Blog

Jan
03

Divorce Checklist – Preparing your Finances for a Texas Divorce

Preparing for a Texas Divorce:  Assets

Going through a Divorce is painful no matter the circumstances. Before you get into the Texas Divorce Process, you can reduce expense, stress, and conflict by making sure you are financially prepared. Advanced planning 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. This is a very general checklist. Disregard what is not pertinent to your situation.

Documents:

  1. Taxes (at least three years) 
  • Federal Tax Return
  • State Tax Return
  • W2
  • Tax Liens
  • All other IRS related documents
  1. Wills and Trusts with all attachments reflecting corpus and trust holdings
  2. Listing of all liabilities (including mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans, automobile loans, student 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 (from last 3 years)
  1. A Listing of the address and location of all Real Property, (includes time-shares, vacation properties, commercial property, and lots):
  • 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) for all Primary and Secondary Mortgages
  • Evidence of purchase gift or inheritance documents
  • Current fair market value.
  • Appraisals
  1. Motor Vehicles (including mobile homes, boats, trailers, motorcycles, recreational vehicles; exclude company owned):
  • Year, Make, Model of all Motor Vehicles
  • 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
  • Current statements from last 3 years
  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
  • Names on Account and Account Number
  • Social Security Documents
  • Pension Documents
  • Company loans and documents related to benefits
  • At least 3 years statements on all pertinent accounts
  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 (Date of start of plan is especially important for divorce settlement)
  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
  • 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)
  2. Household furniture, furnishings, and Fixtures
  • photos
  • purchase documents
  1. Electronics and computers including software and hard drives
  2. Antiques, artwork, and collectibles (including works of art, paintings, tapestry, rugs, crystal, furniture, quilts) All major collections always need to be appraised! (Cars, Guns, Jewelry, Coins & Stamps, Action Figures, and Books) 
  3. Miscellaneous sporting goods and firearms
  4. Jewelry including appraisals
  5. Animals and livestock
  6. Farming equipment
  7. Club Memberships
  8. Safe deposit box items
  9. Burial plots including documents of ownership
  10. Items in any storage facility
  11. Travel Awards Benefits (including frequent flyer miles)

You may decide to divorce or not, but it is very important to have all financial information before you enter into a Texas Divorce! This is a very general Divorce Financial Asset Checklist. Disregard what is not pertinent to your situation.  

After reviewing this list, you may also decide to go and review the Family Information FormThis form is basic information about you and your spouse. By the time you are looking at this, you will realize that you may not really know your spouse’s information.  You will need to know the correct information before filing for divorce in Texas.   

These two informational lists will prepare you with the basic financial information that any divorce attorney will need to get your divorce started. 

You can click on these links to download and print our Texas Divorce Financial Checklist and Family Information Form for a Texas Divorce

Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Fathers Rights Attorneys
Call (972) 690-3333

By Nacol Law Firm | Divorce Checklist
DETAIL
Dec
28

How Fathers Can Improve Their Chances of Getting Child Custody in Texas

Times have changed! Mothers’ having primary custody of the children is not always the accepted social presumption as in the past. Courts, legislatures and juries are becoming more aware of the vital necessity of father’s being involved in the lives of their children. Children with positive father involvement have fewer behavior problems, higher levels of sociability, and perform better in school.

Recent research suggests that father involvement is essential to a child’s social, moral, and physical growth during the adolescent period. A father’s involvement during pregnancy affects multiple areas of child development and family well- being, from prenatal care, to the likelihood that the father will provide ongoing financial and emotional support. This body of research is gaining momentum. Local and regional governmental agencies are focusing more and more on parental father involvement in the lives of children.

As a result of the continuing evolution of fathers’ rights, Courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as an equal to that of the mother. Starting out on an equal plane, the Court may look to which parent is more stable, has a superior income, has a parenting plan in place for the child and is capable of providing proper child care and spending more quality time with the child.

As a father, how can you increase your chances of getting child custody in Texas? You must be a good father and spend time with your children by involving yourself in their daily lives. You need to be responsible and reliable to the needs of your kids. Know and participate in all aspects of their lives. This includes school activities, doctor’s appointments, extracurricular events and getting to know and bonding with their friends.

Reflect on your own personal experiences as a child growing up and think about what was really important to you and your parent’s interaction during that period.

If a father voluntarily gives up rights to his children based on prejudices of the past in the Court system, he will feed a mother’s confidence and sponsor unnecessary ongoing litigation. The number one mistake made by fathers in the court system today is a failure to take the time to learn how the system works. Failing to learn how the family law system works may doom your case. Once you have learned the ins and outs of the family law system you will need to form a viable plan, set goals and never relent in enforcing your rights as a father.

