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TX family lawyerA divorce will involve multiple different types of financial issues, and child support is one of the key areas that will need to be addressed. These payments will ensure that a parent will be able to provide for children’s needs going forward. However, the amount of child support that is set at the time of a divorce may need to be adjusted at a later date if parents or children experience changes in their lives. Parents who are looking to make changes to these financial obligations will need to understand when child support modifications can be made and the process that will be followed when addressing these requests.

Situations Where Child Support Modifications May Be Warranted

There are a few different types of cases where a parent may ask to modify child support. Modifications may be made if:

  • At least three years have passed since the child support order was established, and calculating child support under the state guidelines based on the parties’ current circumstances would result in a difference of at least 20% or $100 from the amount that is currently being paid.
  • One or more of the parties involved in the case (including the parents or the children being supported) have experienced a “material and substantial change in circumstances.”

In most cases, modification requests will be based on a change in circumstances. These changes may include an increase or decrease in the income earned by the parent who pays child support, changes to children’s needs, or updates to children’s living arrangements.

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TX alimony lawyerSpouses who are going through the divorce process will need to address multiple different types of legal and financial issues. The laws surrounding divorce can be complicated, but by working with an experienced attorney, a person can gain a full understanding of their rights and obligations, and they can determine the best ways to achieve their goals. Spousal support, which is commonly known as alimony and referred to as spousal maintenance in Texas law, is one issue that spouses will often have questions about. These questions may include:

When Is a Person Eligible to Receive Spousal Support?

Typically, a spouse will only be able to receive maintenance if they do not own enough assets, including marital property awarded to them during their divorce and separate property owned independently of the other spouse, to reasonably provide for their minimal ongoing needs. If this is the case, spousal support may be awarded in the following situations:

  • The couple was married for at least 10 years, and the spouse who is asking for support is currently unable to earn a sufficient level of income to provide for their needs.
  • The spouse who is asking for support has a physical or mental disability that has caused them to be unable to earn a sufficient level of income.
  • The spouse who is asking for support is the custodial parent of a child that has a physical or mental disability, and providing care for the child has caused the spouse to be unable to earn a sufficient level of income to meet their needs.
  • The spouse who would be paying support was convicted of a family violence offense within two years before the divorce petition was filed or during the course of the divorce case.

As part of their divorce settlement, spouses may also agree that one party will pay spousal support to the other. This is known as contractual alimony.

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TX high asset divorceUPDATE: To avoid financial issues during divorce, spouses should take care when making any major decisions about money or property, including entering into any major transactions. To ensure that marital property can be fairly divided between spouses, the parties should fully disclose all relevant financial information related to their marital assets, as well as all forms of separate property. Spouses should not sell, give away, destroy, or otherwise dispose of any physical items, financial assets, or other forms of marital property. If a spouse does so, they could face consequences as described below.

Unfortunately, when a person commits fraud against their spouse, this may lead to the loss of assets, limiting the financial resources that are available during the property division process. To prevent this, a spouse may ask the court to issue a temporary financial restraining order. This type of court order will prevent both spouses from making any major financial transactions or taking any actions that could cause financial harm to their former partner. Spouses will be permitted to make regular expenditures to cover the costs of daily life, and as they work through the divorce process, they can ensure that the majority of their marital assets will not be affected, allowing them to reach a settlement that is fair and equitable for both parties. If you believe that a temporary restraining order is needed in your divorce, or if you need to address other complex property issues, an Austin divorce lawyer can provide you with legal help and representation.


When it comes to a high asset divorce in Texas, both parties need to take care when selling or disposing of anything that might be considered marital property. In other words, do not sell all of your jewelry or expensive electronics and keep the money hidden from your estranged spouse. If you do this, a court may consider such actions “fraudulent” and penalize you when making a final division of the marital estate.

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TX family lawyerThere are many different types of situations where a person may fear for the safety of themselves, their children, or other family members or people who live in their home. Whether a person in a family has been the victim of domestic abuse, or conflict between divorcing spouses has escalated to the point of physical violence, those who are in danger of harm can take action to address this issue and prevent a person from abusing, injuring, or threatening them. People in Texas who are in this type of situation will need to understand their options for receiving a protective order that will help keep them and their family safe.

Types of Protective Orders

Those who are in need of immediate protection can file a petition in court for a temporary protective order, which is also known as an “ex parte order.” If a judge believes, based on the information contained in an application for an ex parte order, that there is a clear and present danger that a person will commit family violence, they may issue a temporary protective order without holding a hearing. This order may prohibit a person from taking specific actions, such as committing domestic abuse, contacting the petitioner or their family members, or entering a shared residence. Temporary protective orders can remain in effect for 20 days, and they can be extended for additional 20-day periods if necessary.

In cases where a person has been arrested on family violence charges, a criminal court judge may issue a Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection, and this type of order is mandatory in situations where a person allegedly inflicted serious bodily injury while committing family violence or used a deadly weapon when committing domestic assault. A Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection can prohibit a person from committing any further acts of family violence or communicating with members of their family or household in a way that is threatening or harassing. A person may also be ordered to stay away from a family member’s home, school, or workplace, and they may be required to turn over any firearms they own or a concealed handgun license. A discretionary order can remain in effect for 31 to 61 days, while a mandatory order can remain in effect for 61 to 91 days.

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TX divorce lawyerThe breakdown of a marriage will often involve strong emotions and heated disputes between spouses, and this can sometimes lead people to behave inappropriately. In some cases, a spouse will waste money or act in ways that result in the loss of marital assets. This is known as the dissipation of marital assets, and it can take a variety of forms. A spouse may make large purchases solely for their own benefit, or they may spend money while having an affair. In some cases, spouses may even purposely destroy property or otherwise waste money or assets in an attempt to harm their spouse. These actions can affect the division of marital property during the divorce process, and complex property litigation may be needed to address this issue.

