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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Wealthy Pakistani man attempts to leave ex-wife only $50

The ex-wife of a Pakistani man living in Texas is attempting to have state laws apply to the terms of her divorce. Her husband, who is reportedly worth $100 million, filed for divorce in their native Pakistan. He expects to end the marriage according to the terms of their marriage contract, which entitled his ex-wife to $50.

The woman's lawyer said that the case, which will go before a Harris County judge, would hinge upon how due process within the Pakistani legal system compared to that required in the United States. The lawyer alleges that the ex-husband sent his wife back to Pakistani in 2013 under the pretense that her return home would improve his chances of gaining U.S. citizenship for her. After she got to Pakistan, he filed for divorce.

Texas couples and the benefits of prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements were once believed to be reserved for the extremely wealthy and celebrities. However, in 2013, an American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey revealed that 63 percent of divorce lawyers saw an increase in prenuptial agreements. Prenups are becoming more popular among millennials as well as the general population. While most prenuptial agreements were previously used by those with significant wealth or those who were marrying for a second time and wanted to protect assets for their children, modern prenuptial agreements are common among those who are marrying for the first time.

Prenuptial agreements can be simple arrangements stating that each spouse is entitled to keep the property he or she had before entering the marriage. Prenups can also specify that one spouse only gets a portion of the other spouse's assets if they remain married for a certain period of time. While all states recognize prenups, each state has different requirements for following through on them.

How to avoid the most common divorce mistakes

Some Texas residents who are thinking about divorce may feel hesitant about initiating one out of concern for its possible financial consequences. While there are indeed some mistakes to watch out for, it's possible to avoid these and achieve a successful outcome with a little planning and forethought.

One of the most important mistakes people make during the divorce process is failing to give a complete accounting of their assets. Although many people are understandably concerned about losing assets during property division, an incomplete disclosure can open someone up to immense financial liability that could cause them to lose the entire asset by default. It's often better to divulge the asset and develop a strong case for ownership instead.

Texans who divorce should pay attention to the particulars

When couples file for divorce, the benefits they are eligible to receive can be dependent on factors like timing. When it comes to Social Security, for instance, individuals may be permitted to claim benefits based on their former partner's earning records if the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

The 10-year rule incorporates stringent qualification standards. One woman whose marriage lasted only days short of 10 years was denied divorced spousal benefits upon applying for Social Security. Another couple that got divorced amicably following about nine years and six months of marriage discovered that getting remarried for six months wouldn't help the lower-earning ex-spouse meet the qualification because the 10 years of marriage need to be consecutive.

Being successful at co-parenting

When Texas parents go through a divorce, co-parenting arrangements are often included in orders related to the children. This type of arrangement implies a need to cooperate, which may seem difficult for individuals who have just ended their formal relationship. Although the issues leading up to divorce are often contentious, parents can approach their co-parenting plan with a positive point of view for the sake of their children.

Parents may be able to head off some co-parenting problems by dealing with their needs and concerns during child custody discussions. Setting boundaries with the other party can be important if one of the parents tends to be rude or inconsistent, and including these matters in a co-parenting plan can provide legal backing if a line is inappropriately crossed. An argumentative ex-spouse may try to cause problems at times by provoking arguments, but trouble can be headed off by not countering in like manner. Objectivity and a matter-of-fact approach to such situations can keep conversations on topic. Making solutions the goal can be helpful when accommodations are needed in scheduling or other matters.

Settling holiday custody battles

A common issue around the holiday season in Texas and around the country involves divorced parents arguing over who gets to spend time with their children. There are several ways that this issue can be addressed. One preferred method is to alternate years that a parent gets to spend a holiday with his or her child. In some cases, it may be possible for the child to spend a holiday with both parents if they can be civil around each other.

While these are two common methods to resolve a child custody issue around the holidays, parents are free to create their own plan. Regardless of what type of plan is devised, both parents will need to communicate well and be on board with its conditions. It is also important for parents to realize that any day can feel like a holiday regardless of what it says on the calendar.

The growing problem of domestic violence

Texas residents may be shocked to learn how serious the problem of domestic violence is in the United States. An individual somewhere in the country becomes the crime victim of an intimate partner every nine seconds or so, and the problem crosses all of the social, financial, religious and ethnic lines that segment modern society.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence claim that the issue is often underreported. They say that media reports printed and police statements made following a violent incident rarely mention the domestic disagreement or dispute that prompted the aggressive behavior.

Getting details organized before initiating divorce proceedings

The holidays may be less than ideal for Texas couples to begin divorce proceedings, but the start of a new year is a popular time for divorce filings. In fact, many attorneys have noted that the number of divorce cases initiated in January significantly increases. Although many New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside after just a few weeks, divorce proceedings have significant implications once they are initiated.

Many divorce lawyers recommend making a careful assessment of the situation before getting started. It is best to work with professionals who are not connected to one's family to ensure that confidentiality is preserved. It is also wise to have an understanding of the financial and emotional implications of divorce. For example, a prenuptial agreement may simplify issues such as property division. However, the lack of such an agreement may result in contentions as issues such as the division of debts, the family home and other marital assets and liabilities are considered. A financial planner may help with an understanding of the costs of a divorce.

Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas split after 20 years

Texas movie fans may know that Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas officially ended their 20-year marriage in July 2015. The details of the divorce were revealed by many sources in December 2015. The couple first announced that they would be splitting in June 2014, and they had one daughter together. Although they were first married in 1996, they subsequently entered into a post-nuptial agreement that took effect in 2004. Reports indicate that the split was mutual and that the couple is on good terms.

According to divorce documents, Banderas will pay his former wife $65,000 a month in spousal support. Furthermore, the couple will split profits from movies that each of them made between 2004 and 2014. However, Banderas will keep future profits from movies such as "The Mask of Zorro", "Spy Kids" and "Desperado". The two will also split portions of their art collection, and they also sold a mansion in L.A. and split the proceeds.

Guns and domestic violence

Texas residents may want to be aware of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is dedicated to providing education about the domestic violence issues women in America face, such as being 11 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other countries. Non-restrictive gun laws in the United States make it easier for perpetrators of violence against women to obtain guns, but mismanagement of the domestic violence crisis is also cited as a factor. Many mass shootings motivated by domestic violence were perpetrated with legally obtained guns.

While high-profile shootings such as the Sandy Hook massacre come to most people's minds when they think of these events, 300 mass shootings took place in the United States alone by the end of October 2015. These include any shootings with four or more victims and most involved domestic violence situations. The EveryTown research group studies gun violence and advocates for better gun policy. After examining mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2015, the group found that half of the victims were women. In contrast, women account for only 15 percent of all firearm deaths in non-mass shooting scenarios.

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