Prepare for Your Divorce

Sep
22

HELP! The Warning Signs of Divorce

When the warning signs of a fractured relationship with your spouse have been surfacing for quite a while, many people are still caught off guard when their spouse asks for “The Divorce”.  Although the husband may cause marriage problems, about 75% of divorces are initiated by the wife.  

Usually one spouse is in shock/denial and may want to truly try to salvage the marriage. At times a spouse will try to blame the other spouse of being a quitter for wanting to be legally released from an unacceptable marriage. Often the non-initiating spouse is at the point where it is a relief that “The Divorce” question has surfaced and will readily agree that divorce is the right option.

Marriage and family is not an easy proposition at times and sometimes it is easier to just say goodbye and return to single life. But if you truly love your spouse and family you should look at the warning signs and try to change the direction of the marriage.  Every relationship has its up and downs and needs new considerations at times. Take time to review your relationship and catch early warning signs that the marriage may be running off its tracks.  

What are some serious signs that you and your spouse could be headed for a DIVORCE?

  1. Spouse interaction is more negative than positive: Marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman researched the negative/positive effect and found that stable marriages have 5:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict. Whereas unstable marriages have .8:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict (Gottman & Levenson 1999). The acceleration of verbal criticism, nagging, and sarcasm in a relationship can be a definite sign that there is trouble in the marriage.  
  2. Stonewalling when “you can’t break down the wall”: Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate through body language or verbally shutting down when a situation with your spouse gets out of control and you don’t know how to handle the situation. This is very serious and may be the time to bring in a marriage counselor to help work through this problem.
  3. No Conflict Resolution: Marriage researcher, John Gottman, states that the lack of communication isn’t the marriage breaker but the lack of effective conflict resolution. This is a very serious problem when couples can’t reasonably work out their differences without causing injury to their relationship and finally quit communicating with each other to avoid more disagreement and conflict.
    Other times one spouse or both have reached the point where every conflict has become a situation that must be “won” by bullying the other spouse into submission. There must be a “winner” but with this win comes mutual loss of respect, increasing distance and eventual withdrawal from the relationship.
  4. Emotional and Physical Disengagement and Disaffection: When couples can’t communicate, they will find different avenues for emotional engagements.  Many neglected spouses will look out of the marriage at other values or priorities that helps them feel connected. A new religion, lifestyle, or job opportunity that the other spouse would never agree with can now be a reality for them.
    Emotional Disengagement is usually accompanied by withdrawal of affection. Couples in a divorce situation consider themselves “fallen out of love” with their spouse.
  5. Sudden Change in Behavior? Has your partner suddenly started caring more about their appearance and spending more time “away from” home. Or more time is spent with their children and instead of “our marriage” everything is centered around “our children”?
    Has your sex life disappeared? This is a good indicator that your emotional disengagement is advancing steadily and the spouses take no pleasure in each other. These are serious signals of rapidly eroding bonds in your marriage if not in a terminal state.
  6. Preparation for the “Single Life”: As people get tired of dealing with each other and the total indifference of the relationship, they will start living parallel lives and finally dissolve their personal relationship. Many couples heading for divorce will take up new habits and friends that differ from their spouses. New social networks will be centered around a single lifestyle.

Sounds like your current life with your spouse? DON’T GIVE UP YET! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO SALVAGE A FADING MARRIAGE! If people will realize that a marriage is not perfect and there will be conflict a certain percentage of time. Concentrate on working out a solution together to have a positive, loving relationship that can withstand the bad times. Just Remember: there was some spark that drew you to your spouse. Try to find it again or divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Prepare for Your Divorce
DETAIL
Jul
14

Have You Been Hacked by Your Ex? Know Your Rights in Texas!

As technology continues to change our lives at a rapid pace, it’s easy to forget that so much of our most valuable and private information now hides in our computers, in our email accounts, phones, text messages iPads, and other devices. When you love someone, it may seem only natural and convenient to share your various passwords and account information or to leave your devices unprotected. However, when relationships become conflicted breakups, these security lapses can result in humiliating disasters with far-reaching consequences. As lawmakers try to keep up to help protect our information, it is more important than ever before to be aware of what is legal, what isn’t legal, and what steps you need to take in order to protect yourself from someone accessing your information for malicious purposes.

What are my online privacy rights?

Putting it bluntly, when you’re in a marriage or live-in relationship, you don’t have many. Texas did recently pass a bill (CSHB 896) to help define what a cyber-crime actually is, but it mostly doesn’t apply in this arena. Specifically, the law says a person commits an offense if they knowingly access a computer, network or system “with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property.” Although this language sounds reassuring, it is important to note that spouses are often given extraordinary leeway by courts with regards to what many would consider a reasonable invasion of privacy. In many instance, your spouse may still access anything in your computer, emails, or phone, and potentially even use that as evidence in any court proceedings. There are many examples of spouses aggressively attempting to do exactly that and successfully leveraging whatever they find to obtain custody, favorable settlements, or other advantages.

