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Tessmer Tips / 14.09.2015

Texas law defines community property as all of the property acquired by either spouse during a marriage, except separate property.  Separate property is anything one spouse owned prior to the marriage, property inherited by only one spouse, property received as a gift by only one spouse and recoveries for personal injuries suffered by only one spouse – except for the portion of the award intended to compensate for lost earnings during the marriage.   All property is presumed to be community property, unless and until the party claiming it is separate can prove so by a preponderance of the evidence.  What sort...

Tessmer Tips / 13.09.2015

In the Texas family court system, there are two kinds of property to be considered in a divorce: separate property and community property.  Separate property is solely owned by one spouse.  Community property is owned in equal shares by both spouses.  All property acquired during a marriage by either spouse is presumed to be community property.  A spouse that claims a particular property is separate must prove sole ownership.   The concept of separate and community property comes from the law of Castile and has been maintained in Texas since Spanish rule. In the early days, a wife could have separate property,...

Tessmer Tips / 21.08.2015

The medical benefits program available to active duty service members, retirees, and family members is called TRICARE. After a divorce, a service member’s children continue to qualify for TRICARE. Unfortunately for civilian spouses, unless you meet some pretty stringent requirements, you will no longer qualify once you are divorced. You get to keep your TRICARE coverage only if all of the following things are true:   You do not qualify for health insurance through your own employment. You have not remarried. You meet the requirements of the 20/20/20 rule, meaning that you were married for at least 20 years, your spouse...

Tessmer Tips / 20.08.2015

In Texas, both child support and spousal support awards may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The normal Texas child support guidelines, worksheets and schedules are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid, but because military paychecks are unlike any other paychecks, it can be challenging to determine what a servicemember’s actual pay is. Start with the servicemember’s base salary. There is also a housing allowance, calculated using location, family commitments, and the servicemember’s pay grade. There are also pay differentials for hazardous assignments and other variations in responsibilities. It is...

Tessmer Tips / 19.08.2015

If you are in the military, the SCRA is your friend: it can prevent a judge from issuing court orders that could affect your relationship with your children. If you are the non-military spouse, you may feel upset by the delays, because the law gives servicemembers extra time to respond to legal proceedings and allows them to request hearings be postponed until the servicemember can be there. The entire divorce case may be delayed, causing it to take a lot longer to get to the final judgment. That said, there are often issues related to children that need to be...

Tessmer Tips / 18.08.2015

There are laws that protect an active duty soldier from being held in “default” for failing to respond to a divorce action. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time an active duty servicemember is on duty and for up to 90 days thereafter.  An active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for a Texas court to have jurisdiction.  In the case a divorce is uncontested, the active duty spouse may not have to be served if he or she...