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Collin County Divorce LawyerUnfortunately, there are many people who seek out the legal assistance of a divorce attorney who share they had no idea their spouse wanted a divorce until they got served with the divorce petition. Although there are marriages where divorce seems to come out of nowhere, there are usually some indicators that the person did not realize were actually signs that their spouse was planning their exit strategy from the marriage. Although these signs may not always mean a spouse is planning on leaving, they may be warnings that something is going on and you should consider seeking out legal advice to ensure your best interests are protected.

No Deposits in Joint Financial Accounts

In the majority of marriages, spouses have joint financial accounts that they use to pay household bills and other expenses. If your spouse suddenly stops depositing their pay into the joint account, that could be a red flag that they are making plans to file for divorce. Opening up an individual account is one of the first things that a divorce lawyer may suggest to a client that is planning on ending their marriage.

Unexplained Withdrawals from Joint Financial Accounts

Conversely, if your spouse is making unexplained withdrawals from your joint accounts, that could be another sign that they are planning a divorce. It could be a sign of asset dissipation, where the spouse is trying to spend as much of the marital assets before the divorce, they could be spending the funds in an affair, they could be hiding the funds, or they could be paying a divorce attorney with them.


Collin County Family Law AttorneyIn Texas, just as in every other state in the country, stalking is considered a serious crime. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines stalking as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.”

One of the most frequent times a stalker’s behavior is triggered and during a divorce or breakup. If you are going to end a relationship and your partner is harassing, stalking, or threatening you, obtaining an order of protection is a critical first step in keeping you and your children safe.

Stalking Statistics

It is estimated that almost 14 million people a year are stalked, with one in three women and one in six men reporting they have been stalked. The majority of people who are being stalked know their stalkers – 40 percent are stalked by a current or intimate partner and 42 percent are stalked by an acquaintance. Approximately 75 percent of people who are being stalked are eventually threatened with physical violence by their stalker.


North Texas Divorce LawyerMost people are familiar with the term "prenuptial agreement," but fewer are familiar with postnuptial agreements. Like a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreements or "postnups" protect spouses' financial interests in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. However, postnuptial agreements are signed after the couple is already married. Many people draft postnuptial agreements after receiving a large inheritance or another financial windfall. Other couples use postnuptial agreements to protect their property rights and clarify financial obligations after a marriage has gone through a tumultuous period.

What Can a Postnuptial Agreement Do for Me?

In Texas, postnuptial agreements can be used in many different ways. Some couples use postnups to ensure that their separate property remains separate and not subject to division in the event of divorce. Others might use postnups to create more equitable arrangements for spousal support or designate a spouse as the beneficiary of certain assets. Postnups can also be used to ensure that certain assets are excluded from the marital estate and will be passed on to children from a previous relationship after a spouse's death.

You may want to draft a postnuptial agreement if you or your spouse purchased or started a business, acquired high-value assets, or made any large financial decisions. Postnups can also be useful for couples who are considering divorce but need more time to decide if the marriage is salvageable. The postnuptial agreement defines and protects the spouses' financial rights while they weigh the possibility of reconciliation and explore their divorce options.


Children Can Be Happy After a Divorce 

Posted on in Family Law

Frisco Family Law AttorneyWhen a married couple with children decides to split, often their biggest concern is how the divorce will affect their children. Many parents who have chosen to live their lives apart worry that their children will think the breakup was their fault or will resent the parents for it. Divorced parents are also often concerned that their children will not be the same after a divorce, but research shows that there is reason to be hopeful. Most children of divorce are able to adapt to their new two-home family and end up thriving in it.  

Studies Show Most Children Adapt Well 

A 20-year study conducted by noted psychologist Constance Ahrons and confirmed by others shows that about 80 percent of children of divorce are able to adapt to the divorce and lead happy, successful lives afterward. The majority of children whose parents get divorced do not experience permanent negative effects on their grades, social development, or mental health. 

Developmental psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington from the University of Virginia came to similar conclusions through a study of 2,500 children of divorce. Other researchers consistently find similar results when they study how divorce affects children: in the long run, the majority of children of divorce see no lasting negative effects from the divorce.  


