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Recent Blog Posts

Determining Child Support in High-Income Cases

 Posted on June 15, 2016 in Child Support

Typically, when determining the amount of child support to be paid each month, a judge follows statutory guidelines based off a percentage of each parent's net income. However, when one or both parents take home a significant amount of money each month, it does not make sense to follow the typical guidelines set forth by the Texas Family Code. In high-income cases, the courts will deviate from the statutory guidelines and come up with an amount that is fair and satisfactory to both parties.

To learn more about how child support is determined in high-income cases, consult with the Dallas child custody attorneys at the Clark Law Group today.

Deviating from Texas's Child Support Guidelines

According to Section 154.125 of the Texas Family Code, an obligor owes 20% of his or her net resources in child support for just one child. For two children, they owe 25%, for three children, 30%. The amount they owe increases in 5% increments for each additional child, and will cap off at not less than 40% for five or more children. To learn more about how net resources are computed, refer to Section 154.061.

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Can I Modify My Texas Child Support Orders to Make Lower Payments?

 Posted on June 13, 2016 in Custody

There are many instances in which an individual will seek to lower child support payments, such as the loss of a job, an increase in expenses, the birth of a new child, or the fact that they have the shared child more often than the other parent. Whatever your reason for wanting to lower your child support in Dallas, Texas, you must follow the Texas Family Code and get the change approved by the court before any change in payment is made - even if you and your child's other parent come to a mutual agreement regarding the lower amount. Many individuals find it helpful to have an experienced family law attorney on their side to help come up with a reasonable child support order that will benefit all parties involved.

The Court Must Approve all Modifications to Child Support Orders

According to the Texas Family Code, Chapter 156, there are two circumstances in which a modification to child support will be granted:

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I Want to File for Divorce, But I am Scared I Will Not Get to See My Children Anymore

 Posted on June 06, 2016 in Custody

For many couples going through a divorce in Dallas, Texas, their biggest concern is their children. How are they going to react to Mom and Dad splitting up? Who is going to get them on Christmas? Will I be able to take care of them and pay all the bills on one income alone? These are normal concerns that most parents in normal circumstances have when deciding to go through with a divorce. However, there are some parents whose circumstances are not so normal - such as the truck driver who is gone all night, the older father with chronic health issues, the mother whose job requires her to be away three-quarters of the year, or the parent with a physical disability that disallows them to do activities that most parents can and should be able to do. For these parents, their concerns are a little more urgent, as they go from 'when will I get to see my kids?' to 'will I get to see my kids?'

Custody is Determined by What the Courts Feel is in the Child's Best Interests

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Can I Modify My Texas Child Custody Agreement to Get More Time with My Child?

 Posted on June 06, 2016 in Custody

In the state of Texas, modifying an existing child custody agreement can only be done under limited circumstances. According to the Texas Family Code, Chapter 156, a child custody agreement can be modified if the following occur:

  • The circumstances of the child or parent(s) have substantially changed since the original court order agreement was finalized;
  • The child is at least 12 years old and has requested a change in the agreement;
  • The custodial parent has voluntarily relinquished care and custody to the other parent.

Modification to your court ordered child custody agreement is much more complicated than simply changing the visitation schedule. You and the other parent or guardian will have to go before a judge, who will evaluate the changed circumstances and make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child. In the best possible scenario, both parents will agree to a change in the child custody agreement, in which case they will present the judge with an agreed-upon signed parenting plan. In the instance that both parties cannot agree, you should seek the help of an experienced Dallas, Texas family lawyer, who will do everything possible to ensure the best outcome for you, the other parent and, most importantly, your child.

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If I Get Divorced in Dallas, Texas, Will I Have to Pay Alimony?

 Posted on May 31, 2016 in Alimony

Divorce is never easy, but one of the trickiest and most emotional aspects of any divorce is dividing financial assets. When you are married to an individual for any great length of time, you work together to make your current lifestyle possible. For some, this means giving up a career entirely to help raise a family. For others, it means relocating to an entirely new part of the country where friends and family can only be reached by phone or email, if it means a better paying job for the working spouse. For others still, it means putting their own education on hold while their spouse pursues their educational goals first.

For many couples, this sort of give-and-take works well, as it allows both individuals to contribute to the relationship and family unit in a way that makes sense for the time being. However, when that same couple decides to part ways before the second spouse has a chance to pursue certain goals, all that sacrifice they made seems fruitless, as now they are left with no financial support, and no real job experience to list on their resume. Which leads to the big question: is that spouse entitled to spousal support?

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Bringing Home Baby: Custody Issues Related to Newborns

 Posted on May 23, 2016 in Custody

Planning for and bringing home a new baby is a challenging task on its own. Adding a breakup or divorce to the equation only amplifies those challenges. If you have found yourself in the middle of a breakup, a separation, or a divorce prior to the birth of your baby, or shortly thereafter, crafting a visitation plan for a newborn can be tricky. Unfortunately, most states, including Texas, do not have set visitation or custody plans in place to help guide new parents.

Assuming both parents want to be an active part of their child's life from the beginning, hopefully, they can put aside any differences and acrimony and act in the best interest of the newborn. If not, it will be up to a court make the tough decisions related to the custody and care of the newborn. As with many states, Texas courts use the best interest of the child standard when determining custodial issues. A determination of a child's best interest includes, but is not limited to, the child's needs, the ability of the child's parents to cooperate in decision-making, the level of each parent's participation, distance between parents' residences, and any other factor the court finds relevant.

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Getting Divorced After Five Years of Marriage

 Posted on May 19, 2016 in Property Division

While divorce rates in the United States are on a small decline in the last decade, marriages still go south. What happens when your marriage ends before you even reach your five-year anniversary? It is estimated that 20% of marriages end in divorce before the couple reaches a half decade of being married.

Luckily, for marriages that end before the five-year mark, there is likely less to divide among the divorcees. Younger couples are less likely to worry about dividing property, money, and children. The '50% of all marriages end in divorce' statistic is bloated by those with second, third and sometimes even fourth marriages. In fact, that number is hardly accurate for first marriages.

While 20% of marriages end before five years, 32% end within 10 years, 40% end within 15 years and 48% end within 20 years. So while you are less likely to get divorced while you're still in your 'honeymoon phase,' you are not alone.

The same general principles apply in all divorces, regardless of the length of the marriage. However, as a practical matter, couples who divorce after a short union often have similar concerns that differ from the longer married.

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Business Valuations During a Divorce

 Posted on February 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

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:

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Four Tips from the IRS if You Changed Your Name Due to Marriage or Divorce

 Posted on January 11, 2016 in Divorce

Marriage and divorce change everything, including your tax situation. Whether you recently got married and changed your name or you recently went through a divorce and took back your maiden name, you should make sure that the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. If you fail to match your name with both the IRS and SSA, it may cause problems with the processing of your tax return. In some instances, it may delay your refund, which could be substantially larger depending on your new relationship and filing status.

To make things easier on you, our Dallas, Texas family law attorney has included four tips from the IRS for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have undergone a name change:

  • If you took your spouse's last name and do not notify the SSA, you may run into trouble filing your tax return, whether you file jointly or as a single individual. Additionally, even if you hyphenate your name (meaning, you took your spouse's but also kept your own), the IRS still will not be able to create a match. To make sure that your name matches that with your Social Security Number, notify the SSA of your name change.

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Valuing Pensions and Other Retirement Plans in a Texas Divorce

 Posted on January 01, 2016 in Uncategorized

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.

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