The situation sometimes arises when one party to a divorce or other family law matter is a non-resident of Texas who resides in another country and it is imperative that you hire an attorney who has experience in this area if you are in such a situation. It is important to follow the procedures for service overseas so as to avoid any judgment that you may obtain at the trial court level from being declared void.
Why is Service Necessary?
Each party to a lawsuit is constitutionally entitled to notice that a lawsuit has been initiated against them. This is in order that they may properly defend themselves. You can imagine the chaos that would ensue if people could sue others without telling them and then win by default when the other party doesn't answer.
Why is It Important that Foreign Countries have Procedures in Place for Service of Process?
Previously, there were confusing and conflicting rules in place for individual countries regarding how to serve residents of those countries. A complicated and time consuming process using letters rogatory was formerly the status quo and that process is time consuming and expensive and in many cases a foreign attorney had to be hired. The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (The Hague Service Convention) seeks to streamline the process and to provide a uniform way to serve process on people who are residents of countries that are contracting parties to the convention and to lower the time and expense needed to serve a party overseas. Not every country is a signatory to the convention so it is important to verify if the person you want to serve is a resident of a country that is a signatory. There are over 70 states that are contracting parties of the Hague Service Convention. It is also important to note that if the address of the person is unknown the Hague Service Convention does not apply.
How does the Hague Service Convention work?
The Hague Service Convention is a treaty in which many countries including the United States are a signatory. In general, this treaty imposes on its signatories specific rules that must be followed for service of process to be valid. Each country who is a signatory to the convention must designate a central authority in which legal documents to be served must be sent. The central authority then arranges for service on the non-resident individual by a method that is permitted within that receiving country. This can take time, but it is an effective way to put another party on notice that a lawsuit has been initiated against them and it must be followed.
Is there any other way to serve process on a person overseas that is compliant with the Hague but is not through the designated central authority?
Yes, Article 10 of the convention provides permissible alternative methods of service such as through postal channels. However, before you breathe a sigh of relief you should be fully aware that the country in question may have objected to some or all of the alternative methods of service under Article 10 so you must find out if this is the case before using any alternative method of service. For example, India has objected to all forms of alternative service under Article 10. Do not think that if a party has actual notice of a lawsuit that you are automatically off the hook from following the terms of the convention.
If you seek to divorce or litigate a family law matter against a person who is a resident of a foreign country then you should obtain counsel who has dealt with this issue previously and can adequately safeguard your rights. It will be a very frustrating, time consuming, and expensive to have a judgment overturned because the proper procedures were not followed regarding service under the Hague Service Convention. If you need more guidance in your specific matter then I encourage you to call the Law Office of Chad Zubi to help resolve your issue. The office offers free 30 minute consultations and will be happy to give you some insight into how to set your case on the right track to a proper resolution.
First of all, you may be wondering where to find the laws on child custody in Texas. The answer is that Texas child custody laws in are codified under Title 5 of the Texas Family Code. The rules are very complex and this article is just a brief introductory guide. To get specific details about your case please call my office to schedule an appointment.
What is a Child Custody Determination?
Texas family courts consider two prongs of what is commonly referred to as child custody in everyday language. The first prong I will talk about is possession, what most parents may think of first when it comes to child custody. Possession means which parent is physically in possession of the child, a court will consider when and where both parents should have possession of the children and for how long. Conservatorship refers to the right and duty of a parent to make decisions about a child and the duties that a parent has towards a child. Texas family courts determine a parents rights and duties using what is known as the best interests of the child standard. It isn't about what the parents want, it is about what is best for the child in the court's eyes after an interpretation of the Texas Family Code and Texas case law.
A More Detailed Explanation of Conservatorship in Texas Family Law?
