Actual Family Law Questions Asked Online

Actual Family Law Questions Asked Online

Including Michael Villasana’s Answers.

Husbands and wives asked these divorce questions online. And here is how Michael Villasana responded:

Subject: My husband left the country.

Que:  “I filed for my divorce but my husband has left the country before giving me the wavier paper.  I have no way to contact him.  Can I still get my divorce?”

Ans:  “You will still be able to get divorced; but it will require more of an effort on your part.  I encourage you to hire an attorney to guide you through this process.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject: I bought a home before marriage.

Que:  “I bought a house one year before we got married.  Can my husband make me sell the house and split the money?”

Ans:  “No.  The home is your separate property because you bought it before your marriage.  Your husband may have a reimbursement claim for a percentage of the funds he paid towards the reduction of the principal amount on the mortgage.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject: We can’t afford to divorce.

Que:  “I got divorce papers and both of us are ready to sign, but we can’t afford to file.  We’ve been separated 30 years with no joint assets.  We just want out.”

Ans:  “File an affidavit of your inability to pay with your original petition to request relief from the court for costs associated with the divorce because of indigence. In addition, check with the district clerk’s office for additional forms. The judge will determine if you qualify for relief or if you need to pay the filing fee before he signs your final decree of divorce.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject: Divorce without wife’s signature.

Que:  “We’ve been separated for nine years and after I filed for divorce she filed for personal bankruptcy.  Now my wife refuses to sign the divorce papers. Can I divorce my wife without her signature?”

Ans:  “The automatic stay of a bankruptcy does not prohibit a divorce from proceeding. If she has failed to answer the lawsuit, you should be able to obtain a default judgment provided you comply with all notice requirements.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Money inherited from parents.

Q:  “I have filed for divorce. I have funds I received as an inheritance from my parents. The inheritance money was not commingled.  We bought many large items with the inheritance money.  Are the items we purchased with my inheritance money mine or community property?”

A:  “Funds acquired by inheritance during a marriage are separate property. Keep in mind though, there is a presumption that all funds possessed by either spouse during a marriage are community property. The burden is on you to trace and identify the disputed funds as being your separate property, which doesn’t appear to be a difficult task given your circumstances. In addition, if the large items were paid for with the separate property funds, then the items should be considered your separate property as well.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Husband doesn’t know where wife is.

Que:  “My wife and I were married for less than one year before she left me.  She moved to Ohio but I don’t know if she still lives there.  I haven’t been in contact with her for two years.  I want a divorce.  What should I do?”

Ans:  “I suggest that you hire an attorney to assist you with filing your divorce because a notice by publication will be required.  The money spent on an attorney will save you time and headaches.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: QDRO and finalizing the divorce.

Que:  “The final divorce decree has been written and is ready to sign; however, I want a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) completed before the divorce is final and I do not want to sign the final decree.  Is this possible or can the respondent proceed with the divorce?”

Ans:  “No. The final decree of divorce is the order to divide the property pursuant to a QDRO.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Registered sex offender getting custody.

Que: “My husband and I have been separated for over 8-1/2 years.  He caught a gross sexual imposition of a minor, who was one of my family members.  I found out I am pregnant.  He has never met his daughter and never paid child support.  His arrest record has multiple felonies and he is a registered sex offender.  He lives in Ohio and I live in Texas.  Will he be able to get custody of my daughter?”

Ans:  “No.  File for divorce in Texas and ask for sole managing conservator-ship, no visitation, child support (past and current), and medical support.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Consequences for exposing wife’s secrets.

Que:  “My wife has done numerous terrible and unconscionable things that I have kept to myself in order to save face for her. At the same time she is out telling lies and half truths about me to anyone and everyone that will listen, things which can be quickly discredited by anyone close to our situation. What are the legal consequences if I out all the rotten things she has done through mediums such as Facebook and letters or emails to various people?”

