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If your husband or wife is to blame for the upcoming end of your marriage, you may think you deserve most of the marital estate. Because Texas is a community property state, though, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse likely must split everything you acquired during your marriage evenly.

While it may be tempting to try to get more by hiding assets before your divorce, doing so is a mistake. After all, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have a legal obligation to disclose assets to each other and to the court. If you neglect this obligation, you may face three potentially serious consequences.

1. Contempt of court

In any court proceeding, it is generally a good idea not to irritate the judge. If you do not comply with your disclosure requirements, you may do just that. Specifically, hiding assets may cause a judge to hold you in contempt of court, forcing you to go to jail, pay a fine or do both.

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Marriage is not an easy institution, and every couple goes through hard times. You may wonder if what you are experiencing is normal, which may lead you to wonder what is the hardest year of marriage on average.

According to Brides, the hardest year of marriage is the first one. This remains true even in modern times when couples tend to live together prior to marriage, and there are some specific reasons for this.

Combining your lives

Entering into marriage means more than just coming together as a couple. It also adds some additional concerns that you might not have had prior to the union. You now need to balance your finances together. You have to blend your families, which means making a tough decision, such as where to go for the holidays. It also means always thinking about things as a couple and not having the ability to think as a single.

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Divorce and child custody orders can take a long time to finalize in court. In fact, some child custody cases go on for years before reaching a final decision.

If you and your spouse can agree on a child custody agreement while your divorce is pending, that will make things much easier for everyone involved. If that is not an option, however, you may want to file for a temporary custody order (TCO) instead.

How can a TCO help me?

A TCO can offer benefits such as child support or spousal payments while you wait for the courts to finalize your case. According to the Texas Family Code, a judge can award any of the following items under a TCO:

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Like most people in Texas, you likely believe yourself to be completely prepared heading into your divorce proceedings, And, again like most (including many of those we here at the Law Office of Brian Bagley work with), there will inevitably be some aspects of your case that catch you completely by surprise.

The fact that your 401(k) is subject to property division likely falls among those surprises. Given that contributions to that account made during your marriage come from marital income, it thus makes sense that the court views them as marital assets. Once you understand this point, your thoughts no doubt turn to the handling of your account during property division proceedings.

Understanding the role of a QDRO

In most divorce cases, the court issues a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This order authorizes your 401(k) plan sponsor to make a distribution to an alternate payee (your ex-spouse, in this particular situation). With a QDRO in place, your plan sponsor can then divide your account in two, with you and your ex-spouse retaining management control over your respective accounts.

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When you pay child support in Texas and lose your job or experience other circumstances that have a big impact on your life, you may seek to have your child support order undergo modification. If you are currently receiving child support and your child’s needs have changed, you may also want to request a child support review. 

Whatever side of the coin you fall on, the Attorney General of Texas reports that the process involved in requesting a child support review remains the same. 

Assessing eligibility

The first step in the process involves finding out whether you are eligible for a child support order modification. You may be able to have your order modified if it first took effect more than three years ago and the amount of it differs by either 20% or $100 based on what today’s child support guidelines would dictate. 

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