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Houston Divorce Law Blog

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.

What to do when fiancé does not want a prenup

Divorces may be on the decline throughout the country, but they are still widely prevalent. For instance, Texas had 76,423 divorces in 2013, according to a report from Texas Health and Human Services.

A lot of the hassle associated with divorce could be circumvented if both parties agreed to a prenup beforehand. While signing a prenuptial agreement is a sound financial decision, many are against it. They assume signing a prenup basically means they are setting the marriage up for failure. That is often not the case at all, and there are various ways to talk about the subject with a fiancé so everyone is happy.

Who might consider a postnuptial agreement?

The whole idea of drafting a marriage agreement based on "what if" can be hard for a Texas couple to confront. There are those who argue that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements carry an unavoidable whiff of cynicism because they address what will happen in the event of a divorce. But attorneys experienced in this area of law appreciate that well-drafted agreements are more reflective of a couple's depth of positive feeling for each other than the negative.

Context at the time such agreements are drawn up is always important. In a prenuptial situation, the married-couple-to-be is focused on trying to make clear how the couple will deal with separate and joint finances going forward. In some cases, the process might delay or derail things before vows are ever exchanged. Many would call that a better outcome than entering into a bad marriage.

The right of reimbursement in Texas property division

Individuals considering divorce for the first time may have heard about the different models of property division. In most states, the theory that rules is called equitable distribution. A judge has the power to decide what is fair. The outcome might favor one spouse over the other depending on many variables.

In fewer states, including Texas, the law focuses on what the couple has acquired over the course of the marriage. The entire stock of assets and debts making up the marriage estate is community property and is typically subject to even splitting between the parties. Holdings of the individual spouses are separate estates, but they, too, can be affected in divorce. For the sake of protecting financial interests on all fronts, an attorney's skills should be enlisted.

Is spousal maintenance a realistic option in Texas?

Some women assume they will receive alimony, or spousal maintenance, as part of a divorce settlement. They see it in celebrity cases in which the ex-wife has no need of financial support but goes after it anyway and wins.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most Texas women seeking a divorce. Although a 2011 law improved the guidelines, only wives who are successful in proving the need will obtain spousal maintenance.

ADR: Useful in family law if conditions are right

Alternative dispute resolution – if you are a skeptic, you might be inclined to dismiss this phrase as a euphemism. In the current political environment, it might be easy to take the cynical view and relegate the phrase to a category that might also include alternative facts. But attorneys with breadth of experience in Texas family law likely agree that such views don't do justice to the potential value ADR can deliver.

The history of ADR in the legal realm is still somewhat young. It is being successfully used across a good number of practice areas, including business and landlord-tenant law. The typical forms it takes are mediation or collaborative law. Arbitration is considered an ADR model too, though it has come under something of a cloud recently because of a perception that it can favor the side with the most money.

Reasons to get a business valuation during divorce

If you own a business with your spouse and are getting divorced, you probably need a business valuation. Unless you and your spouse are totally amicable and willing to continue co-owning the business, your other options require determining its value. Here are two main reasons you might need a business valuation during your divorce. 

You want to sell the business

Helpful tips for getting through a high-asset divorce

Common divorce issues include child support, spousal support, community property division and child custody. The issues can become more difficult and complex when high value assets are at stake. Dividing complex property such as joint businesses, savings accounts, executive bonuses, pensions, investments and stocks can be challenging.

If you are getting a divorce and have high-end marital assets, it is crucial to understand your options besides litigation. The nuances involved with complex divorces are sometimes better dealt with through alternate processes.

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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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