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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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When Companion Animals are an “Asset” in a Divorce

| Nov 25, 2016 | Divorce, Pets In Divorce |

Ask any divorce lawyer what are the most important issues in a divorce case, and you’ll typically get two answers: determining the parenting plan for children, and determining how to divide assets.

 

One thing that typically doesn’t get addressed is an issue that falls in between, and that’s family pets.

 

Texas law regards animals as property, and many lawyers think of a cow in a herd or a sheep in a flock as merely an income producer. But when you’re talking about a beloved companion animal treated more like an additional child, the property designation just doesn’t cut it. At the very least, a family pet should be regarded with the same regard as a unique family heirloom, to acknowledge the uniqueness of a particular dog or cat to the family. (After all, monetary compensation in the amount of what you’ve spent on veterinary bills for certainly doesn’t adequately replace that animal!)

 

In our practice, we account for non-human companions from the get-go. We make sure that there are protections in our standing orders for the animals, not only to safeguard against abuse, but to make sure that the pets stay with the family until details of the divorce are finalized.

 

In many divorce cases, the parent designated the custodial parent will typically end up with the family companion, so that the children have access to their furry therapist.  However, in a great number of cases, there’s nothing in the language of the divorce decree that even addresses the family pet. We make sure it’s something that’s addressed, even to where the non-custodial parent may have visitation schedules similar to what he or she has with the children.

 

Those schedules for companion animals can be a little more complicated and can involve more contact between exes. After all, for school-aged children, one parent usually drops the children off at school and the other parent will pick up the children at school, meaning that there’s a school-day buffer eliminating a direct exchange. That doesn’t quite work the same with the animals.

 

Divorcing couples also need to work out the realities of pet care. Splitting up pet insurance and vet bills is most analogous to working out medical care for children. Typically, there’s some sort of 50/50 arrangement involving each parent paying half at the outset, or the custodial parent paying and then the non-custodial parent reimbursing for half the amount.

 

It’s a line item that should be worked into divorce decrees, though, and it’s something that couples should discuss along with parenting plans. For couples going through collaborative law or mediation, it becomes part of the overall negotiation. For our clients who go through litigation, we make it part of the overall case we’re presenting, and we’ve already won cases with provisions for visitation with animals in the final decree.

 

We see the companion issue as a significant concern regardless of the size of the family. It’s more than just reconciling a question that might create friction between couples. It’s accounting for a loving member of the family, and making sure that the companion’s relationship with all members of the family is preserved.  We have all researched the effect of separation on grieving animals; it’s important to that the best science be shared with our clients as they make these decisions.

 

Companion animals do not understand divorce in the same way that children come to, but they can perceive a difference in the household when the divorce process starts, and it’s important to account for that. Animals can be vital in the healing process after a divorce for everyone in the family, and so making sure they’re part of that for everyone is important.

 

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