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Houston Business and Family Law Blog

Things to consider about artwork when divorcing

During the course of a marriage, many Texas couples acquire expensive physical assets such as automobiles, homes, boats and artwork. A divorce brings the complication and heartache of dividing or selling these assets.

No one expects their marriage to fail, and couples often enjoy shopping for art and accumulating a collection together. However, the American Psychological Association states that 48 percent of all marriages will end in divorce before reaching 20 years of marriage. That leaves room for a lot of artwork to be acquired during that time. 

Hiding marital property: Be on the lookout

Going through a divorce can involve many emotions. Not only is it difficult to separate from someone who you may have been married to for a substantial period of time, but there is also the overwhelming task of dividing marital property. Distributing possessions and assets that have been accumulated during years of marriage can be difficult, especially when you or your spouse have developed an attachment to certain items. There may also be a need to get as many finances possible in order to prosper in the future. This need may result in one party hiding or stashing property and/or assets, so they will not be available for division in the divorce settlement.

During the divorce, you and your spouse are required to disclose all property and assets in your possession. In order to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to in the settlement, you may want to be on the lookout for suspicious activity or behavior from your spouse. Some of these behaviors may include the following:

  •          Getting a P.O. box and having certain documents diverted to that mailbox
  •          Suddenly deleting certain financial programs used to track family finances
  •          Changing account numbers and passwords to have sole access to financial accounts
  •          Getting another phone or acting suspicious when making calls regarding finances

Stepparent adoptions can bring more security to your family

When you married someone who already had a child (or children), you knew it would be complicated to enter a family that already had its own structure, routine and dynamic. However, as much as you love your new spouse, you also love the children, and you may be giving some thought to taking the necessary legal steps to adopt them as your own.

The adoption process for stepchildren is similar to that of traditional adoption with a few exceptions. You will have obstacles to overcome. However, with legal guidance, you may have a better chance of reaching your goals.

What to know about filing taxes after divorce

If you count yourself among the many people across Texas making their way through a divorce, you may be experiencing considerable change in your life. You may, too, need to take a new and different approach to filing your taxes this year in the wake of your divorce, because such a significant life change can have substantial tax implications. At Laura Dale & Associates, P.C. we recognize that divorce brings with it many changes, and we have helped many people facing similar circumstances navigate these changes and make informed decisions along the way.

According to Fox News, while your tax filing needs change in the wake of divorce, tax rules, too, are changing this year, and they can have far-reaching effects when it comes to your taxes. The more you understand about these changes and how they affect you, the less likely you are to experience unpleasant surprises, come tax time. So, what do you need to know about filing taxes after divorce in 2019?

How Texas determines the “best interests of the child”

When you find yourself involved in a Texas child custody case, you will likely hear the term, “best interests of the child” thrown around quite a bit. Ultimately, “the best interests of the child” is what a judge will consider before making any determinations about who should have custodial rights, but there are many different areas that come into play when assessing a child’s best interests. At Laura Dale & Associates, P.C., we are well-versed in the many factors a judge will typically consider when making custody-related decisions, and we have helped many people embroiled in child custody cases pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to the State Bar of Texas, the factors a judge will use to determine the best interests of the child will vary to some degree based on the age of the child in question. For example, a judge ruling on a custody case involving a high school student may consider things such as one’s ability to support a child’s academic or sports-related endeavors. A judge ruling on an infant’s case, meanwhile, may have more concerns about making sure a prospective custodial figure has the ability to accommodate the infant’s basic needs.

Resolving complicated international child custody matters

Child custody can be one of the most complex issues in a divorce. Both parents probably have strong opinions about where the child should live, who should get to make decisions for the child and how much parenting time he or she should get. Custody and visitation matters are often emotionally charged and difficult to navigate, particularly when one parent moved or intends to move out of the country.

International child custody questions usually emerge in a divorce involving one parent who was born abroad, has family in another country or works in another country. If international custody issues will affect your divorce or you suspect that your spouse will try to take your child out of the country at some point, it is prudent to know your rights. You may also find great benefit in seeking help in dealing with your custody concerns.

When might a forensic accountant help in a divorce?

When you make your way through a Texas divorce, chances are, you want to do everything you can to make sure you wind up with your fair share in the split. Regrettably, however, some spouses will do everything in their power to shield assets from their former partners, and others simply have no idea how to assess the value of certain assets. For these reasons, many Texas residents involved in divorces are turning to forensic accountants for help.

Forensic accountants, according to Forbes, are financial professionals who may be able to help divorcing parties work through a wide range of finance and asset division-related issues. Often, people elect to add forensic accountants to their divorce teams when they fear their one-time partner is being dishonest with them about certain assets, or the value of certain assets.

What’s the difference between community and equitable property?

You share almost everything when you’re married. Therefore, when you are about to get divorced, it can come as no surprise that you might not know which of the items you acquired during your marriage you or your spouse will get. Who is going to live in the house you bought, who gets the vacation cabin you inherited from your grandparents, and who keeps the minivan? Property division can be confusing for Texas residents.

As FindLaw explains, most states in the U.S. are equitable distribution states. A judge will consider numerous factors, like the earning potential each spouse receives and whether one spouse will continue to stay at home after the divorce to raise the children, when dividing assets. However, you don’t live in an equitable distribution state. Texas is one of the nine states that are considered community property states. This means you and your spouse equally own the assets, income and debt you acquired during the marriage, regardless of who purchased the property, who earned more or who was employed.

Pre-wedding surprises: Prenuptial agreements and peace of mind

If you're getting married, you already have a prenuptial agreement of sorts, whether you like it or not. Based on Texas law, a family court could decide how you and your spouse will divide your marital assets if you should ever get divorced. A prenuptial agreement can offer important protections to you.

When a marriage ends, it is common for at least one spouse to feel resentment or anger. These emotions may interfere with their ability to seek a fair division of property or, on the other hand, to have any concern about the future wellbeing of the other spouse. A prenuptial agreement allows you to make difficult decisions while love and common sense are still motivating you and your partner.

Seeking skilled help for an international custody dispute

Like many couples, you may have an interesting story about how you met. Perhaps you knew each other from the office, met online or were introduced through common friends. Maybe it felt like fate that your paths crossed while you were traveling out of the country.

Whatever the situation, it may have seemed fun and exciting, especially if your new partner was not from the United States. Learning new customs and perhaps a different language may have added spice to your relationship, and despite the differences between you, marriage was the next logical step. Now that your marriage is ending, those differences may seem more worrisome than exciting, particularly if you suspect your spouse intends to take your children out of the country.

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