Frisco, TX property division lawyerMany people have heard horror stories about divorcing spouses who are left with virtually nothing after the split. Their spouse took the house, the car, and even the dog in the divorce. While most divorce cases are not nearly as dramatic as these exaggerated stories would lead one to believe, protecting property rights is a crucial element of any divorce case.

If you are getting divorced, it is important to understand and assert your rights with regard to household items, real estate, retirement accounts, cash, and other property.

Negotiated Settlement vs. a Divorce Trial

Texas courts will generally uphold any agreements or settlements that spouses reach with regard to the division of property in a divorce. You and your spouse have the right to divide your community property however you see fit. In an amicable divorce case, the spouses may be able to sit down and discuss a fair division of assets without the court’s involvement. Even if the split is amicable and cooperative, it is best to get legal advice from an attorney regarding property division during divorce. There may be tax-related consequences and other legal factors spouses have not thought about that can heavily influence the decision.


Frisco, TX divorce lawyerWhen a couple decides to divorce, they must divide their property between them. As one might expect, each spouse brings property into the marriage, but community property is also acquired throughout their relationship. Some couples are exceedingly careful about segregating their respective personal property, while others pay little attention to the matter until divorce becomes a possibility. If you are in a position where your personal property has become commingled, or “mixed in”, with your spouse’s, consulting an experienced divorce lawyer may be the best option for you.

What Is Commingling?

Commingling occurs when two individuals’ separate property becomes intertwined or mixed. The best example of this is an individual depositing individually-owned funds—money he or she made before the marriage or received as an inheritance during the marriage—into a joint marital checking account. Doing so, in most cases, causes the deposited funds to lose their identity as separate property.

It is important to understand that in equitable distribution states such as Illinois, personal property that is commingled becomes marital property. This process is referred to by statute as transmutation of property. It is very difficult to keep private property separate when willfully commingled, and indeed, the court presumes that your intent is to commingle your property if you do so.


Making Uncontested Divorce Work for You

Posted on in Divorce

Collin County, TX uncontested divorce lawyerThere is little question that divorce can be a messy, often traumatic process. Unresolved anger and fear of an uncertain future can lead to a long, drawn-out proceeding that costs both spouses significant time, money, and energy. In many cases, a bitter, contentious divorce can destroy what was once a loving relationship, making it nearly impossible for the parties to even be in the same room for years into the future.

Your divorce, however, does not need to be this way. In fact, with a little work and the right attitude, you might find that an uncontested divorce will provide an opportunity to move forward with your lives more quickly and at much less expense.

Amicable or Uncontested Divorce

Sometimes referred to as an amicable divorce, an uncontested divorce is one that does not require the court to get involved in settling differences or ruling on issues between the spouses. Instead, the couple is able to reach a workable agreement regarding all of the necessary considerations, including:


Frisco, TX family law attorneyThe winter holiday season, for many families, begins with the celebration of Thanksgiving and continues through the month of December into the beginning of January. While the holidays are often filled with fun, food, and extended family, they can be particularly challenging for divorced parents as they try to keep their children involved in all of the festivities. If you share custody of your child with your former partner, there are some things that you can do to help make the winter holidays more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Be Prepared

If your parenting agreement does not already specify where your child will spend each holiday, you will need to make arrangements with the other parent as soon as possible. Do not wait until the very last minute. Give your child something to look forward to, and provide enough lead time for you and your child’s other parent to plan for the holiday accordingly.

Be Kind, Courteous, and Flexible

You and your former partner may have your disagreements, and they may not always be very considerate of your time and efforts. In a moment of honesty, you might even admit that the same is also true in reverse. During the holiday season, do your best to look past your problems. Ever-present hostility and constant derogatory comments about your child’s other parent will not help your child create positive memories of the holidays. Nobody is perfect, and a little patience and extra kindness can go a long way in difficult situations.


