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Dallas Family Law Blog

How to prepare for divorce negotiations

When couples in Texas get a divorce, they might be able to avoid litigation and negotiate an agreement on property division and child custody. People may be more satisfied with the outcome of these negotiations if they prepare in advance.

The first thing a person may need to do is get a clear picture of the financial situation. With this information, a person may want to visit an attorney to talk about what might happen in regards to property division as well as child and spousal support under Texas law. The attorney might also be able to give the person a sense of the best and worst case outcomes as well. At this point, if the person feels it will not be possible to negotiate with a spouse, the case may go to litigation.

Ending a marriage may result in poor credit

The credit consequences for getting a divorce can vary for Texas residents and others. When a person only has his or her sole income as opposed to a combined marital income, it may result in reduced credit limits. This may result in higher credit card utilization ratios as well as less access to credit that may make it easier to pay for daily or other expenses.

In some cases, one person is responsible for paying a larger share of the marital debt than the other partner. This may make it harder to keep up with their own bills, which may result in late or missed payments. Those who are required to pay joint debts after a divorce are urged to create a budget as quickly as possible. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to close joint accounts after a divorce so that neither party can accrue new debt.

Steps to prepare for divorce

Some couples in Texas might be thinking about divorce in the new year. After all, the beginning of the year is a popular time for spouses to split. That being said, there are several things people should do to prepare for divorce.

For starters, separating couples should get their financial records in order. This could include the most recent tax return, pay stubs, credit card bills and bank statements. Spouses might also want to run a credit report. Staying off social media or at least being careful about what is posted may also be a good idea. It is best to avoid anything personal because information about children, money and other issues could be used against a spouse.

Dealing with bitcoin assets in divorce

Texas is a community property state, so when couples get a divorce there, the property they have acquired since the marriage is considered shared property and divided accordingly. While this usually means dividing things like homes and bank accounts, there is also a possibility that one person might have bitcoin investments.

Bitcoin used to have little value and was little known, but that has changed. However, the nature of cryptocurrency means that it can be an asset that is easily concealed even though couples going through a divorce are not supposed to do this with any of their assets. A person might even claim to have given away the bitcoins.

Managing the holidays with children after divorce

Some Texas parents who are going through a divorce may find the holidays particularly difficult. There are a number of things parents can consider to make this time easier for them and their children.

Parents should think about a mix of keeping old traditions and creating new ones. For example, if children always spend the beginning of the holiday with their father's or mother's family, it might be best to maintain that. This could help them adjust. Parents might be able to work out a plan so that children get to spend part of the holiday with each parent.

How to deal with parental alienation

Parental alienation is the name for a situation in which one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. There are several ways that estranged Texas couples may be able to recognize the syndrome, and they may also be able to take steps to decrease the influence of the other parent.

This situation is likely to happen when a parent suffers from a personality disorder. A child's behavior may change and become more oppositional. The child might request that the targeted parent stop attending school meetings or extracurricular activities. The child may no longer recognize good times shared with the targeted parent and might use language to denigrate that parent that the other parent has also used. However, the child may also insist that the other parent has played no part in this change in attitude and that it all comes from the child.

Gig economy posing problems for child support collections

Unfortunately, many Texas parents fail to pay court-ordered child support. While states may be able to initiate wage garnishments in order to recover child support, the advent of the gig economy has made such tactics more difficult.

An increasing percentage of Americans are turning to gig work and other types of contract jobs as supplementary or primary sources of income. While employers are required to report new hires to the state, companies that hire gig workers do not necessarily have to do so. Tracking down these alternative sources of income can be difficult for state agencies. In some cases, the workers have moved on to new ventures by the time the states catch up to the gig work.

Credit records can be a consideration during divorce

For people in Texas considering divorce, it is important to keep an eye on debts both in asset division and following the end of the marriage. During a marriage, many couples take out joint debt, including mortgages, loans and credit card accounts. Dividing debt and assets from the marriage is part of the divorce process, but it can be easy for bills to fall by the wayside.

While the divorce is going on, joint debt must be negotiated and paid. A spouse's credit score could be negatively impacted by late or unmade payments on joint debt.

Protecting the assets of women entrepreneurs during divorce

For female entrepreneurs going through a divorce, it is difficult enough to separate personal finances and assets. Adding a business to the mix can turn an already complex situation into a nightmare. Texas state law governs how business ownership and entitlement is mediated between spouses, which makes it critical to have a complete understanding of what the business is truly worth in a divorce.

The process of valuating the business should happen before any negotiations take place in order to avoid a financial hit. In most cases, an independent appraisal will need to be conducted to provide a true value of the asset that will consider the financial worth of the company on paper as well as any intangible factors such as the reputation of the business and how well-known it is in the community.

Reasons for and against divorce

Some Texans are unhappy in their marriages and are wondering whether or not they should try to stay together for their children's benefit. In some cases, it might make sense for people to try to work things out. In others, however, getting divorced may be the best option for everyone who is involved.

Some couples who are unhappy in their marriages may determine that it is best for them to stay together because of their finances. For example, people who would not be able to support themselves separately or who are dependent on their spouses for medical insurance might determine that staying together is the better option. Others may feel that their marriages are salvageable. If they are willing to put in the hard work that will be necessary to rebuild their marriages, staying together might make sense. Some people who are simply bored or slightly unhappy in their relationships might also want to try to work things out. Children may fare better if they are able to see that their parents were able to work through things and to remain together.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Turner, Bruce E.
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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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