Ans:  “It is a defense to a cause of action for libel if the written statements are true. The same holds true for oral statements in a cause of action for slander. You may want to consult with an attorney for legal advice and a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, for the feelings you are experiencing.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject: Mistaken about divorce. Now remarried.

Que:  “I thought I was divorced in Texas in 2006 and it turns out that I’m not.  I remarried seven months ago in Texas.  What is my marital status?”

Ans:  “Since you were still married at the time of your wedding ceremony, your current marriage is ‘void’ as a matter of law.  You could seek an annulment of your current marriage. If you get a divorce from your first marriage after you learn that you were not divorced and if you continue to live as man and wife until and after your prior divorce becomes final, then your current marriage is automatically valid.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject:  Company co-owner and Plan Administrator not responding about benefits.  Losing home to foreclosure.

Que: “My divorce was final.  QDRO preapproved by PA, then signed by all parties.  My ex-husband died and I’m waiting for benefits that I need to make house payments.  The PA has not responded, claiming she is waiting on calculations.  Meanwhile our home is in foreclosure.  What can I do?”

Ans: “Examine the terms of the QDRO as to the form of payment and commencement of payment. You may want to consider filing a temporary injunction with a suit for enforcement that also includes a cause of action for a tort. In addition, although the QDRO was approved by the Plan Administrator (PA), the terms of the plan must be reviewed. You definitely need the help of an attorney as soon as possible.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Wants another mediation. Not happy with the final decree.

Que: “I do not agree with the grounds of divorce in the final decree and I have changed my mind about what was agreed to at first mediation.  I filed and still want a divorce but not on the terms that were written.  What can I do?”

Ans: “In your situation, the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) is binding. It is unfortunate you now have ‘buyer’s remorse’ regarding the MSA. At this point, don’t get caught up on the wording for the actual grounds for divorce because in the big scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter except for how it may affect your pride. You know the truth behind the divorce. As long as the final decree contains the terms of the MSA, it will more than likely be signed by the court. Please contact your attorney and have him explain the process to you so that you understand what is happening. It does not mean you will like the explanation.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Getting marriage annulled in Texas.

Que: “A friend got married to a guy she had known for some time. Right when they had signed a new lease to move in together, he disappeared with rent money and hasn’t returned her calls nor has he reported to work. Are there any grounds for annulment in this case?”

Ans: “Given the circumstances, an annulment would not be granted. A divorce would be the quickest and most cost-effective way to achieve the same results.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject:  Ex-wife’s credit destroyed because ex-husband did not pay the debt assigned in the divorce decree.

Que: “The debt assigned to my ex-husband was a credit card in my name on which our two daughters were authorized users. When he let the card payment lapse, two of my other credit cards were cancelled although my payments were and had been current. Another card slashed my credit limit from $5500 to $500. I am not able to get any other credit cards, and now I am not able to get a loan because of my low credit score. I also have read that employers look at credit scores and that it could keep me from getting a job. He had the money, but he intentionally did not pay because he was being vindictive, he had said as much before.  What can I do?”

Ans: “You might be able to pursue a motion for enforcement in the family court. The statute of limitations may have passed; but, if not, you have a duty to mitigate damages. It does not appear that was done. I would suggest consulting with a family law attorney who also has experience with civil torts and the fair debt collection practices act for a complete resolution. Time is not your friend.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject:  Ex-husband wants a deed of trust that was not part of the mediated settlement agreement.

Que: “I went through mediation and signed off on one thing that is now in question.  It is separate property that I had for 16 years with my mother before my marriage.  My ex-husband now wants a secure deed of trust, even though he has not paid anything on the note.  What can I do?”

Ans: “ If the parties executed a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) at mediation, the terms of the MSA would govern whether or not you are required to prepare any deeds and the type. Your husband may have ‘buyer’s remorse’ in not asking for a deed of trust to secure assumption at the mediation, but that does not mean you now have to give him one.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Divorce from a Mexican marriage.

