Travers & Travers

Katy Texas Divorce And Family Law Blog

Five tips for settling arguments with your spouse

All couples argue from time to time. This means that neither spouse is afraid or unwilling to communicate with their partner. Clear and consistent communication with your spouse is an essential factor in maintaining a healthy marriage. Many couples neglect this part of their relationship, which can increase their chances of getting divorced.

IRAs, 72(t) distributions and divorce

Divorce among older couples is on the rise even though the rate overall is dropping. Some older Texas couples may have accumulated a substantial amount of money in retirement accounts, and this may need to be divided in a divorce.

Certain types of accounts, such as 401(k)s, can only be divided if a document known as a qualified domestic relations order has been prepared. An IRA does not need a QDRO, and dividing one can be fairly straightforward. However, it has the potential to get more complicated if a person has begun taking 72(t) distributions before reaching the age of 59 1/2. Under a limited set of circumstances, these types of distributions are permitted prior to retirement age without incurring a 10% penalty. However, according to regulations, if the account is modified in any way, this penalty kicks in and becomes retroactive for all distributions. The problem is that while it appears to be a modification based on IRS regulations, when individuals have sought clarification using a private letter ruling, this has not been the case.

Six common reasons people file for divorce

When two people divorce, there is usually more than one issue that led them to this point. Additionally, most marriages seem to break down for the same reasons. If no effort is made to reignite the sparks in your relationship, these common issues could signal the end of a marriage.

What challenges could lead to divorce?

There's no need to throw everything out in the new year

As some Texas couples begin the new year, they might contemplate divorce or child custody filings. During those types of processes, each person will be required to remember dates and times of things that, in the middle of the tensions and stress, they might forget. A good way to remember that specific information is to keep the previous year's calendar on hand.

An old calendar can become a helpful resource and strong evidence for parents who are getting ready to file for child custody. During the custody process, parents will need to show the child's health history, their extracurricular and social schedules as well as other important events. The information on the calendar will help a parent provide specific information about time and place as well as which parent was present for each. This information can affect custody and support.

Tips for creating prenuptial agreements

When two people in Texas marry or even move in together, they might want to consider a prenuptial agreement or a cohabitation agreement. However, it is important that they discuss this agreement and how it can mutually benefit both of them. They should also both have legal counsel. A person who is simply presented an agreement drawn up by the other person's attorney may be looking at a boilerplate agreement that does not allow any concessions.

This was the case for one woman whose boyfriend gave her a cohabitation agreement that said if they married, state spousal support laws would not apply. It also said that regardless of how much money she put into the house that he had purchased with the assistance of his mother, she would not be entitled to any financial compensation. A better way to approach this conversation would have been for them to sit down and review their finances and discuss what would be best for both of them.

The Hague Convention and international child custody issues

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction, a multilateral treaty, has 98 countries as signatories, including the United States. As international relationships become more common in Texas and across the country, this treaty may become increasingly relevant in child custody disputes. The end of any relationship can lead to serious legal and financial battles, especially when children are involved. Both parents may feel that they deserve sole custody over the child. In addition, when a relationship comes to an end, one parent may want to return to their home country. A shared child and a custody agreement may make this more complicated.

Parental abductions in custody disputes are the most common type of child abduction in the United States. The complexity increases when multiple countries and sets of laws are involved. A parent may want to take the child to their home country largely due to the advantage that they would have in any custody dispute or legal case. This is where the Hague Convention comes in. Countries that have acceded to the treaty agree that any child taken without authorization from one country to another should be returned to his or her habitual place of residence.

What to do after an ex files for child custody

When a person finds out that their ex-partner has started the process of seeking child custody, it can cause them to feel anxiety. Texas residents may wonder what steps they can take next in order to help them to prepare for what lies ahead.

The best thing that a person can do is arm themselves with knowledge. Each state has different laws that pertain to families and child custody. Some have statutes indicating that shared custody is a baseline for custody cases. However, each jurisdiction will vary, so understanding how the local courts work is important. Once an ex-spouse files for custody in court, the only thing a person can do is respond and start the court process.

3 Factors that can contribute to gray divorce

After years of partnership, it can be difficult to come to terms with a marriage that’s ending. There may be decades of memories and emotions to contend with, not to mention they often have to put up with speculation and comments from friends, family and strangers alike.

However, while divorce is not as common for older couples as it is among people under the age of 50, the rate of gray divorce has doubled within the past 30 years. Though a gray divorce may seem out of the blue to outsiders, there are many contributing factors that can lead to divorce later in life.

Getting equal treatment in child custody cases

Fathers in Texas who are going through a divorce may be worried that judges will be biased against them if they are seeking child custody. Traditionally, the family arrangement was usually that the mother took care of the children while the father worked outside the home. If parents divorced, courts usually assumed that the situation should continue that way and gave custody to the mother.

While times and ideas about mothers and fathers have changed, some fathers may still worry that they might be at a disadvantage in a custody case. There may still be an assumption that they are not nurturing, do not know enough about how to care for children or do not have time for childcare. Courts are supposed to base their custody decisions on the best interests of the child, and some may assume that being with the mother is in the child's best interests. However, courts should focus on other criteria to determine the child's best interests, such as the relationship each parent has with the child and how well each parent communicates with the child.

Wealthy couples, investments and splitting up

The longer couples are married, the more assets they usually accrue, and older couples may have to negotiate splitting a variety of assets that can include not only the family home but also investment properties and accounts. Some Texas couples will face this situation if their marriage ends, but there are ways they can protect their investments and interests.

In a high-net worth divorce, it is important for each spouse to walk into negotiations with a clear idea about their assets, investments and the financial state of the couple. They should be clear about who can make withdrawals and other decisions regarding the accounts. Access to these accounts is important as the ex-spouses begin to assess their financial health and plan for the future. The division of these accounts, however, will differ depending on the type of account, and some will be liable to heavy taxes and other penalties if dissolved or split. During this process, the ex-spouses should also be clear about the taxes and penalties they will incur as these need to be taken into consideration when negotiating the division of assets. The same logic applies to dividing retirement accounts since 401(k) and 403(k) accounts are handled differently than IRAs and will require different documentation to split them.

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Katy, TX 77450

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