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Travis County Family Law AttorneyFor many couples who decide to divorce, the decision to end the marriage is usually a mutual one. While it may be one spouse who finally makes the decision to file, there has usually been some discussions about the dissatisfaction both spouses have with the marriage. However, there are also situations where one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse is completely blindsided by the legal action. In these cases, it is important for the spouse being served to act quickly and obtain legal representation in the event the spouse used the surprise “attack” for malicious reasons, such as hiding marital assets or interfering with a fair custody agreement.

Child Custody

If you and your spouse have children, the surprise divorce filing could also be an attempt to get the upper hand in any child custody decision the court makes, especially if your spouse had already made arrangements to move with the child out of the marital home, with or without your knowledge. The important thing to remember if this happens is that even if your spouse has left with your child, the courts will have the final say in custody issues, regardless of your spouse’s surprise move.

Any decisions the court makes is always based on what is in the best interest of the child. Denying access to your child could actually backfire on your spouse because courts do not approve of these types of tactics. Your attorney will aggressively advocate for you and your child to ensure a fair child custody and parenting time outcome.


Austin Divorce AttorneyWhen a couple with a high net worth makes the decision to end their marriage, it is not uncommon for the divorce process to become complex and drawn out. Along with the “normal” acrimony couples may have due to the breakdown of the relationship, now there is the added stress and frustration of child custody, the division of assets, and other issues that may need to be decided. This is why it is important to have a seasoned Austin high net asset divorce attorney representing you.

Having a Long-Term Plan

One of the critical components for a successful outcome of your divorce is to have a long-term plan that addresses child custody, child support, division of assets, division of property, and spousal support. Working with your attorney and putting a solid strategy in place is one of the best ways to protect the interests of your children, have a less contemptuous divorce, and achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children.

Preparation is the first step to developing a long-term plan. Although your attorney will be preparing the legal documentation for your divorce, there are documents and records that you can gather that will help your attorney prepare your case, as well as help save time and legal fees. In addition to your marriage license and prenuptial agreement, if you have one, you will also want to gather the following documents that apply to you and your spouse:


Travis County Family Law AttorneyOne of the most complex parts of a high asset divorce is the division of assets and property. This division becomes even more complex when there is a family business involved. Since Texas is a community property state and in order to ensure the division of the marital estate is equal, it is critical that the parties have an accurate dollar amount of the company’s value.

How Is the Value of a Family Business Determined?

There are three types of methods that high asset divorce attorneys can use to determine the actual worth of the business – asset, market, or income valuation. Business valuations are usually conducted by either a certified public account (CPA) or an appraiser, and that person will determine which of the three approaches will work best for your family business.

With an asset valuation, all of the assets of the company are listed. This includes the intellectual, the physical, and the personnel. This is the best type of valuation for companies that are fairly young and has not really begun showing a profit yet.


Austin Family Law AttorneyThe recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade has triggered a firestorm of both information and misinformation, from both sides of the political spectrum. One piece of information that recently went viral on Twitter was a post about it being illegal in five states to get a divorce if you are pregnant. One of the five states listed was Texas. This tweet has led many Texans to wonder if this is true or not.

Divorce When Pregnant

Although there is nothing in Texas law that specifically forbids a divorce while the wife is pregnant, the truth is that it is very rare for a divorce to be granted before the child is born. There are certain decisions that need to be made when a divorcing couple has a child, including child custody, visitation, and child support. If a divorce is granted prior to the birth of the child, those issues would not normally be part of the litigation and divorce agreement and would necessitate the couple having to go back to court after the child is born. Or, if they were included in the original divorce agreement and there ended up being special circumstances, those issues may have to be relitigated. Relitigating is something courts want to avoid, so any decisions about the divorce are held off until the baby has arrived. 

Some of these issues include:


Austin Child Custody LawyerWhen a couple makes the decision to divorce, one common concern they often have is how to make sure the divorce will have the least amount of negative impact on their children as possible. It is well documented how much of an effect divorce and child custody has on families, with new living arrangements often needed, new family dynamics, and new roles for everyone. The smoother these changes occur, the better adjusted children will be.

It is not always easy to work together with someone you are divorcing, given the acrimony that may be present, however, that should be the goal when it comes to co-parenting. One of the most important tools that can help attain that cohesiveness between parents is to create a parenting plan that you both can agree on.

Creating a Parenting Plan

As you negotiate custody with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you will also want to set down guidelines regarding how this shared custody will work. Every parenting plan is different because it should be tailored to your specific situation. Some parents may need to have only a brief overview of what is expected, while other parents will need extensive details included in their plans.


Modifying a Texas Divorce Decree

Posted on in Divorce

Austin Family Law AttorneyThe divorce process can be a long one, especially in a high asset or complex divorce. It can take months – if not longer – to finally come to an agreement with your spouse as to how certain issues will be determined. Although one may think that after all of the fighting and negotiations that the final divorce decree would be just that – final – the reality is that many couples end up back in court at some point in order to have parts of that decree modified.

Not all parts of divorce decree can be modified. For example, asset and property division can not be modified unless there is evidence that fraud occurred during the divorce process. But other parts, such as child custody, child support, or alimony, may be able to be modified if the requesting spouse can show a substantial change of circumstances.

Modifying a Child Custody Order

Child custody is one of the most difficult areas of family law. When making the final custody decision, the courts always rely on the best interest of the child doctrine. Once the final decision has been made, there must be a substantial change in circumstances that are or will have an impact on that best interest in order for the court to even consider modifying the original order, unless both parents are agreeing to the change.


Travis County Parenting  Time LawyerThere is no denying that divorce is stressful, even if you are the spouse who wants to end the marriage. It can be even harder if you and your spouse have children. One of the most difficult parts is breaking the news to your child about the divorce. So many couples have a hard time themselves understanding why the marriage is ending and wonder how will they ever be able to get their child to understand why.

Sharing the News as a Team

Although there may be much acrimony currently existing between you and your spouse, it is critical for your child’s emotional well being to be able to put up a united front for them. When the time comes to share with your child that you are divorcing, it is much better to have both parents do it together, rather than separately. This will help reassure your child that although their parents will no longer be together, their love and concern for their child will always be there. Having this security is crucial in your child’s acceptance of the situation.

Ask Questions to See What Your Child Already Knows

There’s an old saying, “little pitchers have big ears,” that aptly describes the hearing capacity of children when it comes to things they probably should not hear. While you and your spouse may have thought you were sheltering your child from the arguments and issues that have led up to the breakdown of your marriage, it is very likely that your child has a sense that things have not been right. They may have even been dealing with their own emotional stress over things they have overheard or seen, but were not able to understand.


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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