The Dangers of Parental Alienation

Posted on in Divorce

Frisco, TX family lawyerDivorce is a painful process for the families who go through it. Children can especially be affected, as their entire world is changing. During or after a divorce, it is difficult for many to hold their tongues regarding their ex-spouses, and a parent may be tempted to make a snide remark about their former partner. Such emotions are understandable and even tolerable, to a small extent, but in extreme cases, a vindictive parent directly attempts to alienate a child from the other parent. This is called parental alienation, and it can create serious problems for both the child and the offending parent.

Parental alienation often includes manipulative or destructive behavior on the part of the adult and is meant to weaken or break the relationship between the child and his or her other parent. A father telling his children lies about the mother so that they will prefer staying at his house would be an example of parental alienation. It could also involve a mother who refuses to let her children see their father by falsely claiming he does not want to be a part of their lives. When a parent tries to change a child’s perception of the other parent in an unethical way, parental alienation is occurring. This manipulative behavior is also sometimes referred to as “aggressive hostile parenting,” and it is seen by many experts as a form of emotional abuse.

Consequences of Parental Alienation

These behaviors can be harmful and confusing to a child. Parental alienation not only damages the relationship between child and parent but can also be mentally and emotionally damaging to the child involved. When a child is convinced that one of their parents is unfit or no longer loves them, it may devastate him or her, and he or she often blames him- or herself. The Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) says that this can “rob the child of their sense of security and safety leading to maladaptive emotional or psychiatric reactions.” Children who are victims of this devious behavior can suffer severe emotional trauma that has long-lasting effects on their lives.


Collin County family law attorneyThe calendar has flipped over to November, which means that the winter holiday season is fast approaching. Starting with Thanksgiving later this month, many families will celebrate several holidays over the weeks that follow, possibly including the Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.

Planning your celebrations is difficult enough for any family, but it can be especially challenging if you share custody of your children with your ex-spouse. With this in mind, it is important to know what your custody agreement says and to begin making arrangements now so that your children can make the most of this year's holiday season.

Review Your Established Holiday Custody Schedule

If you and your co-parent have already established a holiday custody schedule, the first step is to review it to make sure that it is still accurate and up to date. You may find that your overall situation has changed since you originally created it, or that your family’s holiday plans have changed. If any changes need to be made, talk to your co-parent about them as soon as possible so that you can come to an agreement.


Frisco, TX divorce lawyerIf you are considering divorcing your spouse but they are reluctant to end the marriage, you may be wondering what to do. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Every divorce is different, and therefore the best course of action will vary from couple to couple. However, there are some general tips that can help make the process go more smoothly. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Evaluate Your Reasons for Wanting a Divorce

Before you take any further steps, it is important to sit down and evaluate your reasons for wanting a divorce. Are you certain that this is what you want? Are there any other options? What are your long-term goals? Once you have a clear understanding of why you want a divorce, you will be in a better position to explain your decision to your spouse. This can help them understand where you are coming from and potentially make them more receptive to the idea of ending the marriage.

Have an Open and Honest Conversation With Your Spouse

If possible, it is always best to have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about your desire to divorce. This can be a difficult conversation, but it is important to try and communicate as clearly as you are able. Explain your reasons for wanting a divorce and give them a chance to share their thoughts and feelings on the matter. If you can come to an agreement about divorcing, this will make the process much simpler. However, even if you are not able to reach an agreement, simply having this conversation can help lay the groundwork for a more amicable divorce down the road.


Frisco, TX divorce lawyerIf you are considering a divorce or you have already started the divorce process, you may be wondering how to tell your children. While this is a difficult conversation to have, there are some things you can do to make it a little easier. Here are a few tips on how to talk to your children about your divorce.

1. Make Sure You Are Both on the Same Page

Before you have the conversation with your children, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about what you are going to say. You should both be in agreement about the key points you want to communicate to your children. This will help the conversation go more smoothly and help reduce any confusion or anxiety on the part of your children.

2. Keep Things Simple and Age-Appropriate

When you are talking to your children about your divorce, try to keep your explanation simple. They are likely already feeling confused and overwhelmed, so avoid using complicated legal jargon or getting into too many details. Just let them know that you and their other parent have decided to divorce and that they will still see both of you. It is also a good idea to speak in a way that your children will understand based on their ages and maturity levels.