Conservatorship is the term that describes the rights and duties that you have towards your child such as the right to make decisions. As you are probably aware, there are many decisions that need to be made when raising a child and you may not have specifically pondered all of them, it may have been something that you just did. In the child custody context the court will decide if one or both parents should make certain decisions, and what decisions are to be made. Sometimes parents make decisions jointly and are called joint managing conservators or conversely one parent makes all the decision and they are called a sole managing conservator. An example of a decision that a court may assign to one or both parents is the right to make educational decisions or the right to make decisions about an invasive medical procedure, or the right to designate where a child primarily resides. (This decision is usually by only one parent). A court may decide that only one parent is to make a decision or both parents are to agree to the decision. There are also other options that a court may consider. There are some rights that parents have at all times and some rights that parents only have when the child is in their possession. An example of a right that a parent has at all times is the right to attend school activities or to be informed about how a child is doing in school. Another is the right to be notified in the event of an emergency regarding the child or to make an emergency medical decision. An example of a right and duty that a parent may have only during their period of possession is the right to exercise reasonable discipline on a child or the duty to feed and clothe the child. There are many rights and duties and some of the issues surrounding who should make those decisions or perform certain duties can become contentious in child custody litigation given the complexity of many specific circumstances in which people operate. If you need help with a child custody case then you should hire a competent attorney at the Law Office of Chad Zubi to aggressively pursue you getting the rights and duties that you should regarding your child. You can get a free consultation by calling 281-962-3877 or by sending an email at email@example.com or by clicking here and leaving your contact information.
Possession and Access and Child Custody
Under Texas family law there are managing conservators and possessory conservators. A managing conservator is the parent who has primary possession of the child meaning that the managing conservator has the exclusive right to determine where the child lives. This parent is commonly called the primary parent. Usually the primary parent will have the child for the majority of the time and the other parent will be given a visitation schedule. The other parent is called a possessory conservator. A common visitation schedule in Texas child custody cases is the standard possession order which in a nutshell is every first, third, and fifth weekends of each month and alternating holidays. It is possible to come up with a custom visitation schedule and that is commonly accomplished in mediation more than it is in front of a judge.
Child support in Texas is almost always paid by the parent who does not get to decide where a child lives. The non primary parent. Child support in Texas is based on the payor's income level and is based according to certain guidelines that were developed by the Texas legislature and are presumed to be in the best interest of the child. You can calculate your child support amount by visiting the resources page of this site by clicking here. If a court is going to veer from guideline child support then the judge is going to have to have a reason why veering from the Texas guidelines is in the best interest of the child. In mediation it is much easier to agree on a child support amount that is different from the Texas guidelines.
Contact the Law Office of Chad Zubi if you need help with your case
If you have a child custody case then I urge you to hire a compatant lawyer to represent you. There are many more complexities to the relevant law other than what is mentioned here. You can schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation at the Law Office of Chad Zubi by calling 281-962-3877 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking here and leaving your contact information.
What is a Protective Order?
The state of Texas has enacted legislation, under the Texas Family Code, that allows a victim of domestic violence to ask a Texas family court of law to render an order that is designed to help stop an abuser from contacting, threatening, physically harming, a victim or a victim's household, and ordering the abuser to stay away from the victim's residence or place of employment.
When does a Texas Family Court Issue a Protective Order?
The Texas Family Code states that "A court shall render a protective order if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. Family violence means an act by a member of a family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
Who Can Get a Protective Order?
Members of a Household
If family violence has occurred (an act by a member of a family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself) or if abuse has occurred against a child of the family or household by a member of a family or household then an adult member of the family or household may file an application for a protective order to protect the applicant or any other member of the applicant's family or household. That is a mouthful. Stated more simply, if a person who is a member of a home acts in a way that harms, or causes fear of harm, against another member of the household then they may qualify for a protective order. An adult may file for a protective order to protect themselves or another victim member of their household including children. It is also important to note that any adult can file for a protective order to protect a child from family violence.
Victims of Dating Violence May be Eligible for a Protective Order
If an adult person is a part of a dating relationship with the abuser then that adult person may file a protective order if dating violence has occurred against the adult person. Dating violence is defined as an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
Who is a Part of a Dating Relationship According to the Texas Family Code?
