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TX divorce lawyerIn order to reach a fair divorce resolution, it is important that both spouses have access to information about each other’s finances. Until recently, the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure addressed this issue by allowing each spouse to request certain information and documents from the other during a discovery period. However, as of January 1, 2021, these rules have been amended to require certain disclosures from spouses upfront, rather than upon request. If you are initiating the divorce process in 2021 or later, you should be aware of your obligations under these updated rules.

Required Disclosures in a Texas Divorce

Whether you or your spouse is the first to file for divorce, you should be prepared to disclose basic contact information including your address and phone number, as well as all of the following financial information from the last two years or since the date of your marriage:

  • Information and documentation for any real estate property that you own or rent, including deeds, titles, mortgage agreements, and leases
  • Information about your retirement plans and other employee benefits, including statements for IRAs, pensions, 401(k)s, profit-sharing plans, or any other type of plan you may have
  • Information about any life insurance, health insurance, and liability insurance policies you hold
  • Statements for all financial accounts, including checking and savings accounts at banks or credit unions, credit card accounts, loans, and investment accounts

Additional disclosures are required if your divorce case involves child support or spousal support. These include:

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TX family lawyerIn a Texas divorce, parents of young children must resolve the issues of custody and visitation. This can come with many challenges, including how to fairly allocate time with the children and decision-making responsibilities now that the parents will no longer live together. However, there is usually little question as to whether each parent has rights regarding the child. On the other hand, when a child is born to unmarried parents, questions of parental rights and child custody are of immediate concern upon the child’s birth. If you have a child out of wedlock, it is important to understand what you may need to do in order to obtain custody.

Establishing Parentage in Texas

In most cases, when a child is born to an unmarried woman in Texas, she is considered to be the child’s mother with all of the rights that come with the parent-child relationship, including custody of the child. However, in this case, the child’s father often does not have automatic parental rights, meaning that the mother will have sole custody and the father will not be legally entitled to custody or visitation.

If an unmarried father wishes to secure parental rights, he will need to do one of the following:

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TX high asset divorce lawyerGetting a divorce in Texas requires dividing marital property between spouses in a way that the court determines is “just and right.” Unfortunately, spouses often have very different ideas about what is just and right, and this can lead to difficult, protracted settlement negotiations or the need for complex litigation. Properties with higher values, including homes and other real estate properties, have a greater impact on the division of assets, and you should be sure to understand all of the implications before deciding the outcome that you want to pursue.

Real Estate Property Details in a Texas Divorce

In either a negotiated or litigated property division agreement, all of the following details can have a significant impact on the outcome:

  • Property value - In order to fairly divide real estate property, you will need to understand what it is worth. When it comes to both residential and commercial properties, the value is heavily influenced by the current real estate market, in addition to factors like the condition and features of the property. Obtaining valuations through an appraisal and comparative market analysis can help you prepare to sell the property if necessary, or prepare to compensate your spouse with assets of roughly equal value if you want to keep the property.
  • Debt and other financial obligations - Debt belonging to the marital estate must also be divided in a divorce. Your real estate properties may still have outstanding mortgages at the time of your divorce, and a spouse who is granted a property in the divorce may also be ordered to take responsibility for the mortgage. In this case, it is important to include a provision in the agreement requiring a refinance of the property to protect the other spouse from liability to creditors.
  • Income potential - If your real estate property earns a regular income, perhaps as a full-time or short-term rental, you will likely need to value it as a business, rather than simply a property for personal use. You should be prepared with documentation of the property’s earnings and expenses to help you determine an accurate value. If you want to keep an income property in the divorce, you may need to reimburse your spouse for contributions they made to the property during the marriage.
  • Capital gains taxes - If you are pursuing a resolution that involves selling a real estate property, you should be aware that if the property has increased in value under your ownership, you will likely owe capital gains taxes upon selling it. This can decrease the overall value of the marital estate and harm both spouses in the division of property.

Contact an Austin, TX Property Division Attorney

Dividing valuable real estate properties in a divorce is often complicated. Working with an experienced Austin high asset divorce lawyer helps you ensure that you have considered all of the details. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we know how to handle property litigation during the divorce process, and we will work to protect your interests. Contact us today at 512-610-6199 to learn how we can assist with your case.

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TX custody lawyerIn a divorce or family law case involving minor children, parents have many important issues to resolve, particularly when it comes to each parent’s custody and visitation rights. Unfortunately, these issues often become contentious, in part because of the strong emotions that they are likely to bring to the forefront. Other factors, including where each parent lives, can make for additional complications. If you and your child’s other parent live in different states, you may need to prepare for some unique challenges when addressing legal custody concerns.

Does Texas Have Jurisdiction Over Your Custody Case?

If you live in Texas while your child’s other parent lives in another state, one of the first things you will need to determine is whether the state of Texas has the authority to hear your child custody case. Based on the terms of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Texas typically only has jurisdiction when it is considered to be the child’s home state.

Generally, this means that the child currently lives in Texas with a parent and has done so for at least six months. If the child is not currently living in Texas, it may still be considered their home state if they lived in Texas with a parent within six months of the start of the legal custody action. This means that if the other parent moves with your child out of Texas, it is important to act quickly if you want your case to be heard in this state.

