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Fort Worth Family Law Blog

How to prevent being taken advantage of in divorce

Texas residents who find themselves on the verge of divorce should realize there are several ways to help keep their spouses from taking advantage of them. If a person expects the other party to play dirty, finding the best lawyer possible is key. Chances are, the other party will be doing the same. This is important if a spouse wants to protect his or her assets and interests from a spouse who wants to take everything.

It is also important for a spouse facing divorce to understand how money works. Understanding finances means collecting current and past copies of important financial documents such as income tax returns, retirement account statements and bank statements. Going back a few years to collect older information is difficult but necessary.

Retirement planning, Social Security and divorce

Unhappy Texas couples who are close to their 10-year mark for their marriages may want to hold off on filing for divorce until after they reach it. Doing so may allow a lower-earning spouse to receive spousal benefits from the Social Security Administration based on the earnings of the higher-earning one.

The Social Security Administration allows a divorced spouse to draw spousal benefits from the time they reach full retirement age until they also retire when they can then draw their own. This allows their individual benefits to continue growing until age 70 while also allowing them to collect spousal benefits while they are still working.

More couples are considering prenuptial agreements

It is no longer unusual for Texans who are planning to get married to raise the subject of a prenuptial agreement. Divorce attorneys report that these agreements that often guide the terms of a divorce property settlement have become more commonplace. Young people entering their first marriages have expressed interest in them and added to the trend.

Although prenuptial agreements have had the reputation of being only for the wealthy, they are increasingly recognized as useful to many couples. Because these documents generally address financial issues, they are largely used by people who want to designate assets and debts as individual property and not marital property. This is especially attractive to a person who does not want to be saddled with a marital obligation to pay the other partner's student loan debt. Assets that might be protected include a person's share in a family business, royalties from intellectual property and an inheritance.

Dividing assets when going through a divorce

When a couple decides to get a divorce in Texas, it is likely that any assets that were obtained during the marriage will be divided. This can be quite expensive for each person if they do not take steps to protect those assets during and after the split.

A divorce can be a very emotional experience for many people. Those emotions can cause problems when it comes to determining the value of certain property and assets. For example, the family home may have a higher emotional value than the actual real estate value. This can result in an unfair settlement and end up costing both individuals more money when it comes to taxes. It is best to have a third party investigate the value of all applicable assets so no one ends up with more or less than what they should.

Social Security benefits and divorce

When a couple divorces, there are many things that both parties have to take into consideration, and some of these things might affect one or both ex-spouses years after the divorce. One of these things is Social Security. Texas residents might be wondering if it is possible to receive Social Security benefits based upon the earning records of the former spouse. While the answer is yes, there are some conditions that must be met.

The condition is the length of the marriage. A couple must have been married for 10 consecutive years before the divorce. Even being short a week of those 10 years can mean the difference between receiving benefits or not. If social security benefits are a concern, particularly for the spouse that either did not work during the marriage or earned significantly less, timing is a major concern. Understanding how the rules work might help a person potentially receive thousands of dollars in additional divorced spouse benefits.

Proactive coparenting strategies

Children of divorce in Texas can benefit from a cooperative effort from both parents to get along as they deal with coparenting concerns. Although disputes are often at the root of divorces, they are typically connected to interpersonal issues between the parents. It may seem difficult to set these issues aside, but by doing so and focusing on the needs of the children, it may be possible to achieve success in coparenting efforts.

One of the most important ways to make coparenting a positive activity is to treat one's ex-spouse as a partner. Both parties need to be able to set personal differences and feelings aside as they work toward finding the best solutions for their children. The relationship might be approached in a similar manner as in dealing with a teacher, focusing strictly on the needs of the child without pulling in personal matters. Keeping divorce details separate from visitation and other child custody issues can simplify the communications.

Reba McEntire divorce finalized

Texas country music fans may have heard about the impending divorce of singer Reba McEntire. It was finalized on Oct. 28. She and her husband had been together for 26 years.

Her now ex-husband, Narvel Blackstock, is also her manager. McEntire says they are still friends, and they released a statement when they announced their separation in August saying they will continue to work together. They had actually been separated for some time by the time they announced it publicly, and at the time of the announcement, they did not say whether they intended to divorce. McEntire announced that the divorce was final on Facebook.

Amber Portwood's child custody dispute over

Texans who watch the program "Teen Mom" are most likely familiar with Amber Portwood. The TV personality recently fought a child custody battle with her ex-fiance over custody of her daughter. She was able to win her case by remaining sober and by showing financial responsibility.

Ms. Portwood's troubles began in 2011. At that time, she was charged with domestic violence for reportedly abusing her ex-fiance in front of her children. At that time, she agreed to give her ex custody of their children. She then reportedly asked the judge to sentence her to prison because she reportedly said she could not overcome her drug addiction problems on her own.

Preparing before initiating divorce proceedings

Although divorce might seem like an unusual New Year's resolution, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that there is often an increase of approximately 33 percent in divorce filings during the month of January. Some Texas residents may find that this is the ideal time to make a new start by ending a bad marriage. However, a decision based on emotions or initiated without clearly evaluating the implications could lead to unanticipated difficulties.

Experts recommend involving financial professionals and a psychologist in one's preparation process. A psychologist or counselor may provide an objective assessment of the situation so that people can be sure that their head is clear as they plan for the end of a marriage. A financial planner provides the same type of assessment in connection with the monetary implications of a divorce. Although there may be emotional issues that make divorce seem appealing, the financial side of the matter could be costly. In some cases, it might be preferable to consider resolving financial issues before exiting a marriage. In other cases, a financial professional might be able to help with solutions to contentious financial issues affecting a marriage.

Details of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith divorce

Texas residents may be aware that the Hollywood glamour couple Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith announced in June 2014 that their 19 year marriage was ending. The couple pledged at the time that they hoped to avoid a contentious legal battle, and media reports concerning the couple's divorce documents released on Dec. 8 seem to indicate that the split was indeed amicable.

According to the reports, Banderas will pay Griffith spousal support of $65,000 per month. The actress will also receive the couple's home in Colorado's exclusive Aspen ski resort. Both Banderas and Griffith are passionate art collectors, and the divorce agreement will see Griffith keep the Picasso masterpiece 'The Painter and his Model." However, Banderas will be able to console himself by hanging works by Picasso and Diego Rivera on his walls.

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