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Collin County Divorce LawyerFinancial debt is a major cause for concern around the United States, at the individual and family levels, as well as on a collective scale. Families fractured by divorce or other types of similar stresses may be particularly susceptible to growing debt, as financial obligations may be harder to meet on a single income, combined with countless other contributing factors. However, a recent study suggests that parents with certain types of debt may place their children at increased risk for behavioral problems in the future.

Quality of Life Connections

The study was conducted by researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and looked at data from more than 9,000 children and their mothers over a period of nearly 40 years. The research also categorized debt into four distinct types: home, education, automobile, and unsecured debt, which included credit cards, certain loans, and medical debt. Looking for possible connections, the team also examined the socio-emotional health and behavioral concerns of the participating children.

According to the study’s findings, while larger amounts of total debt was associated with poorer behavior overall, home- and education-related debt were correlated with higher degrees of emotional health. Unsecured debt, conversely, was “associated with lower levels of, and declines in child socioemotional well-being.”

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Collin County Divorce AttorneyWe all know people who invest substantial time and energy in posting the details of their lives on social media networks such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. In some situations, the attraction of social media is strong enough that it causes people to lose touch with the things that are happening in real life. While most people are able to use social media in a reasonable way—such as to connect with distant family and friends, others want to broadcast more to the outside world. When you are in the midst of a legal action that affects you personally, such as a divorce, it is important to recognize the dangers of putting your life out there for all to see.

Mixed Messages

The first thing you need to keep in mind about social media and divorce is that literally anything you post could eventually be presented as evidence in your case. Posting on the internet does not require ink and paper, obviously, but emails, text messages, and even screenshots of posts can be printed and presented in court. This is especially important if your social media profiles are at odds with what you have presented in your filings. For example, if you reported in your divorce paperwork that you are currently between jobs, but your profile on LinkedIn says you work for a buddy’s business—maybe under the table—questions are likely to be raised.

Similarly, you are likely to face questions based on experiences and photos you share on Instagram or Facebook. You might, for example, assume that your privacy settings prevented your soon-to-be ex-spouse from seeing the photos you posted of your recent trip to Jamaica. But, what happens if a mutual friend shows your spouse anyway? And how do your photos align with your claim that you do not have money for basic expenses? Even if someone else paid for your vacation, you are likely to have some difficult explaining to do.

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Collin County Spousal Support AttorneyIf you and your spouse have reached the point where a divorce seems inevitable, you might be inclined to try to get through the process of divorce as quickly as you are able. In fact, a large number of attorneys and law firms seem to suggest that faster is automatically better. However, a quick divorce is not always the best route to take, especially if you and your spouse have accumulated substantial assets or have other complicating factors. It is critical to make sure that each aspect of the divorce is addressed properly, even if doing so means taking a bit more time than you would prefer.

Change Your Way of Thinking

You probably have perfectly valid reasons for wanting your divorce to be finalized quickly. Maybe you met someone and are anxious to start a new relationship. Perhaps, you are just ready to be done with your spouse after many years of fighting and bitterness. Or, maybe the thought of a long divorce just does not sit well with you. Whatever your reasons may be, a fast divorce might be possible, but you must be certain that you are not giving up too much to get there.

Potential Dangers

A divorce is more than just the end of a romantic relationship; it is also the severing of the marital contract you have with your spouse. This makes a divorce a complicated process with numerous important steps. Among these is a full financial disclosure to ensure that both parties receive an equitable share of the marital estate. Regardless of how little or how much you make, racing through your financial disclosure could create problems for you. If you forget about a source of income or an asset, you could be accused of trying to hide the asset in question. Accusations of hidden assets or incomplete financial disclosures could result in your divorce taking much longer than you wanted.

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Collin County Child Custody LawyerWhen parents are married, a child’s paternity is usually not in doubt. Since a mother’s spouse is presumed to be a child’s parent, a married father will be able to share in child custody if the couple chooses to get a divorce. However, matters related to custody can become more complicated if a couple is unmarried, and in these situations, fathers may need to establish paternity. This will ensure that both parents will have the obligation to provide child support and meet their children’s financial needs. For unmarried parents, it is important to understand when paternity may need to be established and the procedures for doing so. 

