Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Spouse surveillance in high asset Texas divorce

Thanks to dramatic portrayals of high asset divorces in media accounts or fictional film dramas, the public is aware that spouses are not above spying on each other. The larger the asset profile, the higher the probability that one or both spouses may engage in surveillance.

Along with high net worth marital estates, child custody is another motivation for spouse surveillance. The spying spouse may hope to catch the other being irresponsible during his or her time caring for a child.

Options for handling the marital residence upon divorce

One of the most valuable assets in a Texas marital estate may be the home. During the pendency of the divorce, spouses must decide what to do with their home and other assets. Unfortunately, making these decisions may be a source of frustration and contention.

It may be that one spouse is awarded the marital residence at the end of the divorce. The residence may also be sold, either by agreement or by order of the court. While either scenario may be beneficial and seem like a victory, there are other factors to consider before making final decisions.

Important documents in child custody disputes

Spouses in Texas may want to file for divorce if they are unable to get along. If spouses cannot agree on child-related issues such as custody and visitation, a contested court hearing may be necessary. Presenting documents as evidence may be persuasive to a judge.

A visitation schedule may be the most important document presented in a child custody proceeding. A visitation schedule, even one informally agreed to between the parties prior to a hearing, can demonstrate a continuous and meaningful relationship with a child. If a parent doesn't visit a child, this could indicate to a court that he or she is not invested in maintaining a close relationship.

Why you should not share a family business in a divorce

With many resources and assistance available, starting a business in this country has gotten easier. Recent studies share that family-owned operations make up about 19 percent of small businesses in the United States. Many of these organizations began as passionate collaborations between husband and wife. In the unfortunate event that the marriage falls apart, what happens to the business?

When both parties have equal investment in the future of the business, it can be difficult to agree on a settlement. If the breakup is amicable, you may be able to continue joint ownership with your ex-spouse. However, in most cases, it is better to sell the business or have one partner buy out the other. Here are three reasons why.

Business owners can benefit from advanced divorce planning

For business owners in Texas, divorce may be a particularly costly proposition. Beyond the immediate financial effects, entrepreneurs may face specific problems with the division or ongoing viability of their companies after a marital split. Because the repercussions can be severe, many business owners may want to develop a plan to help prevent the most serious consequences from befalling their businesses in the event of divorce. Indeed, many investors or other business partners may insist on divorce planning as part of taking an equity stake.

Business owners may be particularly well-placed to consider a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial contract. These agreements can reflect specific decisions about the future of the business in case of a divorce. Because entering into a "prenup" or "postnup" is a negotiation, both parties' interests should be represented. Indeed, in an effort to protect those interests, each party should be represented by legal counsel. These kinds of agreement may contain a number of provisions. For example, the agreement might spell out that the business is the separate property of the party who established it, especially if it was launched prior to the marriage.

When disabled parents pay child support

Custodial parents in Texas who receive child support payments may see changes in the amounts if the paying party develops a physical disability. It is necessary for both parties to know what steps they should take if this occurs.

If a disabled parent is receiving disability insurance benefits,  he or she will probably be required to still make child support payments. However, since child support is calculated using parental income, the amount that is paid based on disability payments will probably be less. This is because the disability insurance payments, which may be provided by the disabled person's employer, are generally less than what the regular pay would be. A disabled parent may request a modification of their child support obligation due to a material and substantial change in circumstances such as a disability.

Noteworthy divorce issues that involve a special needs child

One of the most difficult challenges in divorce is planning for a child's future. There are considerations such as custody and visiting rights along with arranging child support.

When parents with a special needs child divorce, many other arrangements become necessary. The word "child" usually means a person of minority age who depends on parents for support; however, the law may identify adults with special needs as children upon and after the age of majority to indicate that they still depend on parents for support and are not physically or mentally capable of providing adequate living support for themselves.

What child support is used for

When parents in Texas get a divorce, one parent might be required to pay child support to the other. While child support is usually paid to the custodial parent, this is not always the case.

The custodial parent is generally the parent who has physical custody of the child. The other parent might still have ample visitation time. If one parent has physical custody, parents may still share legal custody. Fathers are often the ones who pay child support, but some mothers must pay it as well.

Avoiding a messy high-asset divorce

Many Texas residents have likely heard about the impending divorce involving Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years. The couple appears to be handling things right so far. They started off with a joint announcement that included a commitment to enjoy a "shared new life". While this is admirable, there are other steps high-asset couples may want to consider to avoid common missteps.

For starters, being highly focused during the divorce process can make it easier to restructure the family. This typically means encouraging spouses to avoid negative talk in public while continuing to attend school-related, social, and public functions together without conflict. Splitting spouses are also urged to avoid making decisions based on emotions.

Division of 401(k)s in a divorce

According to a survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2016, retirement accounts were the second most common issue divorcing couples fought over, just behind alimony. People in Texas who are getting a divorce and who must divide a retirement account should make sure they understand the complexities involved. Failing to do so could mean paying a significant amount in taxes and penalties or one spouse getting more than a fair share of the account.

With a 401(k) or a pension plan, it is necessary to obtain a document known as a qualified domestic relations order. The QDRO must be approved by the plan administrator, and then a distribution can be made. If the distribution will be rolled into an IRA, which is necessary to avoid a tax for early withdrawal, this should be specified in the QDRO. The terms of the QDRO must be consistent with the divorce agreement.