Jennifer S. Hargrave

Jennifer S. Hargrave

Helping good people end broken marriages in Texas.
  • Divorce, Family Law
  • Texas
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Jennifer Stanton Hargrave is an experienced family law trial attorney who is also skilled at helping clients construct creative settlement agreements. Jennifer knows that in family law, there are battles that need to be fought. However, she also knows that every divorce does not need to inevitably end in warfare, and that a non-adversarial approach can provide the best results for the whole family.

Jennifer has been practicing law since 1995. She began her law career working for a litigation firm, and was then hired as in-house counsel to a corporation in the financial services industry. In 2006, she left the financial services industry to begin her career in family law. Jennifer is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, the Dallas Bar Family Law Section and the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas.

Jennifer resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three children. Among other community activities, she is active in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, serves as a Trustee for the University of the South: Sewanee, and is a volunteer at the Episcopal School of Dallas. She is also active in the Silver Star Chapter of National Charity League, Inc.

SMU Dedman School of Law
J.D. (1995) | Law
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University of California - Davis
B.A. (1992) | Political Science
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Professional Experience
Owner & Managing Attorney
Jennifer S. Hargrave, P.C.
- Current
Smith Hargrave Law
Associate Attorney
Verner Brumley Family Law
Wells Fargo NA
Articles & Publications
How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
Family Conflict: Strategies for Healthy Resolution
Chapter 8, Problems and Solutions, Collaborative Law – Start to Finish
TexasBar Books
Tax Consequences of Divorce
National Business Institute
Discovery Guidelines
Institute for Paralegal Education
What Business Owners Need to Know About Divorce
Dallas Bar Association Headnotes
Finance 101 for Family Law Practitioners
National Business Institute
Email Agreements: Can they satisfy Rule 11 REquirements?
State Bar of Texas Family Law Setion Report
Speaking Engagements
Grandparents as Caregivers, 2020 North Texas Probate Bench Bar, Gaylord Resort
Considerations for Disputes in Faith Based Organizations, 12th Annual Civil Collaborative Law Conference
Tax Consequences of Divorce, National Business Institute
Discovery Guidelines, Keys to Managing Financial Information, Institute for Paralegal Education
4th Semi-Annual Civil Collaborative Training, Collaborative Law Council
Board Certified in Family Law
Texas Board Of Legal Specialization
AV Preeminent Peer Rating
10.0 Superb Rating
Best Divorce Lawyers in Dallas
Best Family Lawyers in Irving
Best Child Support Lawyers in Dallas
Best Divorce Lawyers in Dallas
Best Family Lawyers in Irving
Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
2012 - 2023
Best Lawyers In America, Family Law
Best Lawyers
Best Law Firms, Regional, Family Law
U.S. News & World Report
Rising Star
Super Lawyers
Selected To Rising Stars: 2009 - 2010
Best Lawyers in Dallas
D Magazine
Professional Associations
Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists
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International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
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American Bar Association
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Texas Bar Foundation
- Current
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Texas Family Law Foundation
Lifetime Member
- Current
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Texas Association of Family Law Specialists
- Current
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College of the State Bar of Texas
- Current
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Collaborative Law Institute of Texas
- Current
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Dallas Bar Association
- Current
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Texas State Bar  # 00794686
- Current
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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  • Credit Cards Accepted
Practice Areas
Collaborative Law, Contested Divorce, Military Divorce, Property Division, Same Sex Divorce, Spousal Support & Alimony, Uncontested Divorce
Family Law
Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support, Father's Rights, Guardianship & Conservatorship, Paternity, Prenups & Marital Agreements, Restraining Orders, Same Sex Family Law
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. In the state of Texas if a husband owns a home prior to marriage and at some point refinances the home does ownership?
A: In general, the character (i.e., whether it is community property subject to division or separate property) is determined by your marital status when you acquired the asset, also known as "inception of title rule." Since you were single when you bought the marital residence, it sounds like it is your separate property. There are of course exceptions - such as if you "gifted" her an interest in your separate property (i.e., you put her name on the warranty deed with the intent to give her half of the house).