Que: “I have dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico.  My husband is Mexican and lives in Mexico.  Our first attempt for divorce lasted years because of custody and child support issues.  We have two kids.  Our case was cancelled due to lack of activity.  The judge granted me custody.  I want to get a divorce and nothing else.  We’ve been separated for 11 years and I haven’t seen him in 10 years.  What can I do?”

Ans: “You can file for a divorce in Texas if you have lived in Texas for the immediately preceding 6 months and within the county in which you intend to file for the immediately preceding 90 days.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Divorce is “pending”.

Que: “My divorce was granted today. But when I look up my case it still says it is pending. How long until this changes?”

Ans: “Depending upon the jurisdiction and the software, the status of your case may be updated as early as tomorrow morning but as late as 3 weeks.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject: Husband’s sister impersonated wife in divorce action, unknown to his real wife.

Que: My husband filed for divorce, without my knowledge, and his sister impersonated me during his open enrollment.  I was not included in any of this.  As a result, my 17-year marriage has been destroyed and I didn’t receive a penny.  The divorce decree was granted and I knew nothing about it.  Isn’t this fraud?”

Ans: “It could very well be fraud, depending upon additional circumstances, which might expose your husband and his sister to criminal liability in addition to civil damages. Time is not your friend in this situation; and, whether it is with my office or another, you should seek the advice of an attorney immediately.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Divorce finalized and husband was not aware of court dates.

Que: “My father’s divorce was finalized in 2009 and he didn’t sign any papers or a waiver.  He was not aware of court dates because he was working out of town.  Can the case be opened to argue about the property?

Ans: “It wouldn’t hurt to examine the court’s record because the divorce may have been obtained as a default. Unless there is proof of extrinsic fraud to help support a bill of review, the opportunities to contest the division of property have passed.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject: Property purchased through a gift deed.

Que: “We are going through a divorce. My spouse says he bought a house through a gift deed from his family so it belongs to him.  It is an investment property so it’s not our primary residence. I think he is bluffing to keep the property to himself. The gift deed that he mentioned is in the form of cash payments received from his uncle. He claims that he got money from his uncle as a gift and then used that ‘gift’ to purchase the property. What evidence do I need to ask him to present to show that it was indeed purchased through a gift deed?”

Ans: “You should ask that the paper trail be provided to you. For example, documents showing, in part, (a) the source of the funds received by your spouse, (b) that the amount was claimed as a gift by his relative, (c) the funds were not co-mingled with community funds, (d) the source of the funds used to pay for the property, and (e) the closing documents.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject:  Is an uncontested divorce really uncontested?

Que: “My wife and I are getting a divorce in Harris County.  It’s a mutual uncontested divorce with two children, 7 and 10 yrs old. My wife has an attorney and I do not. I did not think it was necessary, but I have questions that she or her attorney cannot answer for me. I would like an exact child support amount and I would also like to know how best to divide our debt. It’s the only issue that we are having difficulty coming to an agreement on. Retirement and savings are not in question, we have agreed to just walk away with whatever we have. Debt is our only real hurdle.  We have a loan that was used to replace belongings in our home after hurricane Ike. I have signed the petition for divorce and the waiver. I have not completed an inventory.”

Ans: “If the parties can not agree on all of the terms to finalize a divorce, the divorce is no longer uncontested. I suggest you consult with an attorney to protect you interests and address your concerns.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject: Signed loan paperwork without knowing what it was intended for.

Que: “My mother (75) and dad (64) are divorced.  Eight years before the divorce, my father took out a loan on their home.  Then he used the money for his own purposes and left my mother to pay the loan with her Social Security income.  She signed the paperwork but didn’t know what the money was intended for.  What recourse does she have?”

Ans: “As you describe the situation, it does not appear that your mother has any recourse. Even if your mother was unaware of the purpose of the loan, the loan, as a community debt, should have been addressed during the divorce proceedings. I recommend that you or your lawyer closely review the divorce decree.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject: Location where divorce papers should be filed.

