, drug usage, and alcoholism.  It is important to think before you Tweet! If you wouldn’t want a judge to read your text, tweet, or chat room post in a courtroom, then just don’t post it!

 

Custody Cases in San Antonio

As a San Antonio divorce attorney, I handle custody cases. In my experience, every custody case is slightly different but the courts always focus on key issues. Some of those key issues I see as a San Antonio divorce attorney are:

  1. Age of the child
  2. Work schedule of parents
  3. Mental health of both parents
  4. Home environment
  5. Criminal history of both parents
  6. Involvement of both parents in the daily activities of the child prior to their break up or separation
  7. The ability of the parents to cooperate together
  8. Family Violence
  9. Drug use or alcohol abuse
  10. Reasons for each parent seeking custody

As a San Antonio Divorce Attorney, I go over all these issues with my clients as we evaluate your custody case.  If you are interested in hiring a San Antonio Divorce Attorney, please call our office for a $50.00 consult.

San Antonio Adoption

Deciding to give up your child for adoption can be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make.  Finding a family to place your child with is a decision that should not be taken lightly. As a San Antonio adoption attorney, I assist families in the adoption process. Whether you are doing a step-parent adoption, adoption through an agency, or a private adoption, we are here to help.

If you are a birth mother and you want to place your baby for adoption, you have several options as far as how you should proceed. Our law firm is available to discuss all those options with you in an initial consultation. As a San Antonio adoption attorney, we know how delicate adoption cases are and are prepared to treat you with the utmost care and dignity you deserve.

What is “full” custody in Texas?

As a San Antonio divorce attorney, I have potential clients tell me on a daily basis that they want “full” custody. I always respond that I don’t know what that means. In Texas, if you look at all of the laws regarding custody and visitation, the word “full” is never used. There is no such thing in Texas!

In Texas, most San Antonio divorce attorneys are going to tell you that our state views parental rights in 2 aspects. First, what decision making rights are you going to have over your child? Second, when are you going to have possession of your child?

With the first, we are talking about a variety of decisions such as taking your child to the doctor, what tutoring program they should attend, or whether they should be able to marry before they turn 18.  One of the most important decisions is deciding where your child lives. If you are granted the right to decide where your child lives, then that typically (but not always) coincides with you having more physical possession of your child out of the 365 days in the year. Typically, if you decide where your child lives, the other parent is the “non-custodial” parent and they have visitation. That leads to the second aspect.

With the second aspect of parenting, we are simply talking about when you and your ex are going to have visitation with your child. As a San Antonio divorce attorney, I can tell you that there are probably an infinite number of ways to set up visitation. So, we will address that in another blog.

As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, I can meet with you during an initial consult to discuss parenting plans with you. Nothing you read here should be taken as legal advice specific to your case. Every case is unique, so make sure you meet with an attorney to discuss all of your options.

A New York court permits Wife to serve husband with papers via Facebook

Whenever you initiate a divorce in Texas, you must properly serve the other party with notice of the lawsuit. In Texas, that means that you need to get the other party personally served or they need to voluntarily sign a “Waiver of Service”.

If your spouse won’t sign the Waiver of Service or you don’t want to wait for them to sign a waiver, then you need to have them served. That means that either a sheriff or a process server is going to go and hand them the papers. Sometimes it can be difficult to physically serve your spouse, ex, or former partner with the lawsuit papers. This can be because they are evading service such as they are refusing to answer the door or refusing to make contact with the process server. Other times, this can be caused because you don’t know where your spouse is or what routine they normally follow. So, if this happens, then your next option is to get permission to serve them in another way other than them being physically handed the papers. One option is to post it to the front door of their residence. Another option is to put a notification in the newspaper. To be able to use either of those options, you have to get permission from the court. When you hire a San Antonio divorce attorney he or she will be able to go through those options with you and help you more fully understand the process.

Recently, a New York judge permitted a wife to serve her husband with the papers via Facebook. While this hasn’t happened in Texas yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if we head that way as well. When you think about it, more people check their Facebook account than they read the newspaper. So, while it sounds outrageous that someone could be served in Facebook, it may be a better option than posting it in a newspaper. Each case is going to be different, and Texas may or may not do what New York did, but as things develop you can rest assured that the best San Antonio divorce attorneys are keeping an eye out if this happens.

 

 

Secrets to the Courtroom

Most people imagine that their divorce trial will look like what they see on television. As a San Antonio divorce attorney, I can tell you that it is not always like what we see on a television show.  Our best San Antonio divorce lawyers have some simple tips and reminders for you to consider before you go to court.

