Texas Divorce Spousal Maintenance Calculator

April 15th, 2014

Texas is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to ordering spousal support; or “maintenance” as it is defined in the Texas statute. Texas House Bill 901 changing the spousal maintenance law in the Texas Family Code became effective for divorce cases on September 1, 2011. The bill revised the conditions that establish eligibility for spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony and changed the factors required to be considered by a court in determining the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments for a spouse who is eligible to receive maintenance.

The court that determines a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance shall determine the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments by considering all relevant factors, including:

(1) each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse’s financial resources on dissolution of the marriage;

(2) the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training;

(3) the duration of the marriage;

(4) the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(5) the effect on each spouse’s ability to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs while providing periodic child support payments or maintenance, if applicable;

(6) acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy, or other property held in common;

(7) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;

(8) the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;

(9) the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;

(10) Marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and

(11) Any history or pattern of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code.

The maximum amount of spousal support that courts may award is the lesser of $5,000.00 per month or 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income. This is the maximum amount of maintenance the court orders.

However, in all circumstances, the law provides that the Court shall order maintenance for the shortest reasonable period that allows the recipient to earn sufficient income to meet his or her “minimum reasonable needs” and as follows:

The Texas law mandates the maximum duration of support as follows:
Maintenance shall be paid for a maximum of:

• 5 years, if due to family violence conviction and marriage is under 10 years;
• 5 years, if marriage is between 10 and 20 years;
• 7 years, if marriage is between 20 and 30 years;
• 10 years, if marriage is 30 years or more;
except in the case of an incapacitating physical or mental disability, in which case the award may last as long as the disability.

In addition, the law allows the Texas Family Law Courts to terminate maintenance if the recipient “cohabits with another person in a permanent place of abode on a continuing, conjugal basis.”

Sample Calculation of Texas Spousal Support Maintenance:

 

Setting Up Your New Texas Business

April 13th, 2014

You have decided that now is the time to start up your new business. Where do you start? This can be a very scary proposition for many people! Starting up a new business or forming a new entity doesn’t have to be complicated but it needs to be done in a smart way. The key in structuring the entity in which you will do business is to “Effectively win your lawsuit before it is filed against you.” Whether starting a business by yourself or with partners, proper legal planning will enhance the enforceability and specifically define the terms of your business agreement.

Being a sole proprietor has been the American way for many decades and has made the United States a fertile ground for growth and abundant profit. Today, however, a sole proprietorship is not legally smart, creates unnecessary vulnerabilities to the owner, and may cause unwanted complications in the future. The smart choice is to enjoy the benefits and protection provided by a legal entity in the event of loss of management or financial control, for example, a six-year-long recession, cancer, death or divorce.

Many business failure issues and major legal expenses may be avoided if you are smart from the start.

Whether you choose to set up a Texas Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or General Partnership, you create liability protection for you, your partners or investors by sheltering personally-owned assets and accounts. Should your company fail, you will enhance personal protection and avoid having to invade your children’s education funds and other personal funds, accounts and assets to pay debts of the properly-formed and managed business.

There are number of ways to maintain control of your business but this must be planned and implemented before the business commences.

1.  Define the terms of the entity.

2.  Make sure the major governing provisions and terms of the entity are clear and specific.

3.  Protect the owners in the event of the death of fellow owners and claims of their estate or surviving spouse.

4.  Protect yourself against a lazy or incompetent partner.

5.  Protect the business in case of a divorce, either yours or other key people.

By choosing any of the statutorily-provided entities in Texas, you have the right to decide the terms of who runs the company and how and when the profits will be distributed. If there are problems with one of the fellow owners, buy-sell agreements are crucial and very effective for promoting agreed resolution or buy- outs, or dealing with death or divorce.

Planning for unpredictable, but common, major life events make legal and financial sense. Getting good legal advice now saves time, money and hassle in the future.

Preventing Custodial Parent From Relocating Children Out of State

April 10th, 2014

Mom and Dad are divorcing or have been divorced and are now sharing joint custody of their children in the same city in Texas.  One parent receives a letter from the other parent’s attorney requesting that this parent be allowed to relocate the children to another state so he/she may take a better job position with another company!  This is a dilemma no parent ever wants to experience!  Child Custody cases involving interstate relocation jurisdiction issues cause much heartache and are costly legal battles.

What can a Parent do to protect themselves from children being relocated away from the non-moving parent to another state without her/his consent?   How may this affect the parent’s relationship with the children?

The Texas Family Code 153.002 Best Interest of Child states “The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”

The Texas Family code does not elaborate on the specific requirement for modification in the residency-restriction context, and there are no specific statutes governing residency restrictions or their removal for purposes of relocation. Texas Courts have no statutory standards to apply to this context.

The Texas Legislature has provided Texas Family Code 153.001, a basic framework on their public policy for all suits affecting the parent-child relationship:

  1. The public policy of this state is to:

  1. Assure the children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;

  2. Provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child;

  3. Encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

How does The State of Texas treat an initial Child Custody determination?

Texas Family Code 152.201 of the UCCJEA states, among other things, that a court may rule on custody issues if the Child:

*Has continually lived in that state for 6 months or longer and Texas was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the legal proceeding.

*Was living in the state before being wrongfully abducted elsewhere by a parent seeking custody in another state. One parent continues to live in Texas.

*Has an established relationship with people (family, relatives or teachers), ties, and attachments in the state

*Has been abandoned in an emergency: or is safe in the current state, but could be in danger of neglect or abuse in the home state

Relocation is a child custody situation which will turn on the individual facts of the specific case, so that each case is tried on its own merits.

Most child custody relocation cases tried in Texas follow a predictable course:

  1. Allowing or not allowing the move.

  2. Order of psychological evaluations or social studies of family members

  3. Modification of custody and adjusting of child’s time spent with parents

  4. Adjusting child support

  5. Order of mediation to settle dispute

  6. Allocating transportation costs

  7. Order opposing parties to provide all information on child’s addresses and telephone #

Help to Prevent Your Child’s Relocation in a Texas Court by Preparing Your Case!  

  1. Does the intended relocation interfere with the visitation rights of the non- moving parent?

  2. The effect on visitation and communication with the non-moving parent to maintain a full and continuous relationship with the child

  3. How will this move affect extended family relationships living in the child’s current location?

  4. Are there bad faith motives evident in the relocating parent?

  5. Can the non-moving parent relocate to be close to the child? If not, what type of separation hardship would the child have?

  6. The relocating parent’s desire to accommodate a new job, spouse, or other criteria above the parent-child relationship. A Parent’s personal desire for move rather than need to move?

  7. Is there a significant degree of economic, emotional or education enhancement for the relocating parent and child in this move?

  8. Any violation of an order or prior notice of the intended move or a temporary restraining order

  9. Are Special Needs/ Talents accommodated for the child in this move?

  10. Fear of child and high cost of travel expenses for non-moving parent or child to visit each other to be able to continue parent- child relationship.

  11. What other Paramount Concerns would affect the child concerning the relocation from the non-moving parent?

At the Nacol Law Firm PC, we represent many parents trying to prevent their child from relocating to another city or state and having to experience “A Long Distance Parental Relationship” brought on by a better job or new life experience of the relocating parent! We work at persuading courts to apply the specific, narrow exceptions to these general rules in order to have child custody cases heard in the most convenient forum in which the most qualifying, honest evidence is available; cases where the child’s home state or other basic questions are clarified, and cases where a parent has the right in close proximity with their child regardless of other less important factors.

Serving clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.