Family Law Resources


Understanding the Significance of Board Certification in Family Law in Texas

Family law is a complex and emotionally charged field of legal practice that deals with matters such as divorce, child custody, spousal support, and more. To navigate these intricate cases effectively, many clients and legal professionals seek the expertise of board-certified family law attorneys in Texas. Board certification is a distinguished recognition that signifies a high level of expertise and experience in a particular area of law. In this article, we will explore what it means to be board certified in family law in Texas, the requirements, and the benefits it offers to both attorneys and their clients.

Board Certification in Texas

In Texas, board certification is an entirely voluntary certification established by the Supreme Court of Texas in 1974. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) oversees the certification process for family law attorneys, among other legal specialties. Board certification in family law is a mark of distinction that reflects a lawyer's commitment to excellence in this specific practice area. It demonstrates that an attorney has the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to handle even the most complex family law cases effectively.

Requirements for Board Certification in Family Law

The path to becoming board certified in family law in Texas is rigorous, ensuring that only highly qualified attorneys receive this prestigious recognition.

The requirements include:

1. Active Practice: Applicants must be actively engaged in the practice of law for a specified number of years and provide proof of their experience in various types of hearings and trials.

2. Continuing Legal Education: Candidates must complete a significant amount of continuing legal education in family law.

3. Peer Review: Applicants must submit references from judges and other attorneys who can attest to their competence in family law.

4. Examination: A comprehensive examination that covers various aspects of family law is required. Passing this exam demonstrates a deep understanding of the subject matter.

Benefits of Board Certification for Attorneys

1. Professional Credibility: Board certification enhances an attorney's professional credibility. It assures clients, judges, and peers that the attorney is an expert in family law.

2. Specialization Recognition: Being board certified in family law sets an attorney apart in a crowded legal field. It's a clear indication of their dedication to their practice area.

3. Enhanced Client Confidence: Clients are more likely to trust board-certified family law attorneys, knowing they have met stringent criteria and demonstrated their expertise.

Benefits of Board Certification for Clients

1. Expertise: Clients can expect a higher level of expertise and specialized knowledge from board-certified family law attorneys, ensuring that their case is handled with precision.

2. Increased Confidence: Knowing their attorney is board certified, clients gain confidence that they are in capable hands, reducing stress during legal proceedings.

Board certification in family law in Texas is a prestigious recognition that highlights an attorney's exceptional skills and dedication to the practice area. The stringent requirements and commitment to ongoing education ensure that board-certified family law attorneys are well-equipped to navigate even the most complex legal issues. For clients, hiring an Austin board-certified family law attorney offers the assurance of expert guidance during difficult and emotionally charged legal matters. In a field as sensitive as family law, board certification serves to benefit both attorneys and the clients they serve.

Exes Can Provide Information and Support Vaught Law Firm 512-342-9980 Texas divorce lawyer

Former Partners as Witnesses in Divorce and Child Custody Cases

In the complex world of divorce and child custody cases, gathering vital information and securing witnesses is an ongoing endeavor. The ultimate goal is to present a comprehensive and accurate picture of the situation to the court, should a hearing become necessary. One intriguing aspect of this process, exemplified by celebrity cases like that of Sophie Turner, involves seeking support and testimony from the exes of the opposing party. While exes can sometimes offer valuable insights, it's crucial to understand their role, potential biases, and the significance of recent information.

The Sophie Turner Example:

In recent celebrity news, the public witnessed Sophie Turner, a prominent actress, engaging in friendly dinners with her husband Joe Jonas' ex-partner, Taylor Swift. While this may seem unusual, it highlights an important aspect of divorce and custody cases – the potential involvement of exes in supporting one's position.

Ex-spouses can serve as valuable witnesses in divorce and custody cases, provided they possess pertinent information or have witnessed significant events relevant to the case. However, it's essential to recognize that an ex-spouse is inherently biased as they are intimately tied to the opposing party. Their testimony may be viewed as partial, so it's crucial to consider their role carefully.

When Ex-Spouses Can Be Beneficial:

  1. Relevant Information: Ex-spouses can be witnesses if they have firsthand knowledge of events or behaviors that are pertinent to the case. This might include incidents related to the well-being of children, financial misconduct, or other issues directly affecting the outcome of the case.
  2. Corroboration: In some situations, ex-spouses can provide corroborating testimony to support your claims. Their perspective may lend credibility to your arguments, especially if it aligns with other evidence and witnesses.
  3. Emotional Support: Divorce and custody cases can be emotionally taxing. Having an ex-spouse on your side can provide emotional support and a sense of comfort during a highly emotional period. This support can be invaluable, even if they are not a primary witness.

