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El Paso Family Law Blog

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Supreme Court rules on second military divorce case in a week

The nation's Supreme Court recently ordered the Supreme Court of another state to re-examine its decision in a divorce between a military veteran and his ex-wife. This is significant in that a week earlier the justices had ruled in another military divorce case. Military personnel in Texas and around the country are taking note of these rulings and their potential impact on divorce proceedings.

In the initial case, the justices ruled that a state had wrongly ordered a veteran to pay his ex-wife money to account for what she lost when part of his pension was converted to disability payments. That ruling acknowledged the potential hardship the loss of the pension funding could cause on ex-spouses. However, the decision was primarily based on the law that disability benefits were not to be considered in divorce settlements.

Program to reduce delinquent child support payments a success

Many divorces in Texas involving children often include provision for financial assistance for the children after a marriage has ended. However, residents frequently reported that their ex-spouses repeatedly failed to make required child support payments. Last September, the state of Texas took action to remedy this situation. Anyone who failed to make child support payments in the previous six months could not renew his or her vehicle registration.

The program has been deemed a success by the Texas Attorney General's office. The director of the state's Child Support Division reported that the decision was made by the legislature to grant the authority to deny license renewal for those delinquent in their payments. Compared to the gains made in late child support payments, the program costs are low.

Texas divorce: reverse mortgages popular among older couples

Couples aged 50 and over are deciding to end their marriages faster than any other age group, according to a research organization specializing in demographic trends. Since 1990, the number of older people getting a Texas divorce or elsewhere in the country has doubled. For those over 65, the divorce rate has tripled during that time frame. Because of this trend, many experts have weighed in on how to help protect the financial situations of those entering their retirement years.

Going through a divorce can raise financial questions at any age range. However, younger couples would have a longer time to recover from any potential setbacks. Older individuals have a much shorter time frame in which to make changes and make the necessary adjustments. Home ownership creates a particularly complex situation when a couple decides to divorce.

How to protect a business in a Texas divorce

No one enters a marriage initially thinking that it may end some day in the future. However, a business owner would be wise to take steps to protect his or her interests, should a Texas divorce occur later. It is important to note that if a spouse has participated in the business operations in any way, that spouse may have a stake in the business. Those who leave the workforce to care for children may also claim a stake in the business. To keep the rightful portion of a business, many seek legal protection.

Experts recommend sacrificing other assets to retain 100 percent ownership in the business. In other words, it may behoove an individual to forfeit such items as a house, luxury vehicles, retirement accounts or valuable collectibles. It is critical to never hide assets in divorce proceedings. When other assets are sacrificed, the portion of the business that an ex-spouse is eligible to receive is reduced.

Prenups may help avoid headaches in a Texas divorce

Romance is not typically the first word that comes to mind when someone mentions a prenuptial agreement. In fact, it was once argued that prenups could even encourage divorce. For a period of time, such agreements were not acknowledged in the nation's courts. However, reports suggest that 40 to 50 percent of all marriages in Texas and around the country end in divorce. Given that statistic, a prenup could be a helpful document that could benefit both spouses should they subsequently decide to start Texas divorce proceedings.

Young couples getting married for the first time may feel they do not need a prenuptial agreement, unless one or both spouses expect a future inheritance. However, it still makes sense to consider one. Older couples have had more time to amass earnings individually and certainly may benefit from a prenup. Also, if there are children involved or if it is a second or later marriage, an agreement would be recommended.

Texas military divorce: Increase in rate for female troops

The Pentagon maintains data in its personnel system that reflects the number of troops that were married in Texas and elsewhere around the country at the beginning of the fiscal year and those who ended a marriage during the year. The Defense Manpower Data Center uses these numbers to calculate a military divorce rate. The overall rate for 2016 was 3.1 percent, reflecting a slight change from the 3 percent rate in 2015. This statistic is analyzed further by separating the divorce rate data for male and female troops.

According to data researchers, the rate for male troops has been relatively unchanged. In fact, the rate has not changed significantly from the 2.6 percent rate in 2013. However, the rate among female troops increased from 6.2 percent in 2015 to 6.6 percent in 2016. Female enlisted troops saw the highest numbers with an 8 percent divorce rate, compared to only 2.8 percent of their male counterparts.

Texas divorce: Issues when high assets are involved

When most couples around the country decide to end a marriage, the discussion of finances is often one of the more complicated issues addressed. When the couple is wealthy, the discussions are likely to be more contentious in a Texas divorce. Several cases in another state highlight the complex issues that arise in a high asset divorce.

For example, a prenuptial agreement was in place for one couple, an investor and a business owner. The investor had founded a company a year prior to the couple's marriage. Within four years, the company had assets of $1 billion. The business owner petitioned the court to nullify the prenup since the investor's net worth had significantly increased while they were married.

Summer vacation will affect some Texas child custody situations

The school year is winding down for many students in Texas and throughout the nation. Many parents are currently planning summer vacations; in fact, some have already booked beach condos or woodland cabins at their favorite destinations. It's typically a fun time of year when parents and children look forward to a little R & R; however, certain child custody situations may put a damper on vacation plans.

Many people mistakenly believe that a non-custodial parent may travel with his or her children anywhere at any time. This is not always true; it often depends on the terms of an existing child custody agreement. It's also not always the case that a non-custodial parent is prohibited from traveling with his or her children.

More baby boomers are getting a Texas divorce

According to a national research organization, couples over 50 years old are deciding to end their marriages more than ever before. For these so-called baby boomers, the divorce rate in the past 25 years has doubled. On the other hand, the rate for those aged 25 to 39 has decreased 21 percent. Researchers are uncertain about the reason for these Texas divorce and national divorce trends.

Some analysts suggest that since many baby boomers have divorced before, it is more likely that they will repeat the pattern when they are older. In addition, research shows that a third of the divorces for those over 50 involve couples that were married over 30 years. The trend has created a need for a variety of new products and services for this demographic.

Man becomes fathers' rights advocate after lengthy custody case

In a Texas divorce and elsewhere around the country, custody issues can often be contentious. Traditionally, courts have granted mothers more time with the children than with fathers. One father in another state learned he would only see his son every other weekend after his divorce. He had once been an active parent in his son's life and was devastated to no longer be regularly involved. As a result, the man is now an advocate for fathers' rights.

The father was not happy with the court's decision, and he decided to fight it. He spent a lot of time in court over a three-year period. The man now shares joint custody of his son with his ex-wife. The experience has prompted him to join and eventually chair a fathers' rights advocacy group.