Presumption of Paternity in Texas

There are certain situations where a man will be legally presumed to be the father of a child. This means that regardless of whether the parents remain married, are in an unmarried relationship, or are separated or divorced, the father will have the right to share child custody. Depending on agreements between the parents or decisions made in family court, a father may participate in making decisions about how children will be raised (known as legal custody or conservatorship), and he will have the right to reasonable possession and access of the child (visitation). He will also have the obligation to financially support the child, or if he has primary physical custody, he may receive child support from the child’s mother.

According to the Texas Family Code, a man is presumed to be a child’s father if he meets one of the following requirements:

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Collin County Child Custody LawyerThere are multiple types of situations where parents will need to address child custody issues. While this is most commonly a factor in divorce proceedings, parents who are unmarried may also need to determine how they will share custody of their children. In Texas, the legal custody of children is known as “conservatorship,” and parents will need to understand the rights and obligations that will apply to them, including in situations where parents are named as joint managing conservators or when one parent will have sole conservatorship of their children.

Rights of Sole or Joint Conservators

In most cases, family courts presume that it is best for parents to share joint conservatorship. However, there are some situations where sole conservatorship may be appropriate, including when one parent has not been closely involved in children's lives, when a parent lives in another state, or when a parent is accused of engaging in domestic violence. Even if one parent is named the sole managing conservator, the other parent may be named a possessory conservator, allowing them to spend regular visitation time with their children.

A parent who is named a joint or sole conservator of a child will have the following rights, and these rights will apply to them at all times:

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Collin County Divorce AttorneyDuring a couple's divorce, one party may ask for financial support from their former partner. This form of support is officially known as spousal maintenance in Texas, although it can also be referred to as alimony or spousal support. Maintenance will not be an issue that will be addressed in every divorce, but it may be a factor in cases where one spouse earns most or all of the income used to provide for a family's needs, especially if the other spouse may struggle to support themselves while also caring for children or other family members. In cases where spousal support is appropriate, the parties will need to understand how the amount that one spouse will pay to the other will be determined.

Factors Used to Determine Spousal Support Payments

Generally, spousal maintenance will only be awarded in a small number of situations. These may include cases in which a spouse or child has been a victim of domestic violence, as well as situations where a spouse has a disability that prevents them from earning an income or devotes their time to caring for a child with a disability. If these issues are not a factor, spousal support will usually only be granted if a couple was married for at least 10 years and a spouse will be unable to support themselves financially, such as when a spouse has been a homemaker for the majority of the couple's marriage.

If a family court judge determines that a spouse is eligible for spousal maintenance, they will then consider a variety of factors to determine the amount that should be paid, the method and frequency of payments, and the duration that payments will last. These factors include:

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McKinney Divorce AttorneyCouples that choose to end their marriage and get a divorce will need to address a variety of issues related to their property and finances, their children, and other areas of their lives. While these issues can be complicated in any situation, those who are involved in a high asset divorce may need to deal with multiple types of complex assets. By understanding the types of marital property that may need to be considered during the divorce process, couples with a high net worth can make sure they are approaching financial matters correctly.

Addressing and Dividing Complex Assets

For divorcing couples who reside in the state of Texas, community property must be divided in a matter that is “just and right.” Community property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse while they were married. In high net worth divorce cases, a couple may need to consider complex assets, including:

  • Financial accounts and investments - A couple may own and use multiple types of bank accounts both together and separately, such as savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit (CDs). In addition to dividing the funds in these accounts, other types of investments will also need to be considered, such as stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrency. 

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Texas courts prioritize keeping both parents positively involved in children's lives when they divorce or separate. Under a custody order, a child usually lives primarily with one parent, but both typically receive joint custody and work together to make important decisions for their child.

However, when your former partner's drug or alcohol abuse or addiction puts your child's safety at risk, there are steps you can take to protect them by changing a child custody order. Texas law allows modifications when a material or substantial change occurs in the parent-child relationship.

How courts respond to substance abuse claims

Texas family courts generally take quick action when a co-parent's substance abuse problems affect their ability to care for their children. This applies to those who abuse illicit drugs or misuse prescription medications. How courts react typically depends upon when the issue is raised:

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Spring is here, and for many Texans, it's a time of hope and renewal after a long and stressful two years. It's also a time for many couples to reassess their marriages, especially those who put divorce plans on hold during the pandemic.