When to Exercise Caution:

  1. Potential Bias: Ex-spouses are inherently biased against their former partners. Courts recognize this and may scrutinize their testimony accordingly. It's important to ensure their statements are backed by evidence and are not the sole basis for your case.
  2. Recency of Information: Ex-spouses should ideally have recent and relevant information to contribute. Testimony based on outdated or irrelevant information may not carry as much weight in court.

In the world of divorce and child custody cases, the involvement of ex-spouses as witnesses is not uncommon. However, their role should be approached with caution. While they can provide valuable insights and emotional support, their inherent bias and the relevance of their information must be carefully assessed.

Remember that ex-spouses should not be the primary source of information or the primary witness unless they possess recent and crucial insights. When leveraged judiciously, their involvement can be a valuable asset in building a compelling case.

For legal guidance on divorce and child custody matters, consult one of our skilled Texas family law attorneys. Our experienced legal team is here to provide you with the support and guidance you need during this challenging time.

Smear Campaign Tactic Vaught Law Firm 512-342-9980 Texas divorce lawyer

Navigating a Smear Campaign during Divorce Proceedings

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process, and when it involves high-profile individuals like the Turner/Jonas case, matters can become even more complex. There are lessons to be learned from this celebrity divorce, where a smear campaign was employed as a tactic and how it can backfire.

The Turner/Jonas Divorce Saga

When reports first emerged about the Turner/Jonas divorce, it was evident that much of the information was coming from one side of the dispute. While some level of negative behavior and accusations are not uncommon in divorce cases, the courts generally view such tactics unfavorably. In this particular case, the Jonas smear campaign took a unique celebrity twist, with "close sources" reportedly leaking information to media outlets like TMZ and others.

However, this smear campaign quickly backfired. Fans of the couple provided evidence that contradicted some of the claims made by the Jonas camp. One of the primary allegations was that Turner was a partygoer while Jonas was portrayed as the responsible homebody. However, multiple videos resurfaced in which the couple themselves acknowledged the opposite—Turner was the homebody, and Jonas was the social butterfly.

It's essential to note that being a social butterfly and enjoying a vibrant social life is not inherently a negative trait. What the Jonas team seemed to be attempting was to cast Turner in a negative light, suggesting that she prioritized partying over her responsibilities as a mother, leaving Jonas to pick up the slack at home.

Legal Implications of Smear Campaigns

While individuals in the United States enjoy First Amendment protections, which grant the right to free speech, there are limits to what can be said or done, especially when it causes harm to another party. In cases where one party can prove that false statements have been made that caused damages recognized by the law as compensable, they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit. The most famous example of this would be the recent Depp v. Heard defamation trials.

Civil suits arising from smear campaigns can take various forms. If the false statements made during the campaign interfere with a party's business relationships and result in a loss of business, this can also be a basis for a civil suit apart from defamation. This aspect is particularly significant for high-profile individuals with public image concerns and business interests to protect.

Consideration of Civil Suits in Divorce Cases

In some instances, civil suits can be included within divorce cases, addressing not only the dissolution of the marriage but also the damages caused by the smear campaign. If you find yourself in a situation where a smear campaign is causing harm to your personal and professional life during a divorce, it's essential to consult with experienced attorneys.

The Turner/Jonas divorce case serves as a cautionary tale of how smear campaigns can backfire and damage the reputation of those employing such tactics. While freedom of speech is a fundamental right, making false statements that cause harm to others can have legal consequences. Civil suits can be a remedy in such cases, allowing individuals to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered.

If you believe you are facing a smear campaign during your divorce proceedings, it's crucial to seek legal guidance. At Vaught Law Firm, P.C., our skilled Texas family law attorneys can provide the assistance you need to navigate these complex issues.

