You Can Divorce Your Spouse But Not UNCLE SAM!

Tax Considerations When Filing for Divorce.

Filing for divorce can have many tax implications.  You need to make sure that your divorce attorney is working with a qualified CPA and/or tax attorney before the case is finalized.  The following are some of the important tax issues to keep in mind:

  • How child support and spousal support payments are treated on your tax return.  You will need to consult with a tax professional on what to include as income and when to take the appropriate deductions. 
  • What the real value of an asset is when taking tax basis into account.  Just because two assets can have the same market value, that does not mean they have the same tax basis.  Therefore, what may appear to be an equal property division may actually saddle one party with a larger tax bill in the future should that asset be sold.  
  • Who will be responsible for taxes prior to the date of the divorce petition? 
  • Who will be responsible for taxes after the filing of the petition but before the divorce is granted? 
  • Who will get any tax refund? 
  • Who will claim the dependency exemption for the children?  
  • How will any retirement plans be divided so that tax penalties are not incurred?  

As you can see, these issues can become complex so make sure you arm yourself with the proper professionals.  That way, there will be no surprises after the finalization of the divorce. 

Please check back with us for further discussions pertaining to Texas family law issues.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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Involved In A Divorce Or Custody Battle? You Might Want To Check Out The Other Side’s Facebook Page. (And Clean Yours Up as Well!)

Involved In A Divorce Or Custody Battle?  You Might Want To Check Out The Other Side’s Facebook Page. (And Clean Yours Up as Well!)

Here is an interesting article detailing the increased use of Facebook evidence in divorce cases.  The lesson to be learned here is to make sure your story in court matches up with your story on the internet!  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Divorce-lawyers-Facebook-tops-apf-97414753.html?x=0

 Please check back next week for further discussions pertaining to Texas family law issues.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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The Court Has Ordered Us To Mediate, But There Is No Way I Will Settle!

The above title is a common battle cry among family law litigants. 

Mediation is the process by which the parties attempt to settle their case through a neutral third party mediator.  Mediation is typically ordered in contested cases, especially those that involve custody issues.  The idea of trying to resolve a matter in the middle of contentious litigation may seem fruitless, but the Courts must know something if they routinely order these mediations.  What the Courts know is that mediations resolve a great majority of family law cases.  Litigants are usually surprised to hear about the success rate of mediations, and they often predict that their case will be the exception. 

However, most mediators are very skilled at cutting through the emotions of a dispute and providing a reality check to both sides.  That reality is composed of the cost, delay and unpredictability of not settling a case and opting for trial.  We all would like to believe that a Judge will agree with our position at trial and give us everything we want.  However, chances are that the other side’s lawyer will feel the same and in the end you often have two skillfully argued cases where the decision is not an easy one.  As a result, the Judge’s ruling can be a disappointment, and in some cases devastating.  Quality mediators are good at conveying these risks and facilitating a resolution that will be satisfactory to both sides.  The key word here is satisfactory.  The very nature of mediation is compromise, and a compromise does not usually result in one side being ecstatic while the other is disappointed. 

Given the difficult strain that family law litigation places on one’s life, coming away satisfied with the outcome should be considered a great result.  Remember, no mediator can force you to settle at mediation.  Only you can force yourself to participate with an open mind and with the ultimate goal of putting this chapter in your life behind you. 

Please check back next week for further discussions pertaining to Texas family law issues.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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So You Filed for Divorce… Now What?

You finally made the decision to file for divorce.  Unfortunately, you know that this is not going to be one of those quick, uncontested divorces that are so prominently advertised in your local print media.  Don’t worry, that probably means that you have more complex issues to deal with so it is important that they are dealt with in the proper manner. 

When a divorce is contested, it is not easy to predict how long the process will take.  Many factors are involved, including:

  • The court’s case load,
  • The complexity of the issues,
  • The stubbornness of the parties,
  • And the tactics of the opposing lawyers.

 

Therefore, what do you do when immediate issues need to be addressed? 

Fortunately, there is something called a temporary orders hearing which can be used to put in place, you guessed it, temporary orders.  That is, orders that the parties must abide by until the case is either settled or resolved at trial.  These temporary orders can include the following:  child support, primary residence for children, child possession schedule, payment of interim spousal support and attorney’s fees, payment of current household expenses and which spouse has the right to temporarily live in the marital residence.  This is not an exhaustive list of what you can ask for in temporary orders. 

