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Austin Texas Family Law Blog

When might you have to split an inheritance or gift in divorce?

As a community property state, most assets that two people acquire, either individually or together, during their marriage are subject to equal division in a divorce in Texas unless they have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that says otherwise. This includes things like income, savings, homes, artwork, vehicles, and other property.

There are some exceptions, however. One of these is inheritances. However, there are instances in which a spouse could try to claim that they're entitled to a share of the assets left to their husband or wife in a will or other estate plan document.

How to ensure accurate DNA testing for paternity

Paternity tests involve comparing a child's DNA with that of the man believed to be the father. Like other types of DNA testing, paternity tests are widely believed to produce accurate results.

However, there are ways that paternity tests can be manipulated, either by the mother or the presumed father. Paternity fraud can be carried out in a number of ways. For example, a woman may submit DNA for a child she knows is the biological offspring of the man she claims is the father of another of her children. A man may submit DNA from someone else rather than his own.

When should you review an estate plan?

Many adults don't have an estate plan in place for their loved ones to follow. Unfortunately, this means that their loved ones will have to guess about what they would have wanted. Their assets will be divided according to the state's intestate laws, which might not be what the decedent wanted.

For individuals who have already taken the time to create an estate plan, remembering to review it periodically is important. This is a chance to ensure that it still reflects their wishes and that everything is in order. There are some specific life events that should trigger a review. These include:

  • You get married or divorced
  • You lose someone who was in your estate plan
  • You have a new child or grandchild
  • Your children reach adulthood
  • You move to a new state
  • You acquire more assets
  • You get rid of assets
  • Tax laws that apply to your estate plan change

Wedding expenses can be a challenge for divorced parents

When you and your ex divorced, your child was still in grade school. Now they're grown, with a college degree and living their own life – until they ask for some help paying for their wedding. If you and your co-parent haven't had to deal with child support issues in a while, having this monetary issue put in your lap can cause some stress – and maybe open up old sources of conflict.

How much the two of you decide to contribute towards your child's wedding – and how you divide that contribution – is up to you. The key thing to remember, however, is that this wedding is about your child and their partner – not about either of you.

Maintaining a relationship with your stepkids after divorce

Many of our closest family ties these days are with people who aren't biologically related to us. It's common for marriage to bring not only a spouse but stepchildren, for example.

While the relationships between stepparents and stepchildren have been portrayed in everything from fairytales to reality TV as fraught with tension, that's often not the case. In fact, you may have formed a tight bond with your stepchildren and feel that you helped raise them – particularly if your spouse's ex lives far away or just isn't a big part of their kids' lives any longer.

What to do if you feel a loss of control as you divorce

Psychologists long ago determined that divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can go through. Attitudes towards divorce have changed significantly over the years, and many couples have fairly amicable divorces that don't involve battles in court before a judge.

However, divorce is still a cause of chronic stress, which is stress that's ongoing for some time. One of the sources of chronic stress is fear of the unknown. It's easy to become overwhelmed with "what if?" scenarios in our own heads.

What are your options if your spouse abandons you?

These days, you don't hear as much about marital abandonment as you used to back when most wives were financially dependent on their husbands. However, it can still occur. Marital abandonment is when spouse leaves their husband or wife (and sometimes children), severing all ties and financial obligations to their family. In some cases, they work to ensure that they can't be located.

To be considered potentially criminal, this abandonment is done without "just cause." On the other hand, if a wife leaves and doesn't tell her husband where she's going because she's the victim of domestic violence or if a husband leaves because his wife's drinking has made being in the home intolerable, that's known as "constructive abandonment."

Finding solutions to long-distance parenting situations

Parents can't always remain in the same city after they divorce. Changes with jobs and other events can sometimes pull one parent away from where their children reside with the other parent. When this happens, there might be a need for some alternate parenting schedules because the travel between homes is considerable.

The goal of the parenting time schedule is to let the child and distant parent build a relationship without introducing too much stress. This can prove to be a challenge, but parents will often find a solution that puts the best interests of their children at the heart of the matter.

What co-parents should know about hiring a nanny

When parents divorce, they often find themselves in need of a nanny for the first time. If you and your spouse are sharing custody of your children, it's typically best to find a nanny who can work in both of your homes rather than have a different one for each home.

It's also best for the two of you to choose a nanny together, to work out their schedule and determine how their fee will be divided. If you're already having a mediated divorce, you may want to include the decisions around the nanny in your mediation. Even if you aren't, you may to work out your nanny issues via mediation.

When should you consider a postnup?

Many couples don't draw up a prenuptial agreement before they get married because they're going into the marriage on more-or-less equal financial footing. A lot can change as the marriage goes on. however. That's why couples sometimes believe it's a good idea to get a postnuptial agreement.

A postnup can address the kinds of things that a prenup would, including division of assets and debts and spousal support. Getting a postnup doesn't have to be a sign that your marriage is in trouble. In fact, it can strengthen it by helping eliminate uncertainty or fear around one or both spouses' financial well-being should the marriage end. Like a prenup, a postnup is an insurance policy of sorts. You hope you won't need it, but it can be valuable if you do.

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Austin, TX 78759

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