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Houston Divorce Law Blog

SCOTUS looks at insurance benefits in divorce

Divorce is the legal process by which a marriage contract is dissolved. Anyone who has been through the process knows that it can tend to get complicated. The older a divorcing couple happens to be, the more intertwined their assets are. That can require finding solutions for dividing property that require zigging and zagging through assets to achieve an equitable balance. If some individual asset happens to fall through a crack, it can trigger disputes later that only the courts can resolve.

Just such a case has arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of similarities in the laws that are in effect in Texas and the state from which the case originates, we are sure attorneys across the Lone Star state will be watching to see the outcome.

A tax surprise for divorcees

It may be premature to talk about taxes right now. It is obviously a major political issue, but what that means in terms of reform is that it's also completely undecided. Still, each chamber of the Republican-controlled Congress has its own proposal under consideration. There's also the Trump plan, though many observers say it lacks any real detail.

One thing that the House measure currently includes is something that anyone in Texas considering divorce – especially if they are approaching retirement – might want to keep an eye on.

Crafting a prenup? Be sure to cover digital assets

Experienced Houston family law practitioners know that one key purpose of creating prenuptial agreement is to make clear how assets are to be handled in the event of a divorce. Material things usually covered include cars, houses, and cash. But what about assets that aren’t physical? Digital assets, such as online accounts, digital media, cryptocurrency, web domains, and data, could have potential value, too. And if value exists, it may be subject to division in divorce.

Digital assets, like physical ones, require careful management. Following are some tips on how they can be incorporated into a prenup.

Can a parenting plan address gun safety?

In states such as Texas, many people own guns, and many children grow up being smart and respectful users of firearms. However, not all divorcing parents agree on gun safety issues.

Fortunately, a parenting plan may be able to address your concerns in this area. 

Texas divorce: More than 1 way to reach the desired objective

Have you ever heard the phrase, "There's more than one way to skin a cat"? We suspect most readers have. It's sometimes interesting to dig into where such proverbs started. In this case, an online search suggests it traces back to at least the mid-1800s. For most of us in the U.S., it's likely to have come to the fore through Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," where he wrote: "she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat," meaning she had many ways achieve her ends.

We bring this up because where Texas law is concerned, there are more ways than many people realize for resolving divorce and other family law disputes. Going to court may have been the norm in past decades. More recently, though, things have changed. Going to trial is much rarer because there forms of alternative dispute resolution available. The burden this puts on the individual is to try to figure out which form might be most effective to pursue. This is where an attorney's help can be essential.

Who gets the gun in a divorce?

There are numerous assets often brought up in a divorce. With over 80,000 divorces reported in Texas in 2012, there is a lot for the courts to sort through. That data comes from the Texas Department of State Health Services

During a divorce, the spouses may worry about who receives what property. This involves the house and the car, but for many couples divorcing in Texas, it also involves guns. It is possible for one person to register the firearms, but in a divorce, it could go to the other spouse. Here is what Texas residents should know about the division of firearms in a divorce. 

3 steps to valuing your business during divorce

If you own a family business and know divorce is in the near future, you might be wondering what is going to happen to the company. The personal challenges for your emotions and finances are already enough to cause inner turmoil, so what should you do about the business? The most important step to take is getting a business valuation.

An accurate picture of the family business and its assets will make the property division process go smoother. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you value your business.

Dispelling some myths about divorce and money

Myths are by definition mistaken beliefs. Like many things in life, divorce is rife with myths. If they are not dispelled, it makes things worse when a couple does decide to split.

One of the particular areas of family law where myths linger is in divorce and finances. Property division, asset valuations, retirement planning, tax considerations all need to be brought into focus in divorce. The help of experienced legal counsel is always recommended for both parties to be sure the processes occur fairly and equitably. The first step is to root out mythical expectations.

How to tell if your spouse is hiding assets

If you are starting the divorce process, you may be wondering if your spouse is holding out on you financially. Many people across America keep financial secrets from their spouses for a variety of reasons. When divorce is in the air, some decide to conceal assets rather than subject them to division.

Hiding money often sends up red flags. Catching them before the assets vanish beyond recall can help you protect your interests. Your attorney can advise you as to the best ways to track the money and prove the spouse's clandestine activities.

Is there a way to keep complex divorce matters private?

The idea that what happens in court is a matter of public record is something Texas law takes quite seriously. Under the rules of civil procedure, provision 76a specifically addresses how any documents provided in the course of discovery in a case, including those involving divorce, are presumed "open to the general public."

Attorneys experienced in the area of family law appreciate that this rule can create publicity that divorcing couples might prefer to avoid, especially in cases involving extensive and complex assets. Fortunately, the rule includes some exceptions under which the court can order information sealed. Whether an exception can be pursued is something to discuss with your attorney. If a decision is made to proceed, the steps required demand a high level of due diligence.

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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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