Jeffrey L. Novy, Attorney at Law
 
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Family Law

Jeffrey L. Novy’s practice also involves family law – divorce, paternity, adoptions, annulments, name changes, paternity, termination of parental rights and Title IV-D cases. Whether your family law matter is fairly straightforward, or involves complex issues, Jeffrey L. Novy has the skills and legal knowledge to get you through it in a manner that keeps your interest in the forefront, and causes you the least amount of stress possible.

Jeffrey L. Novy’s law practice is devoted to providing you the least adversarial and fairest possible resolution to the dissolution of marriage. As part of your decision to divorce, you will need to address issues that affect your entire family, including:

  1. Alimony or spousal support (maintenance)
  2. Child custody / support
  3. Marital property division
  4. Name changes
  5. Visitation / Possession

Jeffrey L. Novy will work with you and your family members to design a fair and realistic agreement.

A portion of the family law practice is to represent clients involved in paternity disputes. Jeffrey L. Novy will work with you to compel appropriate testing and determine appropriate child support if paternity is established.

Common Questions about Divorce:

Question: What are grounds for Divorce?

A divorce may be granted on one or more “fault” or “no fault” grounds expressly set out in the Texas Family Code. Most divorces are founded on the no-fault ground of “insupportability” (i.e. incompatibility), which can be granted to either spouse, if that spouse feels the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict in personalities which makes any reasonable expectation of reconciliation impossible.

“Fault” grounds for divorce include adultery or cruel treatment. Since a court may consider “fault” in the breakup of a marriage as a factor in deciding how to divide the property and debts, a party may choose to plead a “fault” ground for divorce.

Question: What is considered separate property?

“Separate property” is property either (1) owned or acquired by a spouse before marriage or (2) acquired by a spouse during the marriage by either (a) gift or (b) inheritance. It is the date of acquisition and the source of the property that controls, and not how it is eventually paid for. For example, if one spouse owned a house or car before marriage, it will be characterized at the time of divorce as that spouse’s separate property, even if it was paid off in whole or in part during marriage.  However, if said separate property is paid off in whole or in part during marriage, the community estate is entitled to an equitable interest.

A gift includes, for example, any Christmas or birthday gifts from one spouse to another during marriage (even if purchases with community funds). If a gift or inheritance goes to both spouses (e.g., wedding gifts), then each spouse has an undivided one-half percent interest in that one piece of separate property.

Separate property can change forms without changing its character as property (this is often referred to as a “mutation”). For example, if wife has $5,000.00 in cash, which is her separate property and uses that $5,000.00 cash alone to purchase outright a $5,000.00 boat, then the boat would likewise be her separate property.

A court has no authority to divide separate property at the time of divorce.

Any property owned by either spouse at the time of divorce is, by law, presumed to be “community property” unless otherwise proved to be separate property; therefore, a spouse must (1) specifically plead and (2) prove by clear and convincing evidence each item of real or personal property claimed as his or her separate property.

Question: What is community property?

“Community property” is any property acquired by either or both spouses during marriage other than by gift, devise or inheritance. Community property includes virtually everything purchased during marriage, except if separate property funds were used to purchase property after marriage. It is important to remember that a marriage legally endures even after your separation, whether before or after the divorce petition has been filed. Property acquired during this time period will be characterized as community property.

All property which exists in whole or in part in the name of either spouse at the time of the divorce is presumed by law to be community property. This is referred to as the “community property presumption.”  Therefore, if you have any separate property or if you are in the possession of property which does not belong to either you or your spouse, you must point it out to your attorney.

In Texas, earnings from separate property are community property. For example, if husband has $5,000.00 in the bank account at the date of marriage, the $5,000.00 remains his separate property, but all interest on the $5,000.00 becomes community property, subject to division on divorce.

Unlike separate property, a court has the authority to divide community property in any manner that it deems to be “just and right.”

Contact the The Law Office of Jeffrey L. Novy today.

 

 

 

 

 

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