Five of the biggest mistakes men make in a legal action are: 1) failing to respond to the legal action itself; 2) obtaining incorrect legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert); 3) signing a settlement agreement that is not in agreement with and later deeply regretting it; 4) failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement signed; and 5) getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable demands and orders.

Some of the things you may want to consider as you prepare for the custody battle are as follows:

  1. Who has the financial ability to best care for the child(ren)? Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.
  2. Form a parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).
  3. Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child (ren)?
  4. Where has the child (ren) been attending school? Is it possible to keep the child in the same school district?
  5. Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.
  6. Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child.
  7. Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?
  8. Is drug testing necessary? (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)
  9. Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?
  10. Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?
  11. Is there evidence such as pictures, video tapes, etc. that may help your case?
  12. Avoid unnecessary compromising photos or data on Facebook or other social networking sites.

List any other relevant issues you feel may be important to your child custody case before you meet with an attorney about your rights as a father.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
DETAIL
Dec
28

Warning Signs of Divorce – ‘Tis the Season to Know These Signs

As the holiday season approaches and all should be merry and bright, the black clouds are starting to gather for many married couples and families.  January is always one of the top months for divorce filings since many people want to change their personal life situations with the start of the New Year.  

Instead of receiving a knock on the door in January from a process server with your divorce summons, here are some Divorce Warning Behavior Signals to look for in your spouse that should not be Ignored. In the Nacol Law Firm’s Family Law Practice, I have placed the warning signals by priority from “something is changing” to “we are in serious trouble”:

  • Do you have a ”gut feeling” that there is a “defensive aura” between you and your spouse? The marriage is not going well, and your spouse is wanting to end the marriage. 
  • Has your spouse changed “their look and appearance” in relationship to you or other people? New clothes, new look, new friend? Maybe starting to detach mentally from your marriage? 
  • Possibly one spouse is now “very busy” and preoccupied with work, texting, private telephone calls with friends and long disappearing shopping excursions with unavailable contact. Maybe Someone does not want to be found? 
  • You and your spouse are now in a serious stage of “anger” and fight with each other constantly. Maybe a sign of divorce being a real option?  
  • Suddenly there is no fighting, no communication, and no caring between the partners in this marriage. Does anyone care anymore about the future of divorce for this marriage?
  • Money issues seem to start happening with changes in Bank amounts dwindling or new accounts being opened.  Credit/debit card amounts are rising as if someone is planning to embark on a new life after a divorce! 

If you are seeing two or more of these situations happening in your marriage, there may still be time to save this marriage. Start with meeting in a non-threatening location to talk about agreeing on making some major decisions on staying married or getting a divorce. If this is not possible in your current situation, suggest visiting with an agreed upon marriage counselor and try to work out serious problems in your marriage.  It is always worth a try for both of you and your family to try and save the marriage. 

Many times, one or both spouses are done with “us” and now want to be “me”.  If saving a marriage is totally impossible, then look for a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you get through this terrible yet sometimes necessary experience. 

Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Fathers Rights Attorneys
(972) 690-3333
Walnut Glen Tower
8144 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, Texas 75231

By Nacol Law Firm | Prepare for Your Divorce
DETAIL
Dec
19

Interstate Jurisdiction Cases when a Parent Abducts their Child

Parental child abduction is the offense of a Parent wrongfully removing, retaining, detaining or concealing their child from the other parent. This often occurs when parents separate or divorce proceedings begin. The abducting parent may consensually remove or retain the child to gain an advantage in pending child-custody proceedings or because the parent fears losing the child in the divorce proceeding. Many times the abducting parent may refuse to return a child at the end of an approved visit or may flee with the child to prevent the other parent from seeing the child or in fear of domestic abuse.

Many abducting parents try to take the child across state lines (Interstate Jurisdiction issues) or out of the country to make sure that the child will never be found by the other parent. They would rather live a fugitive than lose their child.

Are there any laws to stop this child abduction to another state or country? The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) provides remedies with valuable enforceable tools in deterring both domestic and international abductions by parents and unethical people or agents on their behalf. This Act empowers courts to impose measures designed to prevent child abduction both before and after a court has entered a custody decree. Unfortunately, the UCAPA has only been enacted in 14 states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Michigan, Utah) and District of Columbia, since its inception.

In Texas Interference with child custody is a felony!
Texas currently follows the Texas Penal Code 25:03, Interference with Child Custody:

Sec. 25.03. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age:

  (1) When the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody;

  (2) when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or

  (3) Outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person.

