Property Division

Alimony – Should Fault Be Considered?

There was a bit of a stir in the media this week when a Utah lawmaker proposed a bill that would give family court judges the authority to consider fault when deciding the issue of alimony in a divorce case. The news reports I have seen are unclear on whether this bill would modify the law to make it permissible for a judge to award alimony solely upon a finding of adultery by the payor spouse, or if it would simply allow the judge who has determined that a spouse is eligible to receive alimony to factor in the bad conduct in determining the amount and duration of the alimony award. Continue reading

Mediation of your Houston Divorce Case

Many people going through a divorce are not familiar with what mediation entails. This article will describe the process and explain its uses and benefits in a divorce case.

What Mediation Is and What It Is Not

Mediation is essentially a settlement conference attended by both parties and both lawyers and facilitated by a third-party mediator who attempts to get the clients to reach an agreement on all issues in their case. Continue reading

Common Law Marriage Explained

One of the most common misunderstandings about Texas family law involves informal or “common law” marriages. Many people believe that after you live together for a certain period of time you automatically become married, even if neither party wants to be. This is not true in Texas, nor in any other state that I am aware of.

How Can You Get Married Without a Wedding?

It is possible to become married without the usual requirements of obtaining a marriage license, waiting at least 72 hours and then having a wedding ceremony. Continue reading

Can I Get an Annulment?

A very common question that we get when someone consults with our office is whether they are entitled to an annulment. An annulment is basically a court order stating that the marriage was never valid. Essentially it is a do-over, as though the marriage never happened.

Typically, when clients ask about whether an annulment is possible the marriage is still very new. The client thinks that since Continue reading

Radio Interview on CNN 650 on Divorce and Small Business Owners

I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago on CNN Radio (650 AM) by Kevin Price on the topic of how divorce impacts small business owners. You can listen to the interview below.


Check out this related post: How Do You Divide a Kidney? and Justia Directory listing.

Free Teleseminar on Property Division

At 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, I will be holding a telephone seminar (aka teleseminar).  The call is free (except for any long distance charges your carrier charges) and the topic will be “The 5 Keys to Getting a Fair Property Division in Your Divorce.”

I would recommend it for anyone who is getting divorced in Texas or preparing for the possibility of divorce.  If you are interested in being on the call just visit the teleseminar registration page for details.

How Do You Divide a Kidney?

Dr. Wants Kidney Returned from Wife

Give Me My Kidney!

A Long Island surgeon, Dr. Richard Batista, is seeking the return of his donated kidney from his wife in the property division of his ongoing divorce case.  Alternatively, he is willing to allow her to keep the kidney in exchange for $1.5 million.

Apparently, the valuation was derived based on what a black market kidney would sell for.  However, such sales are illegal in the U.S.

The article goes on to explain that Dr. Batista is extremely hurt and upset by his wife’s extra marital affairs which occurred some time after the kidney transplant.

Generally speaking, a kidney (donated or otherwise) would not be a marital asset subject to division.  But it will be interesting to see how the New York divorce court handles the case.

The Ultimate 50-50 Property Division

I often hear clients say that they want everything split 50/50.  However certain assets can be difficult divide on an equal basis or even to value accurately.  Well, as reported in the Houston Chronicle, a Cambodian couple found a creative solution to this age-old property division problem when they sawed their house in half!

MLB divorce

I like to say there are not too many issues in divorce cases that I haven’t dealt with, but here is one: who gets custody of the MLB franchise? John and Becky Moores own the San Diego Padres and are in the middle of a divorce in California.

If their name is familiar it might be because they have donated a lot of money to the University of Houston where they met. In 1991 they gave over $50 million to the school.

Their situation is really not unlike that of a lot of couples who own a business that makes up the vast majority of their overall estate. The dilemma is how to equitably divide an estate when it is predominantly made up of a single asset that is nearly impossible to divide. One possibility is for each party to be awarded a share of the business, although the idea of ex’s being business partners post-divorce is not an ideal situation either.

It is one thing to have an estate that is made up primarily of a 401(k) or a brokerage account. Those kinds of assets are relatively easy to divide, especially non-retirement accounts. But things get sticky when the primary asset is something really illiquid, like a business. In that scenario, if one party is very involved in the business and the other side is not, it is often a foregone conclusion who it should be awarded to. Then the issue becomes accurately valuing the business and determining how the other party will be compensated for their share.

Sometimes the only practical solution is to sell the business and liquidate the value so that it can be divided. Probably the Moores, both of whom are supposedly very involved with the day to day operations of the Padres, are trying to avoid this result (they have already publicly stated that they won’t sell).

Hopefully they can work out a solution that is acceptable to both of them. Regardless, the franchise has an estimated value of $385 million, so we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them.