Eric James Smith

Eric James Smith

  • Divorce, Family Law, Elder Law ...
  • Texas
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Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A
Summary

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Economics, Baylor University
Juris Doctor, Baylor University School of Law
Clerked with the Dallas Probate Court under the Honorable Judge Nikki DeShazo. Served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) following children through the termination of their parents' rights.
Worked with Arlington elder law attorney Charles Kennedy on probate, guardianship, and bankruptcy matters. Worked as an Attorney Advisor to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Disaster Assistance, closing loans for homeowners and businesses in the wake of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
Prior to law school, spent 5 years as a web and database programmer for companies including Mark Cuban's Audionet (now part of Yahoo!), Texas Instruments, Yum Brands (parent of Pizza Hut), and others.
I left a successful career as a computer programmer and became an attorney to make a difference in people's lives. My practice is here to help people in their most difficult times.

Practice Areas
  • Divorce
  • Family Law
  • Elder Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Business Law
Fees
  • Credit Cards Accepted
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Texas
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Languages
  • English: Spoken, Written
Education
Baylor University
Doctor of Jurisprudence/Juris Doctor (J.D.)
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Professional Associations
Texas State Bar  # 24048807
Member
- Current
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Websites & Blogs
Website
Legal Answers
3 Questions Answered

Q. We bought a house in my wife name 8 months before we got married, I pay the mortgage am I entitled to it in a divorce?
A: Under Texas law, inception of title doctrine says that the home is your wife's separate property. Your income during marriage, however, is community property. So the community estate might have a claim for economic contribution to your wife's separate estate, but most courts recognise that you have to pay something to live somewhere, so the contribution might be offset by the rent value of the property. None of this happens automatically, it must be properly pleaded, argued and supported by evidence. Get a lawyer if you are pursuing divorce.
Q. Does a deed need to be in parent's name in order to be considered an heir to property?
A: The name on Title / deed does not affect the community or separate character of the property. If the property was acquired during marriage there is a rebuttable presumption that the property is community property, regardless of whether the spouse is on the title, and that surviving spouse would have a 1/2 interest in the property. In addition, a surviving spouse has a Texas constitutional right to remain in the marital home regardless of ownership in the property. If there is no will, a determination of heirship and a declarative judgment on the character of the property may be necessary to protect the surviving spouse's rights.
Q. Does real estate owned by a testamentary trust fall under ‘community property’?
A: A property is not owned by a trust. A trust is an agreement, not a person or entity. Property is owned in trust, by the trustee(s) for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Testamentary trusts spring at the death of a testator and are defined in the testator's will. You have not said what role, if any, one of the spouses plays in this agreement. Is she a trustee, beneficiary or both. Or is this in the planning stage and spouses are talking about writing wills that place property in trust? Nina is right based on the assumptions she made. Terry is right making completely different assumptions.
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Contact & Map
North Davis
1008 North Davis
Arlington, TX 76012
Telephone: (817) 860-2800