    (b) A noncustodial parent commits an offense if, with the intent to interfere with the lawful custody of a child younger than 18 years, the noncustodial parent knowingly entices or persuades the child to leave the custody of the custodial parent, guardian, or person standing in the stead of the custodial parent or guardian of the child.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (2) that the actor returned the child to the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, within three days after the date of the commission of the offense.

    (C-1) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a) (3) that:

      (1) The taking or retention of the child was pursuant to a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child; or

(2) notwithstanding any violation of a valid order providing for possession of or access to the child, the actor’s retention of the child was due only to circumstances beyond the actor’s control and the actor promptly provided notice or made reasonable attempts to provide notice of those circumstances to the other person entitled to possession of or access to the child.

  (C-2) Subsection (a) (3) does not apply if, at the time of the offense, the person taking or retaining the child:

    (1) Was entitled to possession of or access to the child; and

    (2) Was fleeing the commission or attempted commission of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, against the child or the person.

(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony: Minimum term: 180 days to Maximum Term of 2 years; fine up to $10,000.00

Hopefully, in the near future, more states will adopt the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, but until then, if you think you have a problem with your ex trying to kidnap your child, find out what can be done in your state to stop this before it happens!

By Nacol Law Firm | Interstate Jurisdiction
DETAIL
Dec
01

Texas Fathers and Child Custody Cases – Time for Modifications or a Change?

The New Year is always a good time for personal changes and after another stressful Holiday Season with your kids and Ex, you have decided to make some serious changes in your child custody situation to stabilize the entire family. Mom is not helping and the children are seriously acting out.  What to do? What to do?

Maybe it is time to look at changing your child custody status with the children or at least modifying the current orders. Many changes have occurred in American Family Behavior and fathers are taking a more active role in their children’s lives.  The Pew Research Center has recently published some new research on today’s fathers with some important and surprising changes:

  • Fewer dads are the family’s sole breadwinner: dual income households are now the dominant arrangement (60%). Both mom and father must now be responsible for child raising and home chores.

  • Dad and mom roles are converging: fathers have taken on more housework and child care duties and moms have increased time spent at a paid job. There is definitely a more equal distribution of labor between mother and fathers in today’s world.

  • Fathers feel they spend more or as much time with their children as their fathers did when they were children

With the latest scientific research showing that a father’s involvement is essential to a child’s social, moral, and physical growth during the adolescent period, many state legislatures and family courts are now recognizing a father’s ability to care for his children as equal to the mother.  Courts are also looking at the more stable parent, who may have a better income and parenting plan in place for the child and is capable of providing a better home life and more quality time with the child.

Another reason for changing opinions regarding fathers’ rights child custody issues has been the high divorce rates and the affect it has had on the USA population life experiences.  Many adults have been raised in a divorced home with Mom as the main custodial parent. Now these adults are divorcing they want a different and better experience for their own children and their lives.

Things you want to consider as you prepare for your child custody battle are:

  1. Who has the financial ability to best care for the child (ren)? Be sure to have income tax verification, W-2 Forms and other financial information available.

  2. Establish a detailed viable parenting plan (child care, after school care, transportation, pediatrician, etc.).

  3. Who is more stable and/or can provide the best home for the child (ren)?

  4. Where has the child (ren) been attending school? Is it possible to keep the child (ren) in the same school district?

  5. Prepare a chronology of events leading up to the divorce including treatment of the child(ren), time spent with the child(ren), activities with the child(ren), the child(ren)’s schedule.

  6. Consider if a home study should be prepared regarding each home of the child (ren).

  7. Consider whether a psychological evaluation should be done on the mother?

  8. Is drug testing necessary? (Be sure to request hair follicle drug testing.)

  9. Is there an alcohol or other addiction problem in the home?

  10. Who can provide the best moral upbringing for the children?

  11. Is there evidence such as pictures, social networking sites, video tapes, texting, etc. that may help your case?

  12. Avoid unnecessary compromising photos, data on social networking sites, or texting!

Just Remember the five biggest mistakes men make in a custody suits are: 1) failing to respond to the legal action itself; 2) obtaining incorrect child custody legal advice (from friends and family rather than a legal expert); 3) signing a quick child custody settlement agreement while passions are high that is later deeply regretted; 4) failing to perform under the actual settlement agreement as signed; and 5) getting frustrated and/or acquiescing to unreasonable demands and orders.

Think smart when contemplating Child Custody Modifications, be prepared and get an experienced legal professional to help you accomplish your goals!

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Custody
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.

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