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Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Law Blog

What happens when wealthy couples divorce

Wealthy couples who are getting a divorce may learn from the example of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife. Like Texas, Washington is a community property state, and this means that since Bezos started the company after the two were married, he and his wife may split Amazon stock 50/50. However, this would change if they made an agreement at some point in their marriage about how to split property in a divorce.

The couple released a statement indicating that they plan to cooperate during the divorce. According to some attorneys, couples in a high-asset divorce are not more likely to have a lot of conflict in a divorce than couples with fewer assets. However, an issue that may arise in a high-asset divorce is the hiding of assets by one party. Another typical feature of a high-asset divorce is that the higher-earning party is not required to pay alimony to the dependent spouse because the settlement for the dependent spouse is so large.

How to handle exes who don't pay child support

Divorced parents in Texas can get frustrated when their exes stop paying child support, hence prompting them to withhold visitation rights till child support is paid. However, parents who do bar their exes from seeing their children are placing themselves on the bad side of the law.

Even though some parents might feel that child support and visitation rights are connected, the law sees them as two separate things entirely. For starters, visitation rights belong to the child just as much as they belong to each parent; after all, children have the right to grow up feeling loved by both parents and shouldn't be punished if one of the parents falls short on their financial obligations. With that said, child support is the responsibility of each parent, regardless of whether they want to be in their children's lives or not. Ergo, whether a parent has visitation rights or not is irrelevant to the fact that they should pay child support.

Parental rights and divorce

Parents in Texas who are getting divorced might wonder what they can do to ensure that they remain a part of their children's lives. In particular, some fathers may be concerned that they will be regarded as less crucial in the child's life than the mother.

First, parents should be reasonable about how custody and visitation fit into their lives. They should not request time when they won't really be free. If they have to scramble to find other family members to cover for them because they are unable to watch the child, this could be seen as squandered visitation time. One should also make sure that they have adequate physical space in their home for the child.

How to get possession of a child in Texas

After many Texas divorces involving parents, it's necessary for exes to determine how they will raise their children. In some cases, a parent will want sole possession of a son or daughter. To start a possession case, a parent will need to speak with the court clerk to learn the rules and procedures in a given jurisdiction.

Those who are going through a possession case will need to fill out a variety of forms and pay a filing fee. Once this occurs, the court clerk will issue a case ID number. This number will need to be referenced each time a parent asks for an update to the case. The child's other parent will also be notified that a possession proceeding has been initiated. The court should have a hotline or a website where parents can get more information about how to successfully open a case.

How parents can resolve disputes regarding their children

In Texas, child custody cases revolve around what is in the best interests of the kids. In some cases, parents won't agree on what that may be. However, it is almost always in the child's best interest for a possession dispute to be resolved in an amicable manner. While a formal trial may be necessary, parents can first try to come to an agreement on their own or through mediation.

Going to court could result in a decision that neither parent is satisfied with. It can also result in a lot of stress for the parents and the children. Furthermore, it may be more expensive than mediation. To avoid this situation, it is important for the exes to put aside their feelings for each other and focus on the needs of the children.

Why shared custody is best for children

Parents in Texas who are going through a divorce are concerned about the way it will impact their children. Mothers are often advised to seek sole custody of their children, even when fathers want to be a part of their children's lives. This advice is often thought to be in the best interests of the child.

Arguments have been made in the past that when children, especially young children, spend time away from their mother and in the care about their father overnight, it can lead to behavioral and emotional challenges. This has led mothers to seek sole custody of their children despite the father opposing it. Modern studies have shown that shared parenting versus sole child custody produces better results for the children.

Child support is the leading reason for wage garnishment in U.S.

When noncustodial parents in Texas are unable to meet child support obligations, one possible method of collection is wage garnishment. Roughly 7 percent of Americans have money automatically subtracted from their paychecks for garnishment purposes, according to data collected by a leading research institute. It's a process that's sometimes a source of stress for both employees and employers. However, garnishment is not the same across all job sectors and geographic locations.

The data shows that the largest percentage of instances of wage garnishment involved middle-aged men in the Midwest between the ages of 35 and 55 working in manufacturing-related occupations. Out of the four types of garnishment studied, child support topped the list as the most common type of garnishment. Women typically have their wages garnished due to student or consumer debt obligations, but it's often men who have part of their earnings reduced each pay period because of support delinquencies.

Business valuation critical prior to divorce settlement

The owners of private companies in Texas generally need to disclose their business assets when negotiating divorce settlements. Because the business likely represents a significant asset, its value could play a large role in the division of the marital estate. The ex-spouse who owns the business may need to provide a cash settlement to the other party based on the business's value. The valuation could also influence the calculation of child or spousal support.

To arrive at an accurate figure, the divorcing parties will need to hire a business valuation professional. This professional will select one of the three systems for measuring a business's value, which are the asset, market or income method. The valuator will examine the company's financial records, tour facilities and interview management.

Determining the need for DNA paternity testing

It's fairly common for DNA testing to be involved in family law cases in Texas when there are questions about parentage. Sometimes during divorce, people question whether they are actually their children's biological parent. Paternity can also become an issue if couples were unmarried when a child was conceived. In situations like this, a father is not automatically considered a child's legal father. In fact, an "alleged father" does not have to be listed on a birth certificate as a father unless he has been legally determined to be so.

DNA test results are important because they often determine whether child support is awarded or denied. Since DNA testing today has a nearly 100 percent accuracy rate, there are times when results could relieve a man of the burden of child support if it's determined that he is not a child's biological father. It's when DNA testing has identified a man as the father of a child that support becomes legally required by the court.

The importance of DNA tests with child support disputes

As some Texas families find out when they begin a child support case, a DNA test might be required to settle the case. A DNA paternity or maternity test often means the difference between a parent and child receiving support from the non-custodial parent or not.

In child support cases, a DNA test might be needed if the parents were not married when the child was conceived or when the child was born; by law, the father is considered an "alleged father" until either his paternity is legally established or he legally declares his paternity. This means that the alleged father's name does not have to be in the birth certificate. However, once this has been legally established, the father might be ordered to pay child support and might also be granted visitation or custody rights.