Obviously, not all relationships can be considered dating relationships. The Texas Family Code defines a dating relationship for purposes of obtaining a protective order as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. That is a fairly vague definition and is open to several interpretations at first glance. Therefore, the Texas legislature has determined that the existence of a dating relationship is determined by three main factors and a certain type of relationship is specifically excluded. The first factor that a court examines in deciding if a dating relationship exists or existed is the length of the relationship, the second thing is the nature of the relationship, and the last thing is the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. These factors give a court the tools they need to determine if a dating relationship exists or existed. A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a "dating relationship." If you, a child, or a member of your family or household is a victim of physical violence or the threat of physical violence then you should get help immediately by calling the police, but additionally a protective order is an option that you have. You should get a qualified lawyer to help you with all of the complexities involved in obtaining a protective order in Texas. The Law Office of Chad Zubi can help you determine if you qualify for a Texas protective order and can aggressively represent your interests. You can call 281-962-3877 or click here to send your contact information. You can also reach the Law Office of Chad Zubi by sending an email to email@example.com.
Emergency Protective Orders
In certain circumstances an applicant for a protective order needs immediate temporary protection to protect themselves or another member of the family or household of the applicant from violence or the threat of violence of an abuser while the protective order proceedings are going on. Texas family law allows for a temporary protective order to be issued without giving notice to the other party if certain requirements are met. If a Texas court finds from the information contained in an application for a protective order that there is a clear and present danger of family violence, the court without further notice to the alleged abuser and without hearing may enter a temporary order for the protection of the applicant or any other member of the family or household of the applicant. If you or a member of your family or household is in danger then call the authorities. The Law Office of Chad Zubi can help you decide if you qualify for a temporary ex-parte protective order and help you obtain one. Call the Law Office of Chad Zubi at 281-962-3877 to schedule a free consultation. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your contact information by clicking here.
Many folks who are going through a Texas divorce or are contemplating a divorce in Texas wonder what is going to happen to the property that they have acquired during their marriage. Many people worry that they are going to get cleaned out because they are a male or operate under the common misconception that a division of property in a Texas divorce is automatically 50/50 or that you can marry a billionaire for a week and get half of what they own by getting a divorce a few days or weeks later. The truth of the matter is that many factors come into play when a Texas divorce court decides how to divvy up a marital estate. The answer to the question on how will the marital property be divided is; it depends.
WHERE DO TEXAS COURTS BEGIN IN DECIDING HOW TO DIVIDE THE MARITAL ESTATE?
The cornerstone rule under the Texas Family Code is that a Texas Family court, in a divorce or an annulment shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. You may be saying that there is a very broad discretion given to a Texas court of law by the legislature in dividing the marital estate, and you would be correct. However, a Texas divorce court, although able to award a disproportionate share to one party, can do so only when a reasonable basis exists for granting that relief. The division of the property must not be so disproportionate as to be inequitable, and the circumstances must justify awarding more than one-half to one party. On a side note, a the foregoing statement applies to community property, a divorce court in Texas does not have the authority to divest a person of their separate property. Separate property is property that was acquired before marriage, by gift, devise, or from certain personal injury settlements excluding monies recovered for lost wages.
WHAT SPECIFIC FACTORS DOES A COURT CONSIDER WHEN DIVIDING COMMUNITY PROPERTY IN A TEXAS DIVORCE?
You may be asking what does reasonable mean? Are there specific factors that a court takes into consideration in dividing Texas community property? The answer to the last question is yes, a court does take certain things into consideration. Some of the factors that a court takes into consideration are each of the spouses capacities and abilities, benefits which the party, not at fault in the breakup of the marriage, would have derived from the continuation of the marriage, business opportunities of both parties, education, relative physical conditions, relative financial condition and obligations, disparity of ages, size of the separate estates, and the nature of the property, the earning capacity of the spouses and fault in the breakup of the marriage. This is not an exhaustive list and a Texas divorce court has a very high level of authority in determining what is a "just and right" division of the community estate. You should talk to an attorney if you have questions about your particular case.