If you and your spouse have already separated or attempts to strengthen your marital bond haven’t gone as planned, you may be thinking of taking the next step to ending your marriage. But you likely have a lot of questions.

Focus on the three main divorce issues

The first impact of divorce is always emotional, whether intense sadness or anger. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's the normal way to respond. But once the divorce process begins, it's crucial to focus on the three primary legal aspects:

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Life is ever-changing. As such, child custody orders aren’t always permanent. In Texas, modifications to possession orders are possible when one parent needs to make a substantial change, such as moving to another part of the state or out of state for a new job.

Child custody disputes are often the most hotly contested divorce issues. Parental relocation requests are challenging regardless of whether you are the parent who wants to move, or you oppose your co-parent's request for a modification. These requests can be difficult to resolve because of the strong preference that children maintain frequent and consistent contact with both parents. In most cases, a relocation request disrupts that relationship.

Courts consider the child's best interests

Texas family courts typically place geographic restrictions over a child's residency to ensure continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. When one parent needs to relocate, courts consider the child's age and other factors, including:

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If you model your strategy after popular films or TV dramas portraying divorce, you’d likely pursue a high-conflict court battle to air your grievances against your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If your partner cheated or neglected you during the marriage, you have every right to feel that way.

But, in real life, only a small percentage of divorces go to trial. In fact, less than 10% result in litigation. The majority of divorcing couples want the experience to be quick and painless, especially if they have children. A peaceful resolution is usually best for everyone.

The benefits of collaboration

Collaborative law seeks to preserve the interests of both spouses in a divorce. It's an approach that stresses the areas where you agree and tries to find creative solutions for the issues where you don’t see eye to eye. Here are some of the main benefits:

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Preparing for a wedding is an exciting and joyous time. Let's face it. Most people believe talking about a prenuptial agreement can be a real buzzkill for people in love. No one wants to think about how their relationship will end.

But adopting a different mindset over prenups can bring many benefits. Texas couples who have gone through the process realize it's one of the best ways to have meaningful discussions early on that can provide peace of mind for circumstances that are impossible to predict.

How a prenup works

Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts showing how assets will be treated during a marriage as well as if divorce happens. Also called premarital agreements, prenups help couples:

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Winter is winding down, and many families – especially the kids – anxiously await spring break. For divorced or separated parents, this can be a stressful time as it affects the regular possession schedule. But making this an enjoyable experience for your kids should be the goal for both you and your ex.

If you and your co-parent follow a Texas Standard Possession Order (SPO), you likely already know that the Lone Star State has an odd-even schedule over spring break possession. The rules differ depending on whether parents live within 100 miles of each other.

Spring break parenting time rules

Under an unmodified SPO, co-parents who live within 100 miles alternate possession during spring break each year. For 2022, that means possessory conservators – noncustodial parents – have the children. The rules state:

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Some psychologists believe divorce is 95% emotional and 5% legal. After all, we’re only human and intense feelings naturally consume our thoughts. That can be especially true if your marriage and divorce were fraught with significant conflict and hard feelings.

But focusing on the other 5% is vitally essential for you and your children's well-being. Determining custody and parenting time is at the top of the list. It's well documented that any conflict between parents harms children. But how should you deal with any lingering anger or resentment?

Five steps to strengthen your child's relationship

Many co-parents have a healthy rapport with their former partner, which is the best scenario for children. Others may justifiably hold onto anger. Try to let go of those feelings and focus on what's best for your kids. They also feel those intense emotions, which can cause more harm. Even if you can’t fully let go of the negativity, here are five steps that can immeasurably help:

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Texas spouses undergoing a divorce have three main legal issues to work out in their divorce decree. These include establishing conservatorship (custody) for their children, dividing assets and debts, and sharing future income.

If you are the family's breadwinner, there's a strong chance you may end up paying child support and spousal maintenance. If that's the case, it's crucial to understand how any career-related changes affecting compensation could impact your support requirements.

