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Recent blog posts

Travis County Divorce LawyerIn our prior post, we discussed the red flags to watch for that could mean your spouse is committing financial fraud in order to prevent you from getting your fair share of marital assets in your divorce. In this post, we will talk about some of the steps your divorce attorney can take to make sure your spouse is not successful in his or her attempt to hide assets from you.

What to Do If You Suspect Financial Fraud in Your Divorce

Having a seasoned divorce attorney advocating for you is critical when it comes to protecting your rights in a divorce, especially when a couple has substantial assets, like the family home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, and more. During the divorce process, each party must complete financial affidavits that list their monthly income, assets, debts, and monthly expenses. These documents are filed under the penalty of perjury, however, that caveat does not always deter a spouse who is determined to commit financial fraud.

In addition to the financial affidavits, additional financial information can be requested by each side during the discovery process, however, there really is no way to know if the other party is providing all of the information requested. If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide assets, there are steps that your divorce attorney can take to uncover that fraud, such as hiring a forensic accountant.

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Travis County Divorce LawyerAs many people who have gone through a divorce can attest, when a couple has decided to end their marriage, the relationship between the two of them is usually pretty strained. Often, there is anger, frustration, hurt, and other emotions that can make it difficult to communicate with each other in order to negotiate a satisfactory divorce settlement. There can also be strong feelings of distrust, especially if one of the spouses was having an affair or engaged in some other behavior that leaves the other spouse feeling betrayed. This contentiousness can lead to financial fraud by one spouse in an effort to deny the other spouse their fair share of the marital estate.

In this post we will address the warning signs to watch out for that could indicate your spouse is committing financial fraud. In our next post, we will discuss some of the steps you can take to make sure your best interests are protected.

Signs of Financial Fraud

In some situations, the spouse may have taken steps to hide assets even while the couple was still together. In addition to hiding assets to avoid making them part of any property division settlement, they may also hide assets to avoid paying their fair share in child support or alimony payments.

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Austin Child Custody LawyerWhen a couple gets divorced, there are certain issues that they must either come to an agreement on or the court will decide for them. If the couple has children, then one of those issues is child custody. Once the court has handed down custody decisions – either with or without the parents’ agreement – the position of the court is that the child custody order will stay as is unless there is extenuating circumstances that would warrant a change. Otherwise, it is highly likely that there would be parents who would be filing frivolous motions in an attempt to have the court issue a custody modification.

Although the courts do not make it easier to obtain a modification, it is important that any parent who has legitimate concerns about the current custody situation consult with an experienced child custody attorney to find out what legal options they may have.

Filing a Motion to Modify

The grounds for custody modification vary depending on the state you live in. In Texas, in order to file for modification, the requesting parent must prove that the change is in the child’s best interest and at least one of the following circumstances exists:

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Posted on in Divorce

Travis County Divorce AttorneyNot every married couple who decides they do not want to live with their spouse files for divorce. There are couples who make the decision to separate either before or instead of filing for divorce. There are several reasons why this may be more beneficial than immediately filing for divorce. The following is a brief overview of what some of the benefits are, however, an Austin family lawyer from our firm can evaluate your situation to see which option is the right one for you.

Reasons for Separating

When a couple is separated and no longer living together, they are still legally married even if they are living apart. They may be living entirely separate lives; however, neither spouse is free to marry anyone else. However, there are benefits this separation can offer a couple.

The couple can continue to enjoy some financial benefits living apart instead of divorcing. For example, if one spouse covers the other spouse under their employer’s health insurance, this arrangement could continue indefinitely if the couple is separated. If the couple divorced, the insured spouse would no longer be covered.

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Austin, Texas Child Custody LawyerIf you are going through any type of child custody action, you have likely heard the phrase, “the best interest of the child.” This is the legal doctrine that family court judges decide how child custody should be determined. The child’s happiness, well-being, and safety are the factors that help determine how much parenting time and decision-making each parent will have. The following is an overview of what the judge will look at when deciding on child custody.

Definition of Best Interests

Some of the most common factors the judge will examine when considering how custody will be divided include:

  • Each parent’s role in the child’s life and each parent’s caretaking duties are and were when the couple was together

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Posted on in Divorce

Travis County Family Law AttorneyUsually, when two people marry and then decide that it was a mistake, they simply file for divorce. However, in some situations, they opt instead for an annulment. There are many reasons that someone chooses to obtain an annulment, but it is important to realize the requirements are very strict. While divorce is easier to get, there are situations where an annulment may be the better choice for you, especially if there was some kind of fraud involved and you have substantial assets which could be at risk under Texas community property laws.

Requirements for an Annulment

There are only certain grounds that a person can use to file for an annulment under Texas law:

  • One of the parties to the marriage was underage and did not obtain a parent’s consent

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Travis County Divorce LawyerIt is no secret that sometimes divorces get ugly. The most common way that spouses try to hurt each other during divorce, aside from arguing over their children, is to try and get an upper hand in terms of asset distribution, sometimes by any means necessary. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, there are multiple methods your attorney can use to try and discover if assets are being hidden and where the assets have been moved to.

Methods for Your Attorney

In a divorce, your attorney is your first weapon if you suspect your spouse has committed some financial misdeed. There are multiple legal documents used during the divorce process, especially during discovery, on which a party is bound by law to tell the truth, and they must do so in very specific ways, providing very specific information. Both parties are bound to comply with any discovery request that the court deems ‘reasonable.’ Courts approve the majority of requests that are made.

If your attorney tailors their discovery requests appropriately, you can request significant amounts of information from your spouse. For example, written interrogatories are a common legal tool used during discovery where a party is asked to answer questions or confirm or deny a given statement.

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Texas Divorce LawyerWhether it is called alimony, spousal support, or maintenance, Texas law does recognize the concept of one spouse making periodic payments to the other spouse during and/or following their divorce proceedings. Although alimony may be available to you in your divorce case, there have been significant changes to alimony under Texas law in recent years, resulting in far fewer spouses being eligible to receive alimony. In fact, Texas has a reputation for being one of the hardest states to be awarded spousal support in. However, that does not mean you will not qualify. A skilled Austin complex divorce attorney can advise you what your legal options are.

Determining Whether You Qualify for Alimony

The easiest way to receive alimony is if you and your spouse can come to an agreement and that agreement is included in your final divorce decree that is approved by the court. The court will likely approve the agreement, even if the receiving spouse would not have normally qualified under Texas law.

This is also another reason why prenuptial agreements are a good idea because alimony can be discussed and agreed upon long before the couple’s marriage breaks down.

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