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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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How do I know what’s mine in a divorce?

| Apr 6, 2018 | Community Vs. Separate Property, Divorce |

One of the biggest questions that comes up in the divorce cases I work on concerns what belongs to whom. It’s an interesting but often misguided question, as it fails to acknowledge the difference between separate and community property. The simplest way to think of it is this: whatever stuff you accumulated during the marriage–regardless of who paid for it or who uses it–is considered to be community property.

Because Texas is a community property state, it doesn’t differentiate between what you do and what your spouse does during the marriage. You accumulate both assets and debts together during the marriage. If one spouse racks up more debt than the other during the marriage, regardless of whether one name or both names are on the account, the divorce decree needs to determine what happens to that debt. Similarly, if one spouse made a wise investment on his or her own during the marriage using money earned while in the marriage, the investment is an asset considered part of the marital estate.

This flies in the face of what people-especially people going through divorce and preparing for life on their own-think of as fair. They might say things like, “It’s my money,” or “I bought this with the money that came out of my paycheck,” but that’s not how it works in a community property state like Texas. The decisions that a couple makes with regards to money, whether in step with each other or dysfunctional and separate, result in a marital estate that has to be distributed either in court or through agreement by the couple.

There are some exceptions to the community property rule, though. Items purchased before marriage will be considered separate property, although if separate property funds becomes part of the community property-say, if used for a down payment on a house bought during the marriage-it can be hard to determine what funds should be considered separate vs. community property.

Inheritance is also considered separate property. However, even an inheritance received during the marriage can be complicated if the money is co-mingled with community property. It’s best, when it comes to inheritance, to keep the money separate and to keep exacting records of where the money goes.

While cars are usually considered community property, if each spouse pays for and maintains a car, and they drive their individual cars most of the time, it’s likely that the court will award them the cars separately. However, if one car is better suited to the parent who will have the children most of the time, the court could very well rule for that regardless of who drove what and paid for what.

It is also possible, if couples are in conflict about certain assets and can’t agree on how to divide them, the court could prescribe selling those assets and divvying up the profits-even if the parties would prefer those assets remain intact.

It can be a frustrating, angering, and disheartening process to deal with the financial aspects of a divorce. It’s best, of course, to try to come to a settlement through negotiation rather than through the courts. That allows for more creative and flexible solutions than the ones a judge would be likely to choose.

But the first steps, before you get into specific asset and debt divisions, is to determine what assets and liabilities you have as completely as possible and then determine with your family lawyer what’s most important to you. In some cases, you may be able to win everything you think you deserve, but in some cases, you may be risking losing what’s most important to you. When I consult with clients, I make sure they’re aware of what’s probable and what’s possible before we proceed.

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