FAULT IN THE BREAKUP OF THE MARRIAGE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND WHAT DOES A COURT CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING WHO IS AT FAULT?
Fault in the breakup of the marriage is a factor that a Texas divorce court considers in awarding a disproportionate share of the community estate, and a factor that Texas divorce attorneys deal with on a near daily basis. Some things that contribute to a spouse's fault in the breakup of the marriage are cruelty, abuse, adultery, and desertion. A Texas litigant in family court should be prepared to convince a judge that the fault in the marriage occurred and contributed to the breakup in the marriage. Being able to back up what you say in a Texas family court of law goes a long way in helping a judge determine whether or not they should give you more of the property because of your spouse's behavior towards you. They have a difficult decision to make so as a litigant you must convince them that the decision you are asking for is just and right. If you are experiencing abuse by any person you should call the police immediately and report it.
If you are contemplating divorce or are involved in a divorce case I encourage you to contact the Law Office of Chad Zubi. This article is just a very brief discussion of some of the things Texas Family courts take into consideration when dividing community property in Texas divorces. It is not meant to be taken as legal advice. The laws in this area are very complex and litigating alone without competent counsel can have devastating and lasting consequences and each case is different. You should have a competent lawyer represent your interests in your divorce. You can obtain a free case evaluation by calling the Law Office of Chad Zubi at 281-962-3877 or by contacting the office by email at email@example.com or by filling in your information into the contact form on the contact page by clicking here.
Many people are anxious to know how much marital property they are going to be able to walk away with after a Texas divorce. As background, everything acquired during marriage is community property; regardless of whose name is on the item in question. What that means is that the item belongs one hundred percent to you and one hundred percent to your spouse. A court will seek to make a just and right division, how a court divides property is the subject of a separate article that can be found here: "Dividing Property in a Texas Divorce, Is it Just and Right?".
The question here is whether or not it is worth fighting over items such as that comfy beige couch in the guest bedroom or the 70 inch high definition tv over the fireplace? The answer is that it depends. Everything in the community estate is something that can potentially be fought over. Including that delicious ice cream in the freezer as the title suggests. If the property was bought during marriage it is community property and a part of the marital estate. Let's think about the ice cream again for a moment, imagine two people fighting over who is going to get the ice cream outside of the divorce context. They fight, they yell, they scream, but after it's all said and done the ice cream has melted and all that is left is a sticky mess. Nobody gets any satisfaction. Was it worth it, I don't think so. So Let's apply that idea to a your potential Texas divorce.
As I stated before, everything that is acquired during marriage is one hundred percent the property of you and your spouse so almost everything that is spent on litigation comes out of the same pot so to speak. When you decide to have your attorney call the opposing counsel to argue and fight about who is going to get the yard tools or who gets that old picture picture of Elvis you should keep in mind that the fees that you are going to be paying to litigate and argue over small items are going to add up. Many times the value of the item in question is far outweighed by the amount of money that came out of the community estate to win it. In other words you are depleting the community estate (letting the ice cream melt) by fighting over small items that are easily replaced. So keep an open mind during your divorce and don't let animosity and a desire to punish the other spouse cause you to waste away the community estate where no-one, including yourself, walks away satisfied.
some things are worth fighting over, your spouse shouldn't be able to take certain things from you and sometimes 50/50 just isn't fair.
That foregoing in the previous section being said, some things are definitely worth fighting for. There are many instances where one spouse claims that something is community property and subject to division during a Texas divorce when it is certainly not. Sometimes they know they are making a baseless claim and sometimes they don't. Regardless, anything that is not community property is separate property. The presumption is that everything is community property unless proven by clear and convincing evidence otherwise. Separate property is anything that was acquired by gift, devise, or prior to marriage. Certain personal injury settlements can also be considered separate property if they are not for lost wages. If you have an item that is important to you that falls into one of the categories above then it may just be worth fighting over. The Law Office of Chad Zubi will fight to help you overcome the community property presumption.
