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Travis County Divorce LawyerThere are many issues that a couple may have to come to an agreement on when they decide to end their marriage. One major issue is the division of assets and property. Texas is a community property state – meaning that the martial estate is owned by both spouses equally and the court divides it in a 50/50 share. Although this division is fairly cut and dry when it comes to bank accounts, that division can and often does get more complicated the more assets the couple owns. Assets such as real estate, collections, and even retirement accounts all must be divided equally. But the majority of retirement accounts have stringent rules when it comes to withdrawals, involving possible penalties and tax implications. This is why it is critical to have a skilled complex divorce attorney advocating for you.

Dividing Accounts with QDRO

Under federal law, a person is not allowed to withdraw from their retirement accounts while they are still employed. Exceptions include taking a loan against the funds or showing hardship. If the person leaves their employer, they can either leave the funds in the former employer’s plan, roll the funds into their new employer’s plan, roll it into an individual retirement account (IRA), or cash out.

Divorce and division of assets is another exception. Even though the account is in one spouse’s name, the court considers it jointly owned by both spouses. In some divorces, there may be enough total asset value that the account’s owner is able to keep the account intact and their spouse gets certain assets that equal the value of the account.

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Austin Divorce LawyerIn today’s world, social media has become an intricate part of many people’s daily lives where they share everything from the big events to the mundane with their family and friends. So, it is not surprising that when person makes the decision to divorce their spouse, they want to blast it all over their social media accounts. Some people feel the need to bash and trash their spouse, while others splash their pages with photos of all the fun and excitement they are experiencing now that their dud of a spouse is gone.

However, posting anything about your divorce on social media can be a big mistake. In fact, the majority of divorce attorneys in this country report that there has been a large spike in the use of social media as evidence in divorce cases over the past several years. Instead of hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on your spouse, all one has to do is peruse their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

How Social Media Postings Can Hurt You

A spouse can file for a divorce in Texas either with grounds or no-fault. The majority of couples file for no-fault divorce, meaning neither side has to prove the other spouse is “responsible” for the breakdown of the marriage. And since Texas is a community property state, bad behaviors will not usually determine how the marital estate will be divided. 

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Travis County Family Law AttorneyEach state, including Texas, sets its own child support guidelines that the family courts use to determine how much one parent should pay the other parent for child support. Child support is supposed to cover all the basic needs of the child – including shelter, food, and clothing. There are certain expenses for children, however, that are not automatically included in a standard child support order. One of these expenses is for education.

Education Costs

Most parents can attest to how expensive education costs have become. It is not only tuition payments, if the child attends private school or daycare programs, but even the costs for children who attend public schools can be hefty. School expenses for children can include:

  • School clothes

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Travis County Family Law AttorneyOne of the most contentious issues between divorcing couples is child support. The parent who receives the support often thinks the amount the other parent has to pay is not enough to cover all the actual expenses of the child, while the parent who has to pay often thinks they are paying too much and questions where the money is going. While the judge is the one that makes the final decision on how much child support should be paid, many parents are still unsure what child support is actually supposed to cover.

How Child Support Works

When parents divorce, they must consider certain issues regarding the children. These issues include child custody and parenting time. Whether or not child support will be paid and which parent will pay is a decision made by the court and usually depends on the amount of time the child will spend with each parent.

Child support is supposed to cover certain expenses, while other expenses usually need to be addressed separately in the parenting agreement. These extra expenses may include childcare costs, medical insurance and medical expenses, extracurricular activities, and sports. Future college tuition is also an issue that should be addressed during divorce negotiations.

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Travis County Divorce LawyerThe old expression, “once bitten, twice shy,” probably sums up how many people feel after going through a divorce. Couples may enter a first marriage without considering how life’s realities can affect a relationship. Finances, children, in-laws, and jobs are all issues that can overshadow the romantic side of marriage.

People who go through a divorce typically have a much more realistic view of what a second marriage may hold. This is especially true for those who have gone through a messy divorce — one which may have involved drawn-out negotiations over marital assets and other finances. Therefore, when a divorced individual considers remarriage, there are several questions they should discuss with their potential spouse. Starting out on the same page can go a long way in avoiding another trip to divorce court. The following are some important issues to address before a second marriage

Will You and Your Spouse Keep Assets Separate or Mesh Them Together?

If you both have children from prior relationships, it may be wise to keep your assets separate. This will help ensure that there is no question regarding what your children receive if you or your spouse pass away. One way to clearly define how you will be sharing assets, or keeping them separate, is by having a prenuptial agreement drawn up before your marriage.

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Travis County Family Law AttorneyOne of the most difficult decisions that needs to be made in a divorce is how custody or parenting time will be divided between the parents. Every parent who is in this situation wants to do what is best for their child and make sure they come through the divorce process with as little emotional upset as possible. How parents handle custody issues, and how they communicate these issues with each other, goes a long way in how secure and stable a child feels following the divorce.

There are several different ways that custody can be decided. In the best circumstances, the parents will be able to negotiate an agreement the court will approve. If this cannot be done, the court will make the final decision based on the best interest of the child doctrine, regardless of how much each parent may object. The following is a brief overview of different custody arrangements.

Traditional Two-Home Custody

The most common custody arrangement when couples divorce is that each parent establishes their own home and custody can be either shared with both parents having equal parenting time or one parent has primary custody and the other parent has a visitation schedule.

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Travis County Marital Agreement LawyerAfter a spouse has passed away, the widow(er) may feel that he or she will never find love again. And then suddenly, love strikes when least expected. The couple may even decide to get married. However, in the midst of all the wedding and honeymoon planning, there are a number of financial issues – including a prenuptial agreement – that the couple should address with an Austin family law attorney.

What to Consider Before Saying “I Do”

Although the number of older Americans who are finding love later in life has increased each year, marriage of these individuals has been stunted due largely to the fear of what a remarriage would mean financially and legally for the couple. The legal and financial ramifications become more difficult when there are children and grandchildren involved, and when the individuals are receiving survivor benefits from the first marriage to the deceased spouse.

There are several issues that an older couple who are considering getting married should consider before getting married, including finances, estate planning, and federal benefits.

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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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