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McKinney Divorce Law Blog

Reaching goals in a complex divorce

Support and guidance are essential for most Texas residents who are contemplating divorce. While the average divorce does require a variety of issues to be negotiated, a complex divorce can involve extensive assets, liabilities and other items that need to be taken into consideration. The choice of legal representation can be instrumental in navigating the process.

Prior to meeting with legal counsel, the individual will want to have an idea of what he or she wants to get out of the divorce. A clear picture of one's short term and long term goals can aid in determining which assets the individual wants to keep. Additionally, these goals often indicate the steps that will need to be taken to bring them to fruition.

Property division and military families

Texas is home to numerous military families. Like any other family, military families will face their moments of tranquility and their moments of challenge. When the moments of challenge become a problem, and the couple decides that it is time to divorce, these families have a number of property division issues that need to be considered.

As with any couple-divided assets, it is possible that one spouse will be looking to receive a portion of the other spouse's retirement pay. In some instances, an order can be issued for this pay to be directly deposited into the individual's account. For this to be done with military retirement pay, however, there are certain criteria which must be met. In addition to the couple's marriage lasting in excess of 10 years, they must have been married for at least 10 years during which the spouse was an active member of the military.

Child support and back-to-school expenses

When summer is over and kids head back to school, parents know this can be an expensive time of year. There are clothes to buy, supplies to purchase and fees to pay for activities. This season can be especially stressful for Texas parents who may be handling these expenses on their own or need additional child support from the other parent. With planning and communication, it is possible to navigate this complex time effectively.

The extra expenses associated with the beginning of school can be a source of contention between two divorced parents. There may be a disagreement over who should pay for what and how the two can get the child what he or she needs. One way to avoid disputes over extra costs is to plan ahead. Some of the things to plan for include childcare costs in case the child is sick, school supplies and more.

Property division and financial assets

When it comes to divorce, there are often numerous decisions that need to be made. Financial and property division decisions can be some of the most significant for the Texas individual. These decisions often affect the individual in both the long and short term.

Decisions regarding how retirement accounts should be divided can be a challenge. These accounts typically hold considerable assets. Additionally, they are often invested in areas where selling may not be a wise idea at the moment. They are not as accessible as other types of accounts and often come with penalties and other consequences if accessed at certain times.

Hip hop artist facing problems for failure to pay child support

Raising children is an expensive venture. For the single custodial parent, every dollar can be important. In most instances, the Texas parent expects to receive assistance in the form of child support; however, there are times when this becomes an issue. Unfortunately, not all parents recognize the importance of doing their part to take care of their children.

One parent attracting headlines recently in this area is hip hop artist Scarface. In 2011, paternity was established, and he was ordered to pay less than $150 per month in child support plus an additional $30 per month to assist with medical expenses for one of his children. According to recent reports, he is now owes over $6,000 in support for this child. Scarface has faced previous child support claims, and he even has spent time in jail for failure to pay.

Child custody can affect the child's educational future

While negotiating a divorce, Texas parents often take great care in making sure that they do what is best for their children. They look at where the child should live and provide opportunities for the child to stay connected to the other parent. Yet, one area that can easily be overlooked is how the divorce will affect the child's future education. The divorce agreement and child custody can play a role in the financial aspects related to the child and college.

The divorce agreement is often the starting point. As the couple is negotiating the other aspects of raising their children post divorce, it is important to consider how college will be funded. The contribution that each parent is responsible for should be included in the agreement. Additionally, how to address the various "what ifs" that may come up should be addressed. These often include what if the child does not want to attend college or does not graduate from college until after the age at which child support is required.

A prenuptial agreement can be an asset to the marriage

Roses and diamond rings are symbols of love and one's future together. But, roses die and the shiny diamond can lose its sparkle. While these symbols often remind the Texas couple of the love they share, they should also remind them that the future can be uncertain, and they need to plan for what may lay ahead. In some cases, it may be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement as a part of planning for the future.

Research shows that close to half of all marriages end in divorce. This number is even higher for second and third marriages. Additionally, for those entering a second or third marriage, there are typically more assets involved, each individual is more established in his or her career and children from a previous relationship may be involved. All of these factors suggest that while it may not be romantic to discuss a prenuptial agreement, it is often the prudent choice.

The new tax law and its impact on child support

As 2018 begins to wind down, the implications of the tax law passed earlier in the year are nearing reality. The impact of the law on alimony and child support in Texas is considerable. Changes include child dependency exemptions, the child tax credit and how 529 college accounts are handled. All of this may result in couples who are considering divorce to carefully consider their options.

Prior to the new law, alimony was deductible by the payor from his or her taxable income. The recipient paid income tax on the amount at his or her lower rate. With the implementation of the new tax law, alimony will no longer be deductible, and the recipient will no longer pay tax on the amount received.

Where to turn for property division and other divorce guidance

Some things in life are just more stressful than others. For many Texas residents, the prospect of a divorce can be stressful. However, with the proper guidance, property division and other aspects of this stressful situation can be made easier for the individual.

One of the first steps that the individual will want to take is to take a look at available assets and debts. As far as the assets go, decisions regarding what should be done with each asset will need to be made.  For example, should one spouse keep the house or should it be sold. Additionally, decisions regarding bank, investment, retirement and credit accounts will need to be considered. How these will be divided can have a significant impact upon the individual's financial future and lifestyle.

Property division involving inherited IRAs gains attention

The dissolution of a marriage can be financially challenging no matter how long or short of a period two people have been married. One of the most contentious aspects of a divorce in Texas and elsewhere is property division. A particular area of property division that has especially sparked a lot of discussion lately is the division of an individual retirement account, or IRA, that has been inherited.

The division of inherited IRAs is a relatively new phenomenon -- one that might point to a growing trend in divorce agreements in the future. This is especially true considering the brand-new alimony rules slated to take effect next year. These retirement accounts might end up playing a much larger role in marital dissolution settlements because their pre-tax dollars may come in handy when making up for the alimony deduction that will soon be eliminated.

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