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plano divorce lawyerThere are many couples who go through a divorce who battle over everything from child custody to who gets the silverware. The divorce is so contentious that the couple cannot agree on anything, dragging out the process and leaving a judge to figure out who gets what. But more and more divorcing couples are able to work together and come up with an amicable, negotiated divorce settlement. This alternative dispute resolution usually means the process goes much quicker and is much more cost-effective since attorney fees are usually at a minimum.

Parties Who Can Benefit from Collaborative Divorce

The people who can most benefit from mediation or other alternative dispute resolution are those that can still have a civil relationship. This type of divorce involves working together without the benefit of a judicial referee. Consequently, spouses need to be able to sit down at a table together and speak rationally enough to come to an agreement.

Mediation involves the couple making the commitment to communicate, negotiate, and work together in reaching a mutual agreement that both spouses will benefit from. This collaboration is not only better for the divorce process, but if the couple has children, it is also a good foundation to establish for co-parenting.

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plano divorce lawyer Dividing up the assets of the marriage is one of the most important tasks that the parties have in a divorce. It also happens to be one of the most complicated. In Texas, judges use the community property standard. This means that all property and assets the couple own are owned equally, regardless of which spouse earns the income.

Although the assets are divided in a 50/50 split, all of the assets need to be valued. Other factors the judge may consider when determining alimony and asset division include how much each spouse’s income is, how much each spouse contributed to the marriage, what their standard of living was, and what each spouse’s future earning potential is.

Valuing Assets

In order for the judge to make these decisions about property division accurately, they must know what all the different property is worth. In many cases, this is a simple enough process. Valuing a bank account is as simple as looking at the balance sheet. Even something like a car is easy enough to value. Cars are bought and sold often enough that determining the fair market value of the car is mostly about research. There are other assets that are tougher to value. These include unique assets, and assets that have rapidly shifting values.

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Wylie Divorce LawyerAsset division can often become fairly contentious in a Texas divorce. Texas follows a community property division system, which means that everything the couple owns is split 50/50, regardless of the circumstances of the divorce.

However, many couples have property that go beyond just the financial value, but instead hold significant sentimental value, such as a piece of art or jewelry. How do the courts address these types of asset division issues and how can you and your spouse avoid a drawn-out fight over who gets to retain the item?

Item Details

The little details about the item can make a difference. For example, the date, or approximate date, of acquisition can often decide who actually has ownership of the item. If you or your spouse acquired the item before your marriage, it is your (or their) property, with no obligation to share or commingle.

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Wylie Divorce LawyerAlthough they are more common today than they were a decade or so ago, many couples still do not believe they need a prenuptial agreement before they get married. While one of the main reasons for this is that the couple may believe that they will never divorce so they do not need one, others believe that only wealthy people need prenups.

The truth is that no matter how in love you are today, almost half of marriages today end in divorce. The other truth is that you do not have to be rich to benefit from a prenup should you find yourself needing the help of a Texas divorce attorney. The following are some questions that usually indicate that a couple should seriously consider drafting a prenuptial agreement before saying, “I do.”

Do You Have Assets?

As one might imagine, couples with significant assets individually or between them will benefit from a prenuptial agreement in multiple ways. However, even if those assets are not significant, you will still want to make sure they are protected from Texas community property divorce laws.

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Sachse Divorce LawyerWhen you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, the temptation can be overwhelming to not be entirely truthful in disclosing all of your assets. You may feel that he or she does not deserve them, or that you are more morally entitled to retain the entirety of a bank account or pension fund. Do not give into this temptation; the penalties for hiding assets far outweigh any possible chance you might succeed in your endeavor.

Is It Common?

One might wonder how many people actually go so far as to hide assets. Research has shown that two in five Americans admit to some sort of untruthfulness with their partner about financial matters, whether it was outright lying or hiding, or simply softening the truth. More men than women historically hide assets, but of course, any spouse may be tempted, especially if they are the primary breadwinner.

There are specific rules governing financial discovery that must be complied with. For example, if you receive a gift of $500, that money is your own asset, but if you deposit the money in a joint bank account you share with you spouse, it now becomes an asset of the marital estate and is subject to Texas community property divorce laws.

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