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Posted on in Divorce

You married your wife who had a young son from a previous relationship. The three of you made a family. You helped raise the boy and participated in family outings at campgrounds, amusement parks and other fun and enlightening activities.

He is your son, and you treat him that way. But after several months of pondering, you want to make it official by adopting him. Understand that not only will the family dynamic change a bit, but so will your responsibilities.

Understand your legal responsibilities

Here are some guidelines to remember when considering a stepparent adoption:

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Getting a divorce can be an uncertain time for both spouses. It can be hard to know where your kids will live, what assets you will keep, and what kind of child support and alimony agreement you will have when things are all said and done. For someone getting a divorce whose spouse provides military benefits to the family, you may be wondering if you can keep those benefits after divorce.

More than 20,000 military couples get a divorce each year, which means that thousands of people need to know what will happen to their benefits as military spouses. There is a system that determines benefits eligibility for divorcing spouses, which you can learn about here:

The 20-20-20 rule

The military has a rule that determines if you are eligible to keep your military benefits after your divorce, which people often refer to as the 20-20-20 rule. The name comes from the three factors your relationship needs to have met before your divorce.

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Posted on in Divorce

Anytime a marriage ends in divorce, the division of marital property can prove difficult and even contentious. In a high-asset divorce, the complexity only multiplies.

If you are facing divorce in Texas and your marital estate is one of high value, some of the unique issues you may face include:

  • The division of business assets: Only in rare circumstances do ex-spouses continue to operate a business together after divorce. The person who runs the business or professional practice typically takes full ownership, but the other spouse must be compensated if the business and its assets are classified as marital property. Only after conducting a full and accurate accounting of real estate, equipment, customer lists and other business property can we ensure a fair outcome.
  • Investments: Stocks, bonds and other investments are subject to division upon divorce. Certain retirement holdings such as 401(k) and IRA accounts require a special court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to facilitate the division.
  • Real estate transfers: From your family home to vacation properties, any real estate acquired during the course of your marriage is also subject to division. Sharing ownership is rarely a feasible outcome, so you must decide if each spouse will retain ownership of certain properties or if you will be better served by selling the properties and dividing the proceeds.
  • Tax implications: Any high-value transactions made to facilitate the division of marital property could come with a significant tax bill. You can avoid unnecessary taxes and other expenses with careful planning.

Resolving property division disputes

Disputes over property division are not uncommon, especially when the financial stakes are high. There are a number of ways to resolve property division disputes, from negotiation to mediation to traditional litigation. You should be prepared for any outcome so that you can protect your financial future to the greatest possible extent.

After the finalization of a divorce decree, it is not uncommon for spouses to move to different states. If you obtained full custody of your children, your ex-spouse might feel resentful, and might seek opportunities to get that award modified. Can they bring an action in a court in their new state to modify your divorce decree in a way that is more favorable to them?

The UCCJEA

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a statute that 49 states – including Texas – have adopted. It governs how courts are supposed to treat custody disputes or challenges to divorce decrees between ex-spouses that live in a different state from the one where the divorce decree was originally established.

Under the UCCJEA, the court that first hands down a custody arrangement decree to a divorcing couple continues to have exclusive jurisdiction over that custody matter. Courts in other states in the nation must respect the decree and enforce it as if they themselves had passed it.

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When you have children, you want the best for them. You and your spouse may no longer get along or want to be together, but that doesn’t mean that you want to hurt their relationship with your kids.

Unfortunately, not all parents feel the same way. Some will use bribery and manipulation to turn their children against the other parent. This is called parental alienation, and it may lead to parental alienation syndrome. When dealing with custody disputes, this is more common, so it’s something to watch out for.

What are the three red flags of parental alienation?

There are three pretty significant signs of parental alienation to watch out for. These may include:

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