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Sugar Land Divorce Law Blog

Facing a child custody dispute? We may be of assistance

One of our recent blogs discussed how you can help create a positive environment for children as they journey with you through the divorce process. These tips are an extremely helpful way for you to ensure the relationship with your child remains as strong as possible during a time of what could be animosity. However, though much of your attention may be on the well-being of your child in the present, legal disputes over child custody should be a top priority, as the outcome could have life-long effects.

Many times when individuals go through a divorce they have trouble seeing the big picture. Part of the reason is because the law can be complicated and even confusing. Another reason is that parting couples become embroiled in the emotionality of the situation. For these reasons, it is important that if you are considering divorce, then you think about consulting a compassionate, diligent and experienced Sugar Land family law attorney.

If getting divorced, be sure to modify estate plans

Readers of this blog know that there are many legal issues that must be considered before getting a divorce. Regardless of whether one's divorce is disputed or collaborative in nature, matters like child custody, child support, alimony and property division must be taken into account. Though that only sounds like four issues, each one of these actually carries very detailed, often overlooked matters.

One of these areas is estate planning. When an individual gets a divorce, he or she should be sure to make appropriate changes to his or her estate plans. Failing to do so could result in serious, unintended consequences, primarily that an ex-spouse could receive extremely valuable assets that the deceased individual intended to pass to his or her family. The matter can be even more disastrous if the parties are going through a high-asset divorce and changes are not made.

Tips for dividing marital property in a high asset divorce

Let's say you and your spouse both have worked hard in your careers to get where you are today. This may mean stock options, property or large retirement funds to name a few assets you may own together. But what if "together" isn't in the cards for you anymore? You will likely have questions about what will happen to your assets if you and your spouse were to separate in what would be known as a high asset divorce.

The best place to start is to look to your financial records. Start pulling tax records from the last few years. This will give you an overview of your annual income, both individually and as a couple. It will likely list big tax write offs that will give you a hint of where to look for the rest of your assets. It is crucial that all assets and liabilities are accounted for before negotiating anything. This way you have an accurate portrayal of the value of these items that were once split between the two of you.

How to create the best possible environment for kids in divorce

Most people are aware of the current divorce statistics. Roughly, half of all marriages in the United States today end in divorce. While this is the end of a marriage between a couple and can be difficult, it can be even more difficult for children involved in the disintegrating marriage. There are a few do's and don'ts associated with divorce in order to play to a child's best interests.

It is good for all parents to be aware of how the affects of a parents' divorce can be lifelong for their children. This is why it is important that both parents choose their words and their actions carefully during this difficult time. Despite any issues the parents may have between themselves, it is key that they keep all communication lines open for healthy discussion. This allows the children a safe space to share their feelings; it also minimizes the chance that they will feel alienated from one parent or the other.

Newly divorced with child custody? Take a second look at taxes

It's that time of year again, tax season is here! Many people dread this time of year. However, there may be tax benefits that newly divorced do not know about. If a person divorced on or before December 31, 2014, there may be some tax filing tips and tricks that these people can take advantage of.

This list was compiled by Forbes and includes tips and tricks for federal taxes not state taxes. There may be Texas state tax benefits to be aware of but they are not included in this list. For example, if a divorced person is the head of the household and has children that person can potentially write off more taxable income. A person is considered head of household if they are: single, make 50 percent or more of the household income, and kids live with that parent for six months of the year or more.

Why uncontested divorces still require the help of a lawyer

In the world of marital separation and divorce, uncontested divorce is a phrase that is tossed around a lot. Many seek out this type of divorce for the said small financial costs. However, these divorces still may require the aid and expertise of an experienced lawyer.

Anyone can opt for an uncontested divorce. However, experience teaches that this type of divorce is only appropriate under certain circumstances. It is important to know that an attorney can only represent one party of the divorce, not both. This is to ensure that the lawyer can pursue the best interests of their client; even during uncontested divorce where disagreements can be scarce.

Do I have to live in Texas to get a divorce here?

With the many life stages Texas residents go through, it is no surprise that people's state of residency changes multiple times as well. Someone can attend college, get married or have children among any of the great 50 states. However, when it comes to divorce, as a rule of thumb, you can only get divorced in one state. In Texas, you can only get divorced in Texas according to specific regulations.

Only a few states have exceptions to the rule of residency as a prerequisite to file for divorce. In short, you must live in Texas for at minimum 6 months in order to file for divorce in that state. This can complicate matters for some people, for example, some couple's separate for months or years before their officially file for divorce. Sometimes this leaves one spouse living in one state and the other state in another.

The significance of spousal support in a Texas divorce

Texas divorce can illicit many questions, especially about finances. The first thing to understand about this experience is not to panic. Likely, there is no prenuptial agreement on hand that acts as a roadmap as how to navigate these uncharted waters of divorce. Never fear, the legal professionals at the law office of Michael D. Tracton are here to help.

Whether you will be receiving or giving spousal support, or alimony, it is important that each party understand the significance of alimony. Spousal support is implemented by Texas family courts because it helps to atone for sacrifices that one person may have made, due to the best interests of the couple or family. This could come in the form of sacrifice such as not continuing education to care for a child therefore making less money long term.

How do I establish paternity in Texas?

It is becoming more commonplace to see unwed mothers and fathers of children. If you are an unmarried father, you do have the right to be in your child's life. However, it may take some extra work to secure unmarried fathers' rights because your name may not be on the birth certificate. The Texas attorney general has listed some resources for those seeking paternity.

The first step in the process is for both parents to sign an AOP or Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Once this has been signed and filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit, it represents a legal finding of paternity. The unmarried father then is officially the legal father and has all legal rights to parenthood. However, an AOP is not an appropriate means of action for all paternity claims.

Supreme Court case will affect same-sex couples

While many cases have come forth from all U.S. states, the Supreme Court has finally agreed to rule once-and-for-all on gay marriage. It will hear two-and-a-half hour arguments from each side both in favor and opposed to gay marriage. This may help clear up not only the gay marriage question in Texas, but also questions of divorce. In previous blogs we have discussed how Texas' inability to recognize the legality of gay marriage had therefore made it impossible for some same-sex couples to divorce.

The root of the debate comes from four cases brought out of different states. If gay marriage is ruled in favor of, this will be a landmark case for those in favor of gay marriage. The judges will come to a decision this summer. This case will address the biggest questions surrounding the settlement issue.