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Houston Business and Family Law Blog

Texas property division: Worried about hidden assets?

If you're one of many Texas spouses whose spousal relationship is contentious, which may be one of many reasons you've decided to divorce, you are not alone in your struggle. You hopefully will build a strong support network from the start, however, because confrontational situations often spill over into the courtroom.

Any number of factors may have caused a breakdown in your marriage. If financial abuse was one of them, you might be at great risk for a hidden asset problem in divorce. It's important to know how to recognize the signs of this type of scheme, and also important to realize that such actions are illegal.

Don't let anyone tell you fathers aren't important to their kids

Father's Day is coming up, and with your divorce in full swing, you may be wondering what will happen with your children. You may have heard that Texas courts favor mothers when it comes to child custody matters.

Fortunately, that outlook is changing across the country. Joint custody is now the preferred place to start when it comes to child custody and serving the best interests of the children. Research confirms the fact that fathers have a significant place in their children's lives, but you probably didn't need someone else to tell you that. Let's look at the research anyway.

Texas divorce shines a spotlight on South Dakota trusts

What does a Texas billionaire's divorce have to do with the systems of trusts in South Dakota?

Everything. According to a lawsuit from the billionaire's aggrieved spouse of more than three decades, South Dakota is a kind of "mini-Switzerland" when it comes to offering wealthy people ways to hide their assets.

Texas appeals court asked to reconsider same-sex divorce case

The battle for equal rights for same-sex couples didn't end when the Supreme Court quashed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2015. New sorts of battles -- many of them related to the way that same-sex couples were treated in the past -- were just beginning.

One of those battles is determining what exactly makes a marriage when your marriage isn't recognized under the laws of your state. Same-sex couples who were in long-term, committed relationships that fall technically short of the definition of marriage only because the parties were of the same gender find themselves facing this question often when such a marriage comes to an end.

What you should know about your business debt and your divorce

Could your business debt become a big problem in your divorce?

Most of the time, people think that the biggest bone of contention in a high-asset divorce is likely to be the family assets. However, business debt belonging to one party can also cause major headaches.

Spousal support in Texas: What it means

After a marriage ends, spousal support in Texas is not a guarantee. Even then, it is limited to whatever is necessary to provide for the receiving spouse's minimum basic needs.

What does that mean? Well, for starters, spousal support is limited to no more than $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse's income -- whichever is smaller. However, the exact definition of what equals a spouse's "minimum basic needs" isn't clearly defined. That gives judges -- and dependent spouses -- a little leeway.

Mother's Day in your post-divorce, co-parenting world

MothersDay.jpgMother's Day is rapidly approaching, and if this is your first one after your divorce or separation, it could be bittersweet. If you thought to include a clause in your parenting agreement that the children spend the day with you despite any other scheduled visitation with the other parent, and vice versa on Father's Day, then you will most likely get to spend that time with your children.

However, if you are like others here in Texas, you probably outlined a schedule for the major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and summer break, but you may not have addressed holidays like Mother's Day. As you review your custody agreement in advance of the holiday, which falls on Sunday, May 10 in 2020, you discover that the children's father has them that day. What happens now?

Where did all your money go now that you're getting divorced?

Everybody you talked to and every article you read cautioned you that divorce brought about big financial changes. Somehow, though, you thought that meant that you'd have to adjust to living on a smaller budget -- not that your marital assets would suddenly disappear.

Do you find yourself reviewing your financial statements and wondering, "Where did all the money go?" If so, you're probably the victim of a spouse who has decided to hide the assets rather than split them.

Can violating a parenting plan get you into trouble?

You hammered out the best parenting plan you could with your ex-spouse, but things change and it's no longer working. Your ex isn't interested in negotiating any changes, and in a moment of frustration, you think, "What can they do to me, anyhow, if I don't follow the plan?"

Plenty. A parenting plan becomes an official court order the moment that it's accepted by the judge, which means that you can't violate it without also violating the law. While the court certainly isn't likely to get involved over minor disputes, like the time you brought the kids back an hour late because you lost track of time, it can get involved if you willfully, seriously or repeatedly violate the parenting plan.

Will a toxic marriage lead to a nasty divorce?

It is an unfortunate reality that there are manipulative and narcissistic people in the world. In many cases, it can be difficult for individuals to pick out those types of people, because they often have the ability to come across as amiable, fun, charming and more, especially if it suits their needs or wants. When you first met your spouse, you may have considered him or her charismatic and attentive, but after you got married, things changed.

At first, you may have thought your spouse simply had a bad day or was in a foul mood when he or she snapped at you or criticized you. However, this type of mood and other negative actions soon became the norm, and you may have wondered what happened to that charming and attentive person you married.

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