What is Separate Property in Texas?

Published July 8, 2012 | By

This video explains the basics of separate property in Texas.  If you prefer, you can read the transcript below:

TRANSCRIPT

My name is Scott Morgan, I am a board certified family law attorney. In this video I am going to give an overview of separate property in Texas.

Texas is a community property state. In a Texas divorce case all property owned by either spouse is presumed to be community property. The court is required to divide the community property in a fair and just manner.

However, you can rebut this presumption if you can prove that an asset meets the definition of separate property. In that case the asset is confirmed as your separate property and not factored into the community property division. The court has no authority to award one parties separate property to the other spouse.

Under the right circumstances this can make a huge difference in the overall outcome of a property division.

So what is separate property? There are three types. First, certain types of personal injury recoveries are separate property, but this is quite rare. Second, gifts and inheritances are separate property. Finally, property that was owned by a spouse prior to marriage is that parties separate property.

A common complication is that separate property is not always easy to prove.

You must prove that an asset is your separate property by clear and convincing evidence. This evidentiary standard is significantly higher than the usual preponderance of evidence standard.

Additionally tracing the asset back to its origin can also be challenging.This is especially true with financial assets that have mutated and grown and moved into different accounts during the marriage.

The bottom line is that if you’re getting divorced and have significant assets that you believe might be separate property, you should get a very good family law attorney to help you prove those claims.

I hope this video has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions comments or suggestions for future videos please feel free to comment below.

Posted in Alimony, Divorce, Property Division, Separate Property, Videos | Taged , , , , , ,

How To Calculate Child Support in Texas

Published July 8, 2012 | By

This video goes through the process of calculating child support in a typical Texas case. If you prefer, you can read the transcript below:

Video Transcript

My name is Scott Morgan and I am a board certified Texas family law attorney. In this video I am going to walk through an example of a very simple child support calculation.

In Texas child support is calculated using a formula from the Texas Family Code.  To calculate the child support amount you start with the payor’s monthly gross income.  That amount is then reduced to allow for certain deductions, such as taxes and certain health insurance expenses.  Once these deductions are made you have calculated the payor’s monthly “net resources.”

Note that this number is likely not the same as the payor’s actual take-home income.  There are a lot of deductions that come out of someone’s paycheck, for example 401k contributions, that are not factored into the calculation of monthly net resources.

Once the monthly net resources are calculated, you multiply that amount by a percentage to arrive at the monthly child support amount.  The percentage is determined by how many children there are, with a reduction in the percentage if the payor has other children he is legally responsible for.

As a simple example, lets take a payor who makes $96,000/year or $8,000/month.  Assuming this payor is not self-employed (the net resources calculation is slightly different for the self-employed), we would look at the statutory deduction chart and see that the monthly net resource amount would be $5,920. If we further assume that the child support is for one child and the payor has no other children, then the statutory percentage would be 20%.  We multiply the net resource amount ($5,920) by 20% to arrive at a monthly child support amount of $1,184.

This has been a very simple example and, as with everything in family law, there are certain exceptions that can apply, but this is how child support is calculated in the vast majority of cases in Texas.

I hope you found this video helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions for future videos please feel free to comment below.

Posted in Child Support, Custody, Divorce, Enforcement, Modification, Parent-Child Issues, Videos | Taged , , , , ,

Facebook and Divorce – Interview on Fox News

Published June 17, 2012 | By

This was an interview of Scott Morgan in 2010 on Fox Houston on how facebook can be an issue in divorce cases. There had been a lot of publicity at the time about facebook “causing” divorces. It is still common that facebook and other social media play a role in a divorce case, but the media buzz surrounding the issue seems to have died down.

Posted in Divorce, Videos | Taged , ,