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February 2013 Archives

Reasons to have a prenup agreement

Many Dallas-area couples consult with a wedding planner soon after becoming engaged. It may be just as important for those couples to talk to an attorney. In the glow of upcoming nuptials, it can be difficult for a couple to imagine unhappier times, but with a continued high divorce rate, happily is not always ever after. That's why it's important to protect oneself with a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement may be thought of as divorce insurance. By agreeing ahead of time how marital property will be split in divorce proceedings, a couple can save significant legal expenses later. Prenuptial agreements are particularly important if one is getting married later in life after having accumulated substantial assets. An up-front agreement regarding asset division should be a consideration for anyone bringing a nest egg in excess of $100,000, a house or a treasured family heirloom into the marriage.

Tax tips for divorcing couples

Many Texas residents find the process of filing income tax returns fraught with confusion. An already challenging process becomes even more complicated by divorce, which changes one's filing status as well as the deductions and exemptions that may be claimed. Here are a few tips on how to approach your taxes if you are going through a divorce.To determine your 2012 filing status, the relevant date is Dec. 31, 2012. If you were still married on that date, even if the divorce was in process and you were living separately from your spouse, you and your spouse may use "married filed jointly" as your filing status. There are several advantages to this status, including favorable exclusion limits for the capital gain on the sale of your primary residence. One disadvantage is that you will be jointly liable with your spouse if there is an audit.

Father seeks sole custody after ex-wife absconds with child

A child custody dispute has landed a woman in a Texas jail and may result in loss of her parental rights. After a weekend visit with her 4-year-old daughter, the woman did not return the girl to her ex-husband, who has primary custody, as required by the terms of the custody order. Instead, she took the girl with her to Mexico. When the girl did not return home at the end of the weekend, the girl's father alerted law enforcement authorities, fearing he would never see his daughter again. Several days later, the woman was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol. She currently is being held in Starr County Jail on a felony count of interference with custody. The daughter has been reunited with her father, who has asked the court for both sole custody of the girl and termination of his ex-wife's parental involvement.

Texas officials target parents behind on child support payments

The Texas Attorney General's Office has developed a program to target parents who are behind on their child support payments. Through the Child Support Evader initiative, the state plans to publicly identify delinquent parents by name and to display their photographs and profiles on posters, in the news media and in other public and private locations. The state hopes the program will lead to tips on where to find parents who are avoiding their financial obligations to their children. These drastic measures will not be taken on all parents who are behind on their payments. For someone to be listed as a child support evader, several conditions must apply. The parent must be more than $5,000 behind in court-ordered payments and have not made regular payments for at least six months. There must be an arrest warrant issued and the parent must be avoiding apprehension. In addition, the parent must not be in bankruptcy or receiving welfare, and the other parent must sign a waiver of confidentiality allowing certain information about the case to be made public.

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