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Dallas Family Law Blog

Changing names post-divorce has obstacles

Wives in Texas have long-adopted their spouse's last name after marriage. More recently, both spouses have adopted hyphenated names and some husbands have even taken on their wives' names. Reverting to a pre-marriage last name after divorce, however, has many complications that should be considered.

Changing a last name after divorce eliminates any desired privacy. Colleagues, clients and other acquaintances will notice the change and can easily conclude that there was a divorce.

Post-nuptial agreements have benefits

After getting married, it may be depressing to enter a contract addressing what happens if the couple ever divorces. Like prenuptial agreements, however, these post-nuptial agreements can help a couple in Texas if they ever end their marriage. In some cases, these agreements may also strengthen their marriage.

A postnup is like a prenuptial agreement in that it sets terms for property division and other matters if the relationship ever ends. Postnups are executed, however, after the couple is married and may address responsibilities and behavior during marriage.

Handling credit card debt in a divorce

Spouses ending their marriage in Texas must make many decisions on property division. However, a spouse may keep a remnant of their marriage even after the divorce is complete in the form of their ex-spouse's debt if certain precautions are not taken.

Credit card holders enter contracts with the issuer agreeing to pay off charges. However, a spouse may incur debt which is held jointly by the couple, and their spouse may be held liable if the debt is not paid off. Spouses undergoing divorce can also agree on which spouse pays off credit card debt.

Increasing the odds for child custody

In the past, courts held a bias in child custody decisions for the mother. However, Texas and other states provide equal fathers' rights for custody.

Courts previously considered the mother as being more capable of raising children while they were growing up. Courts could rule in their favor without considering fathers' rights.

Congress considering law on birth fathers' rights

A rare but notable issue regarding fathers' rights is adoption challenges and notification of birth fathers when the child's mother is relinquishing the child. Dallas residents may be interested to hear that a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would connect the 34-state voluntary responsible fatherhood registries with the Federal Parental Locator Service.

Known as The Permanency for Children Act, the bill is intended to help prevent adoptions if contested by the father. Fathers now must register separately in each state to preserve their rights to contest adoptions. Earlier location of the father during the adoption process would help prevent legal uncertainty and complications for the prospective adoptive parents.

Divorce in Dallas can change one's taxes

Like most life-altering events in Texas, getting a divorce has tax consequences. Tax planning should play an important part in preparing for the divorce and negotiating property division, spousal support and other legal matters.

The timing of the divorce determines a spouse's tax status and their tax bracket. If a divorce was finalized by the last day of the year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers the spouse as being unmarried. For that year, the spouse is no longer classified as married filing jointly or married filing separately. These spouses will have to file as single unless they have children or other dependents living with them which places them in the head of household status.

Using mediation to make your divorce easier

Divorce is a complicated process, but there are things that you may be able to do to make it a bit simpler for both parties and your children. For some couples, this is possible through mediation, which may allow you to avoid litigation and craft a final order that allows you to have a strong post-divorce future.

In Texas, couples who are pursuing a divorce may have to go through mediation before they can move on to litigation over an issue. However, this requirement could actually work to your benefit and allow you to actually effectively address and resolve divorce issues without stepping foot inside a courtroom.

Fighting against a combative divorce

Almost by definition, the end of a marriage may be difficult under the best of circumstances. Some Texas residents may even find that the complexity of their divorce multiplies when they are dealing with a high-conflict spouse. However, there are ways to lower the aggression in a divorce and protect one's rights in Texas.

One method to avoid arguments and shouting matches with a former spouse is to limit communication to writing. In more contentious cases, communication can be restricted to the attorneys through emails, texts or other messages. Keep in mind, though that written communication can act as evidence in court. Also, taking the time to reflect before words in writing can help stop ill-considered statements. Communications should be limited to concise and neutral statements. Do not respond to provocative messages.

Business valuation plays important role during divorce process

As business owner going through divorce, you certainly want to do what you can to protect your business. When company assets are at stake, you may feel a particular anxiety toward your proceedings as these assets could add a layer of complications that other individuals may not have to deal with during their proceedings. One particular issue that will need attention relates to business valuation.

The value of your business could vary depending on a variety of factors. These factors could range from the seemingly minute, such as the date that the valuation takes place, to substantial, such as the valuation standard used. Therefore, you will undoubtedly want to ensure that you take every aspect of the valuation process seriously.

Prenuptial agreements now address lifestyle behavior

In Texas and elsewhere, prenuptial agreements are usually drafted with the intent of avoiding disputes over divorce legal issues such as alimony and property division. More recently, these agreements have addressed more unique issues and even lifestyle behavior during marriage.

Across the United States, agreements have been drafted with terms that have governed matters on child rearing such as raising the couple's children in a specified country or under a designated religion. More agreements have special provisions restricting the time that a co-parent can spend on the Internet.