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Houston Divorce Law Blog

How are pets handled in a divorce?

Many Houston residents enjoy having a pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 44 percent of Texas residents own a dog. In the United States, 62 percent of households have at least one pet. Pets are beloved family members that often get mixed up in a divorce settlement. So how are pets handled in a divorce?

There is a good chance that a couple going through a divorce has a pet. In some cases one spouse is more attached to the animal, which makes it easy to decide who gets to keep it. Or one spouse may be moving to a place that doesn't allow animals. There are times that both spouses want to keep the animal, which can result in a traumatizing situation.

In a divorce situation, financial affidavits are important

In Houston divorce situations, financial matters are almost always at the center of disputes. Many times, couples disagree about financial issues and a divorce just heightens the emotions. Financial affidavits are critical in a divorce because of the scrutiny financial information goes through.

A financial affidavit is a document that each person submits in a divorce listing exactly what is owned and what is owed. It also lists what a person earns and how much money is spent on expenses. It is incredibly important that this document be complete with all information, as this is the document that determines alimony and child support payments. The final divorce settlement often depends on the information contained in this document as well.

Five reasons you may want a prenuptial agreement

Newly engaged couples in Houston are usually giddy with excitement over their upcoming marriage. Along with planning the ceremony, reception, what everyone's going to wear, and where the honeymoon will be, couples should also sit down and focus on financial matters. Financial discord is one of the top reasons couples get divorced, so sorting out important matters before marriage can help. A prenuptial agreement is one way that couples can settle important financial details and ensure a layer of protection for themselves and their marriage.

One situation where a prenuptial agreement may be right is when one person owns his or her own business. A business owner may want to specify what happens to the business in the event of a divorce, or he or she can use a prenuptial agreement to protect intellectual property.

How real estate is handled in a Texas divorce

Couples who are going through a divorce in the Houston area know that real estate is one of the biggest assets a couple may have. Property division is a large part of divorce and for a spouse's future after the divorce. It is therefore critically important to know how real estate is handled in a Texas divorce.

Since Texas is a community property state, real estate that was purchased during the marriage is generally divisible during the divorce settlement. In order to fairly divide the property there are a number of things that should be done. First, the value of the property needs to be determined. This process can start by comparing the real estate to comparable property sales. A real estate appraiser may be of help, as he or she can research the property and comparable nearby sales to determine the value. The appraiser should be knowledgeable in the market where the real estate is situated since each market is different and local conditions may affect value. Also, unique features of the home should be evaluated by the appraiser to reach an accurate assessment.

Mediation and domestic violence in a Texas divorce

There may come a time in a Texas divorce where the court sends the parties to mediation. For many couples, mediation is a less stressful and less costly alternative to litigation. It is supposed to be a safe process for couples to hash out their differences and come to an agreement regarding a variety of divorce issues. However, what does Texas state law have to say about mediation when one of the parties involved is the victim of domestic violence?

Beneficiary designations need to be updated after a divorce

Besides the family home, a person's retirement accounts are often the largest asset a person has. These accounts can have thousands of dollars in them, and for people in Texas who are facing a divorce, it can be important to have the beneficiary designations updated.

When a couple is married, the beneficiary of an individual's retirement account is often their spouse. Accounts that have a beneficiary designation include savings accounts, life insurance, retirement plans, brokerage accounts and annuities. If a person is going through a divorce, they cannot change the beneficiary information and it has to wait until the divorce is finalized. Before a divorce process begins, a person may want to change beneficiary information, but they should keep in mind that if both partners have accounts with the same financial advisor, that advisor may let the other spouse know about the beneficiary change. If a beneficiary is not changed, the ex-spouse can inherit the benefits even if the divorce is final. If a person neglects to change their beneficiary information, it can lead to extensive legal headaches.

Should every engaged couple get a prenuptial agreement?

When a Houston couple becomes engaged it's typically a very exciting time. Everyone is happy and wedding planning is approached with gusto. Although everyone believes their marriage will last forever, the statistics are not always in their favor. Along with wedding dress, flowers, and reception hall shopping an engaged couple may also want to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement may seem to be the most unromantic topic to discuss with a future spouse. No one wants to believe their marriage may fail apart and they don't want to think that in the event of divorce that there will be disagreements. But a prenuptial agreement can be a smart way for couples to discuss money long before it becomes a problem. A prenuptial agreement can set up an agreement for each person's debt including student loans and child support payments. It can also determine how assets that a person held before marriage would be distributed upon a divorce. And a couple can even specify the religion they want their children to be raised in.

Tips for a high asset divorce

Going through a divorce in Houston can be emotionally trying for a family. In a high asset divorce, the stakes can be high and the division of assets may be extremely complicated. There are some things that should be kept in mind for someone going through a high asset divorce.

A high asset divorce has all the complications of a regular divorce, along with a larger number of assets. Because there are often millions of dollar involved in a high asset divorce, a valuation expert is an important professional that should be involved in the divorce process. A valuation professional looks at the couple's holdings to determine their value. For high asset divorce situations, this is critical because many times the couple has stock options, business holdings and questions regarding distribution of assets that need to be addressed.

Is a collaborative divorce the right answer for you?

Since the statistics show that many Houston marriages end in divorce there are thousands of people going through a divorce each year. Divorce is a traumatic time for families and can also be very costly. One alternative to a traditional divorce is a collaborative law divorce.

In a collaborative divorce the spouses do not go through a traditional court divorce. Instead they meet together with their attorneys and work through each issue. This approach can have many advantages for couples. There is an open discussion among all the parties involved which ensures that everyone's voice is heard. All issues are out on the table and the couple and their attorneys are able to work through them. A collaborative divorce is also more private as it avoids the court system. It can also save thousands of dollars over a traditional divorce and can take significantly less time. Couples who go through a collaborative divorce may also feel like it was the less-stressful option.

March is the biggest month to file for divorce

Many Houston residents are happily married with their life partners. But many other couples are involved in a relationship that is no longer loving and happy. People in these relationships will probably be thinking about divorce and whether that is the best option for their situation. For those considering divorce, March is the most popular divorce month.

Although many may think January is the month where most people file for divorce, it's actually March. There may be several reasons including the feeling of being in a longer winter and the approaching spring may make a person feel like they need to make a change. Or with tax deadlines looming a person may want to split so that they don't have to file a joint return next year. Whatever the reason, spring can bring a new outlook to a person's relationship and help them decide that divorce may be the best option.

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

She will take the time to understand your individual needs and develop a comprehensive solution to protect your rights and interests.

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