Divorce Checklist

Sep
15

What Happens in a Texas Divorce ?

Divorce can be frustrating, confusing, and resentful. Divorce is never a pleasant experience even in the most amicable terms. It is important to know what you are in for when a divorce is filed. An original petition will be filed, and your spouse must be served with a process server.

After service of the original petition, the Petitioner may file for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) to protect the child and marital estate. Once a TRO is granted by the District Judge, a temporary order hearing will be set within 14 days. This temporary order hearing is extremely important and will determine the direction of the case.

Temporary Order hearings are usually condensed to 20 minutes a side depending on the complexities of the case. Within this 20 minutes, you will have to put on evidence for your entire case regarding custody of the children, management of the marital estate, and any other considerations such as receivership of a business.

After the temporary orders hearing, the case will dive into full throttle litigation. Discovery on both sides is usually conducted including interrogatories, admissions, and production of documentations. The documents that are usually requested consists of bank statements, retirement pensions, social media pages, text messages, and emails. Each case requires specific Discovery requests that are narrowly tailored to the facts presented. Discovery can last months and usually follow with motions to compel and sanctions. In highly contested cases the rigors of discovery and compiling documentation can be brutal.

During the Discovery phase, Depositions may be warranted. Depositions consists of your attorney questioning your spouse and any other witnesses that are relevant to the case for impeachment purposes. Depositions are necessary if the case will go to a jury, because impeachment of your spouse is a necessity to prove your truthfulness.

Mediation is, more often than not, mandatory in Courts, but this is the general rule. Certain Courts in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and Collin county do not require mandatory mediation. Each Court has its own rules of procedure and requirements. If the Mediation fails to produce a settlement between you and your spouse, then the only thing left is trial.

Depending on the complexities of the case and assets, a trial can last half a day or be a three-day trial. Most trials are before the District Judge. Certain facts may give rise to a jury trial but a jury trial is more costly and can take up more time. After the trial is complete the parties will have to wait for a ruling. This can take days to months depending on the case and jurisdiction.

When the final ruling is given to all parties, the Judge will charge one party to create a final order that will be submitted to the Court. This can give rise to more litigation depending on the interpretation of the Judge’s rulings by both parties. Finally, when both parties agree to a final order or the Judge determines which version of the final order is proper, then the case will be over.

Divorce can be a painful process that lasts 6 months to three years depending on the circumstances and the nature of the parties involved. If you are about to file for a Divorce in the DFW metroplex call Nacol Law Firm so that you have an experienced family law attorney to represent your interests throughout the process.

Julian Nacol
Dallas Fathers Rights Divorce Attorney
Nacol Law Firm PC

DETAIL

TIS THE SEASON FOR FILING A TEXAS DIVORCE ?

Welcome to January, the Divorce Month of the New Year! After a bad holiday season, many people have made the decision to file for divorce. The most popular months for filing divorce in the United States occur in January through March.

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter what the circumstances. When you decide to start the Texas Divorce Process, make sure you are financially prepared. Financial planning helps you in making sound decisions and start to prepare for your post-divorce life.

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.

Financial Documents needed when preparing for a Texas divorce:

  1. Tax Returns (at least three years) or Tax Liens and all IRS related documents
  2. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. A listing of separate property (property owned prior to marriage, family heirlooms, property gifted, inherited property):
    -Records that trace your separate property. These assets will remain yours if properly documented
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)
  14. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures
    -photos
    -purchase documents
  15. Electronics and computers including software and hard drive
  16. 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)
  17. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  18. Jewelry including appraisals
  19. Animals and livestock
  20. Farming equipment
  21. Club Memberships
  22. Safe deposit box items
  23. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  24. Items in any storage facility
  25. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)
DETAIL

Financial Basics in Surviving Your Divorce

So you have now decided to divorce. You know it will be painful & scary, but you believe the time is right to have a single life.  Financial vulnerability and risks are inevitable.

Every year, approximately three million men and women head down the emotional and financial path of divorce.  Following a divorce the cost is usually 25-50% more to maintain your pre-divorce lifestyle. A single household becomes twice as expensive as each spouse losses the benefit of the other spouses income. Economic discrimination due to gender gaps place additional financial burdens on women.   A woman’s standard of living may drop 27% while a man’s standard of living may increase 10%!

Now start with the financial basics in surviving your divorce! What are the basics?

  • A secure place to live

  • Create little or no debt

  • Protect retirement assets or income

  • Use of liquid money or assets

The most important of these basics is Liquid money! You will need money to find a place to live and hire an attorney.  You will also need money to pay your expenses during your divorce. Liquidity will definitely come in handy and enhance your position in the proceedings.

What about Debts? If possible pay off your debts now. The uses of savings or assets you can liquidate are the cleanest methods. Many divorced people find themselves responsible for their EX’s portion of debt since the exiting spouse refuses to pay. Legally, you may be responsible if your ex-spouse does not pay. Try to start your new life free of debt and with a new sense of self confidence!

What about Cash Issues and Retirement Assets in a Divorce? If you and your spouse have retirement savings, each of you will probably be entitled to a one-half share or a portion based on a fixed ration of the number of years married and number of years of investing.   This money could be kept for retirement or used to repay other current expenses or debts.  Make sure you examine prospective tax treatment to avoid the 10% penalty on early withdrawal by the IRS.

Some tax questions to know about:

  • Are spousal maintenance payments tax deductible?

  • Who will be able to claim Head of Household status?

  • Who gets the tax exemption for the kids?

  • Is child support non-deductible?

  • Which Attorney fees are tax deductible?

Always remember to “Look at the big picture”.  Keep your focus on finances and parenting.  If you need help from smart professions, as your attorney, accountant, or mental-health professional, get it now! They will help you and your family with focus, objectivity and a long-term vision that is very difficult for you during this tumultuous time in your life. Now you need to be able to articulate you needs and goals for the future.

Do not forget! This time too shall pass and you may be, with planning, better than ever in the future!

DETAIL

Financial Checklist for Divorce

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)
By Nacol Law Firm | Divorce Checklist
DETAIL

Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

TOP