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Sugar Land Divorce Law Blog

Divorce: finances and asset division at a glance in Texas

So you and your spouse have finally agreed on one thing: a divorce. Now that you have agreed to have as amicable a divorce as possible, it is important that you understand some basics about your combined finances that are about to be separated. In order to pay as few taxes and fees as possible on any capital gains or financial accounts the two may have, it is important to investigate your finances. In order to protect your assets, certain financial decisions can be agreed on in order to maximize the return on investments.

Since both you and your spouse agree, first look to your cash flow as individuals. One may have more incoming cash flow, so the other may need to sell assets in order to match assets of the other spouse. Think of the opportune time to sell these type of assets since you could be taxed after the fact if you do it after the divorce instead of while you are still married. This way you can avoid paying additional fees on the sale of asset accounts.

What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act?

Military divorce has many factors and laws at play that differ greatly from civilian divorce. Both the military member and their family will have many questions as to how their divorce affects certain benefits given to them due to the military member's service. Texas residents who serve or have served in the military are afforded certain benefits. Most of those benefits continue despite the complex divorce, but some military benefits are subject to division.

For example, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act can come into effect after a divorce. This act allows state divorce courts to split a portion of a veteran's pay between him or her and his or her spouse if the Texas court deems doing so to be appropriate. Sometimes, ex-husbands or ex-wives, can receive some of a veteran's pension in the form of a cash payment. Others may be entitled to benefits like military medical. Ex-spouses may also be eligible for benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan. If the ex is a victim of spousal or child abuse, there could be additional benefits.

Why fathers should pursue sole-managing conservatorships

When it comes to divorce, most parents' first thoughts turn to their children. Child custody can be a battleground for a divorcing couple. If you believe the issue of child custody is a none-sum game, it may be best to pursue one specific type of custody. Fathers interested in majority custody should consider pursuing a sole-managing conservatorship, and the Law Office of Michael D. Tracton PC can help with this endeavor.

When pursing primary custody, it is first best to determine if this is in fact, in the best interests of the child. If the mother of the child is unsuited to being a large part of the child's life, pursing a sole-managing conservatorship may be best. This is essentially sole custody, and it means you as the father and main parent make the main decisions determining the child's well-being including primary residence, medical treatments, receiving child support and much more.

Same-sex divorce request denied by Texas judge

Recently we discussed how the Defense of Marriage Act has affected Texas legislation and rulings. A recent ruling by a lower Texas court has confirmed the way gay divorce has most recently been perceived and decided in Texas. The same-sex couple requesting a divorce were originally married in New Hampshire in 2010 where the marriage was deemed legal. The couple now lives in Texas and requested a divorce through the Texas courts.

The judge assigned to their case ultimately struck down their couple's request for a divorce. However, the judge did give much testimony as to his decision. According to the judge, his "hands are tied" due to the restrictions laid out in the Texas Family Code that was voted on in 2005. The Texas Family Code governs how divorce proceedings are handled including everything from child custody to asset division. According to the Texas Family Code, same-sex couple's marriages are not recognized as a legal union; therefore, a divorce cannot be granted to a marriage that was never recognized to begin with.

How do I divide art in a Texas divorce?

Divorces can be complicated and can cause confusion. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It's simply a matter of how you approach the division of assets during the divorce. For couple's with a high net worth, art can be an investment that is heavily sought after by either party. There are a few things to keep in mind when dividing art as part of the divorce proceedings.

Experts have noted that dividing art during a divorce can be as big of a dispute as custody arrangements. That is because art can have a stronger emotional connection to the owner. Serious art collectors may never marry because they are so concerned about what may happen to their prized collection. There are a few ways for divorcing couples to avoid taxes and have a peaceful negotiation about their art collection.

Defense of Marriage Act and it's affect on Texas

Recently, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA has been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Many have questions about what this means for same-sex couples as related to their marriages or sometimes their divorces. Marriage and divorce for same-sex couples have been tricky; currently marriage and divorce are legal in some states -- and in others not allowed. Some states are split on the issue.

Section 3 of DOMA prohibited the federal government from recognizing any marriages between gay and lesbian couples. This is true even if the couple's home state recognized their marriage. This applies to federal programs that can have an effect on same-sex couples. Section 3 was struck down because it did not allow "equal protection" to same-sex couples as laid out in the constitution.

What to do if experiencing parental alienation

It is always recommended that divorcing parents try to amicably discuss their custody arrangement with the best interests of the child in mind. The demeanor in which the parents handle the custody decisions can have positive or negative effects on the child. Sometimes, one parent can use tactics to push the other parent away from the child. This is called parental alienation.

Parental alienation is characterized by one parent using negativity toward the child to push the other parent away from the child. It is recognized by several characteristics including:

  1. One parent continuously degrades the other parent
  2. One parent is the scapegoat for everything
  3. The child feels guilty whenever he or she expresses love toward the alienated parent

Wendy Davis' rep claims divorce settlement reported inaccurate

Wendy Davis' highly publicized divorce was splashed across headlines nationwide. Alongside her ex-husband, they owned Safeco, which they sold to cover their high asset divorce settlement. Now that she is running for governor of Texas, the financial details of the divorce have come under scrutiny.

According to the Dallas Morning News, a person familiar with the settlement, reported Davis' share to be six million dollars, which Davis' representative is claiming is incorrect. He has requested that the publication retract the statement and list their source providing that settlement figure. The amount that Davis collected from the sale of Safeco is the financial seed in her run for governor. After the divorce, she was issued a contract naming her an officer of the succeeding entity, Republic Title of Texas.

How are military pensions and benefits divided during a divorce?

In an earlier blog post we discussed why military divorce is different from, and sometimes more complicated than, regular civilian divorce. A big question many military families have during a divorce is what happens to their benefits as provided by the military? Many aren't sure if the benefits are still awarded to the spouse who is a non-military member. A military divorce settlement will include benefits and pensions to the non-military person based on Texas state law.

There are a few circumstances that override whichever state law is governing the military divorce. According to the "10 Year Rule" if the marriage lasted ten years or longer the Defense Finance and Accounting Service or DFAS will pay the non-military spouse's pension wages directly. Regardless of the time of marriage, the court may still require pay to the non-military spouse as part of the divorce settlement. However, instead of the money coming directly from the DFAS, it will be designated to come from the military-affiliated spouse.

Oil tycoon's divorce filing raises questions about securities

Hundreds of Americans file for divorce every day. In most divorces there are financial aspects to settle such as who gets the house, or how to divide the 401k. A recent divorce filing has shocked the business world as one of the richest men in the world prepares to battle for his own finances as well as those of his publicly traded company. Harold Hamm and his company Continental Resources will be affected by the high asset divorce settlement that will be played out the in the courtroom in the coming months.

The couple, married 26 years, is now mulling through divorce proceedings -- and they didn't sign a prenuptial agreement. This means that everything accumulated between the start of the marriage and now is technically up for the division of marital property. This would include the business assets accumulated to an estimated $20 billion.