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The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C.

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Divorce and Family Law Matters

We are now accepting clients statewide in Texas.

WE ARE WORKING!

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and evolve, the safety, health and well-being of our clients and our team is extremely important to us. We are watching for the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and international medical experts to learn how we can best manage our facility and our clients.

We would like to reassure you that The Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. will continue to be available to provide services to all of our clients.

Our lawyers and paralegals are working in the office and electronically, although most of us are working from home. Below is a list of FAQs regarding our response and commitment to you during COVID-19.

Can I even have a consultation with my lawyer remotely?

Yes, The Office of Lisa A. Vance, P.C. has a comprehensive remote working capability and all of our lawyers and paralegals are equipped to work securely from home.

Will my lawyer be available to answer questions and work on my case?

Yes, your legal matters will continue to receive our attention. You can email, call, or videoconference with your lawyer during this time.

We also have multiple videoconferencing options; please contact your attorney for the platform that works best for you

How are court hearings and appointments affected?

Court in Bexar County are now conducted by Zoom Please see our blog article Court via Zoom: It’s Actually, Really Court (and Here’s How It Works)

Can I consult with a lawyer about a new family law or divorce matter?

Yes, we have office staff working in house and remotely to ensure continuity in our business. For information about a family law or divorce matter, please call our office or complete the Request a Consultation Form.

Your family law matters remain our top concern and we are not going to permit this pandemic to take priority over your needs. We will remain confident, alert and prepared.

We wish you and your family well as we work through this difficult situation together.

With warm regards,
Lisa A Vance

 

 

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Same-Sex Divorce: Working It Out While the Courts Work It Out

| Sep 23, 2016 | LGBTQ Family Law |

Thanks to the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges,  it’s now legal to be married throughout the United States to whomever you love, including our great state of Texas! If a same-sex couple marries in Texas today, and then decides to get divorced at some point in the future, the laws that oversees divorce in Texas will apply as it has for heterosexual couples in the past (starting with the petition process, standing orders, and couples being able to choose alternatives to a litigated divorce).

But, what about those marriages that occurred prior to June 2015?  Because gay marriage hasn’t always been legal in all states, and only became legal in Texas last year with the Supreme Court’s decision, it will take time to sort out potential issues regarding when a marriage occurred between two parties, especially for purposes of divorce. and future individual cases will have bearing on how same-sex divorce works in Texas within the parameters of the new and old laws.

For example, what happens with couples who got married in a state where it was legal before the Supreme Court ruling, who have lived in Texas for the entirety of the marriage? Legally, the marriage would only be recognized in Texas when the Supreme Court ruling went into effect, or June 2015. For those couples married prior to that date in another state where their marriage was recognized, at issue is defining community property (property through individual jobs as well as through any joint investments or endeavors during the course of the marriage.

One side could potentially argue that their property accumulated after their marriage, which occurred in a state recognizing same-sex marriage, should be considered separate property instead of community property because at the time Texas didn’t recognize their marriage until June 2015. This area of law is still developing and it will be interesting to see how cases are viewed in the future.

Another issue judges will have to wrangle in the future includes how to classify couples who merely lived together in Texas before the ruling who then sought out marriage when they could legally do so in Texas? Of course a same-sex couple can now hold out and file their marriage since June 2015 under the common law marriage guidelines, but what about those who can articulate they were holding out as a married prior to June 2015? When is there marriage recognized for purposes of partitioning property and assets?

Those issues will take a while to sort out – especially in a place like Texas, where judges aren’t eager to address those issues and look to legislators to create laws that stipulate how decisions are made. Because of that, my advice to same-sex couples looking to divorce right now is to work together to create a settlement that works for both parties.

Mediation and collaborative divorce give you the chance to determine what’s important and what’s not, to work out a settlement based on that and have more of a voice and control in the process, without having to wait for a judge to weigh in.

Often, when a divorce goes to court, the judge relies on a parenting schedule and a child support payment structure that is well-established, familiar, and what many consider to be “cookie-cutter.” It makes certain assumptions about the role of a father and a mother, and operates based on those assumptions.

For a same-sex couple, those roles and assumptions simply don’t apply. And while it’s possible that the acknowledgment of same-sex couples in Texas will give us some important differences in standard divorce settlements down the road, I believe that the best route right now is to negotiate a settlement with a mediator or collaborative lawyers who understand same-sex divorce issues. Mediation and collaborative divorce allows you to have a conversation about your situation, whereas a courtroom divorce ultimately results in a judge telling you what you’re going to do going forward.

You may be mad at the person you’re divorcing, you may see nothing but red when you look at that person, but it’s in your best interest to work it out while the courts work it out. Otherwise, you could be looking at a settlement that doesn’t fit your needs, your situation, or your history.

 


 

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