I Am Getting Divorced : How To Avoid Major Financial Divorce Pitfalls

May 19th, 2014

You are getting divorced!  After the emotional decision is made you must address financial situations impacting the family breakup.

What are the major financial pitfalls of a divorce? Are you prepared to stay on top of all financial problems and decisions in this divorce to strive for a financial win-win situation?

  1. Where’s the liquid cash? Divorce generally never goes as fast as you would like nor do you receive as much as you think you should! If divorce is imminent start saving up money now! You will need to pay divorce expenses and have support for your new household.  There will be many unanticipated costs that may drain you financially.

    If you don’t have a credit card in your name get one now.  If you share credit with your spouse, close out as many credit cards as possible if he/she can charge on your credit. Even if you don’t use the cards, the account balance will still be owed and both spouses may be legally responsible for the debt.

  1. Not Prepared for this Divorce?  Divorce is a serious change of life event. Get Prepared Now! Timing is all important! When is the best time for you to get divorce?  Make sure your financial situation is good before you take the divorce leap. Need new tires, buy them. Kids need dental work, see the dentist.  Just remember: after the separation, your expenses will be paid by court order and not always be to your liking.

  1. Where are the important divorce financial records? Don’t leave without all your documents that identify what you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage and which can establish the fair market value! Even if you were not in charge of finances while you were married, you must secure copies of all records. You are entitled to your share of financial property and any additional income you find may increase the earnings that calculate child support or spousal maintenance support.  What are you looking for?  At least three years of tax returns, mortgage paper on your home, wills, trusts, bank, credit card, and financial statements, car registrations and titles, insurance policies, and deeds to real estate.  If you have separate property from inheritance or gifts from your family, make sure you have all records of these transactions.  Our blog, Texas Financial Checklist http://dld.bz/dqcej  is a detailed list of items and records needed to have before filing for divorce. A very good item to use for your preparation!

  2. Have you overlooked any Assets?  If a business is involved a forensic accountant may be hired to look of any signs of additional income or overstated expenses.

    Hobbies and side businesses that use expensive equipment or generate income needs to carefully be looked out.  Are you entitled to compensation for expenses you paid to get your spouse through school?

    All assets, big or small can add up. These assets can always be used for trade on something you can use.

    Your spouse may try to hide assets. By keeping all documents and paystubs to make sure there are not any irregularities, things usually work out fine. Stay honest and reveal your assets.

  1. Do Not Ignore Tax Consequences!  Divorce may or may not create taxable events but you must report it on your tax return. Should you sell the house now to claim the capital gain exclusion? Who should be paying the mortgage until it sells? Should you take your spousal maintenance monthly or in a lump sum? What about retirement funds? An accountant can help to determine the best path for you on these questions.

  2. Passive Observer of your Divorce? NO!  Get control of this process, focus on practical things and work with your future Ex to get this divorce over! You can do this! There is a reason for this divorce and you are the master/mistress of your destiny. Your children need you now to be a responsible parent and wise decision making will save you time and legal fees. Listen to your attorney but you make the decisions!

  3. Is Divorce your survival plan?  Now that you have decided to divorce you must break it to your children. People engaged in a Divorce should be in survival mode.  The person who will be your future “EX” is looking out for themselves and you need to look out for yourself and your children.  YOU must insist within reason on getting what you need and deserve! Emotions and money do not mix!  You must be able to take care of yourself and your family financially so look at all property division decisions very carefully and make good decisions to bring the divorce to a successful conclusion.

  4. Prepare for the worst! When entering into a divorce, prepare yourself for the worst!  If you are prepared for anything, than your fears will not cause you to panic and you will keep control of your situation. Outside of death, divorce is considered one of the worst emotional situations that a human being will ever experience!

  5. How will you support yourself and the kids after divorce? Hopefully this is not a problem, but now would be a good time to get some career counseling at a community college, university or local job center. Having a fulfilling career is lucrative and helps your self-esteem!

  1. Get Good Advice! Decisions you make now will affect the rest of your life.  Find a good, knowledgeable attorney to help you though the rough spots. If you are emotionally a wreck, find a good therapist. If you feel there are hidden assets, hire a forensic accountant. Now is the time to get the best advice you can afford!  You will have to live with your financial decisions for a long time.