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TX divorce lawyerIn Texas divorce cases, child support is often one of the most crucial issues that will need to be addressed. This support will ensure that children will have the financial resources to address their daily needs. However, parents may be unsure about exactly what is covered by child support and whether additional support may be ordered to provide for different types of expenses. By working with a family law attorney, parents can make sure issues related to child support are addressed correctly, and they can determine how they can best provide for their children’s needs.

Medical and Dental Support and Variances from Child Support Guidelines

In Texas divorce and family law cases, child support is calculated by multiplying the net resources of the obligor (the parent who will be paying child support) by a certain percentage that is based on the number of children being supported. Child support calculated using these guidelines is meant to cover children’s ongoing needs, including food, shelter, clothing, childcare, transportation, and extracurricular activities.

In addition to the amount of child support calculated using the guidelines provided in Texas law, parents will also be required to provide both medical support and dental support. A parent will be required to obtain health insurance and dental insurance coverage for children or pay the reasonable cost of coverage obtained by the other parent. Reasonable costs of medical insurance cannot exceed 9% of the obligor’s annual financial resources. Reasonable costs of dental insurance cannot exceed 1.5% of the obligor’s annual financial resources.

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TX divorce attorneyWhile couples can get divorced at any age, people over the age of 50 are one demographic that has seen large increases in divorce rates over the past few decades. There are a variety of reasons for the rise in “gray divorce” cases, including a higher likelihood of financial autonomy for women, the ease of finding new partners through online dating, and an increased social and religious acceptance of divorce. Whether a couple has been married for a long time or has a high net worth, they may need to address some unique issues in a gray divorce that may not necessarily apply for younger couples.

Divorce Issues for Spouses Over 50

Some of the unique concerns that couples may face in a gray divorce include:

  • Child-related issues - Older couples may not necessarily need to address issues related to child custody or child support, since any children they have are likely to have reached adulthood. However, they may need to update their estate planning documents to address any decisions made about inheritances received by their children following the death of either spouse.
  • Property division - Complex property litigation may be needed to address the assets a couple has accumulated during their marriage. The family home and any other real estate property will need to be properly valued to determine how it will be divided. Couples may also need to address assets like vehicles, valuables such as artwork or jewelry, and financial accounts or investments.
  • Retirement - Spouses over the age of 50 will likely be concerned about whether they will be able to retire as planned. Any retirement savings or pension benefits that either spouse earned during their marriage will need to be divided along with other marital property, and in most cases, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be used to do so. It is also important to understand that a person can receive Social Security benefits through their ex-spouse, and this may be helpful for those who did not work or earned less than their spouse during their marriage.
  • Spousal support - Following a marriage of at least 10 years, one spouse will usually be eligible to receive support payments from their ex-spouse if they do not have the means to fully support themselves. If a couple was married between 20 and 30 years, spousal support will usually be paid for up to seven years, and for marriages of more than 30 years, spousal support may be paid for up to 10 years.

Contact Our Austin Gray Divorce Lawyers

If you are over the age of 50, you may need to address multiple different types of financial issues during your divorce, and you will want to understand your rights and your legal options. At Powers and Kerr, LLC, we can provide you with the legal representation you need, and we will help you negotiate a settlement that will allow you to maintain success throughout the rest of your life. For dedicated legal help, contact our Austin, TX high asset divorce attorneys at 512-610-6199.

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TX divorce lawyerIf you are a business owner, you need to understand that getting divorced could have a significant impact on your ownership of business assets, the income you earn through your business, and your ability to continue operating your company successfully. For business owners, divorce often involves complex property litigation as they determine how to divide their marital assets and debts. Those who are looking to protect a family business or professional practice in the case of divorce should consider creating either a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement.

Addressing a Family Business in a Prenup or Postnup

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal agreement signed by a couple before getting married. This agreement will detail how certain matters will be handled if their marriage ends in divorce, and it may include decisions related to marital assets such as family businesses. A postnuptial agreement, or postnup, functions the same as a prenup, but it is created and signed after a couple is already married.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may address a business or professional practice in the following ways:

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TX custody lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they will need to address multiple concerns related to their children, including how they will share in making decisions about how their children will be raised and when children will live with each parent. While parents will often disagree about how to handle these matters, they may be able to work together to resolve their differences and reach agreements on how to meet their children’s needs. However, some contentious divorce cases can involve complex child custody disputes, requiring parents to take legal action to protect their rights and their children’s best interests. Parental alienation is one issue that may play a major role in these disputes, and a parent will need to understand how to respond in these situations.

What Is Parental Alienation?

It is common for divorcing parents to feel some negativity toward each other. However, it is also important for them to recognize that their children deserve to have positive relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, some parents try to harm their children’s relationships with the other parent. This may be done intentionally, such as by making negative comments about the other parent or blaming them for the divorce, and a parent may hope to have children take their side and ask that custody disputes be resolved in their favor. Parental alienation may also be more passive, such as when a parent reacts negatively when a child talks about enjoying their time with the other parent.

Parental alienation is not always easy to recognize. Children may already be feeling unhappy about their parents’ divorce, so negativity towards a parent or resistance to spending time with them may be attributed to emotional stress or difficulty adjusting to changes in their lives. However, a parent will want to watch out for the following signs that may indicate that the other parent is attempting to alienate their child against them:

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