Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

San Antonio Law Blog

High-profile child custody case centers on embryos

Many Texas residents are familiar with actress Sophia Vergara, one of the stars of the hit show Modern Family. Vergara is one of the highest-paid actresses on television, but she's making recent headlines over her ongoing child custody battle centered on two frozen embryos. She and her former partner have been fighting over control of the embryos since they split in 2014. 

Vergara's ex, Nick Loeb, wants to implant the embryos in a surrogate and bring them to term. Vergara strongly opposes that course of action. The case has been moved from one court to another, at one point reaching a federal court. A recent decision brought the matter back before a state court. Vergara is expected to ask the court to reconsider that change. 

Billionaire couple's divorce full of conflicts and contention

When a Texas marriage comes to an end, there are numerous issues to resolve and questions to answer. Also, emotions can run very high for all parties involved during the divorce process. In some situations, the conflicts are major and contentious feelings may last for quite some time. For example, a couple in another state has entered into territory far beyond what the majority of divorcing couples experience.

Bill and Sue Gross had been married 32 years when they got divorced in 2017. Their children were all grown; however, they evidently had disagreements about everything else, including cars, pets, artwork and homes. Extended family members and employees have become embroiled in the conflict. Even delivery personnel and construction workers have gotten involved in the fray.

New study says divorce can help women retire well

The party line on how women should negotiate the end of a marriage may change in light of recent research. It has long been held that women shouldn't try to keep the family home during a divorce, but a recent study found that real estate serves as a great asset as a woman enters retirement. While every Texas woman has a unique set of needs when it comes to divorce negotiations, focusing on the family home may not be a bad strategy after all. 

Timing is essential in how to approach real estate in divorce. There's no debate that keeping the house requires a great deal of effort and investment to handle repairs, monthly expenses and general upkeep. If a woman cannot be sure she can shoulder that financial burden for at least five years following her divorce, then it may be better to let the house go for a greater share of other assets. 

Divorce issues: More prenups addressing social media usage

More and more couples in Texas and all around the country are having discussions before they get married about how to handle things should they split sometime in the future. Prenuptial agreements have long been helpful in divorce proceedings when it comes to issues of property division. However, many soon-to-wed couples are now addressing social media usage in their prenups.

Experts cite the current widespread usage of social media among most adults as a contributing factor to the trend. It is common for some people to be very open on their social media accounts. Therefore, if someone was in the midst of divorce proceedings and was angry at a partner, he or she may use various social media platforms to air grievances or post photographs that were intended to be private. Social media clauses in a prenuptial agreement can prevent possible embarrassment or potential damage to a person's reputation.

What are the duties of a Texas executor?

Making a will is a serious responsibility that many Americans tend to put off for all too long. Investing careful thought and planning into this endeavor, as well as enlisting qualified legal help, is a good path to creating an effective will that reflects a person's real wishes.

Naming an executor is an important part of the estate planning process. A qualified executor can make things go slowly, while one who is not up to the task can cause confusion, delays and a host of other problems during probate.

Changes coming soon in how alimony is taxed following a divorce

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law late last year made significant changes to the way alimony payments will be handled. These changes will have a major impact on those couples getting a divorce in Texas or elsewhere around the country. The changes will affect those people whose divorces will be final in 2019. However, some parties may need to act quickly if they live in a state that requires a longer waiting period to finalize a divorce.

Currently, the spouse who pays alimony is able to deduct those payments on his or her income taxes. The recipient of the alimony now pays taxes on that amount. However, this will change as of the end of 2018. The deduction for the payer will no longer be allowed, and the person receiving alimony payments will not have to pay taxes any longer.

Divorce issues: Women now paying more child support and alimony

Women in Texas, throughout the country and around the world have long fought for equality in many areas. What initially comes to mind is the desire to have equal pay for equal work in addition to comparable advancement opportunities on the job. However, a recent report by the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that women are rapidly gaining ground on men in a different area. The report shows that there has been an increase in the number of women who pay alimony or child support following a divorce.

In the past, men were typically the ones who paid support to an ex-wife since they were the higher wage earner in the family. Women either stayed at home or worked in lower-paying jobs. However, times have certainly changed. Many women now have high-paying jobs and may be the main breadwinners, while more men have become the primary providers of child care. Should a couple in this scenario get a divorce, the ex-husband may likely be the recipient of spousal support.

Divorce and pensions

Many Texas residents and others around the country plan for their retirements over the course of several years. They work on their jobs and routinely save money that will be used when they are no longer employed. Often, in a marriage, one spouse may be the primary wage earner and be responsible for funding a retirement account. This is a common practice, and it poses no problem for couples who remain married. However, a couple who gets a divorce faces some challenges in how to deal with dividing retirement funds.

When a couple gets divorced, terms of how property shall be divided are included in the final decree. A question was submitted regarding an ex-spouse's pension plan. The agreement stated that the wife was to receive half of her ex-husband's retirement funds. However, there has been no contact between the former couple, and the woman did not know how to proceed.

Post-divorce tax considerations

Divorce in Texas can bring with it surprises that a couple may not have considered. One of these surprises can be dealing with taxes. In most marriages, one person deals with finances and taxes. This has the potential to yield surprises for the person who doesn't take care of those matters after a divorce. There are some pitfalls to be avoided.

While tax season is passed for 2017, there are still some things to be aware of for 2018. First, a person will want to make sure there are no delinquent taxes. If a couple filed jointly, as most married couples do, the couple is deemed jointly responsible for taxes and divorce does not absolve either party of this responsibility. However, the Internal Revenue Code does have a provision for "innocent spouse" relief.

A TOP-RATED LAW FIRM

At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we have received a variety of honors and awards for our family law services. Members of our team have been listed as Top Lawyers in San Antonio Scene magazine. We take pride in the number of positive reviews we have received from satisfied clients. On AVVO, a lawyer rating website, we have received an 8.9 rating overall and many positive ratings from clients and colleagues.

  1. Top 10 Attorneys | American Jurist Institute | 2017
  2. Avvo Rating | 8.9 | Excellent
  3. Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2015 | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham
  4. Reviews | Out of 12 reviews | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham | Avvo
  5. BBB | A+ Rating
  6. San Antonio | Best S.A. | Lawyers | 2015
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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
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San Antonio, TX 78205

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