Do Not Let Divorce Ruin Your Credit

Posted on in Divorce

TX divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce is undoubtedly one of the most emotionally draining situations many people have to face. At this difficult time, it is vitally important to be aware of the negative impact this emotional upheaval can have on personal finances. While working through your divorce, it is necessary to take responsibility for safeguarding your personal finances and credit score.

Good Credit Is Crucial

For spouses who have not been responsible for paying the bills during their marriages, the transition to successfully managing their personal finances can be challenging. If this describes your situation, it is important to get an overall understanding of their finances so that you can make smart decisions going forward.

One important area of focus involves your personal credit score. Everyone has their own credit score assigned to them by the credit reporting agencies, regardless of if they are single or married. However, for married people, depending on how the couple’s credit and loan accounts were set up and maintained, a person’s individual credit score may be substantially different from their spouse’s.


TX divorce lawyerIf you have decided that you are going to pursue a divorce, there is nothing to be gained by dragging your feet or delaying the inevitable. Getting divorced will not be easy, but it does not need to take many months—all while you have put your life on hold. In many situations, you might be able to get through the entire divorce process in just a few short weeks, but if you hope to do so, you and your spouse will need to work together. Let’s look at a few things that you can do to expedite your divorce.

1. Create a Plan

One of the best ways to eliminate unnecessary delays in your divorce is to work through as many of the relevant issues as you are able to with your spouse. The two of you will probably not agree on every concern, so start with the little things. If you are not really worried about keeping certain items or assets, for example, reach an agreement on those, then use the cooperative momentum to work on more difficult matters. Once you get the ball rolling, you will find it easier to live up to your decision to complete your divorce amicably.

2. Prioritize Your Wants and Needs

If negotiations between you and your spouse break down, controlling yourself and your desire to “win” could help the process move along more quickly. If you initiate an argument—or respond to your spouse when he or she picks a fight—on every issue in your divorce, progress will be nearly impossible. Decide on the things that matter most to you, such as your children or your business. Focus your attention on those important areas and let the less important things slide.


Collin County Divorce LawyerPrenuptial agreements have largely gotten a bad reputation over the last few decades—a reputation that they do not really deserve. Stories about outrageous celebrity marriages which seem doomed to fail are often where many first hear the term. However, prenuptial agreements are a tool which can be valuable for anyone. You do not need to be rich or a celebrity to benefit from a prenup.

If you have decided that you want to sign a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse before tying the knot, you may be unsure of how to bring up the conversation. Here are a few things to consider.

Benefits of a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document which establishes the property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. For example, a prenup can protect your family-owned business, ensure inheritance rights for children of a previous marriage, prevent one spouse from acquiring the debt of another, protect each spouse’s financial interests, and more.


Collin County Divorce AttorneyMost of us are rarely, if ever, more than just a few feet from our mobile devices. For some people, social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are an important way to share their lives with their friends and acquaintances. Social media critics, including many mental health professionals and relationship experts, believe that the image of ourselves that we portray on social media is essentially an idealized version that was created for the public—a version that generally downplays the struggles of life and only highlights “perfect” photos and positive achievements.

Social media use can also cause problems during a divorce. Such problems could directly affect the legal proceedings, while others might slow your healing process and keep you from moving on with your life. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or the process has already begun, be sure to avoid the following behaviors on social media.

Too Much, Too Soon

On many social media sites, you have the option to list your “relationship status.” With this in mind, it might be tempting to change yours soon after deciding to seek a divorce. This is not a good idea in most cases. You and your spouse could change your minds and decide to reconcile. Even more likely, your family and friends will probably notice the change, leading to uncomfortable questions and discussions before you are ready to have them.


Collin County Family Law AttorneyThe decision about hiring a lawyer to assist with your divorce can be a tough one. Spouses who are relatively young with no children or substantial debt and few valuable assets could probably get through the divorce process without an attorney but doing so is risky. The risk becomes even greater for the majority of divorcing spouses, whose cases are likely to have many more complicating factors.

If you are facing an imminent divorce, you might think that hiring a lawyer will cost too much to be worth it. The reality, however, is that working with a qualified divorce attorney could actually save you money on child support, spousal support, and other considerations. Let’s look at some of the ways that a lawyer can help with your divorce case.

