Texas Divorce Financial Checklist

May 11th, 2015

Preparing for a Texas Divorce:  Assets

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter what the circumstances. Before you get into the Texas Divorce Process, reduce expense, stress and conflict by making sure you are financially prepared. Planning ahead helps you in making sound decisions, start preparing for post-divorce life, and avoid many post-divorce pitfalls. Below is a list of items you need to gather before counseling with an attorney. Financial Documents are a must to show what your true assets and liabilities are in the marriage.

Documents:

  1. Tax Returns (at least three years) or Tax Liens and all IRS related documents
  1. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  1. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, etc.):
    • Name of entity, address and telephone number
    • Account number
    • Amount owed
    • Monthly payment
    • Property securing payment (if any)
    • Most current statements and account status of lenders
  1. A Listing of all Real Property, address and location, including (includes time-shares and vacation properties):
    • Deeds of Trust
    • Notes including equity loans and second liens
    • Legal Descriptions
    • Mortgage Companies and Loan Servicers (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Account Number, Balance of Note, Monthly Payments)
    • Current fair market value
    • Appraisals
  1. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned):
    • Year
    • Make
    • Model
    • Value
    • Name on title
    • VIN Number
    • Fair Market Value
    • Name of creditor (if any), address and telephone
    • Persons listed on debt
    • Account number
    • Balance of any loan and monthly payment
    • Net Equity in vehicle
  1. Cash and accounts with financial institutions (checking, savings, commercial bank accounts, credit union funds, IRA’s, CD’s, 401K’s, pension plans and any other form of retirement accounts):
    • Name of institution, address and telephone number
    • Amount in institution on date of marriage
    • Amount in institution currently
    • Account Number
    • Names on Account
    • Company loans and documents related to benefits
  1. A listing of separate property (property owned prior to marriage, family heir looms, property gifted, inherited property):
    • Records that trace your separate property. These assets will remain yours if properly documented
  1. Retirement Benefits:
    • Exact name of plan
    • Address of plan administrator
    • Employer
    • Employee
    • Starting date of contributions
    • Amount currently in account
    • Balance of any loan against plan
    • Documents
  1. Publicly traded stock, bonds and other securities (include securities not in a brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account):
    • Number of shares
    • Type of securities
    • Certificate numbers
    • In possession of
    • Name of exchange which listed
    • Pledged as collateral?
    • Date acquired
    • Tax basis
    • Current market value
    • If stock (date option granted, number of shares and value per share)
    • Stock options plans and related documents
  1. Insurance and Annuities Policies and Inventory:
    • Name of insurance company
    • Policy Number
    • Insured
    • Type of insurance (whole/term/universal)
    • Amount of monthly premiums
    • Date of Issue
    • Face amount
    • Cash surrender value
    • Current surrender value
    • Designated beneficiary
    • Other policies and amendments
  1. Closely held business interests:
    • Name of business
    • Address
    • Type of business
    • % of ownership
    • Number of shares owned if applicable
    • Value of shares
    • Balance of accounts receivables
    • Cash flow reports
    • Balance of liabilities
    • List of company assets
    • Possible hobbies or side businesses that generate income
  1. Mineral Interests (include any property in which you own the mineral estate, separate and apart from the surface estate, such as oil and gas leases; also include royalty interests, work interests, and producing and non-producing oil and gas wells:
    • Name of mineral interest
    • Type of interest
    • County of location
    • Legal description
    • Name of producer/operator
    • Current market value
    • needs leases or production documents related to the asset
  1. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)
  1. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures
    • photos
    • purchase documents
  1. Electronics and computers including software and hard drive
  1. Antiques, artwork and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, coin or stamp collections) Other large collections need to be appraised! (Guns, quilts, action figures, books)
  1. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  1. Jewelry including appraisals
  1. Animals and livestock
  1. Farming equipment
  1. Club Memberships
  1. Safe deposit box items
  1. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  1. Items in any storage facility
  1. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)

Getting a Texas Divorce : Moving Out of the Marital Home

March 17th, 2015

This is a complicated question to answer depending upon the facts of each case.  If you have experienced domestic violence you need to immediately do whatever is necessary to secure you and your child’s safety.  Many times a victim will go to court for a protective order and ask the judge to move the abusive or violent spouse out.  In this situation contact an experienced family law attorney now!

In most cases, absent of violence or risk of abuse, we would not suggest that a spouse move out of the marital residence.

Why is this?  One reason is once you have vacated the residence it may be very difficult to get back in! You have no legal obligation to leave the residence if your name is on the lease or mortgage personally and exclusivity.