Preunptial Agreement Vaught Law Firm 512-342-9980 Texas divorce lawyer

Why Prenuptial Agreements Are Worth Considering

In the world of celebrity divorces, the speculation surrounding the contents of a prenuptial agreement is always a hot topic. The recent divorce announcement of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner is no exception. While we await the details of their prenup, it's crucial to recognize that prenuptial agreements are not exclusive to celebrities. In Texas, couples have the option to enter into prenuptial agreements before marriage or even postnuptial agreements after they are married. These agreements can play a vital role in safeguarding one's financial interests in the event of a divorce. Let’s delve into the significance of prenuptial agreements in Texas, dispelling myths and highlighting their broader relevance beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

In Texas, prenuptial agreements, often simply referred to as prenups, are legal contracts entered into by couples before their marriage. Postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, are similar contracts executed after the wedding ceremony. Both types of agreements serve the same primary purpose: to define the financial rights and responsibilities of each spouse in the event of divorce.

It's important to note that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in Texas have some limitations. Specifically, they cannot include provisions related to child custody or child support. Texas law holds that the best interest of the child should be determined at the time of the divorce or separation, preventing parents from pre-planning these arrangements when future circumstances are unknown.

Why Plan for Divorce During the Joyful Period of Wedding Planning?

The notion of planning for divorce while preparing for a wedding might seem counterintuitive, but recent celebrity divorces shed light on why these agreements can be invaluable. Most individuals who enter into prenuptial agreements are not anticipating divorce down the road. However, these agreements can provide peace of mind and simplify the divorce process should it ever become necessary.

By addressing financial matters before emotions run high during a divorce, couples can avoid lengthy and contentious disputes over assets and liabilities. A well-crafted prenuptial agreement can streamline the divorce proceedings, potentially saving time, money, and emotional distress. It's a proactive approach to protecting your financial future.

While the idea of a prenuptial agreement may sound appealing, it's crucial to understand that not all prenups are created equal. To serve their intended purpose, these agreements must meet specific legal requirements in Texas. These requirements include:

  1. Full Financial Disclosure: Both parties must fully disclose their financial assets, debts, and liabilities. Transparency is essential to ensure fairness.
  2. Voluntary Consent: The agreement should be entered into willingly by both parties without any coercion or undue pressure.
  3. Fair and Reasonable Terms: The terms of the agreement should be fair and reasonable at the time of execution, and they should not be unconscionable or grossly one-sided.
  4. Independent Legal Counsel: While not mandatory, it's advisable for each party to consult with their own attorney before signing a prenuptial agreement. This ensures that their rights and interests are protected.

Prenuptial agreements are not just for celebrities; they offer valuable benefits to couples in Texas from all walks of life. These legal contracts can provide a measure of financial security and simplify the divorce process if ever needed. While planning for divorce may not be a romantic notion, it's a practical and prudent step to protect your financial future. To learn more about prenuptial agreements and how they can benefit you, consult with an experienced family law attorney in Texas.

Our team of experienced Texas family law attorneys is here to guide you through the process and ensure your prenuptial agreement meets all legal requirements, providing you with peace of mind for your future together. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

Divorce Filing Timing Vaught Law Firm 512-342-9980 Texas divorce lawyer

Navigating the End of a Marriage

Facing the end of a marriage is an emotionally challenging journey that raises a crucial question for everyone involved: "When am I done with this marriage, and when is it time to move forward with a divorce?" This question is particularly complex for celebrities like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas, who not only grapple with personal emotions but also have to consider public relations implications due to the public's insatiable interest in their lives.

Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas recently made headlines when they filed for divorce. It's important to note that the timing of their divorce petition seemed strategic. Reports suggest that the couple agreed on a temporary child custody arrangement prior to the divorce filing, with Joe Jonas having the children during his tour, and Sophie Turner picking them up in mid-September. However, the divorce filing just before this agreed-upon date raises questions about its intentions.

Some speculate that the divorce filing was a preemptive move to prevent the children from returning to England, as initially agreed upon by the couple. This situation underscores the importance of understanding the legal implications of such agreements and what recourse a parent has if the other party violates them.

In family law, situations where one parent violates a temporary custody agreement are more common than one might think. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, here's what you need to know:

  1. Seek Legal Counsel Immediately:
    • If you're being prevented from seeing your children as agreed upon, it's crucial to seek legal counsel. In such cases, time is of the essence.
  2. Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas:
    • In the state of Texas, there is an option to request a Temporary Orders hearing. This hearing can be a game-changer in determining various aspects of your situation, even if you're not married.
    • A Temporary Orders hearing can address issues such as:
      • Who will reside in the family home
      • Payment of bills and financial responsibilities
      • Possession schedule for the children
      • Child support and spousal support
      • Decision-making rights for the children
  3. Interim Solutions:
    • The goal of a Temporary Orders hearing is to provide interim solutions while navigating the transition to separate households. This ensures the well-being of both parents and children during this challenging time.

