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Recent Blog Posts

What Texans Should Know About Estate Taxes

 Posted on February 01, 2022 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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The Implications of Hidden Assets in a Texas Divorce

 Posted on February 01, 2022 in Property Division

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.

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Special Issues Involved in Military Divorces

 Posted on February 01, 2022 in Divorce

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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New Year's divorce resolutions for a better 2022

 Posted on January 01, 2022 in Divorce

January is famously known as the month when most divorces are filed, although there's no iron-clad proof that's true. However, once the holidays are over, many Texans want a fresh start when they determine their marriage no longer works.

Whether you’re already divorced, in the process or just considering if it's the right time, it's likely one of the most stressful and sad experiences of your life. But, just as New Year's signifies rebirth, there are things you can do to shift the focus from the pain to future opportunities.

New Year. New You!

Most of us make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and be healthier. Many times, those last only a few weeks. But positively coping with divorce can make 2022 and beyond healthier for you and your family. Here are eight divorce resolutions to consider:

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How do I get organized for my divorce?

 Posted on January 01, 2022 in Property Division

Many people put off divorce until after the holidays, not wanting a marital dispute looming over what is supposed to be a festive time. The wait may be even longer for Texas spouses who have put off a decision due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

With 2022 in full swing, you may decide that it's the right time for a fresh start, but you’re not sure how to proceed. Understandably, you may be caught up in the emotions of taking that step. But it's crucial to do everything you can to ensure the best financial situation possible.

Taking inventory of marital assets

One way to deal with the fear and uncertainty is to take control of the process when preparing for divorce. Creating a checklist of marital assets not only makes the process less stressful but can help you achieve better results. Your list should include:

5 signs that divorce may be a step in the right direction this year

 Posted on January 01, 2022 in Divorce

Many people see January as a month of renewal, and divorce filings typically tick upward after the holiday season. For Texas couples considering a divorce, it's usually not a snap decision but rather the culmination of months or even years of unhappiness and conflict.

Some spouses stay together for the sake of their children. Others stay for financial, societal pressures or other reasons long after the closeness they once experienced ceases to exist. Here are five common reasons you may wish to seek a divorce and get a fresh start this year.

You and your spouse work against each other

Resentment and anger can linger for years when spouses don’t see eye-to-eye on major or minor issues and have the same arguments over and over without resolution. This often leads to conscious or unconscious polarization, where each party demonizes the other to anyone else who will listen.

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The ARD committee and its crucial role in your child's special education

 Posted on December 01, 2021 in Special Education Law

If you have a child with special needs, you likely worry about them receiving an appropriate education. State and federal laws help ensure that they receive instruction tailored to their specific needs.

Once your child qualifies for special education, the first step is the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) process, where a committee designs a plan for how the school district will meet your child's educational requirements.

What does the committee do?

ARD committee meetings must occur at least once a year but can happen more frequently if warranted. The purpose is to design or evaluate an individualized education program (IEP), which defines the instruction your child will receive, how the school must provide those services and how to measure progress. As a parent, you are a vital part of this proceeding.

You and the committee must agree on where and when to meet. Under the law, the school must provide written notice of the meeting's purpose, the time and place, who will be there and acknowledge that you can invite others with special expertise or connections to your child for support and input.

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How can my child thrive with ‘inclusive’ special education?

 Posted on December 01, 2021 in Special Education Law

Each Dec. 2, we celebrate National Special Education Day, commemorating the anniversary of the nation's first law protecting the rights of children with special needs. President Gerald Ford signed the law in 1975.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees every child an appropriate public education. The law requires school districts to provide services and instruction for children with disabilities and other eligible conditions.

Four benefits of an inclusive education

If your child is eligible for special education, you may worry that they are kept apart from other kids their age. But most spend the majority of their time in general education classrooms in Texas. This inclusive learning environment has many benefits, including:

  • Tailored learning: General education and special education teachers work together to design instruction and strategies for all students. This can include breaking classrooms into smaller groups, adding visual aids and interactive whiteboards, giving all kids hands-on experience.

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Protecting your child's right to special education

 Posted on December 01, 2021 in Special Education Law

As a parent, you only want what's best for your kids. But it can be overwhelming when your child has special needs. In addition to the daily challenges at home, you must ensure that they receive the best education possible.

Federal law gives children with disabilities the right to receive a free and appropriate public education in Texas – one that's individually designed to meet their disability. However, schools often don’t interpret the law correctly or, in many cases, fail to observe those rights.

What is special education?

In 2004, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which broadly defines special education as “specially designed instruction” meeting the unique needs of children with disabilities. The law directs schools to create individualized plans for children with specific disabilities. To be eligible, your child must:

  1. Have one of the 13 IDEA-listed disabilities
  2. Need specially designed education to make progress in their education

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4 myths about special education in Texas

 Posted on December 01, 2021 in Special Education Law

If your child has special needs due to a disability and qualifies for special education, you may worry that it places a label on them that will be hard to overcome. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Texas laws rule that children with disabilities are eligible for a free, appropriate public education.

This education often means school-provision of special education and related services designed to meet your child's unique needs and help them prepare for additional education, employment and independent living. As a parent, you are an integral part of designing and measuring your child's educational progress.

Overcoming special education myths

Many Texas parents worry that unfair and untrue notions about special education may adversely impact their children. Here are four common myths about special education and the facts:

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