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McKinney Divorce Law Blog

How to protect assets in a complex divorce in Texas

People going through a divorce where a lot is at stake financially are likely thinking about one thing in that respect -- protecting their assets. There are many issues surrounding a complex divorce, but the primary contentious one seems to be finances. There are a few things Texas residents who are in the throes of divorce might consider doing to keep from losing most of their assets.

Firstly, ascertaining what belongs to whom might be a good place to begin. If it comes down to it, a judge will want to see what assets are in which person's name and that includes bank accounts, mortgages, investments and other things like retirement and life insurance plans. Getting a copy of all financial statements is also definitely on the to do list. To safeguard some cash from a possible petty spouse, if a joint bank account exists, one spouse can set up an account in his or her own name and transfer some funds into that new account from the joint account.

A new kind of prenuptial agreement for the modern era

Many Texas residents, especially those considering marriage, or those who are already married, may be familiar with common issues that need to be discussed before two lives become a shared one. A prenuptial agreement is commonly defined as a contract in contemplation of marriage concerning the ownership of their respective assets should the marriage come to an end. In the past, these agreements generally indicated hammering out ownership of physical assets, such as property or finances. This is still the case, but with an added twist for the Facebook generation.

Many people participate in the arena known as social media on a daily basis. With so many online communities to connect on, social media has become an integrated part of countless lives and relationships. While it may not seem like a serious matter, in recent years it has been proven that the use of social media is not always a subject agreed upon by both parties in a marriage. 

Texas child custody issues: Terminating parental rights

During a marital breakup, for whatever reasons, one parent may wish to opt out of his or her children's lives. Texas law makes that doable by having that parent relinquish his or her parental rights. This might happen when it comes to deciding child custody in the event of divorce. Parents may be able to terminate their parental rights of their own accord or a court will terminate those rights when it believes it is in the best interests of the child.

One party can, as well, petition the court to have an individual's parental rights taken away involuntarily. Usually this happens when a parent is not around or the child may be in danger being around the parent. The Family Code in Texas stipulates what types of actions would warrant the dissolution of parental rights. Some reasons include leaving the child in the care of someone else for six months or more without any support, if there has been abuse or neglect of another child in the past, keeping the child out of school or away from home, or the parent has been imprisoned for two or more years and can't care for the child.

Complex property division is common feature of gray divorce

There are several contributing factors that may lead to a more complicated divorce. Significant assets, difficult exes and age can make reaching an agreeable divorce settlement difficult, and may even drag on proceedings for longer than either party is happy with. Complex property division might be especially troublesome for those older than 50.

The phenomenon of gray divorce -- seeking a divorce after the age of 50 -- is not necessarily new, but it is certainly more noticeable than it was in the past. This is partly due to the number of individuals in this age group. In 2010, nearly 100 million people in Texas and across the rest of the United States fell into the age range of 50 and up, while two decades before this group totaled a mere 63.5 million. People now live longer on average, too. With the higher number of people in this age group and longer life expectancy, it is no real surprise that the number of gray divorces has gone up.

Soldier seeks child custody though not biologically related

Soldiers who serve the country often sacrifice relationships and comforts of home. Being stationed overseas while one's significant other is expecting a child can be bittersweet for both Texas parents-to-be. One soldier has found himself in a child custody battle for a boy who isn't biologically his.

The soldier's now-estranged wife told him that the baby was a girl and died during childbirth. The truth was later revealed that the baby, a boy, was born in another state, and his mother conspired with a Texas couple over Facebook to sell the baby. The soldier also learned that he is not the biological father of the child in question.

Paternity fraud doesn't mean the end to child support payments

Many Texas couples who are expecting a child have much to look forward to. Even if those expecting children are not married, they usually still experience the same joy and excitement married couples feel when they welcome a newborn into the world. What should be a time of excitement and expectations can also raise questions when the mother of the child has not been entirely honest or faithful regarding the paternity of the child. Paternity fraud, whether intentional or not, can be damaging to the child and the father figure involved, and it can create issues with regards to child custody and child support.

Statistically, 1 in 10 children are not biologically related to the man that they think is their father. Mothers may be promiscuous or find themselves in an extramarital affair, and the timing of conception can come to question. When multiple partners are present, the chance remains that the true paternity of the child is not definitive, and a paternity test should be performed.

Complex property division can hold up the finalization of divorce

There may come a time in a Texas married couple's life that staying together is no longer an option. The divorce can move forward with little to no hiccups, but in some cases, especially those involving a complex property division, the proceedings can last for months. Add spurned adult children to the mix and a possible love affair, and the divorce process can become even more lengthy and costly.

The divorce of an elderly couple in another state has been one for the books. The couple had been married for 70 years and amassed a substantial net worth. The wealth, which came from real estate holdings, is in the process of being divided between the once happy couple. To complicate the already delicate matter of dividing up such a massive estate, the holdings are also owned by the couple's three adult children, all of whom have an expressed the desire to not have to deal with their father anymore.

A prenuptial agreement doesn't have to be stressful

When the word "marriage" begins to become a mainstay in conversations for young Texas couples, the bliss and excitement can often outweigh the serious need to talk about finances, both present and future. The very idea of sharing everything with a person one feels is his or her soulmate could cloud honest truths that can lead to financial and emotional disaster later down the road. Speaking with one's betrothed about money, assets and the idea of a prenuptial agreement may be a wise choice to helping couples develop a closer bond and preserving the couples' financial future should a divorce loom on the horizon.

A wealth educator in another state has instituted a program that is spreading across the country. The program offers couples an ice breaker with regard to discussing finances and emotions that are tied to money. This opportunity allows couples a six month to a year-long course that offers worksheets, homework and open discussions to explore the dynamics of money and how it is treated by each intended spouse.

Divorce after a short marriage and splitting the marital assets

Many issues, both inside and outside of a marriage, can lead a couple to separate. Whatever the reason, a divorce can be hard for some and an escape hatch for others. One Texas man is questioning his financial future after his wife of two years asked for a divorce. He is unsure of the exact reason, but feels he was financially used to help his soon-to-be ex-wife wipe out her student loans and other significant debts. The man now fears for his retirement and home.

Splitting up the assets of a once happily married couple may seem cut and dried, but tangled lives can be hard to separate. Regardless of the reasons and intent of the husband, the student loans he helped his soon-to-be ex-wife pay off hold no weight within the divorce proceedings. If the parties cannot agree between themselves, and it appears unlikely in this scenario, a judge will determine property division issues based upon the evidence presented in court. 

A prenuptial agreement may not be upheld if a friend weds couple

As the world embraces the advances that technology has fostered, many Texas couples are opting to have their marriage vows performed by a friend. It is now easier than ever for almost anyone to be ordained online, and more millennials who do not identify with a particular religion are opting for this now-popular option. Many fail to realize the potential consequences of such a choice and may find that their marriage and prenuptial agreement may not be valid.

As divorce continues to befall upwards of half of all marriages, the issue of having one's marriage officiated by a friend who obtained an ordination online may fall under scrutiny in court. Almost half of all marriages in which a friend officiated and the couple files for divorce have been ruled by a court to be null and void. If the marriage wasn't valid, a prenuptial agreement would not be honored.

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