Que: “We were married in Wyoming and lived in Oregon for 13 years.  Then I took a job in Texas when my wife wanted a divorce.  My legal residence is now Texas.  She left Oregon and now stays in Arizona.  Where should I file the divorce papers?”

Ans: “You may file the suit for divorce in the county in which you currently reside if you have lived in Texas for the immediately preceding 6-month period and within the county in which you currently reside for the immediately preceding 90 days. If you do not meet the time requirements, I would suggest waiting so you can establish jurisdiction in Texas.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject:  When should I hire a lawyer?

Que: “My trial date is December 16. When should I hire a lawyer?”

Ans: “It is best to hire an attorney immediately when initiating or responding to any legal proceeding. The fact that your current trial setting is less than two weeks away may make it unlikely that an attorney will accept your case at this time. If you can hire an attorney today, it would be best.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

Subject:  How do I get my car from my ex-wife?

Que: “I’m active duty soldier who just got back from 9 month deployment and my divorce was finalized. My ex-wife knows I can only stay here for a little while before I have to report back to my duty station. She says she is out of state; however, we have some common friends who tells me she is still here in Texas just an hour or two away. They keep pushing back the day on when I can pick up my car, which is the only thing I got from the divorce.  I’m worried that she’s going to destroy the car before I get it back or wait until I have to leave before she’s available. What can I do?”

Ans: “If the final decree of divorce (“decree”) states the vehicle is your separate property as of the date of your divorce, you may want to seek help through the local authorities or a repossession company as your former spouse no longer has a superior right to possession of the vehicle. In addition, you might have to be concerned about the arguable position that you may have abandoned the vehicle unless documentation exists to support a mutually agreeable date on which to retrieve your vehicle.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject: Forged divorce papers.

Que: “My ex-wife forged our divorce papers while I was in Mexico. The judge in turn gave her everything. When I came back to get my belongings she said I have nothing there and took everything. I have not done anything to her because of our child together and her two other children who depend on her, but she is telling me that I can not see my child unless I pick up her child too. She uses her child to spy on my girlfriend and me. She is only five but tells everything that goes on in my home to her mother because she will use that against me. The divorce is in Texas and was finalized last year. Please help. I was the victim of a user and abuser and I am a man. She was Hispanic and saw a meal ticket and got her citizenship while we were split.”

Ans: “You may have the option of filing a bill of review depending upon when you realized you were divorced. If your discovery of the divorce occurred during the time frame in which you had to request a new trial or file an appeal, then the bill of review will, more than likely, be denied. However, if your discovery was after that time frame, then a bill of review would be an appropriate solution along with an interim action for enforcement of the current divorce decree which is presumed valid.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana 

 Subject:  Where to file divorce papers.

Que: “I live in Texas and my spouse is in Tennessee.  We separated while we were both living in Texas.  We have no children or property that would need to be divided.  Can I file divorce papers in Texas?”

Ans: “Yes, as long as immediately prior to filing for divorce you lived in Texas for the preceding six months and within the county of filing for the preceding 90 days.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

 Subject:  Alimony after a divorce six years ago.

Que: “I was married for over 34 years and have been divorced six years.  I am a cancer survivor and work for a state agency; however, I am having a very hard time keeping up with my medical bills and living expenses.  My ex-husband owns land and owns what used to be our home.  Can I file for alimony even though I have been divorced for six years?”

Ans: “Since Texas does not provide for alimony, the short answer is no.”

Written by Family Law Attorney Michael Villasana

You’re Invited to Call or Email!

“If you’d like to speak with me – or if you have any questions or concerns about family law –
you’re invited to call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help you in every way!” – Michael

Michael Villasana
Founding & Managing Attorney

The Villasana Law Firm
Houston (713) 562-5620 – Texas Toll Free (888) 391-1115