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You’ve spent years building your retirement funds for the future. Now, they are a healthy portion of your portfolio. Unfortunately, a divorce may divert some of those hard-earned funds for years to come.

Dividing retirement accounts and pensions rank second on the list of the most contentious issues during divorces, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. (Spousal support is the most fought-over issue and dividing business assets the third.) An experienced divorce lawyer can explain how best to divide your retirement assets, but here is some information about how a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can help.

Planning payouts with a QDRO

QDROs are used to divide retirement assets during divorces. How a QDRO splits assets can have a big impact on how intertwined your benefits will be going forward:


Divorce can bring out the worst in anyone. While Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, spouses can also file on grounds such as abuse, adultery, cruelty, abandonment or fraud. Any one of those instances can easily lead to a high-conflict divorce.

But, allowing anger to boil over into unkind comments about a spouse can actually harm a reputation, damage the family dynamic and, in many cases, hurt a person's chances for a favorable divorce – whether it's through a settlement or litigation.

Advantages of taking the high road

Despite the perceived short-lived emotional benefits of speaking harshly about a soon-to-be ex, making nasty or rude remarks can lead to a lengthy and expensive process. The benefits of an amicable split include:


A spouse's addiction problem can put enormous strain on a marriage. Whether it's with alcohol, drugs, gambling or anything else, a spouse's addiction causes their partner to suffer a great deal of pain.

In the United States, some studies suggest that chronic substance abuse by one or both partners is the third-leading cause of divorce after infidelity and abuse.

How does addiction destroy marriages?

Experts estimate that 24 million married Americans have an addiction or are married to someone with substance abuse issues. There are several ways addiction can erode the marital bond, including:


Corona Virus, Co-Parenting and Spring Break!

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Thursday, March 12, 2020, was a day full of constant conflicting messages that impact families’ schedules. Colleges are closing, NCAA sports are cancelling their seasons, the NBA is ending its season, March Madness is over, and public schools are changing Spring Break! If you are like most parents, your initial thought is to keep your children safe and healthy. If you are also divorced or co-parent with another, then your thoughts suddenly shift to the Spring Break schedule and the question, “Who Gets the Kids?”

When does Spring Break possession begin and end? Well, first, it depends on your Order. If you have a custom schedule that provides for a shared week or specific days, then follow your Order. If your Order follows the Standard Possession Order, in even-numbered years, the non-custodial parent has possession of the child from the time school is dismissed for Spring Break until 6:00 p.m. the day before school resumes for Spring Break. Some may say, this extends Spring Break, perhaps indefinitely. However, our Collin County District Courts https://www.facebook.com/CCDistrictCourts/ have injected a little common sense into the situation and issued a statement that the Standard Possession Order under the Texas Family Code follows the originally published school calendar. So, if you live in Collin County, have a standard possession order, and you have possession over spring break, your possession period ends at 6:00 p.m. the day before Spring Break was originally scheduled to resume. Other counties may or may not follow suit, but it is always best to put your children first rather than argue over technical points of when a Spring Break extended by disaster ends.

What about the parent who does not want to exercise possession over Spring Break due to Corona Virus fears? According to the Texas Family Code, each parent has a duty of care, control, and protection during their periods of possession. The threat of illness impacts intact families as well as co-parenting families. Please put your children first and keep them and yourself healthy. Work with your co-parent to split time during the extended Spring Break and help each other out if anyone becomes ill. At the end of this health crisis, the most important thing you can provide your children is the knowledge that you cared for them enough to keep them safe and healthy, and worked out the logistics with the other parent.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Mar. 18 temporarily closing all schools at least through April 3 due to concerns over COVID-19. Some districts had already acted independently by extending spring break vacations or closing buildings until further notice and shifting instruction online. With the President's extension of social distancing guidelines through April 30, it is certain that school closures will continue.

It's a scenario that many parents with child custody arrangements would likely never have anticipated, and some may be confused about the potential effects on court-ordered child visitation agreements, specifically on when they must return children to the other parent.

