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McKinney Divorce Law Blog

Parents in one county receive help for back child support

For parents, the most important consideration in their lives is ensuring that their children receive everything they need to thrive in life. Unfortunately, many parents experience difficulty in either making or receiving child support monies in a timely manner. Texas parents who are struggling in this area may have a basis for requesting modifications to their orders in certain circumstances.

In many states, there are a series of increasingly negative consequences for parents who fall further behind in their payments. One of the tools states use to encourage parents to make their payments is to suspend their driving privileges. Unfortunately, parents who lose their driving licenses are often hampered in their efforts to maintain employment, thereby falling even further behind in supporting their children.

Amicable high net worth divorce is possible

When Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, Mackenzie, announced they were divorcing after more than 20 years of marriage, it may have been expected that the division would be protracted and bitter. Surprisingly, the couple were able to obtain their high net worth divorce in an amicable manner. Texas residents who may be contemplating filing their own complex divorce may find that their own dissolution could be obtained without undue fighting.

The movie "War of the Roses" featured a wealthy couple who were caught up in the agony of a long, bitter divorce. Fortunately, the Bezos and other celebrity couples are demonstrating a new approach toward divorce. Couples who are able to focus on the important issues, such as custody and property division, may be able to get through the process without undue acrimony. Many of these couples benefit from the guidance of financial professionals who can ensure that each party is protected.

Variety of factors involved when determining child custody cases

The decision of how to raise a child is not one that the majority of parents take lightly. And when a relationship between parents ends, it can be difficult to decide how children will be cared for going forward. Texas parents who are facing a child custody decision may benefit from understanding what factors are involved when judges are considering their ruling.

For a family court judge, the knowledge that his or her decisions will impact a child's life requires careful study a of a variety of aspects that will affect the child going forward. First and foremost of these is what arrangement will best meet the physical, mental and spiritual needs of a minor? This means that a court will examine all of the relationships in the child's life This will include the parental bonds between both parents as well as those involving siblings and extended family. This will also extend to the child's educational needs and how they will be met in the future.

A prenuptial agreement may be vital when planning second marriage

The decision to remarry is often entered into with greater trepidation than a first marriage. There may be many more financial aspects that need to be considered before a couple is ready to enter into a new relationship, especially in light of a future divorce. Texas residents who are preparing to remarry will likely benefit from preparing a prenuptial agreement.

If a couple has children from a previous relationship, there are several issues that a prenup could address. Each party may wish to include how insurance polices and beneficiaries will be handled within these contracts. Along with a prenup, it is recommended that the future spouses develop a household budget that will include such things as how alimony or child support will be paid. Partners are advised to decide how credit will be handled and whether the other party will be permitted access to the other's credit accounts.

Divorce close to retirement places emphasis on property division

Most couples today likely understand that the happily ever after in a marriage may not be attainable. For those couples who come to the realization that a marriage is no longer sustainable, there are many questions about how an impending divorce may affect future retirement plans. Texas residents who are preparing for a divorce while looking to save their retirement dreams may place an added emphasis on the property division aspects of their proceedings.

Those who are ending a marriage relatively early on, may not need to alter their retirement plans extensively. However, for those who are closer to retirement age, more in-depth planning may be necessary in order to reach the desired goals. One of the first steps is to determine what one's current and future living expenses will require. Couples who did not have either a pre- or postnuptial agreement regarding any retirement savings plans may need to work to reach a suitable agreement on how to split any existing accounts.

Complex child custody case highlights need to protect children

Several years ago, there was little discussion regarding a child's gender identity. However, it has become more common for a child to question whether he or she is being raised in the manner that best represents his or her personal feelings. It is still uncommon for gender identity to play a major role in a child custody case, such as what recently took place in Texas.

A judge recently ordered that the parents of twins continue to share custody of their children in spite of a contentious and public dispute over a child's gender identity. A few years after the marriage was annulled in 2015, one of the children purportedly expressed a desire to identify as the opposite gender. The mother, who is a pediatrician, requested modifications to custody on the basis that the father cooperate with the child's desire to be treated as a girl. She alleged that the father was emotionally abusive to the child. 

Texas city collects an estimated $39.6 million in child support

After the recent close of the federal fiscal year, child support agencies released their year-end figures for collections. One Texas city reported that it collected approximately $39.6 million through child support enforcement. Not all of these monies were the result of stringent enforcement methods, as only an estimated 10 percent of cases require advanced collection methods.

The majority of the money collected is the result of a cooperative effort by the Attorney General's child support division office, district court clerks and the associate justices. Court orders are issued by the justices and then passed along for the appropriate enforcement methods. The majority of non-custodial parents make every effort to keep up with their support obligations. However, there may be situations that arise that may require modifications to these orders.

Some may consider a high net worth divorce for tax purposes

When Congress passed the latest tax reforms in 2017, there were many changes that impacted people across the tax brackets. Though many of the changes may have been beneficial for some taxpayers, others discovered that they were facing significant increases in their tax bills. Some Texas residents may be considering the merits of a high net worth divorce in order to realize some tax relief. 

There are many valid reasons to seek a divorce, though, for most couples, the relationship has broken down to the point that it's beyond repair. However, there are situations where a couple may choose to end a marriage, at least on paper. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act subjected couples in the higher income tax brackets to what is referred to as the marriage penalty. In addition to this so-called marriage penalty, a few of the presidential candidates have proposed raising taxes on the higher income brackets if elected.

An impartial party may be needed in some child custody disputes

When a relationship between parents sours, children often find themselves caught in the middle. If a child custody dispute involves allegations of neglect or abuse, the services of a neutral attorney are often contracted to protect the best interest of the child. Texas parents who are concerned about the outcome of a contentious case may benefit from the services of a Guardian  ad litem.

No matter whether child custody disputes are the result of a divorce, protection order or revisiting a prior agreement, any allegations of abuse or neglect may require the services of a court-appointed impartial attorney for the child. This court-appointed Guardian ad-litem serves a vital role in ensuring that the custody order represents the best outcome for the child. This individual is appointed by the judge and works with the parents' attorneys in a neutral fashion. He or she is granted full access to all pertinent information related to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the child.

A prenuptial agreement can set couples up for marital success

One of the most-cited reasons for a divorce is financial struggles. In fact, disagreements over money are the second leading cause for divorce, behind marital infidelity. For that reason, it is recommended that engaged Texas couples help set the stage for marital success by drafting a prenuptial agreement.

It may seem counterintuitive to draw up a contract that dictates how property would be handled in the event of a divorce before the wedding even takes place, but doing so can help couples get on the same financial page. It is one thing to intend to keep separate assets, but during a marriage, it may be difficult to ensure that each party maintains separate property. If one spouse has the expectation of receiving significant assets at some point in the future, having a plan ahead of time can ease the division process if a divorce becomes inevitable.

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