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On November 7, 1932, the Supreme Court came to a landmark decision that would change the way in which criminal cases were treated thereafter. In that case, Powell v. Alabama 287 U.S. 45 (1932), the court laid out the basic due process requirements of a fair trial, including the right to effective counsel, adequate time to prepare a case, and a fair hearing. This decision signaled a significant change in the way criminal defendants would be treated in this country from here on out.

The Case That Changed History

It all started on March 25, 1931, with a fight between a group of poor black boys and poor white boys broke out aboard a freight train. Neither group of boys had paid for their tickets, and when the train stopped next, all but one white boy was thrown off just over the Alabama state line. When they got off, the group of white boys promptly informed law enforcement of the incident, and all nine black youths were detained when they reached the town of Scottsboro, Alabama. These nine youth-ranging in age from 12 to 20-would eventually become known as the Scottsboro Boys.

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Despite what you may have heard from divorced friends and the media, not all divorces have to be contentious. If you and your spouse get along fairly well and agree to the terms of your divorce, the whole process can be over quickly and cost effectively. At Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce attorneys help parties to an uncontested divorce review the divorce agreement and make sure that all terms are legal and agreed upon. Once given the go ahead, we help them to finalize the entire process swiftly so that they can move on with their lives.

Whether you and your partner are ready for an easy separation, or you cannot get along and are unsure how to proceed, we are here to help. Reach out to our divorce lawyers for legal guidance and support today.

Should You Represent Yourself in an Uncontested Divorce?

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According to the Texas Family Code, Sec. 3.002, Texas is a community property state, meaning that all assets and possessions acquired during the marriage belong to both you and your spouse, and that during divorce, those assets and possessions will be subject to equal division, no matter which spouse 'earned' or 'acquired' the property in the first place. Furthermore, Texas law works under the assumption that all assets are community property, unless one or both individuals can provide clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. During a Texas divorce, one or both spouses may find the community property law to be unfair, and may try to misappropriate their own individual assets so that when the time for property division comes, those assets will be squarely hidden away and therefore, free from scrutiny. These assets are referred to as 'hidden assets,' and hiding assets during a Texas divorce can place in individual in contempt of court, and subject them to charges of perjury and fraud.

Ways an Individual May Try to Hide an Asset

If you are going through a divorce in the State of Texas, it would be in your best interest to take stock of everything that you and your spouse accumulated during marriage, and to have strict records of everything from your financial accounts to your debts. When you are familiar with what you should have, it makes it much easier to spot what is missing. With that in mind, if you start to notice large withdrawals from your joint bank account, the complete closing of an account, or that certain valuables are going missing throughout your home, your spouse may be trying to hide some of your assets. Some ways in which an individual may try to hide marital assets include:

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Property division is probably the second most difficult aspect of any divorce hearing, with child custody being the first. As a community property state, Texas divides assets into categories that are essentially 'hers,' 'his,' and 'ours.' Anything that is 'hers' or 'his' is separate property and was acquired prior to the union or by inheritance. Anything that is 'ours' is marital property, and was acquired post-nuptials. With this property, the judge will divide it evenly between the two spouses, including any money earned or won throughout the marriage. Most divorcing individuals are all too aware of Texas's stance on property division, and unfortunately, some unscrupulous divorcees try to hide their assets prior to the property division hearing. This is illegal and can exponentially complicate the divorce process.

When assets are hidden, it can take months or even years to discover them. Some individuals do not discover that their spouse had hidden assets until years after the final decree is handed down. When this happens, they are either forced to go back to court with the evidence or let it go. However, when hidden assets are discovered prior to the finalization of the divorce, the judge will not make a final judgement until the assets are found. While discovering hidden assets is never easy, there are a few techniques that our Dallas divorce attorneys use to make it a little bit easier.

Analyze Checking Account Statements

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When a business is an asset in question during a divorce proceeding it will inevitably raise a number of complex issues that must be worked out. In order to successfully negotiate this process it is important to be represented by an attorney with experience that is specific to divorce proceedings that involve businesses so that your assets are protected in a way that will ideally allow for the continuation of your endeavors. You worked hard to build up your company into what it is today, it only makes sense to protect what you have achieved.

Characterization

The first issue that needs to be addressed when a business is at stake in a divorce is to determine if it is marital or separate property. Businesses that are separate property typically will be protected during a divorce proceeding, while businesses that are determined to be marital property very likely will be subject to the divorce proceedings. If your business predated the marriage, it almost always will be considered separate property. This can, however, be challenged if during the marriage the business has grown in value significantly. Businesses that were passed down to a person through their family, inherited or gifted, are usually a similar situation, again depending on if significant additional value has been added during the marriage.

A more complex issue arises if the business was started with separate property funds, for example if the startup capital originated before the marriage or was gifted or inherited from one spouse's family. In these situations it is possible that the business will be determined to be separate property, however proving that commingled funds were not involved becomes a critical issue that is often difficult to prove.

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