Other than separate property claims there is another situation where fighting over property may be appropriate. According to the Texas Family Code a Texas court is required to divide the community estate in a manner that is just and right. The Family Code doesn't say that the estate is always to be divided equally. Sometimes a judge will divide property in a disproportionate manner for a variety of different reasons. One of the reasons for a disproportionate division of the estate is fault in the breakup of the marriage. Did your spouse commit adultery? Were they cruel and abusive? Did they abuse alcohol and drugs? All of those things and others can lead a judge to believe that a larger share of the community estate should go to one souse over the other. Other factors that could cause a judge to believe one spouse should get more than the other include: Does one spouse earn far more than the other? Does one spouse have a much higher level of education than the other causing that more highly educated spouse to have a higher earning capacity after the divorce? Does one spouse have a disability? There are several different reasons for a disproportionate share of the marital estate to go to one spouse instead of the other. A judge could consider: who is going to recover from the divorce the fastest and easiest? You may have certain reasons why you believe you should get more out of your Texas divorce. The Law Office of Chad Zubi will fight tooth and nail to get you what you deserve. Whether it is proving an item or items are separate property or showing that you should get more than your spouse. Call today to schedule a no obligation free consultation with this Houston, Texas divorce and family law attorney.
People get divorced for many different reasons, the reasons for divorce are not the topic of this post. The topic of this post is what do you want once you have actually decided to obtain a divorce. Is directing where your children live your biggest concern? Is your retirement account what matters the most to you? Or maybe you just want to be done with the relationship and you aren't really concerned with anything but that. At the Law Office of Chad Zubi we realize that each person who talks to us has specific goals that they are trying to achieve and our goal is to do as much as possible to help our client reach the end that is the most desirable to them. For example, if the most important thing to you is making sure that your child continues to live with you then one of the first things that we would try to do is articulate why it is in that child's best interest to live with you and to gather evidence that shows that. If your goal is to make sure that the gun collection that you inherited from your great grandparents stays in your possession then we would need to dig deep in preparation of overcoming the Texas community property presumption regarding marital property. Whether you have one issue or many that are important to you in your divorce the Law Office of Chad Zubi will work hard to achieve your goal. Call the office today at 281-962-3877 or by clicking the button below.
Many Texas divorce cases settle outside of the court forum. You may be wondering why you should attend mediation and you may just be ready to have your day in court. Attending mediation doesn't mean that you are giving up on your day in court and in many instances a Texas court of law will require the parties to attend mediation before any contested hearing, especially if child custody is involved or their are complex property issues to be litigated. If you are interested in learning more about mediating your case then the Law Office of Chad Zubi can assist you with that and can be reached by phone at 281-962-3877 or by filling in and submitting your contact information on this website.
You are in a better position to understand your life than a court is. For this reason mediation is a great place for you and your soon to be ex-spouse to come to custom agreements regarding many issues that arise in a divorce or other family law case. Some of these issues include child visitation, the right to designate where a child lives, the matter of child support, spousal support, and property division. A court in Texas will generally not veer from what is mandated by the Texas Family Code and you can expect an approach that does not take into consideration every issue that is important to you. For this reason you should consider mediation an opportunity rather than a setback in obtaining your objectives during your family law case. The Law Office of Chad Zubi has experience representing people in mediation and encourages you not to go at it alone. Call the office at 281-962-3877 to schedule your free consultation.
If you are nervous about being in the same room with your spouse during a mediation then don't be. Mediation is meant to be a non adversarial environment where you are free to work together with your attorney and the mediator to come to an agreement that everyone can live with. That being said, most times the parties are placed in different rooms and the neutral mediator will travel back and forth between rooms to help the parties reach an agreement.
If you are thinking about starting a family law case or you are involved in a case then do not go at it alone. Call the Law Office of Chad Zubi today to schedule your free consultation.