Texas Supreme Court issues Order over custody schedules

Both the Frisco and McKinney Independent School Districts canceled classes prior to the governor's order affecting childcare schedules for thousands of families. Some parents wonder if closures will have any effect on their visitation schedules.


Financial infidelity plagues nearly half of Americans in relationships, and it could have a significant impact when it comes time for a divorce. It can be hard to look for assets under every rock but leaving no stone unturned might be vital to getting the share of assets you deserve.

41% of Americans say they’re guilty of hiding financial detailsfrom their partners. Some may have concealed a receipt or two, while others go so far as hiding entire bank accounts. This breach of trust has many costs, not the least of which is keeping you from getting an accurate idea how much you should get during the division of your marital assets.

Recovering from cover-ups


One of the toughest parts of your divorce could be making sure your children get what's best for them. A court order giving you an equal share in custody is an excellent place to start, but that's not a guarantee that it will work out that way.

The National Parents Organizations (NPO) gave Texas a C- for its shared parenting legislation. Not alone in the middle, Texas was one of 25 states that the organization assigned a C grade. Getting a fair share of time with your children is very important, but you may have to put in some extra work to get there.

Benefits of joint custody


Couples who own businesses together may be hesitant to proceed with a divorce, even if their relationship has broken down to the point of being irretrievable. Staying together for the business is not likely to be a long-term option.

But what options are available when it comes to divorce and the family business? According to U.S. Census Bureau data, this is not an uncommon question. There are about 3.7 millionhusband-wife co-owners operating businessesin the U.S. Here are three options that a couple may consider before they head to divorce court.

  • Sell the business before the divorce: Many people view divorce as a chance to get a fresh start. By selling the business, the couple may gain the means to go in different directions, whether that be to start a new business, go back to school to begin a new career or find work in an established company. The downside to selling the business is that it may take time to find a buyer, and this could prolong an unsatisfactory marriage.
  • One spouse buys out the other: Often, one spouse is more invested in the business emotionally or has a greater personal or career advantage in keeping it going. In that case, it may make sense for the couple to exchange assets for business interests or for one spouse to get a loan and buy out the other. An independent business valuation will be necessary to ensure a fair division of property.
  • The couple continues to operate the business together: Some people are able to separate their marital relationship from their business relationship. If a couple decides to continue their business relationship after the divorce, a buy-sell agreement is essential. If their relationship deteriorates, one spouse has the right to buy out the other at a price that they both agree is fair.

No matter which option is chosen, dividing business assets is very complicated, especially for those who live in a community property state, such as Texas. Legal counsel is highly advised.

Even under otherwise favorable circumstances, financial challenges can put a strain on a marriage. If your spouse also has bipolar disorder, it can complicate the matter even further. Your spouse may deplete the family finances by going on spending sprees as a symptom of the poor decision-making that often characterizes a manic episode.

A marriage can fracture under this type of strain, leading to a divorce. However, if you are not yet ready to take that step, you can nevertheless prepare for the possibility with a postnuptial agreement. In the event that you do eventually decide to file for a divorce, a postnuptial agreement provides you legal protection for your finances from your spouse's mania-induced spending.

What is a postnuptial agreement?


You may think of your job as just a way to pay the bills. Sure, your commute into Dallas every morning isn’t always a delight. But as long as you get paid on time, you’ll keep doing it. After all, the choice between commuting for your job and having no job is an easy one.

While inching along US-75 to work may not be the most pleasant part of your day, it may surprise you to learn that this extra time in the car can affect you more than you think. According to a study in the Journal of Urban Studies, the time you spend sitting in gridlock twice a day has two important effects on your life.

Commuting affects your wellbeing


Same-sex marriage has been legal federally since 2015. If you and your partner are thinking about tying the knot, it can be useful to understand how marriage – and the possibility of divorce – can uniquely affect same-sex couples.

You and your partner have been together for years – and you may feel confident that your relationship will last for many more. But you can never predict the future, and sometimes the unexpected happens and couples go their separate ways.

A prenuptial agreement (also called a “prenup”) or a postnuptial agreement can be a valuable tool to protect the members of any marriage. But for same-sex couples, there are some additional reasons to define your relationship in writing.


