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El Paso Law Blog

Dealing with debt in pre- and postnup agreements

El Paso residents who are getting married or who have already tied the knot might be concerned about having a different attitude toward debt than their future spouse. A prenuptial agreement or, for people who are already married, a postnuptial agreement, may help protect one spouse from the other's debts. While creditors may still pursue people for their spouse's debt, a pre- or postnup puts a framework in place that allows them to have the spouse pay them back.

Certain types of debt are more likely to be considered the responsibility of both spouses in the event of a divorce. For example, a student loan debt might be considered one that benefited both spouses if it allowed the student to get a better job with a higher income.

Blocking a non-custodial parent's contact with their child

Texas family courts are reluctant to place restrictions on noncustodial divorced parents who want to text, call or FaceTime their children, except in cases in which neglect or abuse may be present. Parents who do not want the other parent to do so should know that without a court order, they are unable to legally block the other parent from communicating with the child.

Parents who are prevented by the other parent from contacting their child may have legal recourse. If there are disagreements regarding unnecessary video calls, text messages or phone calls made by a noncustodial parent or one parent's access to the child has been blocked, the family courts will generally create schedules and rules for these issues.

What does your military career mean for your divorce?

Divorce is always a difficult process, but it can be particularly complex for couples when one or both spouses are in the military. Military service affects almost every area of life, and family law matters are no exception to this norm. For this reason, a military service member or spouse will find great benefit in seeking the counsel of an attorney experienced in military divorce before moving forward.

As in other types of divorces, money and the kids are two of the main sources of conflict in a military divorce. However, military families stationed in Texas may face complications that are not seen in civilian divorces, such as how deployment could impact child custody and the division of military pension.

Child custody modifications in Texas

When a couple divorces or splits up, custody of a child is normally given to one parent, and the child usually lives with this parent. The determination of custody is made with the best interest of the child in mind, and although custody can be changed, it will not be done so unless the change is also made with the child's best interests being the reason for making the change.

Although it is not common for changes of custody to take place, there are several circumstances where a change may be possible. These include if the non-custodial parent believes the child is in danger while living with the custodial parent, if the custodial parent refuses to follow a visitation schedule or if one or both of the parents move to a distant location.

Tips for a child custody case

A parent in El Paso who is getting a divorce may also be heading into a child custody battle. If possible, it is best to avoid this. The parent might be unhappy with the judge's decision, and a compromise in which both parents agree to share custody might be better. However, if a court case is unavoidable, there are steps a parent can take that may increase the likelihood that they will win custody.

The parent should research child custody and may want to hire an attorney. During the child custody hearing, the parent should dress professionally and conduct themselves politely because these will all influence the judge's opinion of the parent. A judge may also look more favorably on a parent who can demonstrate that they are able to compromise with the other parent. A parent might also be allowed to bring in documentation that supports their side.

Requesting retroactive child support

Some Texas noncustodial parents may have fallen behind on child support. When this occurs, the custodial parent might wonder how to claim back support.

In order to do so, the parent must file a claim that may require several pieces of supporting evidence. This evidence might include proof of non-support and of attempts to collect support. If the parent who has not paid support is the father, it might be necessary to present proof that he knows that the child is his.

Costs associated with the QDRO

Some El Paso couples who are getting a divorce might not realize that they need a document known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in order to divide a retirement account. This is a complex document and process, and individuals who rush through this process might find that they end up paying more in fees and taxes than they expected. People might want to visit a certified divorce financial analyst that can help them and their attorney understand the financial implications of the document.

A retirement account may be divided 50/50 in Texas since it is a community property state. The QDRO may also be used to pay spousal or child support.

Reached the end of your tether? Divorce may be the way to go

Whether or not to file for divorce is not likely a decision made without considerable thought, and in many cases, it may be the last option. However, certain circumstances are intolerable -- some of which might even put you and your children in harm's way. The time may come when you want to take back control of your life.

Do you recognize any of the following scenarios?

Are prenuptial agreements a good idea?

When Texas couples start talking marriage, reception hall dates, flowers and honeymoon destinations are usually the primary topics. People generally do not want to think about the possibility of marital breakdown during this time. However, given the rate of divorce in the United States, finances are and should be a significant concern.

Contrary to what many people believe, a prenuptial agreement is not a new idea. In fact, marriage contracts were largely the norm rather than the exception until women were able to own and manage property and funds in their own right. Today, many people are reconsidering the wisdom of prenuptial agreements that can help them understand what will happen to their assets and debts should the marriage come to an end.

How DPPA may help some parents collect child support

Paso parents who fail to pay child support and who leave the state in order to avoid it may be punished under a 1998 federal law called the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. In addition to leaving the state, in order to be prosecuted under DPPA, parents must not have made child support payments in over a year and must owe upwards of $5,000 or they must not have made payments in more than two years and must owe over $10,000.

The penalty for a first offense under the DPPA is up to six months of imprisonment. For a second offense, a person might be incarcerated for up to two years. The person might also be required to pay back child support.

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