• Eric Beal

Boo: It’s Halloween Time – the 5 Scariest Things in Family Law


Halloween is the time for scary things. So now that it’s October, it’s time to talk about the 5 scariest things in Texas Family Law. Each of these topics will be discussed in detail in a future Blog post, but here is the list, and a snippet on each.

First, the list:

1. Temporary Support

2. The Judge’s Discretion

3. Spousal Maintenance

4. Juries

5. Community Presumption

Now just a little about each.

1. Temporary Support

In a Texas Divorce, the judge can order either party to pay the other pretty much any amount of money that the judge thinks is fair. Does this mean that if your spouse is making more than you, you could be ordered to pay them money during the divorce? Yes. Does it mean that you can count on getting whatever you feel you need if your spouse makes “plenty” of money? No.

2. The Judge’s Discretion

To many people’s surprise, a jury can be asked to decide some things in a Texas Divorce or Custody case. But, most things are decided by the Judge of the court that the case is in. The Judge has “broad discretion,” meaning that whatever that one person – the Judge – thinks is reasonable or fair or whatever is what you get. Can you appeal? Sure, but the odds of winning on appeal when the standard is “abuse of discretion” are not great.

3. Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance is money that one party or the other can be ordered to pay after the divorce is over to the other. It is sort of Texas Alimony. The maximum amount that can be ordered – theoretically – is $5,000.00 per month FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!! Scary enough for you? How about this: If you’re the one desparately needing the money, the least you can get is Zero – for the rest of your life.

4. Juries

If you think a Judge’s discretion is scary, think about having your fate, or the fate of your children in the hands of twelve strangers that don’t know anything about the law, except what they are told in the trial and what they think they know from television.

5. Community Presumption

In a Texas Divorce, the court presumes that all property owned by the parties is Community Property, unless the party trying to claim something as his or her Separate Property can prove their claim beyond a Standard of Proof known as Clear and Convincing. That is a high standard.

There you have it – The Five Scariest Things in Texas Family Law. Are there a lot of other scary things in family law? Absolutely, but they will have to wait for another day.


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