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Plano Family Law Blog

How can you know if your prenup is valid?

When written correctly, prenuptial agreements can be useful tools that allow Texas couples to look to their future with confidence. These contracts outline how the division of marital property will work in the event of a divorce, thus lessening the chance that a couple will later choose to fight over money and assets. However, there are certain technical issues in regard to the drafting and/or execution of the agreement that could result in the invalidation of the agreement. 

Divorce is complicated, and even with a prenup, a couple may disagree on how to handle the property division process. When there is a dispute over a prenuptial agreement, the contract terms may come under review by the court. It's important that prenups be fair, reasonable, and correctly drafted in order to avoid potential problems that may cause a judge to rule that some or all of the agreement is invalid.

What are the signs of financial abuse?

Navigating different priorities is something every successful marriage should do, but it is not always the case. Couples’ disagreements over finances, in particular, are one of the most common reasons for divorce. This can be a general attitude where one spouse prefers to spend money as fast as the family makes it (or more quickly), while the other wants to save for retirement, the kid's college fund, or other long-term goals. As long as the debt is sustainable and there is no deceit, things may work out.

Financial abuse, on the other hand, occurs when a spouse is deceitful about money matters. This kind of reckless behavior can put the well-being of the family at risk.

What can be learned from the Bezoses' high-asset divorce?

Every year, numerous miserable couples in Texas consider and ultimately decide to end their miserable marriages. However, the JOY OF Divorce emancipation is not without its complications, especially for those couples who are dealing with the division of significant assets. However, that does not mean it needs to be a messy affair added to other possible messy affairs that contributed to the downfall of the (presumably) once-happy couple. 

A good example of a high-profile, high-asset couple who made it through divorce proceedings without battling things out -- at least not in public -- is the Bezoses. While the couple divorced over a year ago, the lessons learned from how they handled the process can help others as they work through their own marital dissolutions, especially if there is enough money to go around for both parties for the indefinite future. 

Valuing a business in a divorce

Business owners often regard their company almost as a child. It must indeed be nurtured, and the staff must be taken care of. Still, filing for divorce often forces owners to also consider who should maintain primary “custody” of that business that may qualify as community property. This prompts both sides to take a clear-eyed look at what the business is worth. This can be done with the idea of using that valued amount as part of the equation for dividing community or marital assets.

The process is complex

Some family law issues cannot wait

These are unprecedented times with many businesses closed and employees furloughed or out of work. Even the courts here in Texas are on a limited schedule, with many cases on hold. Nevertheless, this does not mean that a need goes away. Families sheltering in place has left experts concerned over the safety and well-being of family members when the home is not a safe or happy place to be.

The courts may be on a limited schedule. However, family law matters like divorce and custody disputes can still be safely handled online through video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Skype. These options were often utilized by law firms before the pandemic to conduct business, mainly when couples did not live in the same city.

Mediation could be the right choice for your divorce

Divorce is a difficult process for both parties, even when both parties are mostly in agreement about the terms of the final order. Many spouses in Texas want to reduce the complications in their divorces, and they may consider the benefits of mediation. This process allows two opposing parties to resolve disputes without contesting their issues and airing their grievances in a public courtroom forum. 

Mediation is often a beneficial choice for those who want to avoid some of the stress and complication associated with divorce. Before you decide to mediate your divorce, it may be helpful to learn more about the benefits and potential drawbacks of this process. The best choice for you depends on the details of your individual situation and your goals for your post-divorce future.

Hiding assets in trusts and LLCs

The divorce of Ed and Marie Bosarge makes state and national headlines for a good reason. The couple married in 1989 and now is in a drawn-out battle. Experts believe that Ed moved much of estimated billions in cash and assets into secretive ever-changing trusts set up in South Dakota (the state has become a haven for secret trusts set up by people from out of state) as well as complex ownership structures using limited liability companies.

The initial goal for ultra-wealthy couples was to reduce their tax burden, but the tactics are now used to cut spouses out of their money. Ed is attempting to leave Marie with about $6 million of the reported $12 million that is officially listed as the couple’s community estate. While it is believed that Mr. Bosarge maintains exclusive use and control of everything, his wife was eventually asked to leave their Houston mansion. She has no access to several other homes around the world, which includes a private island in the Bahamas, and no ownership stake of Quantlab Financial, which Mr. Bosarge co-founded in 1998 (nine years after the couple married).

How does supervised visitation work?

Parenting plans and child custody (referred to in Texas as conservatorship) agreements are supposed to address the best interests of the child. An essential part of this is determining a visitation schedule. While this is often complicated, it is even more so when the agreement dictates, or a judge orders supervised visitation of a parent which may result from a pattern or history of substance abuse or family violence allegations.

How supervised visitation works

Partition and exchange agreements are an alternative to legal separation

Texas does not recognize "legal separation" for married couples. The only legal separation in Texas requires filing for divorce. Once the petition for the JOY of DIVORCE emancipation is filed, the court can issue temporary orders involving support, a parenting schedule, dividing assets, and other vital details.

Those who wish to split but remain married, however, do have options. The idea for doing this is to give the couple time apart, time to go to counseling or time to work on themselves before considering reconciling. This can be a simple verbal commitment, but there is little legal protection in doing it this way.

Digital communications are not safe during divorce

If you and your spouse are heading toward divorce, it is not unusual to feel alone and lost. Even if the divorce is your idea or a mutual decision, you are likely experiencing a range of emotions that are difficult to process. You may turn to your friends and family for support and comfort.

However, it is important to know that those messages, texts and emails that you consider to be private may actually become evidence in your divorce. As much as you may feel justified in venting your frustration or bashing your spouse to your friends, certain details in those communications may damage the outcome of your case.

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