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Conviction of a felony as grounds for a Texas divorce

If your spouse has been convicted of a felony that a what is known as a fault ground for divorce in Texas. Alleging and then proving a fault ground for divorce means that you allow yourself to gain an advantage over your spouse when it comes to the division of property as well as in assigning visitation, possession, and conservatorship rights to your children. It is not necessary to allege a specific fault ground for divorce in Texas, but it can be helpful in those areas. In some cases, alleging a fault ground for divorce can also allow you to argue for spousal maintenance if you have been the victim of family violence within two years of your divorce having been filed.

Filing for divorce means that you need to file an Original Petition for Divorce. It is within this document that you would be able to assert either a fault ground for divorce or could file for divorce on a no-fault basis. No-fault divorces are common in Texas as they are across the country. A no-fault divorce means that you are not filing for divorce based on a specific reason or cause. Rather, you are filing for divorce due to discord or conflict in personalities between you and your spouse.

Finding yourself in a position where your spouse has committed a felony is a serious situation, to say the least. A violent spouse is a situation that cries out for intervention. Hopefully, you have planned out your way of escaping from the home and the marriage. Having a safe place to stay for you and your children is essential at this stage. What sort of plan does that look like? It may be that you have thought about leaving but unless you have a specific plan for avoiding your spouse and being harmed by him or her then you have not thought about the situation thoroughly enough.

Your spouse being in law enforcement custody is one situation where you can be more confident of your safety. However, if your spouse has committed violent acts before and is not yet behind bars then you need to think of a plan to keep you and your family safe. Even if your spouse no longer lives in your home with you, it is not enough to take it easy based on this. Rather, you need to map out a plan for you and your children to not only get out of your home safely but to also find a new place to live, if only temporarily.

First, you should have an overnight bag filled with a change of clothes, toiletries, medicines, and other essentials packed and ready to go with items for you and your children. Having the bag in a place like the trunk of your vehicle is a good idea since you don't know how much time you will have to take an item out of the door with you in an emergency. This is something that you can plan out well in advance so take whatever opportunity you must get these items together and do so.

Next, if you find yourself in a position where you and your spouse are at home together and he or she becomes violent you should think about a plan to escape the situation in terms of how to escape the home as quickly and safely as possible. Having a signal or being able to alert a neighbor is a great idea, as well. Sending a one-word text message to someone or even opening and closing blinds to alert someone else to your situation could be options that you choose to take advantage of. Remember that there are people around you who can help you in your situation- you just must make them aware of your need for your help. This is not imposing yourself on another person, but rather appealing to someone for help and assistance in a dangerous situation.

Once you find yourself outside of your home you need to know where you are going to go as far as a place to live. There may be domestic violence shelters in your area where you can stay for a short time while you sort out all your options. You could also try to contact a relative or friend that you are comfortable with to see if you could stay with him or her. Preferably this would be someone whose spouse does not know where the person lives. The main issue with staying at another person's house is that you will eventually need to find a more permanent place to live. However, for the time being, you should be concerned mostly with staying safe and getting out of a dangerous situation.

Felony conviction as grounds for divorce

As we have already covered, felony conviction(s) is grounds for divorce in Texas. However, there may be some situations where you find that you can't assert the conviction as grounds for divorce. It is best to have the advice, counsel, and guidance of an experienced family law attorney when you are attempting to argue that your spouse's felony conviction(s) are appropriate grounds for divorce in your case. Remember that you not only must be able to assert the ground for divorce but also prove that the allegation you are making is true. Lining up police reports and other evidence can be tricky so an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help you do so.

When you can prove a felony conviction as a ground for divorce that is a game-changing situation. There are two main areas that fault grounds for divorce, generally, and conviction of a felony, specifically, can make a considerable impact on your divorce case: community property division and conservatorship/possession of your children. While the actions of your spouse are extremely serious they should not overshadow the significant impact of their behavior and criminal convictions on your divorce.

Grounds for divorce matter when you are dividing property in the divorce. There are two main parts to a divorce: property division and children's issues. Children's issues are relevant throughout the divorce while property division becomes more relevant towards the end of a divorce. Your attorney is instrumental in this stage of your case to help you focus on the factors which are most important to you and your family. Otherwise, you may spend your time thinking about issues that are more relevant at other stages in your case. That is a waste of time and opportunity to begin negotiating on the subjects that matter most at that juncture in your case.

Minor children of your marriage will have conservatorship issues determined on their behalf. Conservatorship means rights and duties- the right to make decisions on behalf of that person and the duty to care for that person. This is a central focus of a child custody case, but it is also an issue that is frequently overlooked in cases like these. Parents can, understandably, spend so much time focusing on the time that they can spend with their children that they are unable to spend as much of their focus on these rights and duties. That is a mistake. If you spend all your time in the divorce focused on getting the perfect visitation or possession schedule you will lose out on the rights and duties that otherwise could have and should have been yours.