Saving Time and Aggravation

The legal system in the United States is often ranked among the best in the world, but it can certainly be difficult to navigate on your own. Divorce cases—especially those with high conflict or between high-net-worth individuals—may require endless paperwork, conferences, hearings, signatures, and legwork. A divorce is also a highly emotional undertaking, and many people quickly realize that they cannot handle the added responsibilities associated with managing the legal side of their divorce too. A skilled family lawyer can ease your burden and save you time and energy so that you can focus on building your new post-divorce life.


Frisco Family Law AttorneyIn today’s world, there is no such thing as a “typical” divorce. There are many ways a couple can end their marriage, and the outcomes will change depending on the needs of each family. Some families are still traditional in the sense that the mother is the primary caregiver and is the one who spends the most time with the children. In other families, fathers are more involved in raising their children, which can cause tension and stress when it comes to making child-centered decisions during a divorce.

Though the law states that both mothers and fathers should be treated equally, fathers are sometimes still seen as “second-class” parents, and some dads feel that they are not given the same consideration as mothers when it comes to issues such as time with their children. Divorce can be difficult for everyone, but its negative effects may be especially worrisome for fathers. Here are a few tips to help dads aim for success during and after a divorce:

Be Proactive

When you are involved in custody disputes in the Texas court system, things become slightly more complicated. You will need to prove to the judge that you deserve to have just as much time with your child as your ex, if not more. To demonstrate this, you should be involved in your children’s lives and be sure to confer with your ex about things like doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, and school progress. The goal is to prove to the judge that you contribute more to your children’s lives than just picking them up and dropping them off.


North Texas Family Law AttorneyWhen parents need to address issues related to their children in family law cases, they may encounter some unfamiliar legal terminology. While a parent may expect to address issues related to child custody, they may be confused by terms such as “joint managing conservatorship” or “possession and access,” and they may worry that failure to address these issues properly could affect their ability to maintain relationships with their children following a divorce or a breakup with an unmarried partner. By working with an attorney who has a strong knowledge of Texas law and experience representing clients in family court, a parent can protect their rights and resolve matters in a way that will provide for the best interests of their children.

Addressing Issues Related to Legal and Physical Custody of Children

In family law cases, custody of children is typically divided into two categories: legal custody and physical custody. In Texas, legal custody is referred to as conservatorship. A person who is named as a child’s conservator by a family court will have a number of rights and obligations, including the right to be involved in decisions about children’s health and education, the right to access children’s school or medical records, and the duty to provide children with the necessary care, protection, and discipline.

Courts will usually presume that it is in children’s best interests for parents to share joint managing conservatorship. This will give both parents the right to consult with each other as they make decisions about how their children will be raised. However, in certain situations, sole managing conservatorship may be appropriate, such as when one parent is incarcerated or absent.


North Texas Divorce LawyerIn most cases, getting a divorce will require spouses to consider multiple complex issues. When a couple has joined their lives together, determining how to separate from each other can be difficult, regardless of the reasons for their divorce. While all couples will need to make decisions about the division of their marital property, spouses with a high net worth may find this process to be especially complicated. By considering different types of assets and determining how to reach fair and equitable agreements on how these assets will be divided, a couple can complete the divorce process successfully and ensure that both spouses will have the financial resources they need going forward.

Dividing Valuable Marital Assets

In divorce cases where a couple has a high net worth, assets such as the following may need to be addressed:

  • Real estate - While determining how to handle ownership of a couple’s primary residence may be difficult enough, the asset division process may become even more complicated if a couple owns multiple properties, including vacation homes and guest homes, as well as properties leased to commercial or residential tenants. Spouse may need to consider whether either party wishes to continue living in a home, whether a person will be able to assume sole ownership, and whether it may be beneficial to retain ownership of a property that generates ongoing income. If necessary, a couple may choose to sell one or more properties during their divorce. If a spouse will continue owning a property, they will need to remove the other spouse’s name from the title, and they may need to refinance the mortgage in their name alone.

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