Most Houston family lawyers are going to need some initial information from you to be able to get your divorce case or other family law case started. Your lawyer needs to know things such as where you work, where you live, where your spouse lives, information about your children, among other things. This information will be used in drafting the relevant court documents that are necessary to begin the case. At the Law Office of Chad Zubi you will be given a client questionnaire that asks you for this information and it is a good idea to fill it out as carefully and completely as possible, doing so will eliminate many little problems down the road. There are three more documents that are very important and that you need to gather before your divorce begins. The first document is the inventory and appraisement which is provided to you by your attorney, this document shows what property the community estate has and what you believe to be your separate property. This document will need to be notarized. The reason that it is notarized is that it is a sworn statement to the court as to what you believe the community and separate estate to be. The second document that needs to be completed, and this one does not have to be notarized, is the financial information statement. This document shows what income you have and what your expenses are. This will also be submitted to the court. Another important document is the proposed property division. This document shows what you have and how you believe the property should be divided between you and your spouse. The proposed property division need not be notarized. Lastly, you need to gather your two most recent pay stubs, your tax returns for the past two years, and your W2s and/or 1099 forms for the past two years. If you gather and complete all of the documents at the beginning of your case it will help the process move forward more smoothly and efficiently. I encourage you to call the Law Office of Chad Zubi to get any questions that you have answered and to schedule a free consultation. 281-962-3877.
Divorce isn't something people usually enjoy and it doesn't happen often with most people. There are so many feelings that are involved in the process, hurt, burdened, afraid, angry, are a few, there are too many to list. The following article is going to give you a few tips about what why talking to an attorney before a divorce is a good idea. Divorce should not be taken on alone and I encourage you to schedule a free consultation by calling 281-962-3877 or by sending your contact info on any page of this site or by sending an email.
The first real step in obtaining a divorce should be a consultation with a qualified family law attorney. It is a good idea to get a good overview from an attorney about what to expect before plunging into the often complicated divorce process. Here is a list of a few good reasons to schedule a consultation.
1. A Texas family law attorney will be able to give you ways to help accomplish your ends in your family law case. An example of such ends would be how to obtain the right to dictate where your child lives or how to prove that something is your separate property or how to make sure you get as much of your retirement account as you are entitled to.
2. An attorney will be able to tell you whether you should file now or later. Are you in need of temporary orders while the case is going on? What should you do with your assets while the case is going on and beforehand? Sometimes these are tricky situations and a family law attorney can help you make those decisions.
3. You need to get to know a little bit about your potential attorney. You should not pick just any attorney to handle your case and it is a good idea to see if the attorney you are thinking about choosing is compatible with your personality. You are undertaking a major part of your life with them so you should know them well.
4. It is a good idea to meet with an attorney in a family law consultation to learn what your role is in the case vs. what the attorney's role is. This issue will help resolve many questions and concerns about how your case is going to proceed. You will find that the attorney will take much of the hassle out of your hands and at the Law Office of Chad Zubi we intend to make this transition from married to single as seamless and easy as possible.
I hope this short article helped you understand the first step in getting your divorce case started. For more information or to set up an in person or phone consultation, do not hesitate to call the Law Office of Chad Zubi at 281-962-3877.
Divorce isn't exactly the topic of discussion that everyone enjoys the most or that is the easiest to to talk about or comprehend. The legal procedures can be complex if you aren't prepared with a trained family lawyer at your side. There are many issues that come into play during a divorce, some of which you probably haven't considered. Issues arise such as child visitation and custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and how to divide the community estate. These issues seem simple at first glance but the rules regarding these issues in Texas family law can be very complex. The Law Office of Chad Zubi understands the issues and understands that you want someone who will look out for your best interests and provide you with the best information possible. The Law Office of Chad Zubi strives to make this difficult part of your life as easy as possible and as seamless as possible.
The next few blog articles will help you understand some of the major issues that you will likely face in your divorce. If you are unsure of where to go next, or have questions, I urge you to call The Law Office of Chad Zubi today to get a free 30 minute consultation in person or by phone. 281-962-3877