Will Contest

March 4th, 2014

The requirements for testamentary capacity are minimal. Some courts have held that a person who lacks the capacity to make a contract can still make a valid will. While the wording of statutes or judicial rulings will vary from one jurisdiction to another, the test generally requires that the testator was aware of:

• The extent and value of their property
• The persons who are the natural beneficiaries
• The disposition he is making
• How these elements relate to form an orderly plan of distribution of property.

The legal test implies that a typical claimant in a will contest is a disgruntled heir who believe he should have received a larger share than what he received under the will. Once the challenging party meets the burden of proof that the testator did not possess the capacity, the burden subsequently shifts to the party propounding the will to show by clear and convincing evidence that the testator did have the requisite capacity.

Duress or coercion (as a term of jurisprudence) is a possible legal basis to set aside or otherwise modify a will, in that, the execution of the will by the Testator/Testatrix arises out of an immediate fear of injury. Black’s Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines duress as “any unlawful threat or coercion used… to induce another to act [or not act] in a manner [they] otherwise would not [or would].”

To establish duress, four requirements must be met:

• Threat must be of serious bodily harm or death
• Harm threatened must be greater than the harm caused by the crime
• Threat must be immediate and inescapable
• The defendant must have become involved in the situation through no fault of his or her own

A person may also raise duress when force or violence is used to compel him to enter into a contract, or to discharge one.

Depending on the grounds, the result may be:

• Invalidity of the entire Last Will and Testament, resulting in an intestacy.
• Invalidity of a clause or gift, requiring the court to decide which charity receives the charitable bequest, using the equitable doctrine of cy pres
• Dimunition of certain gifts, and increase of other gifts to the widowed spouse or orphaned children, who would now get their elective share.

The Nacol Law Firm PC
990 South Sherman Street
Richardson, Texas 75081
Metro: 972-690-3333
Toll Free: 866-352-5240
Fax: 972-690-9901

Parent Alienation in Divorce

January 21st, 2014

In recent years, “parent alienation” has become more prevalent in divorce cases. Parent alienation is the dramatic change in the relationship between a parent and their child when the child is used as a tool by one parent to hurt the other parent. Parent alienation can include much more than brainwashing of a child. In many cases, the child becomes hostile towards the alienated parent as they are fed not just conscious, but subconscious and unconscious, messages by the alienating parent. Frequently, the child will turn on the parent they previously loved and were very close to prior to the institution of the divorce proceeding. In some cases, the alienating parent will go to extreme lengths to keep the alienated parent from seeing the child for long periods of time. Children begin acting out and the situation quickly becomes volatile.

When children are used in such a manner, emotions are quickly aroused and a very simple divorce case can quickly become a highly contested case fueled by resentment and hostility. Parents who are successful in getting primary custody of a child in a parent alienation situation share many similar characteristics and may use some of the following tools to assist them in their defense:

  1. Keep an even-temper, remain logical and keep your emotions under control. Never retaliate.
  2. Though you may think of giving up, never do so.
  3. Go to the financial expense of seeing the case through. Never give up on your child. There can be nothing more important than the happiness of your child.
  4. Seek help from a skilled attorney who has experience with parental alienation.
  5. Familiarize yourself with how the courts work and the laws as they apply to your specific case.
  6. Seek professional help and diagnosis.
  7. Request a social study into the circumstances of the child
  8. Request a psychological evaluation of the alienating parent
  9. Keep a chronology or diary of events (this will help to jog your memory, keep track of witnesses, etc.).
  10. Document the alienation for submission as evidence in court.
  11. Keep the best interest of the child at heart.
  12. Provide the Court with an appropriate parenting plan.
  13. Make sure you understand the nature of the problem and focus on correcting it, even though you are being victimized.
  14. Always call and show up for visitation with your child at the scheduled time, even if there is no chance of the child being there.
  15. Take witnesses to testify that the child is not at home when you exercise your visitation rights.
  16. Focus on the child, and never talk to the child about the other parent or the divorce case.
  17. Never violate the Court’s orders.
  18. If you are receiving disturbing phone calls from the child or the other parent, tape the calls.
  19. If you are receiving disturbing emails or text messages from the child or the other parent, make a copy and place in a file.

Though none of these tips will guarantee that you get custody of the child, they will definitely assist you in building a case against the parent who is attempting to alienate you from your child.

The Nacol Law Firm PC
Law office of Attorney Mark Nacol
Serving clients in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex area for over 30 years
Tel: 972-690-3333

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.