In Texas, our family code does provide for a reimbursement claim when one estate has benefited by the actions of another estate. When the community property estate has been paying the debt owed on the separate property real estate, the community property estate is entitled to reimbursement claim for the reduction in principal on the mortgage (note that it is only for the reduction in principal, not the full amount of the mortgage payment each month which often includes interest, insurance and property taxes).

For example, you purchase a house before marriage for $120,000. You have a $100,000 mortgage on the property when you get married. When you get divorced ten years later, the house is now worth $300,000, and the mortgage is $75,000. The value of the equity in the house at $225,000 ($300,000 minus the mortgage of $75,000) is your separate property. However the community property estate is entitled to a reimbursement claim of $25,000 ($100,000 mortgage minus $75,000 outstanding principal). Her one-half of that reimbursement claim would be $12,500.

There are always issues that can further complicate the matters, and to get specific advice on your situation, you will need to have a lawyer review your loan refinance history, the underlying real estate records (Deeds of Trust, and Warranty Deed), and advise you regarding any specific claims that may be made against your separate property asset.
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Q. I'm going through divorce and own a small business. The business is in my name. Do I have to split the profits with my e
A: Congratulations on being a business owner!

The business will be valued as part of your overall estate. The profits generated from your business can factor in to the overall value of your business. How your business is valued will depend on many factors, including the type of business entity (e.g., is it a corporation, partnership, LLC or sole proprietorship). Is the type of business one that would be sellable -- is it just you where you are hired for your specialized skill and personal relationships (i.e., personal goodwill), or is it a well known brand where it doesn't matter much whether or not you are still working for the business (i.e., business goodwill).

Also, there are other factors to consider when dividing a business. If your business was formed before marriage, then it will likely be separate property and the value will not be considered in the overall division. If your business was formed during the marriage, then the value of your business will be part of the community property estate that gets divided.

Once the business is awarded to you as part of the divorce, you will generally not be splitting future profits with your ex-spouse. There are exceptions, however, based on how you structure the overall deal. For some business owners, they may not have enough cash to pay the other side his/her share of the value of the business. Sometimes, it makes sense for parties to enter into a contractual arrangement where they will pay off the debt owed for the other spouse's interest over time. Or they may choose to continue sharing in the ownership of the business, in which case future profits would be divided.

However you come to the resolution, you want to make sure you have protected your business, as it is likely a source of livelihood for you and your family in the future. It is worth it to spend some time with a divorce lawyer who can offer you specific advice for your unique situation (spoken like a true lawyer!).
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Q. My lawyer send a deed of trust for the house im keeping, but in the deed I'm grantor and the other beneficiary
A: In Texas, there are multiple real estate documents that get filed when one party is "buying" the other party out of the marital residence. This can be confusing because there are several documents that have "Deed" in the title. Here is an overview of what you need to know when it comes to making sure your ownership interest in the house is secured.

The first document is a Special Warranty Deed. This is the document that establishes WHO owns the property. In this document, if you are the party keeping the house, then you would be the Grantee. Your spouse, who is assigning his/her interest in the house to you, will be the Grantor.

There is another document called a "Deed of Trust To Secure Assumption." If you both were on the mortgage, and you are agreeing to take over the mortgage as part of the deal, then this document offers some assurance to the other party that you will "assume" the mortgage. If you fail to pay the mortgage according to the terms of the underlying mortgage, then the other party could theoretically cure your default (pay the past due balance) and foreclose on the property ahead of the bank. In this document, you (the party keeping the house) are the Grantor, and the party who assigned his/her interest to you is the Beneficiary.

It sounds like your lawyer is asking you to sign the Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption. You need to follow up and make sure your lawyer has the Special Warranty Deed signed by the other party. Most of the time, the lawyers will exchange these documents at the same time. You will also want to make sure that the Special Warranty Deed gets filed in the county in which you live - your lawyer may do that for you, or you can do it yourself. But make sure it gets done!
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Websites & Blogs
Hargrave Family Law Website
Hargrave Family Law Blog
Contact & Map
Hargrave Family Law, Jennifer S. Hargrave, P.C.
4201 Spring Valley Rd.
Suite 1210
Dallas, TX 75244
Telephone: (214) 367-5734
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed (Today)