Fraud on the Community

Asset dissipation is a form of fraud against the “community” of a couple’s marriage, although it will usually not result in criminal charges. In some cases, dissipation may constitute actual fraud if a person acted dishonestly with the purpose of depriving their spouse of the use of marital assets. However, in most cases, dissipation is considered “constructive fraud on the community,” meaning that a person used, gave away, or otherwise disposed of marital assets without their spouse’s consent.

If a family court judge determines that a spouse has committed fraud on the community, they will determine the value of the “reconstituted estate,” which is the total value of the couple’s assets before the dissipation occurred. The reconstituted estate can then be divided between the spouses, and a judge may award a greater share of the assets to the wronged spouse, require the spouse who committed fraud on the community to make a monetary payment to the other spouse, or both.

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TX divorce lawyerA high net worth divorce will involve a wide variety of financial issues that will need to be addressed, but tax-related matters are one area that can sometimes be overlooked. Those who have complex finances may have tax liabilities, and in many cases, one spouse may be unaware of the debts owed to the IRS. It is important to address these issues during the divorce process, and divorcing spouses should also understand their options if the IRS attempts to collect the taxes owed.

Tax Liabilities and Innocent Spouse Relief

When a married couple files taxes jointly, both parties will be liable for any taxes owed, including in cases where the IRS conducts a tax audit and determines that the parties have tax liabilities due to errors on a joint tax return. Even if a divorce decree or judgment states that one spouse will be solely or primarily responsible for paying tax debts, the IRS can disregard these orders and attempt to collect the amount owed from either or both spouses.

Fortunately, a person may be able to receive innocent spouse relief, and they may be able to avoid being held liable for tax debts incurred by their ex-spouse. This form of relief is available if a joint income tax return understated the amount of taxes that a couple was required to pay. An understatement of taxes may be related to income that was not reported correctly or deductions or credits that were claimed improperly.

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TX high asset divorce lawyerDuring a high net worth divorce, spouses will not only want to make sure their own financial interests will be protected, but they may need to take steps to ensure that other family members are not negatively affected by the end of their marriage. Those who come from wealthy families will want to make sure their family’s assets will not be lost during divorce proceedings. Spouses who have acquired significant assets during their marriage may want to ensure that certain assets will be preserved and passed on to their children or other family members. Business owners, executives, and those with large incomes may need to determine how to divide their marital assets in a way that will allow family businesses to remain in operation while making sure they and their families will have the resources they need in the years to come.

Wealth Protection Methods

The divorce process can be complex, and it often involves strong emotions and contentious disputes. This can make it difficult to determine how to divide marital assets fairly, and drawn-out divorce proceedings may end up using up a great deal of wealth that could be put to better purposes elsewhere. In many cases, the best way to make sure family wealth is protected is to take steps to do so before either spouse begins to consider getting divorced. Some ways that spouses can protect their family’s assets include:

  • Marital agreements - If a person enters a marriage while owning significant assets, it is often a good idea to create a prenuptial agreement, which can specify how both community property and non-marital assets will be handled during a potential divorce. This can be a good way to ensure that existing family wealth is protected. For those who acquired valuable assets during their marriage, such as a business or professional practice, a postnuptial agreement can provide similar protections and decide how business assets and other property will be divided if a couple chooses to get divorced in the future.
  • Asset protection trusts - To avoid the commingling of separate property owned by one spouse with community property owned by both spouses, assets may be placed in a trust. In most cases, a person will create this type of trust before getting married. By removing assets from their possession and placing them in the control of a trustee, they can ensure that these assets will be protected from division during divorce. When creating an asset protection trust, a person can provide instructions for how the assets should be distributed to beneficiaries, which may include themselves, their children, charitable organizations, or others.

Contact Our Austin High Asset Divorce Attorneys

If you are looking to protect the wealth owned by your family or other types of assets, the attorneys of Powers and Kerr, PLLC can explain your options and help you put the proper protective measures in place. If you need to determine how to divide valuable assets during your divorce, we can provide you with representation, help you negotiate a workable divorce settlement, or advocate on your behalf during complex property litigation. Contact our Austin property division lawyers today by calling our office at 512-610-6199.

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TX family lawyerThe COVID-19 crisis has affected everyone in the United States, and while vaccines are currently being made available, the pandemic will likely continue to affect people and families throughout 2021 and beyond. Because of this, parents will want to make sure they are following the proper measures to protect themselves, their children, and other loved ones. If you are a parent who is currently going through a divorce, you may have already had to address a variety of complex child custody issues, and COVID-19 may have complicated these matters even further. Fortunately, by working with an experienced attorney, you can take steps to protect your parental rights and ensure that your children can remain safe and healthy.

Child Custody for Those Affected by COVID-19

Many families are able to avoid COVID-19 infections by following social distancing guidelines, staying home whenever possible, wearing masks when in public, and making sure all family members wash their hands regularly. However, there are some cases where family members may need to take additional precautions due to increased risks of infection. For example, if a parent works in the healthcare field and is regularly exposed to those who have been infected, they may need to take additional measures to ensure that they do not inadvertently spread the virus to their children.

If a parent becomes infected with COVID-19, or if another person in their household is infected, they should be sure to quarantine themselves and follow all necessary restrictions to ensure that they do not spread the infection to their children. This may mean that they will not be able to have their regular visitation with children. Parents may need to make special arrangements in these cases, such as by having “virtual visitation” with children through video conferencing apps like Zoom or planning to adjust schedules in the future to make up for lost visitation time.

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