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What happens when dividing retirement accounts in divorce

A qualified domestic relations order is a type of court order that a couple in Texas might need if they are dividing a retirement account in a divorce. A QDRO allows distributions from a 401(k) or a pension plan without penalties or taxes. It is not necessary with an IRA, but there may be other regulations. For example, a distribution from an IRA should be rolled into another IRA.

It is also possible to do this with a distribution from a 401(k) or from a pension plan although a person can also take a direct distribution and will only have to pay regular income tax on it. The QDRO needs to specify if the distribution will be rolled over to an IRA.

Early planning can limit divorce headaches

It may seem counterintuitive for Texas couples to think about divorce while planning a wedding, but the high divorce rates suggest that may be a pragmatic strategy for individuals with assets they'd like to protect if their marriages fail. Removing uncertainty is always good and can even help a marriage prosper by allowing couples to focus on the present more fully.

One simple way couples can protect themselves is by keeping individual as well as joint financial accounts. Any mixing of the funds will result in an account being considered joint property, so discipline is required to make this strategy work. Additionally, the usage of joint funds for the maintenance, renovation or repair of individually held property can also result in that property being later classified as a joint asset. If someone brings investment accounts or real property into his or her marriage, it is prudent for him or her to get an accurate valuation of the assets right before he or she gets married. Merely keeping account statements can help in this regard, but getting appraisals for real estate or other unique assets is a wise move.

Couples over 50 face challenges in divorce

In Texas and across the United States, the past 25 years have seen the divorce rate for people over age 50 more than double, and this trend is continuing to rise. While divorce can be complex and difficult at any stage of life, carrying an array of financial, emotional and practical consequences, it can present unique challenges for people divorcing later in life after a long-term marriage. This is especially true when the couple has accumulated a significant amount of assets over the years of their marriage.

Many couples who choose to divorce later in life are dealing with complex property issues to be handled in a settlement, including dividing real estate, retirement funds, investments and other significant assets. In order to ensure that the divorce settlement is truly just and comprehensive, accurate records are essential. A divorcing spouse can create a full inventory of all of the property owned by the couple, including individual property like inheritances and jointly held assets. Another key piece of documentation is past employment records. These records can help to provide information about pension plans, stock options and other assets linked to past employment.

When he doesn’t follow through on his divorce obligations

Going through a divorce can be long and difficult. It can be emotionally draining and taxing on all your relationships. When you finally reach an agreement for support, it can feel like the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand, the light at the end of the tunnel could be another train coming in your direction: failure of your spouse to fulfill their new obligations.

Someone once said that divorced men are more likely to meet their car payments than their child support obligations. And it appears the numbers agree.

Handling finances after a divorce

Texas residents who get a divorce should be prepared for the financial issues that can arise after the divorce has been finalized. In addition to maintaining their attorney and consulting with a financial advisor, there are some other ways to make sure that their post-divorce finances do not negatively impact their livelihood.

One important action to take is to keep an eye on their credit. If there are any jointly held credit cards that are still active, they should be cancelled. Divorced individuals should focus on establishing a credit history under their own name.

Five ways to successfully co-parent after a divorce

Splitting up with your spouse is a complex situation, and it’s one that gets significantly more complicated when children are involved. If your divorce is final, and a custody agreement is in place, you may find yourself navigating your new world of co-parenting.

While it’s a bit more nuanced than a conventional parenting relationship, co-parenting can be in your children’s best interests after a divorce. If you’re facing the prospect of such a situation, it can be helpful to know some best practices for making it work for your children. Here are five strategies for successful co-parenting:

Methods for resolving property boundary disputes

Adjacent landowners are not always in agreement when it comes to where their respective properties end and begin. Boundary disputes between neighbors happen, and it’s not uncommon for that friction to escalate into a legal matter.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to resolve property boundary disputes. Increasing tensions over property lines could cause a real estate headache, but it’s possible to arrive at a fair, legal solution. If you’re in the midst of a property boundary dispute, it’s smart to be aware of the options available to you, as some may fit your situation more than others.

Modifying child custody arrangements after a divorce

Child custody arrangements are not set in stone and can be modified after a divorce is finalized. If both parents agree to proposed modifications they simply need to submit the revised custody arrangement to the court for approval.

Requests for modifications where parents do not agree are more challenging and require assistance from the court. When reviewing motions to modify child custody arrangements, the court will always keep the best interest of the child in mind.

When will my divorce be final?

Couples seeking a divorce have a lot of questions about how the process works, and one of their main concerns is how long the process will take. When will everything be finalized so they can move on with their lives?

In Texas, there are some time constraints that do make the process less than expedited. To meet the grounds for a divorce, a petitioner or respondent must have been a domiciliary of Texas for the preceding six-month period and a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for 90 days.

How a prenup can be challenged and invalidated

Prenuptial agreements have many stigmas attached to them, and one of them is that the document is ironclad once signed. Many stereotypes in movies reinforce this idea, but this is actually a myth. Prenuptial agreements can be poorly written contracts that don't hold up under the scrutiny of the law, and they can certainly be invalidated -- partially or wholly -- as a result of malfeasance by one of the spouses.

But what, in particular, are we talking about here? Let's look over a few examples of why a prenuptial agreement may be invalidated.

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Law Office of B. Diane Heindel, P.C.