How does my spouse's DWI affect child custody?

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When you and your spouse or partner decide to part ways, you will have many concerns, particularly if you have kids together. Your primary concern will be their well-being and maintaining your relationship with them.

When child custody matters and a drunk driving record intersect

Are you fighting for custody of your children? Do you fear your soon-to-be ex-spouse's alcohol related behaviors or DUI or DWI conviction will put your children in danger?


Divorce is difficult on any family. Many unhappy couples may wonder about the negative effects a divorce could have on their children. They may even consider staying together for the kids’ sake.

How resilient are children to their parents’ divorce? Are they likely to handle it better at certain ages than at others?

This year, the journal Social Science and Medicine published a study examining the effects divorces have on children ranging in age from three to 14. Of this group, the study found that children aged three to seven suffer no noticeable ill effects from their parents’ divorces.


Whether you have a toddler or a preteen, you are probably thinking about how to pay for college. Determining how much you can and will contribute to your child's college education can be difficult, especially if you co-parent your child with an ex. Here is some information to help you make these important decisions.

What Texas laws say

In Texas, there are no laws that require parents (custodial or non-custodial) to pay for their child's college. Child support obligations continue until the last to occur of the following:


Navigating the ups and downs of a high-conflict divorce is difficult on its own. Things can become even more stressful when children are involved. You want what's best for them. That includes making sure disagreements don’t spill beyond you and your former spouse and impact the kids.

How can you try to ensure this doesn’t happen? Here are five strategies to keep in mind.

  1. How to answer the inevitable questions

Your children will have questions. It's unavoidable. How should you answer them? Try using words and phrases that a child can understand while emphasizing things like empathy. Also, don’t fall into the trap of having one long conversation. It can be more beneficial to share small pieces of information at a time, essentially turning it into an ongoing, open talk.


For many families, the holidays are about coming together. This means spending lots of time with loved ones while juggling all the different needs that come with that. These few weeks are a time of celebration, not division.

This is precisely why someone who is thinking about divorce may choose to hold on a bit longer, waiting until life settles back into the normal routine in the first quarter of the new year before officially filing.

Divorce interest, filings spike right after the holidays


Divorcing yourself from the public eye

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Divorce may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to endure. Having it happen for all to see can make it even more painful.

During a divorce, your private business could be available for everyone to see. Such information may be highly personal and could damage your reputation or career. There are ways to prevent such information from being seen by employers, neighbors and friends.

Privacy matters


Parting ways with your assets

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You and your spouse are getting a divorce, but it's more than just your partnership that is splitting. Everything you acquired together must get split as well.

Texas is a community property state, which means the court will attempt to divide your assets by what is “just and right.” This isn’t always as simple as drawing a line down the middle. Understand how the court defines a fair split to make sure you get your fair share.

What is community property?


An ex-spouse in Texas has the right to legally enforce a court order to collect any unpaid alimony and child or spousal support that was not received. In an example circumstance, an executive residing in McKinney, Texas, failed to make his mandated monthly spousal support payments to his ex-wife. Through their divorce decree, the former music-industry mogul was ordered to pay his former spouse $13,500 each month for support. As reported by the Dallas Observer, when those payments stopped, his ex-wife sued in Collins County and asked the court if she could sell his sailboat as a means to collect on his past-due support commitments.

While it may not always result in a devastating setback to receive an occasional late payment, serious harm could result when anticipated and much-needed financial support stops altogether. To collect on unpaid support, a spouse may need to take civil action and report their ex for being in contempt of a court order.

In some cases, a judge may issue a wage garnishment to withhold support payments directly from an ex's weekly paychecks. A judge may also place a lien on a former spouse's property. If an individual is genuinely unable to make payments due to a financial hardship, applying for a modification of the support order may be necessary.


A strategic child custody guide for fathers

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Ironically, all property rights once belonged to men, including children treated as property under the law. Women did not have any legal rights to their children.

As women gained more influence, laws relaxed and public attitudes eventually changed to the other end of the spectrum. Society reasoned that up until a child reached the age of four years, maternal care was essential for optimum growth and development.

Parental rights to share custody

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