Category: Divorce

Dividing Assets When Divorcing

While no one ever sets out to plan to get divorced, divorces are increasingly common in the United States today. When divorce happens, one of the most asked questions that people have undoubtedly has to do with their assets. For many separating couples, dividing material assets is one of the most challenging parts of the divorce process. While it may be difficult to work together with your former partner during this time, the more you and your future-ex spouse can agree on, the easier the division of assets will be.

Here are a few pointers on how to expedite this process and make it as easy as possible.

The More Organized You Are, the Better

A list is your best tool when it comes to getting yourself organized for asset division. It is simplest if you and your spouse can make a list together of joint items you own that will need to be divided. This is your starting point. There is no wrong item to put on this list.

Don’t Expect Everything to Be Equal

Most divorces turn out the be fair, but not necessarily equal when it comes to asset division. Typically, most couples struggle with homes, vehicles, retirement benefits, household items, and valuables. However, it is important to remember that all assets must be divided in a way that is satisfactory to both parties before the divorce can be finalized.

Try to Keep Things Civil

The more cordial and amicable the two parties can be, the better. Not playing nice will only drag the process out longer and disputes can not only be time-consuming, but they can lead to formal disclosures which can slow the divorce down even more.

Consider Dividing Assets into Trusts for Dependents

If you have dependents, talk to your attorney about dividing your assets into trusts for your children. It can help save you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse money and make sure that your assets are not divided among you but instead given to the heirs or dependents in your life, outside of other divorce proceedings. It is a great way to keep these valuable assets protected.

Be Prepared to Dispute the House and Cars

For most couples, the biggest issues with asset division are splitting the house and the cars. If you have children, judges will typically grant that the parent with primary physical custody stays in the home. However, some couples will choose to sell the home and split the proceeds. Vehicles are another common area of dispute.

Many individuals involved in divorces are surprised to find that the spouse who holds the sole title, doesn’t always necessarily get the vehicle that they own. Even a vehicle owned by one spouse can be considered marital property. A great tip to remember with vehicle distribution is to know the value of the vehicle in its current condition.

Take Your Time with Family Businesses and Retirement Benefits

Two of the most difficult assets to split are retirement benefits and family businesses. Both of these assets are very complex, they take time and they can be a source of contention. Retirement benefits don’t always just go to the individual who received these benefits through their work—they may be considered marital property.

Family-owned businesses must be divided based on the value of the business as is, along with present and future profits. Typically, the easiest agreement involves one spouse buying out the other spouse, once these values have been determined.

Always Consult with Your Attorney

The best thing that any divorcing party can do during this difficult time is to make sure they always consult their attorney for advice. The right legal expert can be a major asset when dividing assets. If you have questions about dividing assets or trusts please feel free to give the experts at Hegwood Law Group a call at (218) 218-0880.

Choosing Legal Guardians for Kids When Mom and Dad are Divorced | Houston Wills Lawyer

As a Houston wills lawyer, I can not state emphatically enough how important it is for all parents to create a comprehensive plan that will protect their children should the unthinkable occur.

But what happens if you are divorced and can not come to an agreement with your ex-spouse as to who should raise your kids if something happens to you? Should you go ahead and document your own guardianship wishes anyway? And just whose wishes would hold up in court?

In most cases, if your child’s biological parent is still living at the time of your death and you share custody, your children will be raised by the surviving parent, unless there is some clear reason why that should not happen.

There is nothing you can do about this unless you can prove that the child’s biological parent is unfit to raise your child and make a compelling case as to why your guardianship nominations should be honored under the circumstances.

Examples of this might include a severe drug addiction, criminal past or a history of abuse.

However, if this is unlikely, the next best thing to do is name guardians anyway so that your wishes for the care of your children will be known and taken into consideration should your ex-spouse also pass away before your kids reach the age of 18.

This is especially important in the event your ex-spouse did not legally document his or her guardianship wishes upon passing, as your wishes would then be given priority over, say, an unwilling step-parent (just think back to the Cinderella story for a chilling example of this).

Finally, if you are a single parent and have concerns not only about guardianship but also concerning your ex-spouse handling any assets you would leave to your kids if you passed away first, I encourage you to meet with a Houston wills lawyer right away so you can protect such funds in a trust. If you need help getting started with this, please feel free to give us a call at Hegwood Law Group and request a consultation: (218) 218-0880.

 

HOUSTON FAMILY LAWYER’S ADVICE FOR NEWLYWED FINANCES

Whether you are planning to get married or are already enjoying your wedded bliss, there is no time like the present to get financial advice from a knowledgeable family lawyer in Houston. You and your partner should put more planning into your financial future than you did into your wedding, after all, one only lasts a day and the other is for the rest of your lives!

Financial discussions are not always easy, but laying out a clear roadmap early on can actually be beneficial to the overall health of your marriage. Money issues are a huge contributor to unhappiness in a partnership, and Houston family lawyers have seen time and again how working together earlier can avoid a lot of stress later on in the relationship.

Planning for the Future

It is impossible to peer into the future and know everything that you and your spouse are going to face together, but there are some pretty obvious considerations to make. Talking with your partner and possibly with a family lawyer in Houston can help you determine how you plan to approach many of the biggest financial considerations facing newlyweds.

· College and/or student loans

· Purchasing a home

· Planning for children

· Funding retirement

· Life insurance policies

· Other large purchases (cars, furniture, etc.)

· Travel

Planning for these types of things can cause some stress, but it can also be fun. Knowing that you eventually want to be able to take a trip to Paris and then taking concrete steps to make it happen can be a wonderful bonding experience and will also pay off in the experience of a lifetime. Family lawyers in Houston see all too often how couples get into financial difficulties by taking trips or making large purchases when they have not planned ahead to make them realities.

Planning for the Present

While just as important, sometimes figuring out what to do about finances right now is a little less fun. Still, you and your spouse need to take the opportunity to look at your current financial situation in order to make your long-term goals a reality. There are some considerations that are especially important for newlywed planning, too, when it comes to how to combine (or not) your finances.

· What are your expectations when it comes to money

· Which finances and accounts will be combined, and which will not

· How will you deal with debt brought into the marriage

· Will there be resentment if one spouse makes more money than the other

· What are your views on using credit

Budgeting

In order to develop a long-term plan, you and your partner will need to use the above information to create a workable budget. This should include:

· Income (wages, businesses, investments)

· Assets (accounts, stocks, retirement, property)

· Debts (school, home loans, business loans, credit cards)

· Expenses (ongoing and incidental)

By laying out what you have and what you need, you can develop a plan to help meet your current requirements, as well as to save for the future. A good family lawyer in Houston can help you put all of this information into perspective to create workable plan to meet your financial needs.

KATY PERRY AND RUSSELL BRAND FINALLY DIVORCED

Katy Perry and Russell Brand were divorced this week, ending their 14 month marriage.  Even though the couple reached a divorce settlement months ago, California law requires couples to wait 6 months before they can be officially divorced.
Thankfully for Texas residents, a Texas court can dissolve your marriage only 60 days, 1/3 of the time, after a Petition for Divorce is filed.  There are exceptions to this waiting period for cases of domestic violence.  Parties can get into court sooner than the 60 days through Temporary Orders hearings if they need more immediate relief, such as child custody and visitation provisions or support.

If you are ready or in need of a divorce, the experienced and dedicated attorneys and team at Hegwood & Associates are ready to guide you through the process as quickly and seamlessly as possible.