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El Paso Legal Blog

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Using a former spouse's name

Wives undergoing divorce are beginning a new life but may also choose the irony of bringing back part of an earlier marriage. Women who were married more than once sometimes choose to use a former spouse's name. One of the first steps in planning for post-divorce life is considering the consequences of this choice and seeking approval.

In Texas, a woman may seek a name change in her divorce filing but is restricted to surnames she adopted in the past. A wife who divorces her second husband can use her maiden surname or the last name of her first husband. However, she cannot use her first husband's surname in the divorce decree if she never used it during the first marriage.

New push in Texas to curtail problem of distracted driving

Texas readers know that distracted driving continues to be an issue that both frustrates authorities and poses a threat to the health and safety of all drivers. Distraction greatly decreases a driver's ability to pay attention to the road while greatly increasing the chance of an accident. Despite knowing the dangers of driving while distracted, many people still do it.

This specific issue is a growing concern, and Texas authorities are launching a campaign to hopefully fight against distracted driving. Launched by the Texas Department of Transportation, the purpose is to decrease the number of distraction-related crashes.

Parental alienation part of custody disputes

Child custody disputes in Texas may be bitter. Parental alienation is a major problem and is even formally recognized in this country on April 25 this year.

Parental alienation is defined as a condition where a parent or grandparent engages in ongoing and pervasive expressions of hostility toward or marginalizes the alienated parent. Because of this hostility, children may have seemingly just cause for being hostile toward or rejecting the alienated parent. Some extreme alienators even make false allegations that the other parent sexually abused their child or have their children make these untrue claims.

Sitcom being used for child custody

Visitation, parental access and other custody matters in Texas are based upon the best interests of the child. The television situation comedy, "Splitting Up Together" may also provide another option to address custody matters and meet this requirement.

The show is based upon the premise of nesting where a divorced couple keeps their family home. Their children continue to live there, and the former spouses take turns staying with their children. An actor in this show, Josh Lucas, used this arrangement with his five-year-old and the boy's mother.

Prenups must be done right

Prenuptial agreements can help resolve many potential complex disputes in a divorce. But, like any contract, Texas courts can refuse to enforce an unfair or poorly-drafted agreement and further complicate a divorce.

Well-drafted prenups may safeguard family assets, particularly for the children of a spouse's first marriage or relationship. These are also important if there is a family business, large inheritance or substantial income differences. Prenuptial agreements can also reduce bad publicity, expenses and bitterness during a contested divorce.

Drawing up a custody and support plan

Developing a custody plan, resolving custody disputes and child support are especially challenging for military personnel and their families. The demands of active duty service, deployments and reassignments pose complications and stress. Certain principles, however, can help govern these matters.

Texas, along with other states, has custody guidelines that are intended to protect the best interests of the child. Plans should reflect the child's age and what happens during a servicemember's deployment.

Distracted driving continues to threaten Texas drivers

Like everywhere else in the country, distracted driving on Texas roads is a problem. There are more drivers operating a vehicle while doing other things than ever before, and it seems that the problem is only getting worse. While most people know distracted driving is extremely dangerous and completely preventable, people still engage in this dangerous behavior.

If you were hurt in a car accident, there is a chance distraction played a role in what happened to you. You may know that you have the right to hold liable drivers accountable and seek the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. As distraction seems to be an ever-growing threat to the safety of Texas drivers, you may find it beneficial to understand how to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

Military divorce rate unchanged

The military divorce rate continued a four-year trend rate for active duty and other military personnel by remaining the same in fiscal year 2017, according to the Pentagon. For the fourth consecutive year, the divorce rate was between three and 3.1 percent.

Approximately 21,290 of 689,000 military personnel ended their marriage during the last fiscal year. The divorce rate was slightly higher in 2016 where there were approximately 22,500 divorces out of 707,230 military marriages. The rates were calculated by comparing the number of personnel listed in the Pentagon's personnel system married at the beginning of the year with the number who reported divorces.

Spousal support breaks gender stereotypes

Over several years, divorce in Texas and across the country has dismissed presumptions about gender. For example, courts no longer presume that granting custody to mother is in the child's best interest.

Courts are also dropping the presumption that men earn more than women. Over the last 10 years, women have been ordered to pay spousal support, nicknamed manimony, to their former spouses.

Understanding military divorce

Breaking up a military marriage may be confusing. But, Texas and federal law govern military divorce for active duty personnel in the U.S. Army and their spouses.

Divorce actions must be filed in Texas courts which have the authority to rule on legal issues. Spouses may negotiate the terms of their divorce addressing child support, child custody and spousal support or litigate these matters in state court.

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