Three situations that can affect support obligations

Texas uses a formula to calculate child support based on the noncustodial parent's net income and resources. The lower-earning spouse must request spousal maintenance. In either situation, it's essential to know how any changes to your income can affect these payments. Here are three scenarios:

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When parents decide to end their marriage, most of our thoughts automatically go to the impact on a divorcing couple's young children. But many Texas parents split up later in life, some after several years or even decades of being together.

If you are age 50 or older and have gone through or are considering a so-called “gray divorce,” you should be aware of its impact on your adult kids. Many older children report feeling intense pain and a host of distressing emotions when their parents decide to call it quits.

Don’t overlook the signs

As a parent, you only want what's best for your children. But if they’re over 21 and out of the house, you might think they are old enough to roll with the punches. After all, they may have already graduated from college and started their own family. Or they might be pursuing a college degree or have started their career.

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As we know, divorce brings about all sorts of complications. There are child custody issues, property division issues, emotional recovery, and plenty of others. On top of all else, newly divorced people need to deal with estate planning matters as well. When someone divorces, the newly created divorced status will lead to a host of considerations, such as estate planning issues. In this post, we will go over a few estate planning issues people will need to consider after a divorce in Texas.

Adjustments to Wills or Trusts

A will is a document which predetermines the distribution of someone's property after death. A will must be executed properly in order to be enforceable, and ultimately the will needs to be carried out by an executor. A will identifies “beneficiaries” who receive the property. Wills intersect with divorce in critical ways because certain property cannot be included in a will. When a couple divorces, the “marital property” which is jointly owned will be divided between the parties; Texas is a community property state, and so typically this means an equal division of the overall estate, taking into consideration many factors. Hence, marital property isn’t something which can be assigned or distributed through one spouse's will as though it belongs exclusively to him or her.

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Posted on in Divorce

Texans should know certain basic facts about estate taxation in order to better plan for the future. If you’re going through a divorce, estate taxation may be even more relevant because the exemption will be halved for a single, unmarried individual. What many Texans don’t realize is that the State of Texas is quite friendly to its residents from a tax perspective. Not only does Texas lack a personal state income tax, it also has a resident-friendly policy on estate taxes.

Texas Law on Inheritance & Estate Taxes

An estate tax is a tax imposed on the estate of a decedent. This means that the tax will be collected from the estate itself prior to any disbursements to heirs. An inheritance tax, on the other hand, is a tax imposed on the beneficiaries of the estate. This means that, in theory, the beneficiaries are responsible for paying the inheritance tax. In jurisdictions which impose an inheritance tax, typically the tax is only imposed on certain beneficiaries, while other beneficiaries (such as surviving spouses and direct descendants) are exempt.

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Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets classified as “marital property” will be subject to division in a divorce. Furthermore, because Texas is a community property state, the community estate is generally divided equally among the parties, unless a disproportionate division is warranted. As we’ve discussed in earlier articles, marital property is essentially any property acquired after the marriage, unless one of several exceptions applies. For instance, property acquired via inheritance, or via gift, is typically considered separate property even if acquired during marriage.

In order to properly divide property in a divorce, both parties need to be fully transparent with their asset holdings. Sadly, in some cases, parties are less than fully transparent, and sometimes people even deliberately hide assets in order to “cheat” their spouse. Divorce is very often a process involving heated emotions, and so we shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that this happens from time to time. Nevertheless, it is still unfortunate to see.

In this post, we’re going to discuss the various methods that spouses use to conceal assets in a Texas divorce, and then go over some of the potential consequences for this type of behavior.

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In family law parlance, a “military divorce” is a marital dissolution in which at least one of the parties involved is active military, or part of the National Guard, or part of the military reserves. Military divorces are basically a separate type of dissolution because these divorces have their own requirements and considerations. If you or your spouse are military personnel, and you’re planning (or desiring) a divorce, you should be aware of these requirements and considerations.

The Right to Postpone While on Active Duty

One of the key things to know about military divorces is that the divorce proceedings may be postponed while someone is on active duty. This is true even when the petitioner files the initial documentation correctly. If a spouse is away on active duty, and the petitioner initiates a divorce, proceedings may be postponed as long as both the respondent spouse (on active duty) and local court agree to do so. Furthermore, the court may also delay the proceedings for 60 days after the service member returns. Active duty personnel may elect to waive this right if they wish to speed the divorce process along without any postponements.

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