Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law

Houston Family Law Blog

Prenups are front and center

Prenuptial agreements serve as insurance for resolving issues if marriages end. Changes in the nation's tax laws concerning divorce and the increased use of prenuptial agreements have focused more attention on them. If done correctly, these agreements outline financial rights and responsibilities and set forth agreements on property division before marriage. Prenups can also lower the length and tension of the divorce process.

Changes to the federal tax law have also prompted many married couples to review existing agreements. Previously, spousal support payments were deductible to the spouse who paid alimony and were taxable as income to the spouse who received it. Prenuptial agreements were often based on this long-standing tax rule. Effective Jan. 1, 2019, spousal support is no longer deductible to the payor or taxed as income to the payee spouse. This also applies to prenups entered after Dec. 31, 2018, or amended after that date.

Signals that a marriage could be on the skids

A good relationship is difficult to find. You were one of the lucky ones who managed to find the perfect person and grabbed on tight. Over time, though, things have begun to change. Where there was once non-stop excitement and joy, now there’s uncomfortable silence. Or worse, the painful noise of arguments.

Marriages are difficult relationships to maintain. People change, and sometimes their partner doesn’t change with them. People in a bad relationship are often the most blind to it. If your relationship has felt off, consider these four signs that it may be time to end things.

Packing a prenup for college

Going to college is the time for sons and daughters to learn about finances and other business matters. It is also a good time to begin discussions about prenuptial agreements and their part in a divorce. College is an important time for dating and waiting until one is engaged or in a serious relationship may lead to complications and bad feelings.

A prenup is not necessarily bad and may be considered a marriage insurance policy for an event that may never occur. These agreements can help reduce the stress and complications of divorce.

Divorcing this year may save money

The timing for filing or settling a divorce depends on numerous factors. Settlement should not be rushed merely to end a painful process. However, there are financial reasons for seeking a final decree by the end of 2018. The long-standing tax deduction for spouses paying spousal support is ending for divorces that are finalized after 2018. Beginning on New Year's Day 2019, the paying spouse will not receive a deduction and the receiving spouse will not have to pay taxes on spousal support.

The existing advantages encourage finalizing divorces in 2018. Even if a divorce is modified in the future, the existing alimony deduction and taxable status will remain unless the modification adopts the new tax law.

Divorce ain't over until it's over

The decision to file for divorce may add additional legal burdens and restrictions upon a spouse. They may have to delay financial and parenting decisions and suffer inconvenience during the period between filing and the issuance of the decree.

One of the biggest restrictions of a divorce is limitations on travel with their children. This includes travel overseas, especially if a parent is from another country or has ties with family in another country. Judges impose this restriction to ensure that the parents do not keep their children overseas.

Bracing for divorce tricks

Divorce can bring out the best and the worst in spouses. During this stressful time, spouses should be prepared to deal with some common tricks and should know how to address disputes as calmly as possible.

Former or soon-to-be former spouse may engage in distractions. For example, they may engage in arguments over child visitation during summer vacations, while distracting you from more important issues like child support.

Parenting through impending divorce

So, your relationship has deteriorated and is spiraling out of control. Supercharged emotions dominate. Conflicts have become so frequent or unbearable that remaining in the marriage is untenable, or instances of abuse or emotional pain are no longer able to be reconciled. You and your spouse are facing an inevitable split, bringing a wide range of emotions such as anger, confusion, fear and relief. But you have children together, so how do you get through this time?

Overview of the Texas Child Support Guidelines

Like other states, Texas uses an established formula to determine how much a parent must pay in child support. In order to apply this formula, Texas courts use the Texas Child Support Guidelines.

The point of these guidelines is to make sure that courts order child support in a consistent fashion. Doing so prevents parents from feeling a sense of unfairness in the event where one court orders a parent to pay a much higher or lower amount than what a parent in the same situation was ordered to pay the next county over. Consistency also helps parents make appropriate plans for how much support they will receive or pay.

Analyze your social media presence when considering divorce

In 2018, it seems like everyone has a go-to social media site. Whether it's browsing Facebook or firing off tweets, social media has become a staple of daily life. While these sites help us stay connected to people all over the world, they can have unintended consequences.

Couples beginning a divorce may find out the hard way that their online history can impact their case in a number of ways. If a spouse is claiming to be low-income but posts pictures courtside at a Rockets game, the court might take that into account. Likewise, if there is offensive content on a parent's profile, it may affect the outcome of custody battles. 

How does property division work in a Texas divorce?

Dividing assets in a divorce can be a contentious, complicated process. Because many people have never been through it before, they often don't know what to expect and may not understand how the process works. Factor in fears about losing property and money and it is not surprising that this is such a difficult step in a Texas divorce.

One way to alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding this process is to have a better understanding of it works. Below, we explain some of the basics of property division in Texas divorces.

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Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law
4265 San Felipe Street
Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77027

Toll Free: 877-576-7390
Phone: 713-581-1773
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