Navigating divorce and child custody can be emotionally and legally complex, even for celebrities like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas. Understanding your rights and seeking legal counsel is essential, especially if agreements are violated. In Texas, the option of a Temporary Orders hearing can help establish temporary solutions and provide clarity on various issues, ensuring the best interests of all parties involved.

Our experienced family law attorneys are here to provide guidance and support as you navigate these challenging situations. Schedule your initial consultation today.

JurisdictionHague Vaught Law Firm 512-342-9980 Texas divorce lawyer

How Is Jurisdiction a Factor in Divorce?

Divorce and custody cases are often emotionally charged and complex affairs, further complicated by issues such as jurisdiction and conflicting interpretations of the law. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of handling such cases in Texas, using the recent Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas case as an illustrative example. As trusted Texas family law attorneys, we understand the challenges and sensitivities involved in these matters and aim to shed light on some critical aspects of these cases.

One common occurrence in divorce and custody cases is the emergence of smear campaigns against one party by the other. It's crucial to remember that individuals going through these challenging times are often experiencing intense emotions. Emotions can lead to misinterpretations of the law and actions taken in the heat of the moment. It is the attorney's responsibility to provide a steady hand, guidance, and expert legal counsel to navigate these turbulent waters.

Jurisdiction: The First Hurdle

The initial question that must be answered in any divorce or custody case is where the case can be filed. Jurisdiction is a pivotal issue, and this is where the timeline in the Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas case becomes pertinent. Specifically, the residence of the children plays a central role in determining whether a state has the authority to issue orders concerning them.

In Texas, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) governs this aspect of family law. To establish jurisdiction over children in Texas, the child in question must have been born here within the last six months or have lived in Texas for the last six months. Once these criteria are met, the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the children.

Determining jurisdiction over a divorce is a distinct matter from child custody. A divorce will typically follow the custody case but comes with its own set of residency requirements. To file for divorce in Texas, there is a six-month residence requirement within the state itself. Additionally, there is a 90-day residence requirement for the county in which the divorce is being filed. Importantly, all these timelines are established based on the date of filing.

The Hague Convention governs International Child Abduction Issues for countries that have signed the Hague treaty. This treaty provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed children, or kidnapped children, across international borders. Its purpose is to protect children from parents wrongfully removing them from their homes and keeping them in a foreign country. Under the Convention, the governments of all of the countries agree to try to facilitate the quick return of abducted children to their home countries. Convention countries agree that child custody issues should be resolved in the country where the child had a habitual residence.

When a child has been taken by one of their parents to another country, the left-behind parent can file a petition for the child’s return under the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention does not decide on the merits of a child custody dispute; it merely determines the appropriate jurisdiction for such matters to be resolved. The Convention determines what is the “habitual residence” of the child and what was the last shared intent for that “habitual residence” of the child to be.

Understanding Standing Orders

In the Turner/Jonas case, an intriguing situation emerged regarding court orders. The Jonas legal team claimed that a court order prevented Joe Jonas from handing over the passports of the children. However, upon closer examination, it appeared that the reference was to what Texas law calls "Standing Orders." These are mutual orders that automatically come into effect in any family court suit, provided the county has approved Standing Orders.

These orders often contain provisions, such as an injunction against changing the child's "abode" or current residence. This becomes a crucial question in cases where jurisdiction is in dispute. In the Turner/Jonas divorce, for instance, the issue is whether Florida even has jurisdiction over the case and what constitutes the child's abode. Was the child residing in Florida for the required period to establish a residence, or were they merely visiting and in a temporary living situation?

Navigating the complexities of divorce and custody cases in Texas requires a deep understanding of jurisdictional rules, legal provisions like Standing Orders, and the ability to manage emotions during this emotionally charged time. At Vaught Law Firm, P.C., our Austin divorce attorneys are committed to providing legal guidance and support to clients facing these challenges. For more information on divorce and custody cases, contact us online or call (512) 342-9980.

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Retirement Account FAQ's

Attorney Jillian French, Texas Super Lawyer and partner at Vaught Law Firm, was featured several times by Ask the Lawyers™ Quick Question for her knowledge of property division in Texas. In these short videos, she discusses how retirement accounts are treated in a Texas divorce. If you have any additional questions about property division, please do not hesitate to call us to schedule a consultation at 512-342-9980.

