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Based in Richardson, the telecom corridor of north Dallas County, the Nacol Law Firm PC, traces its roots to the firm of Mark A. Nacol and Associates PC, established in 1979. The Nacol Law Firm team shares its experience on a variety of legal topics here.  See our recent posts below.

Texas Divorce Financial Checklist

Preparing for a Texas Divorce:  Assets

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter what the circumstances. Before you get into the Texas Divorce Process, reduce expense, stress and conflict by making sure you are financially prepared. Planning ahead helps you in making sound decisions, start preparing for post-divorce life, and avoid many post-divorce pitfalls. Below is a list of items you need to gather before counseling with an attorney. Financial Documents are a must to show what your true assets and liabilities are in the marriage.

Documents:

  1. Tax Returns (at least three years) or Tax Liens and all IRS related documents
  1. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  1. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, etc.):
    • Name of entity, address and telephone number
    • Account number
    • Amount owed
    • Monthly payment
    • Property securing payment (if any)
    • Most current statements and account status of lenders
  1. A Listing of all Real Property, address and location, including (includes time-shares and vacation properties):
    • Deeds of Trust
    • Notes including equity loans and second liens
    • Legal Descriptions
    • Mortgage Companies and Loan Servicers (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Account Number, Balance of Note, Monthly Payments)
    • Current fair market value
    • Appraisals
  1. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned):
    • Year
    • Make
    • Model
    • Value
    • Name on title
    • VIN Number
    • Fair Market Value
    • Name of creditor (if any), address and telephone
    • Persons listed on debt
    • Account number
    • Balance of any loan and monthly payment
    • Net Equity in vehicle
  1. Cash and accounts with financial institutions (checking, savings, commercial bank accounts, credit union funds, IRA’s, CD’s, 401K’s, pension plans and any other form of retirement accounts):
    • Name of institution, address and telephone number
    • Amount in institution on date of marriage
    • Amount in institution currently
    • Account Number
    • Names on Account
    • Company loans and documents related to benefits
  1. A listing of separate property (property owned prior to marriage, family heir looms, property gifted, inherited property):
    • Records that trace your separate property. These assets will remain yours if properly documented
  1. Retirement Benefits:
    • Exact name of plan
    • Address of plan administrator
    • Employer
    • Employee
    • Starting date of contributions
    • Amount currently in account
    • Balance of any loan against plan
    • Documents
  1. Publicly traded stock, bonds and other securities (include securities not in a brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account):
    • Number of shares
    • Type of securities
    • Certificate numbers
    • In possession of
    • Name of exchange which listed
    • Pledged as collateral?
    • Date acquired
    • Tax basis
    • Current market value
    • If stock (date option granted, number of shares and value per share)
    • Stock options plans and related documents
  1. Insurance and Annuities Policies and Inventory:
    • Name of insurance company
    • Policy Number
    • Insured
    • Type of insurance (whole/term/universal)
    • Amount of monthly premiums
    • Date of Issue
    • Face amount
    • Cash surrender value
    • Current surrender value
    • Designated beneficiary
    • Other policies and amendments
  1. Closely held business interests:
    • Name of business
    • Address
    • Type of business
    • % of ownership
    • Number of shares owned if applicable
    • Value of shares
    • Balance of accounts receivables
    • Cash flow reports
    • Balance of liabilities
    • List of company assets
    • Possible hobbies or side businesses that generate income
  1. Mineral Interests (include any property in which you own the mineral estate, separate and apart from the surface estate, such as oil and gas leases; also include royalty interests, work interests, and producing and non-producing oil and gas wells:
    • Name of mineral interest
    • Type of interest
    • County of location
    • Legal description
    • Name of producer/operator
    • Current market value
    • needs leases or production documents related to the asset
  1. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)
  1. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures
    • photos
    • purchase documents
  1. Electronics and computers including software and hard drive
  1. Antiques, artwork and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, coin or stamp collections) Other large collections need to be appraised! (Guns, quilts, action figures, books)
  1. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  1. Jewelry including appraisals
  1. Animals and livestock
  1. Farming equipment
  1. Club Memberships
  1. Safe deposit box items
  1. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  1. Items in any storage facility
  1. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)

Divorce in Texas with a Special Needs Child

Divorces with children are painful and emotional under the best of circumstances, but a divorce with a “Special Needs Child” is usually a very complex and mentally stressful situation for all family members involved.  

The main goal in a “Special Needs” divorce is that all decisions affecting a child with disabilities must be in the “Best Interest of the Child.”

What is the “Best Interest of the “Special Needs Child”? Often this is the very reason that the parents are divorcing.  The parents cannot agree on the existence of a disability or the best approach needed for care and support for their special needs child.  Many times a medical/neutral professional will need to be involved to help the parents transition the new “after” divorce life of the child and parents.

When working with parents of a “Special Needs Child”, our attorneys focus on the most critical issues impacting the child and the family unit.

Some of these important issues are:

  • Keeping the relationships between the family members agreeable in making the necessary decisions concerning visitation and transitions between both parents’ homes. You child needs contact with both parents unless there is an abuse or addiction issue or the other parent’s home is an unsafe environment for the “Special Needs” Child.  
  • Agreed upon health and medical care issues including special therapies to address the child’s needs. Let the child know that both parents are in agreement on the care for the child.
  • Special social and recreational opportunities and appropriate educational programs are available for the child and her/his disability and should be agreed upon by both parents, if possible.
  • Coordinate structured and regular visitation dates with same place drop off points. Give your child a calendar with visitation dates and let her/him be prepared to visit the other parent.
  • Helping the parent to find a support group of family, friends, counselors and neighbors to help your family with your “Special Needs” Child. This help may come in many forms, mental and physical support, financial planning or just a good hug to say “you are ok”.  

What is very important in a “Special Needs” Divorce is to realize what is “normal” in most divorces may not be the norm here.  There are many important situations that will have to be resolved before the divorce can be finalized.  The divorced parents of the “Special Needs” Child will continue to have to work together for what is best for their child.

Other serious considerations to settle:

  • The transitions after a divorce on living arrangements and visitations for the child. It will be difficult to use a standard visitation schedule and a special parenting plan will have to be agreed upon to meet all of the child’s needs.
  • The divorce decree will have to be custom designed to make sure the needs of the child will be met for the child’s entire life. The final divorce decree may have to be modified for the child’s benefit.
  • Be knowledgeable of the financial aspect of your “Special Needs” Child. What type of care will be needed on a daily basis and will one parent have to give up all monetary benefits from employment outside of the home to take care of the child.
  • List all expenses of raising this child: medical costs, food for special nutritional diets, special medical equipment needed for use of child, special schooling and transportation needs.  This is very important to make sure the needs of the child will be met.
  • Spousal Maintenance/Alimony: this amount must be worked out to ensure the caregiving parent will be able to afford all need of the child and their household.  Many times this parent will not be able to work out of the home because of the constant care for the child.  This will usually continue for the entire life of the child, so the divorce decree will have to reflect this continued support and cost of living changes.

When choosing a qualified lawyer for your “Special Needs” Divorce, it is important that the lawyer is familiar with what is involved with this type of divorce and understands the importance of tailoring a custom decree that will fit the best interest of the child and family situation for the duration of the child’s existence. It won’t be easy, but if the parents will work together, it can be achievable!