Marvel & Wong, PLLC
Free Consultations and
Flexible Meetings Available
210-201-1630 Email
Se habla espanol
Practice Areas

San Antonio Family Law Blog

Divorce and your dog (or cat): What you need to know

When you and your spouse get divorced, who gets the dog? What about the cat?

In the past, pets were nothing more than property -- and their disposition after a divorce was given no more scrutiny than the fine china and silverware. Today, however, there's an increasing trend in the courts to recognize that pets are -- in many real ways -- substitute children for a lot of couples. As such -- and as living, breathing beings -- it's important to treat their custody after a divorce as a serious matter.

Should you celebrate your divorce with a party?

Human beings have a natural inclination to celebrate. Whether we're celebrating Christmas, New Year's Day, a pregnancy, a birthday, a person's "coming out of the closet," a retirement, and many more momentous occasions, we love a chance to get together to mark important events and transitions from one part of our lives to another.

So, why shouldn't you have a party to celebrate your divorce? After all, you had one to celebrate your marriage!

Common issues that can affect child custody in divorce

fatherson.pngIf you and your spouse are in the middle of a child custody dispute in San Antonio, it helps if you know what issues could come up. The courts weigh many factors to determine which child custody/parenting/visitation arrangement is in the best interests of your kids. Though you may feel your feelings and personal preferences should be included, in times of divorce, your children's needs and interests take precedence. 

The goal of child custody is to keep parents involved in their kids' lives without putting children at risk or causing them to suffer from the dissolution of marriage. To achieve this, the judge uses the facts and his or her discretion to determine which custody arrangement is ideal. Here are a few issues that can affect the outcome of a child custody dispute

Texas judge calls Child Protective Services dishonest, malicious

childprotective.pngA Harris County judge sanctioned Child Protective Services (CPS) for actions that deeply disrupted a Texas family's life and ripped two small children from their loving parents' home. The judge awarded the family $127,000 plus legal fees for what they'd suffered. He also ordered CPS to retrain its workers.

The saga started when a five-month-old infant fell from a lawn chair and struck his head on the cement. Although his mother immediately sought appropriate medical care for him, doctors spotted a second injury that the mother couldn't explain. As required by law, they contacted CPS.

Is 'birdnesting' for you?

nesting.pngSo-called "birdnesting" is being touted as a new -- and much improved -- way of co-parenting after a divorce. Before you try it, however, make sure you realize what you're doing.

The way it works is that the kids stay in the family home while the divorced or divorcing parents rotate in and out. Whenever it isn't your turn in the family home with the kids, you stay somewhere else. In most cases, the parents get an apartment for this purpose.

Divorces could be more expensive in 2019

divorce.pngThe new year is going to bring new tax laws -- and that's likely to make divorce a lot more expensive for some high-earners.

In particular, the changes in the tax code taking place in 2019 affect the way that spousal support is treated for taxation. Under the current law the person paying the alimony is able to deduct it from their taxes. Since that person is typically a high earner with income that vastly exceeded that of their ex-spouse, the deduction is often enough to lower the taxpayer's overall tax rate. That has often encouraged high earners to be somewhat generous with their alimony agreements.

Want custody of your child? Don't let your emotions rule you

iStock-859299662.jpgIf you're in a battle for the custody of your child, it's perfectly understandable if you're feeling pretty emotional. Unfortunately, you can't afford to let your emotions dictate your actions because that could be fatal to your case.

Here are several rules you need to follow that are designed to keep your emotions in check and your custody case on track:

Nonwhite children face greater governmental scrutiny in Texas

iStock-481074410.jpgIf Child Protective Services (CPS) in Texas ends up at your door on a tip from a relative or neighbor saying that your children are abused or neglected, what are the odds that CPS will remove your children from your home?

It turns out that the answer isn't the same for everyone. The answer may depend largely on where you live -- and the color of your skin.

The best interests of the child govern custody issues

iStock-865700354.jpgChild custody matters following a divorce can put your nerves to the test. As a newly single parent, you want to do your best to help your child adjust to post-divorce life.

You must also work with the other parent, which can be challenging, especially if the divorce was less than amicable. Here are four tips to help you manage custody issues in the best interests of your child.

Supplemental Security Income and child support: What to know

iStock-901584596.jpgIt can be challenging to plan ahead for a child with special needs. One additional challenge faced by divorced parents of a special needs child is how to make sure that child support payments don't impair the child's eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Supplemental Security Income -- and the Medicaid entitlement that goes along with it -- is a needs-based governmental program for the disabled. As a minor, your disabled child may not be eligible for SSI and Medicaid while your marriage is intact due to the way that a portion of the parent's income is "deemed" to the child. However, divorce often changes that situation. In many cases, the parent who takes custody of the disabled child is unable to work full time due to the child's needs. With the other parent no longer in the household, that reduces the child's deemed income considerably.

Accolades & Achievements

Karen Marvel, Brandon Wong and Michael C. de la Garza Are Proud To Have Achieved The Following Legal Accolades for Exemplary Legal Service.

*Karen Marvel was recognized in Texas Monthly in 2008-2017 as a Texas Super Lawyer by Texas Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters service)

**Karen Marvel is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization