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January 2015 Archives

How to change a custody order in the state of Texas

Child SwingingWhen a parent is unsatisfied with current custody orders, he or she has the option of filing a motion for a change in conservatorship or possession and access. Courts will only grant changes if they are in the best interests of the child and one of three other requirements is also fulfilled.

The emerging use of virtual visitation

Texas parents who have gone through a divorce may have to figure out how to handle virtual visitation issues. Many are unfamiliar with this term, which relates to using technology, such as instant messaging, video conferencing and email, to keep in touch with a child. In many cases, a non-custodial parent may choose to stay in touch with their child using this technology when they relocate. Another common reason for using this technology is when the custodial parent moves out of the area, making it harder for the other parent to see the child. Such arrangements have also become common in cases with unmarried parents that do not live together.

Handling pet custody disputes in Texas

As pet ownership increases in America, custody battles over dogs and cats during a divorce have become more common. Courts are increasingly treating animals more like children as opposed to property. In a 2013 case, a judge called a one-day hearing to allow both sides to present evidence showing that having custody of a pet was in that animal's best interest.

Change of names after divorce

Some Texas residents may be interested in restoring their pre-marital name after divorce. This may be done as part of the divorce order or at a subsequent time. The easiest way is by asking the court to include it when the marriage is dissolved. Once the order is handed down by the divorce court, an individual may use a certified copy to change the name on any document. Presenting a copy of the order copy.

The concept of reasonable visitation

A judge will often order reasonable visitation when deciding a child custody matter in Texas. Reasonable visitation simply means that the non-custodial parent is entitled to some amount of visitation with the child that generally adheres to state guidelines and is considered to be reasonable. The judge leaves the actual coordination and planning of a visitation schedule to the parents themselves. This is directly opposite of a fixed visitation schedule wherein the judge orders times, and possibly locations, that must be adhered to.

Protecting a company while going through a divorce

Business owners in Texas should consider how they will protect their company in case of divorce. Since Texas is a community property state, a business might be considered a shared marital access. A prenuptial agreement may be the best way to protect a business. Other ways to protect a business early on include writing a buy/sell agreement that specifies what happens in the event that an owner's status changes as in a divorce. Putting the business in a trust may prevent it being treated as a marital asset. Other alternatives are a post-nuptial agreement or a whole-life insurance policy that can be cashed in to buy the spouse out if necessary.

Dividing a 401(k) in a divorce

Retirement benefits such as 401(k) plans are, in most cases, considered marital property to be divided during a divorce. There are many factors that can influence the division of a 401(k), and the legal process is important for Texas residents undergoing a divorce to understand. If division of a retirement plan is handled correctly, there is no early withdrawal tax, but if it is handled incorrectly, then the owner of the plan will be subject to the tax penalty on money they are giving to a spouse.