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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Facts about child support

Child support is an issue that is sometimes misunderstood. Texas parents may be interested in knowing some basic facts about it and how it can affect children and families.

Paternity must be established before a court can order a man to pay child support. While paternity of the husband is assumed in most states if the couple was married at the time of the child's birth, an unmarried mother must have it proven if the father does not voluntarily agree to it. The local child support enforcement office can be of assistance in this regard.

Courts divided on parental alienation, abuse claims

Some Texas parents who are going through a divorce might be facing the loss of child custody due to parental alienation. Others may have aired legitimate concerns about abuse only to be accused of lying in attempt to alienate the child from the parent. While medical professionals are skeptical about the existence of parental alienation as an actual disorder, some parents do attempt to manipulate their child's attitude toward the other parent.

On the other hand, there is concern that some judges are dismissing allegations of child abuse when the other parent claims parental alienation. One law professor conducted a study in which she found that 80 percent of parental alienation cases resulted in the mother losing custody after reporting abuse.

Divorced parents need to plan ahead for summer with kids

Summertime often brings new challenges for divorced Texas parents. School will be out, so their kids will have more free time. Vacations are a time for parent and child to build memories together. Custody arrangements may change if both parents want to take their kids on vacation during the break from school.

A good parenting plan worked out between parents who still communicate amicably with each other will make the divorce process and aftermath easier on their children. But a child custody arrangement that works well during the school year may not work as well in the summer months. Divorced parents should give each other advance notice if they want to take their kids somewhere on holiday. When the children become teenagers, parents may want to consider their wishes in any summer plans.

How a prenup can protect a business

Unmarried people in Texas who own a business and who are thinking about getting married may want to create a prenuptial agreement. As painful as a divorce can be emotionally and as hard as it can be on personal finances, it can be devastating to a business because the other spouse may get half of the value that the business has appreciated during the marriage. In addition to a prenup, it is not uncommon to require that any transfer of shares to a former spouse must have the approval of all shareholders.

Just as important as writing the prenup is creating one that will stand up in court. Therefore, it is important that both spouses have their own attorneys. The spouse who is not the owner should not contribute any time or money to the business, and shared marital assets should not go into it as well.

The importance of parenting plans

Texas parents who are ending their marriages may be interested to learn more about the role that parenting plans can play in the aftermath of a divorce. Collaboration between parents is often a vital element in raising children, but this can sometimes be difficult for divorced parents to achieve on their own. A properly constructed parenting plan can potentially ease this process by making sure both parties know what is expected of them and what options are available for resolving disagreements.

When it comes to developing a sound co-parenting plan, one of the most important factors to bear in mind is the mitigation of conflict. In general, the interests of the child are best served by parenting plans that reduce differences between parents as much as possible. As such, these agreements can illustrate to others that both parents take seriously their roles in their child's life and will work to address disputes amicably.

Billionaire Elon Musk and wife to get divorced

Texas residents who are interested in sustainable energy may be interested to learn that actress Talulah Riley has filed for divorce from billionaire Elon Musk, co-founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. Riley had initially filed for divorce in late 2014 but pulled the petition just seven months later.

Riley and Musk first married in 2010 but divorced only two years later. They then remarried about 18 months later. This second marriage will have lasted a little more than two years. According to the statement, the two have been living separately but intend to remain friendly after the divorce. The pair did not have any children together.

Celebrity divorces illustrate important legal issues

Someone going through a high-asset divorce in Texas will have many financial issues to figure out. Because celebrities often possess a variety of assets, their headline-grabbing divorces highlight factors important to nonpublic figures as well.

For example, the 2015 breakup of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner showed the importance that timing can play in a divorce. Their divorce officially began one day after their 10th wedding anniversary. At the 10-year point, certain financial rules typically apply. The spouse with the lower income becomes eligible to claim Social Security benefits based on the other party's earning records.

Getting ready for a contested divorce trial

Texas couples who cannot agree on a divorce settlement will likely find themselves in a courtroom when ending their marriage, and there are ways to prepare when litigation is likely. Getting a divorce through the court system involves gathering evidence, hearings and a trial, and being familiar with the rules in Texas is one way to learn about what to expect during the court proceedings.

Part of preparing for a trial is finding an attorney, and legal counsel is especially important if the other party has representation. An attorney can explain the options and inform the client about hearings. Finding someone to work with who has a similar point of view is better than trying to locate the toughest attorney possible. There are instances where aggressive representation may be necessary, but there is also a danger in finding someone needlessly combative who drags things out and annoys judges.

Domestic violence and gun rights in Texas

In 2009, police took a man into custody on suspicion of killing a bald eagle. Upon being taken into custody, he surrendered his rifle to authorities who then discovered that he shouldn't have had the gun in the first place. This was because he had been previously convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. Per the Lautenberg Amendment, anyone caught with a gun after being convicted of such a crime could face up to 10 years in prison.

That individual and another man have taken their cases to the Supreme Court, and their attorneys argue that they never violated the law. According to legal counsel for the men, they should have never lost their right to own a gun in the first place. The core argument is that there should be different degrees of domestic violence with only intentional acts resulting in a loss of gun rights.

The importance of a financial planner in a divorce

When many Texas couples decide that it is time to get a divorce, each party often hires their own attorney to help ensure that their interests are protected. However, they often fail to have another type of a professional to help protect their financial interests. Not having a financial planner could be a costly mistake.

For example, the spouse who has custody of any children that resulted from the marriage is likely to ask for the family home as it is much easier to not have to move the kids around. However, the home requires mortgage payments and will have associated maintenance costs. The other spouse may end up with liquid assets, which could actually gain value over time without the upkeep costs. Having a financial planner who can discuss these issues during the divorce can help ensure that the person understands what their true financial situation will be.

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