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August 2014 Archives

Dividing gifts and inheritances during divorce

Texas couples who are considering divorce will also need to consider asset division. One question that may arise is whether inheritances and gifts go to one spouse or are split between both spouses. Texas is a community property state, but this does not mean that an inheritance is automatically divided 50/50 between spouses. In fact, inheritances and gifts are considered to be separate property as opposed to marital property.

The formula for calculating child support

Under Texas law, the courts use a mathematical formula to determine how much child support noncustodial parents owe to custodial parents for the care of their children. The payments are generally a percentage of the noncustodial parent's income, and it also depends on the number of children for whom the person is paying child support. If noncustodial parents are paying child support for other children, this also influences the final monthly support amount.

Reviewing assets in divorce

The end of marriage in Texas could mean significant changes to people's finances as one household gets split into two. Assets and liabilities must be divided, but how people go about property division typically leaves room for many mistakes. Failing to be smart about money matters in divorce could lead to problems, including unnecessary taxes and assets that are less valuable than the ones given to a spouse.

Child support makes a difference in the new school year

As Texas families begin a fresh school year, it is important for those who are responsible for paying child support to understand the impact they have on a child's academic progress. Basic needs of a child such as back-to-school clothing, food, health care and other services and materials are important, and children depend on the adults in their lives to provide these things. State reports indicate that when child support is paid, children tend to perform better academically. They also tend to stay in school more consistently and experience fewer behavior issues. Studies also note that those parents who pay support tend to be more involved in the lives of their children. Self-confidence and self-control are more frequently demonstrated by children who are well-supported, and risky behaviors are typically minimized. State agencies recognize the challenges parents can face when support is an issue, and there are services provided by the Texas Attorney General's Child Support Division to assist. These may include needs such as establishing paternity or locating a parent. The may also address amounts of support and collection of funds. The division encourages parents who owe support to catch up on payments, reminding them that the funds are needed and can make a difference. The agency also emphasizes the importance of timeliness in making such payments. A parent dealing with a shortfall in the budget due to missed support payments may find that legal assistance is provided through government agencies as well. In a case involving discrepancies between a non-custodial parent's income and the support provided to a child, the assistance of a lawyer may be helpful. This may ensure that careful attention is given to details such as the other parent's resources and assets. Because the government division addresses numerous support situations, a lawyer may ensure that the case is dealt with thoroughly in the face of a court system with a heavy case load.

What is community property?

Texas is one of 10 states that operate according to community property law. Sometimes community property is referred to as marital property. These laws are used to govern how debt and assets are divided in a divorce. Some of these states divide the debt and assets equally between divorcing couples while other states, including Texas, use equitable division. Equitable division allows judges to use discretion when distributing the assets and debts to each member of the divorcing couple.

Courts poised to award record divorce payout

Family lawyers in Texas are watching with interest as Harold Hamm, a self-made billionaire, could pay out the largest divorce award in history to his wife of more than a quarter of a century. Previously, the largest divorce judgment in the world of $4.5 billion was granted to a Russian oligarch's wife in May. Hamm earned almost all of his $20.2 billion during their marriage. One New York attorney, who does not represent either party, speculated that the 58-year-old Mrs. Hamm could receive between $4 and $8 billion, easily eclipsing the previous record.

Overview of Texas conservatorship

While most people are familiar with the term "child custody," Texas labels this "conservatorship" and calls parents "conservators" instead of "custodians." When a couple ends their marriage in the state, they should try to work out a custody plan. In the event that this is not possible, a judge will rule on conservatorship and will mainly consider the best interests of the child.

Terrence Howard asks for modification of divorce agreement

Texans who are contemplating divorce may be interested in Terrence Howard's current situation. He divorced his second wife and was ordered to pay $325,000 in alimony. The problem is, according to the actor, his income is about $6,000 per month, making him unable to meet that obligation.

How divorcing parents can help a child survive

While going through a divorce an individual is likely to experience a wide range of strong emotions. Any major life change can be unsettling and leave an individual feeling scared, confused and uncertain. If a parent who is divorcing experiences these types of feelings, imagine what a child is going through. This type of thinking, empathizing with and putting a child first, is important in helping a divorcing or divorced parent understand what their child needs.