Beginning with possession and visitation being determined by conservatorship roles that you and your spouse will fill in the lives of your child. For instance, if you want to become the primary managing conservator of your child then you are asking for the right to determine the primary residence of your child. This is a key distinction between parents and their roles with their children. If you are the primary conservator of your child, then you determine where your child lives and have the ability to spend more time with your child. This is a part of the conservatorship question and is why you need to focus intently on conservatorship with your spouse in negotiations. You cannot spend all your time focused on time with the kids- you would be missing out on a big part of the child custody subject.

Conservatorship also relates to the ability to make decisions on behalf of your child when it comes to their education and medical decisions. These are big parts of a child's life. You want to be able to weigh in on these subjects and hold a decision-making role, if possible. The last thing you want is to not be able to have your opinion heard when it comes to a surgery that your child could have or a decision regarding their education. You can spend all the time that you want with your child but that does not make up for not being able to be a factor in their life when it comes to these important areas.

Next are topics related to possession and visitation with your child. If you are not the primary managing conservator of your child, then you will be named as the parent who has visitation rights. Visitation rights allow you to have physical possession of your child at various points in the year defined by your court orders. That possession schedule tells you and your spouse when you are legally able to have your children. There is more predictability and consistency in possession when you have a well-defined possession schedule that applies to you and your children.

Whether you adopt a standard possession schedule that sees the parent with visitation have the kids on the first, third, and fifth weekends of each month or find yourself in a situation where you and your spouse split custody time with the kids in an even fashion you must understand how your history as a parent play into that determination. For one, you are unlikely to agree to allow your spouse (as a convicted felon) to be able to have possession time with your kids at any point soon. Your spouse may be in jail and if he is not then there are reasonable safety concerns that you have with your children being with him or her. Standard or split possession schedules probably would not work out all that well, as a result.

What your spouse may be left with as far as visitation, once he is not in prison, would be supervised visitation. Supervised visitation involves a third party watching your ex-spouse and the kids during abbreviated periods of possession. That third party could be a relative or friend that is mutually agreeable to you and your spouse. It could also be done through a supervised visitation facility in your area. This is a place where parents who have supervised visitation can go for hosting purposes of their periods of possession. There are costs associated with having possession in these locations so it would be wise to have a decision made in advance of how these costs are going to be divided up.

Of course, the possession aspects of your spouse's felony conviction will likely have a lot to do with the type of felony he or she was convicted for. If this is a violent crime that involves you or your children, then you would need to be very careful about agreeing to any kind of "standard" period of possession for your children and your ex-spouse. The safety of our child is the most important aspect of this case. Many parents would be more comfortable agreeing to what is known as a stairstep possession schedule. This allows your ex-spouse to have very little possession of your child at first. However, as he or she shows their trustworthiness their periods of possession expand and become more numerous. Increased possession may align with passing drug or alcohol tests consistently.

Conservatorship is predicated upon a parent being able to make good decisions on behalf of a child. A felony conviction in their past should not give you much confidence that your ex-spouse can make good decisions for themself- to say nothing about their ability to parent your children well. For that reason, you will be in a good position to negotiate with your spouse on these conservatorship rights and duties.

In most divorce cases parents will wind up as joint managing conservators. This means that you and your co-parent will jointly manage conservatorship issues. In a situation where your spouse has been convicted of a felony then all bets are off as far as how the conservatorship rights and duties of the two of you will fall into place. For example, you may determine that you need to hold onto most of those rights and duties yourself on an independent or exclusive basis. Of course, the specific circumstances of your case and your spouse's conviction will matter a great deal when it comes to issues like these.

Felony convictions and property division

If your spouse was found guilty of having committed a felony crime involving family violence, domestic violence, or financial wrongdoing then you could be looking at a situation where the community property division in your case favors you. A judge would likely hold your spouse accountable for any acts of family violence by awarding him or her none or very little of your community property. This means that you can negotiate from a position of strength during the negotiation phase of your divorce when it comes to this subject.

Assets like bank accounts and retirement accounts can end up going in your favor in the divorce when your spouse was convicted of a felony. Almost certainly any type of financial wrongdoing which involved spending or wasting your community property assets can be something that ends up harming your spouse a great deal when the community property division of your case is all said and done. Be sure to have all your property organized and classified to begin negotiations and preparation for a possible trial.

All in all, you need to be prepared for a case involving a felony conviction on the part of your spouse. You cannot assume that the case is going to go your way just because your spouse has done something to break the law and has even served jail time. From our experience, working with an attorney who has counseled and advocated for spouses who are the innocent bystander to all these bad actions is essential, If you have not yet done so, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more about our firm and the services that we offer to clients.

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