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Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Law Blog

Divorces involving high assets affected by tax law changes

Taxes are often far from the minds of divorcing spouses in Texas during the process of dissolving a marriage, but taxes can present themselves with unexpected costs in time for those who are unprepared. Kiplinger has published findings by a tax attorney that show some divorcing spouses may face higher taxes with changes in the various laws regarding payments for alimony and child support after a divorce.

These findings also point out that certain divorcing individuals may be affected by state laws requiring specific deadlines for divorce filings in order to avoid higher taxes. In California, for instance, waiting periods may affect how a divorce filing ends up costing more for some people who are already in the process of negotiating settlement terms.

Temporary child custody agreements

Parents in Texas who file for divorce may request a temporary hearing shortly after the case is filed so that major issues like temporary child custody and support can be decided. A parent may also consider granting temporary custody to another person if they are temporarily unable to care for a child due to an illness or difficult financial circumstances.

A parent can grant temporary custody of their child to another person without giving up their parental rights. In a divorce case, a parent who is not awarded temporary custody is usually granted liberal visitation.

Custody of child citizens worries immigrants facing deportation

Some families in Texas contain citizens and immigrants residing in the country without documentation. The aggressive immigration policies of the Trump administration have increased deportations and forced many parents to find legal guardians for their children who possess citizenship.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, deportations increased by 9 percent in 2018 as of June. A report prepared by the Migration Policy Institute stated that approximately 5 million children lived with at least one parent who lacked documentation to be in the country from 2009 to 2013. The vast majority, 80 percent, of those children possessed citizenship. When authorities deport parents, the parents often scramble to make custody arrangements for their children.

Hidden assets in a divorce case

Someone who is filing for divorce in Texas must be aware of the possibility that their spouse may attempt to conceal assets during the process. If the concealment seems especially shady, one might consider paying private investigators to discover what their spouse is up to.

However, there are other, more cost-effective ways to reveal hidden assets in a divorce case. A good place to start is to look at federal income tax returns. A close examination of Schedule B on a federal tax return may expose sources of interest income like brokerage accounts, mutual funds and hidden bank accounts. Schedules D and E can reveal capital gains and income from rental payments.

Making sure kids are happy after a divorce

Divorce can often involve many intense emotions, but the children who are involved can usually bounce back and live happy lives when their parents focus on their well-being. Despite the personal difficulties they are going through, when parents are sensitive to the needs of their children, they are more likely to give their kids a sense of confidence, security and peace of mind. Parents in Texas can focus on a few key areas when aspiring to reach this goal.

One of the most important things for children going through divorce is to have a stable and consistent routine. Once possession and access are firmly established, each parent should communicate with one other to ensure there are certain expectations regarding rules, discipline and scheduling. When parents support each other in this process, they are actually helping their child.

Tax changes could complicate divorce matters for older adults

It's not unusual for divorcing couples in Texas to fight over the house and possessions. However, for adults age 50 and over calling it quits, another common point of contention is retirement savings. It's even more important to pay attention to such assets because of changes mandated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts that will fully take effect in 2019. The most noticeable change pertaining to end of marriage issues is with alimony. These spousal support payments will no longer be tax deductible for the paying spouse, and the receiving spouse won't be able to claim payments as income.

The alimony issue may have some older couples rushing to untie the knot. However, a more pressing concern for divorcing adults near the retirement age is where the money from the settlement will come from. While the house may be sought-after because of sentimental attachment, some older individuals might be able to better protect their nest egg by selling it and putting the proceeds into a retirement account.

How-to discussion of grandparents' visitation rights

In Texas and throughout the country, the child custody or 'possession" and 'access" laws vary from state to state. One constant is that every court system always considers the best interests of a child.

There are provisions in the laws of every state that determine access rights for grandparents wishing to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents can petition the court to grant them access rights with children of divorce, but the judge will also consider the wishes of the parents. In most cases, a person would need a compelling reason to keep his or her children from visiting with their grandparents. There are also varying laws across the nation regarding grandparent visitation that depend on whether the children's parents are alive or deceased.

When unmarried parents have child custody issues

Children of unmarried parents have a bit different situation than children whose parents are married. In most cases around the country, an unwed mother who is considered a fit parent will be granted physical custody or as it is dubbed in Texas law, 'possession" of her children. However, a father can act through the courts to establish visitation or 'access" to his children. In child custody and visitation cases across the nation, the courts will always keep the best interests of the child in the forefront of the decision-making process.

When the court system becomes involved in child custody matters concerning unmarried parents, the pair are often given the opportunity to reach a resolution on their own. If the parents cannot reach a custody and visitation agreement, the family court judge will hear the case and make an informed decision.

Father's rights and child custody

Many fathers in Texas wonder how much they will see their children if they file for divorce. In many states, judges prefer to award joint custody to parents. It is important for fathers to know that they can get full custody of their children if it is in their children's best interest.

Courts will consider several factors prior to ordering a father to have primary physical and legal custody. First, a court will consider paternity, which is whether or not the father has legally proven himself to be the biological father. The biological mother may be able to waive any requirements for a DNA test by signing an acknowledgment of paternity.

Buying a home when back child support is owed

Child support is counted as debt when applying for a loan or attempting to obtain a mortgage from a lender to purchase a home. Therefore, if a Texas parent is delinquent on payments, it will show up as a derogatory credit event. This could minimize the odds that the homebuyer will get the loan. Nevertheless, not all loan programs automatically disqualify applicants because of back child support issues.

Government-backed loans, in particular, tend to have stricter guidelines attached regarding child support payments owed. An often-recommended first step for a parent owing back support is to check their credit report to pay attention to the FICO score, an assessment of credit risk often used by lenders. Applicants are required to disclose support obligations and the extent of added debt if back payments are owed. However, it's still possible for someone with a high credit score to qualify for a mortgage if they meet the basic requirements for a conventional (non-government) loan.