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One of the most common questions that divorcing parents ask before a Texas child custody agreement is drawn up is, 'When can my child choose which parent to live with?' The answer is, 'Never.' At the Law Offices of Stephen Clark, we try to explain to our clients that how the judge determines child custody depends on a number of factors, including the child's age and emotional maturity. Under Texas law, a child of at least 12 years of age or older has the option of stating their preference to the Texas courts, but it is ultimately up to the judge to make the final custody determination. If your child has expressed an interest in living with one parent over the other, contact our Dallas child custody lawyers to learn more about how we can help you and your child make your wishes known to the judge.

How a Texas Judge Makes a Determination

Under Texas Family Code, 153.009, upon an application to the judge by any party to the suit (parent, lawyer, legal representative of the child, or the judge himself), the judge must interview the child in his or her private chambers to determine the child's wishes regarding conservatorship and primary residence. However, even if the child states his or her preference, it does not mean that the judge will automatically place the child in the care of the parent whom the child prefers. Under section 153.009(c), the interview is used as guidelines for the judge, but 'does not diminish the discretion of the court in determining the best interest of the child.'


A prenuptial agreement is a great way to protect yourself and your assets in the event of a divorce, which is why our Texas family law attorneys recommend that every individual entering into a union with his or her significant other creates and signs one. However, every once in a while an individual will enter the divorce proceedings assuming that his or her premarital contract is going to provide protection, but instead is informed that the prenuptial agreement is in fact invalid.

This is probably one of the most devastating revelations that individuals going through a Dallas divorce can make-especially if they have a large amount of assets, or particular assets they want to protect. At the Clark Law Group, our Dallas divorce attorneys aim to minimize conflict in divorce as much as possible for our clients. Many times, this means negotiating a divorce settlement that both parties can benefit from. And other times, it means ensuring that all premarital contracts comply with Texas prenuptial requirements so that they are valid and legally binding.

What Can a Valid Prenuptial Agreement Do?


Business Valuations During a Divorce

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Once a business has been determined to be marital property, the biggest issue in its disposition during a divorce proceeding becomes to assign a value to the business. This, by its very nature, is a highly technical and complex process that requires not only experts in the law but experts with knowledge of business and asset valuation. Not only do businesses have a current value, they have the potential to realize income for the owners for a long time into the future, and because of this an otherwise amicable proceeding can quickly turn adversarial. The party who is attempting to retain ownership in the business will want to argue it has as little value as possible, while the party who is entitled to a percentage of the value will want to inflate its worth to the greatest degree that they can.

Approaches to Valuation

Determining the worth of a business will often require a number of different sorts of consultants to do correctly, from experts to appraise it from a hard asset standpoint to consultants knowledgeable with running similar businesses within the geographical area to forensic accountants to go over the books and reach a conclusion about the business' future earnings potential. There are three basic methods for coming to an accurate valuation of a business entity:

Assets Approach
- this method uses a fairly straightforward formula to reach a value: assets minus liabilities equals value. This may seem to be simple on its face, however complications arise when taking into consideration the issue of placing a value on both tangible and intellectual property of the business: devaluation, resale value, the intrinsic values of things like processes and patents or trademarks. All of these require experts in specific fields to accurately evaluate.
Market Approach
- this method is very similar to valuing a property in the real estate market: it compares similar businesses that have recently been sold in the area to get an estimate of the market value of the business at issue. Difficulties can arise, however, if no similar businesses have sold recently, and also in matters of determining how 'comparable' another business actually is to the business at issue.
Income Approach
- this method uses various formulas along with historical information to predict what the future profits generated by the business will be, along with the rates of risk and return inherent with the business. The income approach is the most commonly used method for establishing the value of a business.

Experienced Business Valuation Law Firm

When a business is involved in your Texas divorce proceeding it is critical that you retain a legal team that has the capability and experience to determine the accurate value of your business in order to protect your assets. At Clark Law Group, we have working relationships with the innovative professionals that you need, and a proven track record of getting the results you deserve. Please take a moment to discuss your situation with a member of our staff, online or by telephone at 469-906-2266 to see how our experts can help you emerge from this difficult time in your life in the most advantageous position possible.

Most income earners in a Texas divorce automatically assume that any contributions made to employee sponsored or even private retirement funds or pensions are theirs for the taking. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Any contributions made to any sort of retirement fund such as an IRA, 401(k), or pension during the course of a Texas marriage is subject to Texas's marital distribution laws. Under Texas law, all property acquired during the course of a marriage is considered community property, meaning that it belongs to both parties equally.

Determining the value of retirement accounts in a divorce is a complex process, especially if the account holder had been contributing to the account prior to the union. Because of how complex the valuation process can be, it is important that you consult with a Dallas pension valuations attorney who is familiar with Texas property division, especially as it pertains to retirement funds. To speak with a lawyer today, reach out to the Clark Law Group for a thorough case evaluation.

Working With a Dallas Pensions Valuation Attorney is in Your Best Interests

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