Basically, any issue that needs to be resolved during the pendency of the divorce can be brought up at the temporary orders hearing.  The hearing itself is like a mini-trial where evidence is introduced and witnesses testify.  However, a large number of temporary orders are resolved without the necessity of a hearing, which is obviously preferable to the time and expense of having to go to court. 

Whether you go to court or settle with the other party, temporary orders are an important step that can help alleviate some of the uncertainty that inevitably is present in the divorce process.

Please check back next week for further discussions on Family Law matters in Texas family law cases.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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Filing for Divorce?… 10 Things you NEED to know.

Many people have preconceived notions of what the divorce process entails.  Most of the time, these notions are inaccurate.  The dynamics of a divorce case can vary significantly depending on the issues involved.  That being said, here are some basic concepts to keep in mind:

 

          1.         The cost of most contested divorces in Texas averages more than $10,000 dollars in legal fees for each spouse.

 

          2.         Each county in Texas charges a filing fee when you file your divorce. The filing fees vary, but typically are in the $300 range.

 

          3.         In a contested case, your spouse would typically be served a copy of the petition by a sheriff.  In an uncontested case, your spouse can simply sign a Waiver of Service.

 

          4.         The fastest time you can complete any divorce in the state of Texas is no less than 60 days.

 

          5.         One spouse must be a Texas resident for at least six months and reside in the county where the petition is filed for at least 90 days before the petition can be filed.

 

          6.         You may either agree to a settlement or a Judge will decide for you.

 

          7.         You may be able to attend the court hearing with only one party present.

 

          8.         Texas is a “community property” state.

 

          9.         Texas does not have specific provisions for a legal separation.

 

          10.       In a decree of divorce a wife may change her name to a previously used name.

 

 

Even though the filing of a divorce officially starts the dissolution process, one should start thinking about their divorce “wish list” well before the filing of the petition.  If this wish list is communicated to the attorney beforehand, it will be useful in formulating a strategy that will make for an efficient use of the procedure discussed above. 

 

Please check back next week for a discussion on how to obtain temporary orders while a divorce case is pending.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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Pre-Nups in Texas—Pay a little now or Pay a lot later!

So, you have decided that a premarital agreement is the way to go before you get married.  You are off to a good start.  What does this process entail?

Actually, it is not as complicated as you might think.  The first step is for you and your fiancé to hire separate lawyers (yes, separate lawyers!).  This may seem uncomfortable but it is absolutely necessary so that the validity of any agreement is preserved.  If the same lawyer represents both parties then you run the risk of casting conflict of interest shadows on the entire process.

The next step is for each of you to prepare a list of your assets and liabilities.  It is important to be forthcoming and completely honest when it comes to this step.  If you leave out something then the agreement could be set aside for lack of full disclosure.  Your lawyers will then work with you on what specific language you want inserted in the agreement (ie, how is income from separate property treated, how to deal with retirement accounts, etc.).

That being said, at the very least the premarital agreement will confirm that the assets and liabilities you are bringing in the marriage will stay your separate property in the event of a divorce.  After you and your lawyer hammer out all of the details, both parties sign the agreement.

The next step?  Get married!  Around thirty days or so after the marriage it is wise to execute what is called a property agreement among spouses which confirms and ratifies the premarital agreement.  There is nothing to this and should be included as part of the premarital agreement package.  There you have it, the basic process involved in premarital agreements.  Not too bad is it? 

Please check back regularly for new family law topics pertaining to divorce, custody and adoption issues.  Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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PREMARITAL AGREEMENTS IN TEXAS!

One of the goals of marriage is establishing a sense of security.  While many people do not wish to openly state this desire, it is undoubtedly an important factor in deciding to marry someone. 

People also do not like to talk about what would happen if the marriage does not work out.  However, the issue of security should also be considered in the context of a divorce.  In other words, how can you be secure that you leave the marriage with (at least) what you brought in? 

The answer is a premarital agreement. 

This is not the daunting document that most people believe.  Movies and television shows have no doubt contributed to this preconception.  A good premarital agreement identifies what each party is bringing to the marriage so that there is no doubt at the time of divorce.  The agreement will also address how to deal with property acquired during the marriage, including income from any property.  In short, a premarital agreement takes away a good deal of the uncertainty that is so prevalent in a divorce action.    

 Please check back next week for a further discussion on the process of executing a premarital agreement, should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202 or visit our website at www.ashmorelaw.com to learn more about our firm.

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