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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)

Texas Divorce / Texas Child Support Questions and Answers

Q: How Much Is Texas Child Support ?
A:
Click on our Infographic

Q: How long is the divorce process ?
A: In a Texas divorce there is a waiting period of a minimum of 60 days from the time you file the Original Petition commencing the lawsuit to the time the divorce may be finalized. Few divorces are finalized in this time-period.  It is more likely that an uncontested divorce will take approximately 3 to 6 months and a contested divorce will likely will take much longer depending on the issues and conduct of the parties.

Q: Do my spouse and I both have to hire attorneys?
A:  No. But it is certainly in your best interest to hire an attorney for a consultation purposes and to review legal documents for your own protection.  An attorney should not in the vast majority of cases represent both parties, so if one attorney is involved he or she will under law be looking out for the best interest of the client that hired him/her, while the other party is representing themselves (pro se).

Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: If the spouses reach agreement, one party will have to appear in Court.  Often times, when the parties have worked out their own settlement, that agreement is signed by each of you and submitted to the court with only one party making a personal appearance to state to the Court that the agreement has been reached and to establish statutory requirements. If, on the other hand, you and your spouse cannot come to an amicable settlement through this process, you will both have to appear in court, and often on many occasions.

Q: Should I Move Out of the Marital Residence?
A: Be sure to consult with an attorney before leaving the marital residence. Leaving the home may be viewed as abandonment or actually declaring a new residence, especially if you are taking personal items with you (clothing, automobile, sentimental possessions, etc.).  If children are involved issues may arise as to who currently has or should have primary possession of the children.  Once you have voluntarily left the home, it may be difficult to move back in or obtain orders for primary or temporary possession.

Q: How Do I Get a Divorce?
A: Before getting divorced you or you and your spouse should decide that you absolutely want and need the divorce. Even though in the divorce process prior to final judgment everything is reversible, it is important that you realize that the road is sometimes very long and can be a difficult one to travel.

Q: What if I Do Not Want a Divorce?
A: The advent of a divorce is something that slowly builds. You may want to consult with your spouse about placing things on hold while you receive counseling.  However, the need for a divorce is rarely something that happens over night. Your spouse may have made his or her mind up long ago that divorce is the only option.  If your spouse has filed for divorce, you have no choice.  The most important thing for you to do if your spouse has filed for divorce is promptly seek proper legal advice.

If your spouse has significant assets and you feel they may be considering divorce seek legal advice immediately.  You may want to do some pre-planning to make sure you have complete copies of original and final documents and know where all the marital assets are located and to assure their status.  Do not give your spouse time to stash, spend away and/or hide assets.

Q: Can You Modify Child Support Orders?
A: Making changes to an existing child support order is not uncommon. Most states will not allow a request for modification on a child support order unless a time-period (of 2 to 4 years depending on the state) has passed since the order was put into place. Keep in mind that child support orders cannot be increased or decreased on a whim.  In Texas, you must show a change in circumstances.  However, if the person paying child support’s income has gone up or down more than 25% you can request a change.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you agree to no child support in your first order (Final Decree) and your spouse has a significant income at that time, you may have waived a statutory right to future child support unless the income level at the time of the existing order increases or decreases significantly.

Q: Can I Deny My Ex-spouse Visitation, Possession or Access?
A: You can not and should not deny visitation or possession, unless the Court has modified the visitation or possession to allow it! Denying visitation or possession is one of the biggest mistakes made by most primary custodial parents – it is an act of contempt in Texas. You may believe you have a justifiable reason for denying the visitation or possession rights, but by law your are not permitted to do so absent extraordinary circumstances, usually involving gross neglect or physical abuse.

Q: How Do I Get Custody of My Child(ren)?
A: The first and most important step to getting custody of your child(ren) is to be an involved and hands-on parent and to be honest. Being a great parent is not always the easiest task during divorce, but it is important to carefully consider each and every action you take during a divorce and how it may or may not effect the child(ren).  You will also need good legal representation.  Child custody issues can become ugly and complicated no matter how good your intentions may be.  Make sure you are prepared.  Document everything.

Q: What if I Do Not Like the Judges Decision?
A: The purpose of the ruling is to establish what exactly should be stated in the Final Divorce Decree. Once the attorneys have drafted the Final Divorce Decree and both parties have agreed that it coincides with the ruling, it will be presented to the Judge for signing.  Once the parties have agreed and signatures are signed, you will have to live with the decisions.  If the divorce is highly contested and the Judge rules and you are unhappy with the results, you have only a small window to appeal the decision or request a new trial.

Q: What is Fair Spousal Support or Alimony?
A: If you and your spouse can not come to agreement on the need for or amount of spousal support to be paid, the length of time, and under what conditions, the spousal support will most likely be set by a Judge according to Texas law.  See our blog on  Texas Spousal Support – Post Divorce Maintenance for more information.