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What Divorcing Spouses Need to Know About Dividing Retirement Assets

 Posted on January 25, 2023 in Divorce

Hurst Retirement Asset Divorce LawyerGetting a divorce can be a complex and stressful process, and there are a variety of issues that will need to be addressed before a marriage can be legally dissolved. Many of these issues will be related to the property division process, and disputes can arise between spouses about who should get what pieces of property or who will be responsible for certain debts. Of the different types of complex property issues that may need to be resolved, determining how to divide assets such as retirement savings accounts or pension benefits can be especially complicated. It is important for spouses to understand the applicable state laws that address the division of assets and the steps they can take to protect their financial interests.

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What Issues Can Affect Child Support in a Texas Divorce?

 Posted on January 18, 2023 in Divorce

Hurst, TX Child Support and Alimony LawyerWhen parents decide to divorce, the process of separating their lives, establishing new living arrangements, and determining when children will live with each of them can be difficult and confusing. In addition to the practical concerns related to when parents will spend time with children and other child custody issues, financial matters will play a major role in these cases. One of the most important financial issues that must be addressed is child support. In Texas, there are several factors that could affect a child support agreement in a couple's divorce. It is important to understand these factors and how they could influence the outcome of a divorce case. 

Types of Income

The primary factor used to determine child support is the income of the parent who will be paying support. In general, the "noncustodial" parent, or the parent who has less visitation time with the children, will pay child support to the "custodial" parent. Multiple types of income may be considered, including wages, salary, bonuses, commissions, self-employment income, royalties, dividends, capital gains, severance pay, unemployment benefits, retirement benefits, Social Security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, annuities, or income received through the rental of a property. Certain types of deductions may be made, including federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and union dues, to determine the parent's "net resources."

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Warning Signs That Your Spouse May Be Hiding Assets During Your Divorce

 Posted on December 23, 2022 in Divorce

Hurst, Texas Asset Division Divorce LawyerIn today’s world, it is increasingly common for couples to handle the divorce process collaboratively and amicably, without significant intervention from the court. This can work well when there are few conflicts or intractable disagreements that get in the way of negotiation, but there are other scenarios in which trying to resolve a divorce without litigation is simply too dangerous. One common example is a situation in which one spouse is not being honest with the other as their marriage is coming to an end. When many people think of deception in a marriage, they think of affairs and cheating, but there can also be a financial side of deception in the form of hidden assets.

Hidden Assets and Income

When a spouse attempts to hide assets before or during the divorce process, they usually do so in an effort to prevent them from being considered community property, and therefore subject to division in the divorce. This puts the other spouse at a major disadvantage unless they can work with an attorney to discover that the hidden assets exist and take legal action to rectify the situation.

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Recognizing the Stages of Grief During the Divorce Process

 Posted on December 16, 2022 in Divorce

b2ap3_thumbnail_hurst-texas-grieving-process-help-divorce-lawyer.jpgAmong the many challenges you may face when getting a divorce, going through the grief process in the midst of the transition can be difficult, especially when so much is vying for your attention. Distractions abound during the split, and the demands can easily pull your focus from taking time to recognize and manage the stages of grief as they surface. Your fluctuating emotions and high levels of anxiety during the divorce process can only be ignored for so long, however, before your mind and body force you to deal with the inevitable mental toll.

Indicators of Grief

You may be familiar with the five stages of grief, as defined by the Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in the mid-20th century. The five stages include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. As with any other loss in life, the loss of a love and a marriage can trigger the grieving process, although everyone experiences it differently and at different intervals. For example, it is common to experience the stages in various orders, such as jumping from anger to depression, then back to anger again.

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Unique Considerations in a Military Divorce

 Posted on November 29, 2022 in Divorce

Bacalis, TX military lawyerIf you or your spouse is serving in the U.S. military, or has done so in the past, you know that military life can differ from civilian life in many significant ways. If you decide to divorce, virtually all aspects of the process, from the division of assets to determining child custody arrangements, will be handled somewhat differently than if you were both civilians—especially if either of you are still serving.

The Jurisdiction Question

Normally, a Texas court maintains personal jurisdiction over a divorce action when one or both spouses have resided in Texas for at least six months (and for at least 90 days in the county where the divorce action was filed.) This is also true in military divorces, but it is important to keep in mind that serving while keeping a permanent address in Texas is considered maintaining residence in the state. However, in order for a court to have jurisdiction over an active military spouse, the serving spouse must be served with a copy of the action and summons, so there is no question as to their knowledge of the proceedings. In the past, it was not uncommon for a service member to come home and discover that their spouse had divorced them without their knowledge!