Can I Go After My Ex’s Retirement Accounts After Our Divorce?

In this Ask the Lawyers™ Quick Question, Attorney Jillian French discusses whether your spouse can go after your retirement benefits.

If a retirement account was not disclosed or not put in the divorce decree then your spouse could claim it as an undivided or undisclosed asset. That is something that is provided for in the Texas family code, and they could come after it.

How Do You Divide a 401K and IRA Accounts in a Texas Divorce?

Attorney Jillian French explains how retirement accounts are divided in this Quick Question by Ask the Lawyers™.

For a 401k, those are typically going to be referred to as qualified plans and so those would be divided through what's called a qualified domestic relations order. For IRAs, those are typically divided through the divorce decree and then most of them require a copy of the divorce decree and then additionally a form, typically something that the plan itself creates, and then they want the form to be filled out with a copy of the decree.

How Are Retirement Benefits Divided in a Texas Divorce?

Jillian French, a Texas divorce attorney, explains how retirement accounts are divided in another Quick Question by Ask the Lawyers™.

They are usually divided through some sort of domestic relations order, either a qualified domestic relations order or just a regular domestic relations order, depending on the award to the other spouse based on a just and right division of the property.


The Dos and Don’ts of a Smooth Divorce

As divorce lawyers in Austin will tell you, there is nothing to be gained by intentionally trying to make life miserable for the other party.

• Try to remain on speaking terms, and if that is not an option, choose a neutral form of communication, such as texting.

• Consider mediation. This is a lower-cost alternative that helps with communication and preparation of the necessary paperwork. Even if you do require divorce lawyers in Austin, the use of a mediator can be an important step for getting ready for court.

• Write down your budget. Finances are a very big part of every divorce case. Having a clear and honest budget will make things go smoother, and being able to find the financial paperwork you need ahead of time will make things go faster.

• Protect the children. Divorce is stressful for children. Avoid fighting in front of them. Avoid putting down your spouse in front of them. The exception is if you are in an unsafe situation. If you or the children are at risk, contact law enforcement and exit the situation as quickly and safely as possible.

• Protect your mental health. Now is not the time to binge eat or neglect your health, even though you are feeling extremely stressed. Go for walks, drink water, take some time to meditate – do the things that support your mental health so you can better handle the road ahead.

Don’t do this if you want a smooth divorce

When you block divorce proceedings, either willfully or because you simply don’t want to deal with it, you are making a bad situation much, much worse. Divorce lawyers in Austin discourage you from doing the following:

• Being combative. When feelings are hurt, especially if one is feeling betrayed, it is natural to want to become combative. This, however, can spin out of control very quickly and can turn into a situation of power/financial/physical abuse. Your divorce lawyer in Austin is always on the side of the law and cannot tolerate any behavior that puts your or your spouse’s wellbeing at risk.

• Hiding important documents. This is a big issue that can lead to costly delays and a lot of serious problems. Don’t hide or alter documents, such as the deed to the house, car titles, bank statements, employment or business income, etc.

• DIY divorce. You don’t actually save any time or money with a DIY divorce because divorces, even quick ones, are incredibly complicated. Divorce lawyers in Austin know the laws about divorce in this state and what you are – and are not – entitled to. There are also firm rules when it comes to the custody of minor children and the division of estates. It is easy to mistakenly break a law you are unfamiliar with.

Rely on Divorce Lawyers in Austin

Divorce is never pleasant, but with the help of divorce lawyers in Austin, you can get through the process faster, with a more favorable custody arrangement, and with the assets you deserve. Contact Vaught Law Firm, P.C., if you are in the Austin area and are planning a divorce. We specialize in family law and will provide the expertise you need.


Virtual Visitation Rights: A New Trend in Child Custody Cases

Robin Williams, in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, realizes a parent’s worst nightmare: Following a divorce, a court order prevents him from ever seeing his children. He realizes he cannot live without seeing them and concocts an elaborate plan — he impersonates an elderly nanny to care for them after school — just to remain in their lives.


Types of Divorce in Texas

In the State of Texas, if one party wants a divorce, the divorce will eventually be granted. Often one of the spouses wants to continue to work on the marriage and the other spouse is ready to move on. The court cannot compel anyone to marriage counseling.

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