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Sugar Land Divorce Law Blog

'Parental gatekeeping' after divorce can harm the child

When parents in Texas divorce, it is not always a friendly case. Many times both parties harbor a great deal of anger and resentment towards each other, something that can eventually work its way into the parties' relationship with each other as parents. In the worst of scenarios, a concept some are calling "parental gatekeeping" takes place, adding more stress to an already heated situation.

Judge serves lien on Deon Sanders' Texas home after divorce

Having a high net worth does not guarantee a happy marriage. Even people with lots of money struggle with keeping their marriages intact and have their fair share of problems. The fairly public high net worth divorce between Deon Sanders and his ex-wife has been splashed across the tabloids again. This time a judge has supposedly put a lien on the home he owns in Texas for legal fees related to the divorce.

This is the one divorce that just won't die. Although everything is more or less finalized with the ex-Houston football star, Deon Sanders' divorce, his name still manages to show up in the tabloids. Reportedly, Deon still owes his ex-wife's attorney $275,000 in legal fees related to the divorce. The attorney has now filed papers that put a lien on his home until he pays his alleged debt.

How to divide debt in a Texas divorce

Wouldn't it be great if there was no debt to be settled during divorce? If the credit card or loan is filed jointly, then each party is equally on the hook for that outstanding debt. Creditors do not care about divorce decrees, so it is best to plan ahead for worst case scenarios when and if an ex-spouse doesn't pay. Here are some things to know about debt and how to protect oneself during and after a high asset divorce.

If possible the divorcing couple may want to liquidate any marital assets to pay off outstanding debts between. In scenarios where a spouse agrees to take on a portion of the debt, that debt should be moved to an individual account using a balance transfer; this will help protect the other spouse's credit score.

How to protect personal information during a divorce

According to recent study done by McAfee, 96% of married couples trust their significant other with passwords, intimate photos and other personal content. But what happens when trusting spouses decide to divorce? Only 32% of people polled asked an ex to delete that type of personal information after a break-up. In today's age of technology it's becoming even easier for personal information to be leaked or stolen. Texans should understand how to protect their personal information during a high asset divorce.

Marriages can and do end sourly. It isn't a stretch to think that a bitter ex-love could potentially damage their ex-spouse's credit or negatively affect their finances. A person who wants to protect their personal information should first close any joint bank accounts or credit cards. That way the person's money isn't subject to decisions of their ex-spouse. It's also important to follow up on any court decisions related to marital property that was left to the other spouse, like cars or homes. The spouse that no longer owns the asset should make sure that their name isn't still connected to the property because late payments could be attributed to that person.

Pets usually counted in property division- now protected in Texas

Divorces can be ugly and happen for a number of different reasons. There can be a lot of information to sift through, especially regarding finances in a high asset divorce. Things like cars, homes, stocks and 401k's may stand out. But what about those important assets with no monetary value? Yes, what about pets? In many states, pets are considered part of the asset division process. However, for particularly rough divorces, especially ones where domestic violence was a contributing factor, the pets may need more protection.

Texas has given pets that protection they may need under a law aimed at protecting families subjected to domestic violence. Under the law, the pet cannot be removed from the custody of the protected person or persons. This helps stop the abusive person from harming or threatening to harm the family pet. If a person violates this protective order they can go to jail, the same as if they were to harm a person.

Same-sex marriage not recognized in Texas, impossible to divorce

Same-sex marriage is an evolving issue across the United States. Just a decade ago, same-sex marriage wasn't recognized in any state. Now, same-sex marriages are recognized in a handful of states, and growing. While couples have flocked to these states to legally wed, once they return to their home states where their marriage isn't recognized, there have been discrepancies that they may not have foreseen. Such is the case for a woman who wants a divorce from her same-sex marriage legalized in Washington in 2010.

The woman is one of many same-sex spouses whose marriage was legalized, but now wants a divorce. However, the woman lives in Texas, which is one of the states that does not recognize same-sex marriage. If a state doesn't recognize marriage, then it cannot recognize the divorce of that marriage. Confusion has ensued for her and many couples about what comes next.

Collaborative divorce available in Texas

Divorce causes serious financial, emotional and family strain. When two people divorce, the lives of the couple divorcing, and anyone connected to the couple, are uprooted. When there are high assets involved in the divorce, it can be in the best interests of everyone, if a collaborative divorce approach is utilized. Such divorce filing is possible in Texas.

Collaborative divorce is not available in every state, but it is growing in popularity. Collaborative divorce is different from traditional mediation because it allows the parties to meet and work out their differences with a trained third-party before the court proceedings. This can help to ease the tension of the arguments that often happen in court. With regard to the finances, this type of collaborative law could help divvy up 401k's, savings, or any debt currently owed by the couple.

Spousal maintenance, now easier to get in Texas divorce

Divorce is a sad, stressful and common occurrence across Texas these days. There are many aspects to consider when filing for divorce. A person's financial well-being may be at the top of that list. This can become even more complicated when a couple has to divide shared marital property in a high asset divorce. Just because there are many assets to be divided doesn't guarantee spousal maintenance or alimony will be paid to the less financially-endowed spouse. However, a change in Texas legislation back in 2011 may make it easier for a spouse to receive spousal maintenance.

Texas legislation on spousal maintenance became effective in 1995. That legislation made it impossible to qualify for spousal maintenance unless the marriage was 10 years or older. Amendments were made to this in 2011 wherein the court now takes into consideration marriages less than 10 years old. Details such as disabilities of the spouse or child, or lack of education or skills to gain employment are now measured when the courts consider awarding spousal maintenance. The 10 year rule now only exists when the requesting spouse cannot provide for his or her minimal needs.

Community property applies to debt in Texas divorces

When going through a divorce people often wonder what is next in their personal lives. Before beginning a new life, however, divorcing spouses must conclude the old one. This includes the division of marital property. When going through a divorce that has a high net worth, it is especially important to understand financial issues and how assets and debts could be divided between the parties.

Rights and responsibilities for assets and debts can be different depending on the state where the couple lives. Texas, for example, has community property rules. This means that if one spouse incurs debt during a marriage, both parties are responsible for that debt during the marriage. That means that if a spouse has debts to pay and the couple is still legally married, the person owed the debt can go as far as garnishing both spouses' paychecks to get the money. However, after the marriage, the debt is owed only by the spouse who incurred it. The exception to this rule is where the debt was incurred to pay for home necessities or used out of a joint account.

Rape victim could share child custody in Texas

According to The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, 237,868 people are raped every year, with 60 percent of the rapes going unreported, and 97 percent of rapists spending no time in jail. Some of these instances of rape result in pregnancy. The mother has two options in the case of pregnancy after rape, either to abort the child or continue with the pregnancy. In Texas, a woman may be unaware that under Texas law, her attacker could sue for parental rights.

The Texas family code gives protection to a woman who conceives as a result of rape. It gives her the option to terminate the pregnancy. However, it does not specify enough about what happens if she keeps the child. This allows for a judge's discretion in determining whether to grant custody or visitation rights to her attacker.