So what can I do?

If you are going through a divorce or break up,

  1. Immediately tell your spouse/ex that they DO NOT have permission to access any of your accounts, and document the message. You do have a right to privacy. If your spouse (Ex) continues to try to access your information, then they are potentially committing a criminal offense, and at the very least, any information they discover after written notice may not be admissible in court.
  2. CHANGE ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS, and do it right away. Most of the popular online email services (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) actually track your internet usage and display that information to anyone with your password who knows where to look. What about iCloud / Apple? If your spouse has your password, they can actually log in to iMessage from anywhere, see all of your past texts and read any texts that you receive in real time. Depending on your device settings, they may even be able to track your actual location. Change your passwords, and…
  3. If you can, enable two-step verification on all accounts which offer it. This extra step will guarantee that nobody can access your account without your knowledge and permission.

In short, there is still a lot of gray area as our legal system struggles to keep up with technology. The smartest thing you can do is make sure you protect your accounts, stay away from your spouse’s, and exercise caution in anything you do online or on your phone.

DETAIL
Jan
07

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 Checklist for Preparing for a Texas Divorce

Getting Divorced? Here is Your Financial Checklist to Get Started.

Preparing for a Texas Divorce: Assets
Preparing for a divorce is painful no matter the circumstance. Before you get into the tangle of the Texas divorce process, you can reduce the expense, stress and conflict many people face by making sure you are prepared. Planning ahead allows you to make sound decisions and start preparing for your life post-divorce, and may also help you avoid post-divorce pitfalls. Below is a list of items you need to gather before counseling with an attorney.

Documents
1. A Listing of all Real Property, address and location, including (include time-shares and vacation properties):
1. Deeds of Trust
2. Notes
3. Legal Description
4. Mortgage Companies (Name, Address, Telephone Number, Account Number, Balance of Note, Monthly Payments)
5. Current fair market value

2. 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):
1. Name of institution, address and telephone number
2. Amount in institution on date of marriage
3. Amount in institution currently
4. Account Number
5. Names on Account

3. Retirement Benefits
1. Exact name of plan
2. Address of plan administrator
3. Employer
4. Employee
5. Starting date of contributions
6. Amount in account on date of marriage
7. Amount currently in account
8. Balance of any loan against plan

4. Publicly traded stock, bonds and other securities (include securities not in a brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account):
1. Number of shares
2. Type of securities
3. Certificate numbers
4. In possession of
5. Name of exchange which listed
6. Pledged as collateral?
7. Date acquired
8. Tax basis
9. Current market value
10. If stock (date option granted, number of shares and value per share)

5. Insurance and Annuities
1. Name of insurance company
2. Policy Number
3. Insured
4. Type of insurance (whole/term/universal)
5. Amount of monthly premiums
6. Date of Issue
7. Face amount
8. Cash surrender value
9. Current surrender value
10. Designated beneficiary

6. Closely held business interests:
1. Name of business
2. Address
3. Type of business
4. % of ownership
5. Number of shares owned if applicable
6. Value of shares
7. Balance of accounts receivables
8. Cash flow reports
9. Balance of liabilities
10. List of company assets

7. 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.
1. Name of mineral interest
2. Type of interest
3. County of location
4. Legal description
5. Name of producer/operator
6. Current market value

8. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned)
1. Year
2. Make
3. Model
4. Value
5. Name on title
6. VIN Number
7. Fair Market Value
8. Name of creditor (if any), address and telephone
9. Persons listed on debt
10. Account number
11. Balance of any loan and monthly payment
12. Net Equity in vehicle

9. Money owed by spouse (including any expected federal or state income tax refund but not including receivables connected with any business)

10. Household furniture, furnishings and Fixtures

11. Electronics and computers

12. Antiques, artwork and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, coin or stamp collections)

13. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms

14. Jewelry

15. Animals and livestock

16. Farming equipment

17. Club Memberships

18. Travel Award Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)

19. Safe deposit box items

20. Burial plots

21. Items in any storage facility

22. A listing of separate property (property prior to marriage, family heir looms, property gifted)

23. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, etc.):
a. Name of entity, address and telephone number
b. Account number
c. Amount owed
d. Monthly payment
e. Property securing payment (if any)
f. Persons listed as liable for debt

By Nacol Law Firm | Prepare for Your Divorce
DETAIL