Our suggestion to a client might be, to remain in the residence since the person who vacates may still have financial obligations and expenses of the family residence, while paying all expenses on a new residence for themselves. Double expenses are not a desirable result during the divorce process.

The higher wage earning spouse who moves out of the marital home must expect to continue to pay most of the household expenses, including the insurance and mortgage!  What about the personal property and furnishings in the residence?

If an agreement has not been made between the divorcing couple, the moving spouse will generally only be able to leave with personal belongings (clothing & jewelry) until a court rules fairly as to temporary possession.

Secure a court order ASAP to equalize property and household expenses.

Tis the Season for Filing for a Texas Divorce

January 7th, 2015

Welcome to January, the Divorce Month of the New Year! After a bad holiday season, many people have made the decision to file for divorce. The most popular months for filing divorce in the United States occur in January through March.

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter what the circumstances. When you decide to start the Texas Divorce Process, make sure you are financially prepared. Financial planning helps you in making sound decisions and start to prepare for your post-divorce life.

Below is a list of items you need to gather before counseling with an attorney. Financial Documents are a must to show what your true assets and liabilities are in the marriage.

Financial Documents needed when preparing for a Texas divorce:

  1. Tax Returns (at least three years) or Tax Liens and all IRS related documents
  2. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  3. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, etc.):
    -Name of entity, address and telephone number
    -Account number
    -Amount owed
    -Monthly payment
    -Property securing payment (if any)
    -Most current statements and account status of lenders
  4. A Listing of all Real Property, address and location, including (includes time-shares and vacation properties):
    -Deeds of Trust
    -Notes including equity loans and second liens
    -Legal Descriptions
    -Mortgage Companies and Loan Servicers (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Account Number, Balance of Note, Monthly Payments)
    -Current fair market value
    -Appraisals
  5. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned):
    -Year
    -Make
    -Model
    -Value
    -Name on title
    -VIN Number
    -Fair Market Value
    -Name of creditor (if any), address and telephone
    -Persons listed on debt
    -Account number
    -Balance of any loan and monthly payment
    -Net Equity in vehicle
  6. Cash and accounts with financial institutions (checking, savings, commercial bank accounts, credit union funds, IRA’s, CD’s, 401K’s, pension plans and any other form of retirement accounts):
    -Name of institution, address and telephone number
    -Amount in institution on date of marriage
    -Amount in institution currently
    -Account Number
    -Names on Account
    -Company loans and documents related to benefits
  7. A listing of separate property (property owned prior to marriage, family heirlooms, property gifted, inherited property):
    -Records that trace your separate property. These assets will remain yours if properly documented
  8. Retirement Benefits:
    -Exact name of plan
    -Address of plan administrator
    -Employer
    -Employee
    -Starting date of contributions
    -Amount currently in account
    -Balance of any loan against plan
    -Documents
  9. Publicly traded stock, bonds and other securities (include securities not in a brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account):
    -Number of shares
    -Type of securities
    -Certificate numbers
    -In possession of
    -Name of exchange which listed
    -Pledged as collateral?
    -Date acquired
    -Tax basis
    -Current market value
    -If stock (date option granted, number of shares and value per share)
    -Stock options plans and related documents
  10. Insurance and Annuities Policies and Inventory:
    -Name of insurance company
    -Policy Number
    -Insured
    -Type of insurance (whole/term/universal)
    -Amount of monthly premiums
    -Date of Issue
    -Face amount
    -Cash surrender value
    -Current surrender value
    -Designated beneficiary
    -Other policies and amendments
  11. Closely held business interests:
    -Name of business
    -Address
    -Type of business
    -% of ownership
    -Number of shares owned if applicable
    -Value of shares
    -Balance of accounts receivables
    -Cash flow reports
    -Balance of liabilities
    -List of company assets
    -Possible hobbies or side businesses that generate income
  12. Mineral Interests (include any property in which you own the mineral estate, separate and apart from the surface estate, such as oil and gas leases; also include royalty interests, work interests, and producing and non-producing oil and gas wells:
    -Name of mineral interest
    -Type of interest
    -County of location
    -Legal description
    -Name of producer/operator
    -Current market value
    -needs leases or production documents related to the asset
  13. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)
  14. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures
    -photos
    -purchase documents
  15. Electronics and computers including software and hard drive
  16. Antiques, artwork and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, coin or stamp collections) Other large collections need to be appraised! (Guns, quilts, action figures, books)
  17. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  18. Jewelry including appraisals
  19. Animals and livestock
  20. Farming equipment
  21. Club Memberships
  22. Safe deposit box items
  23. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  24. Items in any storage facility
  25. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)

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.