  1. You will go through security. Build in time to go through a security check. You don’t want to show up late to court because you didn’t account for going through security.
  1. Parking! Bring money for parking. I recommend that you bring both cash and a debit or credit card. Some parking lots only take cash and others only take debit or credit.
  1. You probably won’t have a jury. Unless you are one of the very rare types of divorce or custody cases, you will have a judge decide your case and not a jury. Typically, the only people in the courtroom will be you, your attorney if you have one, the other party and their attorney (if they have one), the judge, the bailiff and the court reporter. However, all hearings are public. So, people could watch your hearing if they wanted to. I recommend you don’t bring an entourage with you, it is too stressful and can be distracting. Also, I have had problems with clients who have brought their family and then their family members act inappropriately during court. They have either made faces, talked during the trial, or let their cell phones ring. That is not good for my clients! So, I typically tell people not to bring friends and family.
  1. It is public! Our best San Antonio divorce lawyers frequently see that people are surprised by the fact that there are dozens of other people at court as well. In Bexar County for example, we have a “presiding court system”. That means that when you arrive at court for your case, you will initially go to one big courtroom and the judge will do a roll call. The roll call is to manage all the cases that day. If you need a judge to decide your case, you are later on sent to another courtroom where another judge will decide your case. As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, one of the things I tell my clients to do is to get ready to wait. You could be waiting just a few minutes, to several hours for a court to become available to hear your case. I recommend that you bring any regular medications you need to take, your cell phone (which needs to be silent), and something to read.

 

  1. Don’t forget to eat! Even our best San Antonio divorce attorneys are just humans. We all need to eat. You need to eat too! So, bring money to buy yourself something to eat during lunch time. Most courts take a break for lunch, so you will have the opportunity to eat. It is also important that you don’t bring food or drinks in the courtroom. So, whatever you eat needs to be eaten outside of the courtroom.

Texas is a No Fault Divorce State

In Texas, you can get a divorce without proving “fault” of the other spouse. What does that mean? It means that you don’t have to prove that there has been some bad act, such as adultery, in order for the state to grant your divorce.

As as San Antonio divorce lawyer, I take each case and treat it individually. Whether or not a client should plead a “fault” ground is dependent on their needs and the facts surrounding their case. If you are interested in filing either a no fault divorce in San Antonio or a fault divorce, please call me.

When does a child get to choose where to live in Texas?

As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, I am asked frequently asked about when a child is able to choose where they want to live. My short answer is never. A child is never able to definitely make the sole decision on where they live.

After a child turns 12, if either parent requests a judge to interview the child, a judge is required to interview the child. This means the judge talks to the child about what they want. This does not mean that the child decides. It just means that the child gets to provide their input to the judge. The judge is going to base his or her decision on a variety of factors, which will include the child’s preference. However, the child’s preference is NOT the sole determining factor for the judge.

As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, I believe that judges often scrutinize a child’s preference and examine it carefully. As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, when my client’s consider having their child testify, I consider the following: (1) has the child has been coached; (2) whether the child has been bribed to make a certain statement; and (3) whether the child is mature enough to even be able to make that kind of decision. Some kids, are not mature enough to handle going to court even if they legally are permitted to talk to the judge.

In my experience as a San Antonio divorce lawyer, I believe that bringing a child to court can be stressful for the child and the family. Having a child talk to a judge puts a lot of pressure on that child. If you are deciding whether to have your child talk to the judge, you should consider the emotional and mental consequences as well when you are making your decision.

What happens to the house in a divorce?

As a San Antonio divorce, attorney, I realize that for most people,their home is the largest asset that they have to divide on divorce. While every case is different, there are typically only 3 choices for the home.

  1. Award the house to the Wife and she buys out Husband of  his interest in the equity in the home.
  2. Award it to husband and he buys out Wife of her interest in the equity in the home.
  3. Order that the house be sold and split the proceeds between the parties.

When selling the home, the proceeds are frequently split on a percentage basis. So for example, Husband may get 50% and Wife may get 50%. The amount of the percentage can vary depending on a variety of factors between the parties. If a party decides to keep the house and buy out the other spouse, this does not clear their credit from the home. To do that, the spouse keeping the home would need to refinance the home.  So, if your spouse is keeping the home, you really want them to refinance it into their own name so that your credit can be cleared of the home.

As a San Antonio Divorce attorney, I can review your options with you and examine if there are additional options other than those mentioned above.

 

 

Uncontested Divorce in Texas

As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, I help couples obtain uncontested divorces all the time. When I think of an uncontested divorce, I think of a situation where the couple agrees on the following:

  1. To be divorced
  2. Custody
  3. Division of debts
  4. Division of Assets
  5. Amount of Child Support
  6. Visitation for the child or children

Agreeing to all of these things can be very hard, especially when you have children.  When couples can agree, it saves on legal expenses and can make the case go much more quickly. If you believe that you and your spouse have an agreement on everything above, then an uncontested Texas divorce may be for you. These types of divorces are the cheapest way to become divorced and the least stressful.

As a San Antonio divorce lawyer, when I have uncontested divorces, I typically draft up the petition for divorce for the spouse who hires me, send the other spouse a waiver to sign (so we can avoid serving them with the lawsuit at their work or home), and then I start drafting an Agreed Final Decree for both parties to sign once it is complete.  Once the divorce decree is signed, the final step is to get it filed with the court and to have my client “prove up” the divorce before a judge. That just means that the judge needs to hear certain evidence from a spouse to confirm that the judge can grant their divorce.

If you are interested in hiring a San Antonio divorce attorney for an uncontested divorce in Texas, please call me at 210-202-2323.

 

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