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Four Common Divorce Myths Debunked

 Posted on November 11, 2022 in Divorce

Tarrant County divorce lawyerIn a world where access to information is as easy as typing a few search terms into your smartphone, it is rather surprising that so much misinformation about divorce continues to circulate. Some of the misconceptions may be attributed to long-held beliefs that can be difficult to change while others were once true but are not anymore. For example, you may have heard one or more of the following.

Divorce Myth #1: Half of Marriages End in Divorce

This common statement is not an accurate depiction of the actual divorce rate in the United States. It comes from a flawed comparison of the per capita rate of marriages and divorces in a particular year. Comparing the number of marriages against the number of divorces for any given year will result in skewed data. For example, some of the divorces that occur this year involve marriages that began 30, 40, or even 50 years prior—in other words, more than two generations ago. The actual divorce rate is closer to 40 percent than 50 percent, and it is markedly lower among younger couples.

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Should I Hire a Lawyer if We Are Pursuing Divorce Mediation?

 Posted on October 18, 2022 in Divorce

Hurst divorce mediation lawyersTexas state law encourages parents to handle legal disputes using methods that allow for peaceful resolution. One of the best ways to peacefully get divorced is by using the help of an experienced divorce mediator. You may choose to use a lawyer who is also a mediator, or a mediator who is a marriage counselor, social worker, or psychologist. That is up to you. However, even if you and your spouse are committed to resolving your divorce through mediation, it is still important to have a Texas divorce attorney representing you. Here is why. 

An Attorney Gives You Legal Advice and Representation

While a mediator is essential for helping feuding spouses identify where they are in conflict and prioritizing resolutions to their problems, a mediator cannot offer legal advice to either spouse and cannot prioritize the well-being of one spouse over the other. This means a mediator may suggest a resolution that is decidedly against your best interests. Without the advice of an attorney who is looking out for you, you may agree to something that would put you at a significant disadvantage in the long term. 

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Custody Disputes Can Get Heated. Here Are Some Things to Avoid

 Posted on October 11, 2022 in Child custody

Hurst child custody lawyerWhether you are getting divorced or filing a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR), you need to create a parenting plan that resolves issues of custody and visitation. Custody can be the most difficult issue that parents of minor children have to resolve, and there may be ongoing conflict for as long as the children are under the age of legal adulthood. 

When this conflict gets heated, one or both parents may behave poorly. Unfortunately, it is common for parents to use their children as weapons against each other to resolve past personal differences. One parent may wrongly try to obtain sole custody or alienate the children emotionally from their other parent. Other times, a parent may have legitimate concerns about whether the other parent is abusive, neglectful, or otherwise unfit. Whatever the circumstances in your child custody dispute case, it is essential to have a Texas custody attorney who can advise you throughout the process - and to avoid these three common mistakes.

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I Just Got Served With Divorce Papers. What Do I Do Now?

 Posted on September 29, 2022 in Divorce

Tarrant County divorce lawyerIf you heard someone knocking on your door and answered it to find a sheriff or process server standing on your porch holding a packet with a divorce petition in it, you may have been caught off guard. Perhaps you knew your relationship was not doing so well, but you never formally agreed to divorce or expected notice to come like this. 

It is common for spouses who have been surprised with divorce papers to feel shock, anger, hurt, denial, or all of the above. In addition to these feelings, you may also worry that, in taking action first, your spouse has permanently secured the upper hand in your divorce. Fortunately, this is not true and you do not have to figure out how to respond to your spouse’s divorce papers alone. Read this blog for an overview of what to do if you have been served with divorce papers, and then contact a Texas divorce attorney who can help you take decisive action. 

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How Do I Know Whether I Can File for Divorce in Texas?

 Posted on September 16, 2022 in Divorce

Tarrant County divorce attorneyAn important step in any divorce is determining where you can file your divorce petition. Every state has strict requirements detailing whether someone is considered a resident for the purposes of filing for divorce. Having children can change your eligibility in one state or another, and some people may even have more than one option for filing. If you live in Texas - especially if you have recently moved here from another state - it is important to understand residency requirements so you know where to file for divorce. 

Texas Divorce Residency Requirements 

Texas requires people wanting to file for divorce to have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months immediately preceding filing the divorce petition. Further, residents who meet this requirement must have lived in the county in which they want to file for divorce for at least 90 days. If your spouse has lived in Texas for at least six months, you can file for divorce in Texas even if you do not live here. 

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