Reasons to Consider a Fault – Based Divorce in Texas

The availability of the “no-fault” divorce option in Texas makes the process of ending a marriage attractively easy for most divorcing spouses. However, there are instances when you may want to consider filing a fault-based divorce. Fault divorces, or “divorces for cause,” are complicated in both legal and practical terms, so it is strongly recommended you seek advice from an experienced divorce attorney before making a final decision.

In Texas, the grounds for a fault-based divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Confinement for incurable insanity for three years
  • Felony conviction and imprisonment for over one year
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment

It is very important to understand that the spouse seeking the fault-based divorce will be required to prove the allegations on which the petition is based. This can be embarrassing if the facts alleged are very personal or intimate – for example, in the case of adultery.

There are benefits, however, that may make it worthwhile. In a successful fault-based divorce case, the at-fault spouse may be ordered to pay temporary spousal maintenance when he or she would not otherwise be required to. The spouse who was wronged may be allowed to take possession of a larger share of the marital assets and/or a smaller share of the marital debts. The petitioning spouse in a fault-based divorce case will also have an advantage in any dispute over child custody.

You can read more about the grounds for fault-based divorce in Texas and the defenses to allegations of fault on the Texas state government’s Constitutions and Statutes website.

Contact Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Fault-Based Divorce

Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas attorney offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation. He places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about filing a fault-based divorce petition, or if you have been served with a fault-based divorce petition, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

Common Methods of Hiding Assets During a Divorce

Texas is a community property state. This means that, under Texas law, most property acquired during a marriage belongs to both spouses. This is often true regardless of which spouse actually acquired the asset.

When a marriage is ending between spouses who have high net worth, asset hiding is not uncommon. Forensic accounting may be necessary to trace and track all assets acquired during the marriage to ensure that a complete list is assembled so that all marital property can be equitably divided.

Some techniques of hiding marital assets are more common than others. Examples include:

  • Hiding cash or buying resalable assets like jewelry or stocks
  • Prepaying credit card balances is essentially a fancy way to hide cash
  • Exchanging cash for foreign currency or traveler’s checks (U.S. banking law does not require reporting such exchanges unless the amount is $10,000 or more)
  • Gifting assets to a family member or close friend

These other asset-hiding techniques are also common, but less likely to be “DIY.” These strategies usually are put into play upon receiving financial advice from an adviser.

  • Transferring assets to a fake business name
  • Paying assets into an insurance policy
  • Prepaying one or more mortgage balances, which may allow the individual to shelter assets under Texas’ homestead exemption

For a more thorough definition of community property in Texas, you can read the Texas statutory definitions of community and separate property.

Contact Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Asset Hiding

Attorney Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas attorney offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation. He places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about division of property, or concerns that your spouse is hiding assets, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

Getting a Divorce When You Own a Business Together

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, concerns about your financial future will doubtlessly run very high. Worries about money and the children are the top two contributors to sleepless nights for divorcing spouses.

If you own a business with your spouse, and especially if you rely totally or partially on the business income to support you, the thought of divorce may be especially troubling.

There is no way to sugarcoat the truth: spouses who own a business together will almost certainly find the divorce process more complicated and more emotionally exhausting than spouses who do not. This does not mean, however, that you should stay in a marriage solely because you don’t know what to do about the business you own with your spouse. You have options besides walking away or continuing to work alongside a spouse you no longer want in your life.

Here are things you should know if you are thinking about divorce and worried about a joint business.

  • Who owns the business? Texas is a community property state. This means that assets acquired or improved during the marriage are to be shared equally between the spouses in a divorce. So, even if your spouse started the business before you married, you may still have a legal right to some percentage of ownership based on contributions you made to the business’s operation during the marriage.
  • A buyout doesn’t necessarily require cash. If you want to sell your ownership, or if you want your spouse to sell his or her ownership, you may be able to trade other assets rather than having to come up with cash.
  • Take care of the business during the divorce process. Just as a divorce court judge can issue a temporary order for the care and support of children while a divorce is pending, a judge may also be able to issue a temporary order regarding the operation of your jointly owned business. This may be important to prevent the other spouse from wasting assets or sabotaging the business. It may also be a good idea if you cannot agree on basic operation decisions – the judge may order you to hire a receiver, who can act as a temporary manager.
  • Maybe you can work together. It is uncommon, but not unheard of, for spouses to realize that they can maintain a working relationship but not a personal one. If your honest self-evaluation tells you that you can manage a continuing business relationship with your ex, by all means – consider it. A recent article in The New York Times describes one such couple’s adventures in business ownership both during and after their marriage.

Contact Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Division of Assets During Divorce

Attorney Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas attorney offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation. He places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about your rights with regard to a jointly owned business, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

My Name is on my Spouse’s Credit Card but I Never Used It

When it becomes time to divide assets and debts in a Texas divorce, many divorcing spouses are in for a bit of a shock. Generally speaking, debts – like assets – are community property in Texas. This means that debts acquired during the marriage are the legal responsibility of both spouses, no matter who actually incurred the debt.

If your name is on a credit card (as a secondary cardholder, for example), a judge can order you to be responsible for repaying half the balance on the credit card, even if you never used it yourself. Part of the reason is that Texas family law assumes that debt incurred during the court of the marriage benefited the marriage. For example, you may never have used the card yourself, but your spouse may have used the card to purchase airline tickets for a family vacation, materials for a home improvement project, or groceries. Thus, even though you personally never used the credit card with your name on it, your husband used the credit card account to buy things that benefited you both. Thus, a family court judge will be likely to assign you the responsibility of paying off half the debt.

The converse may also be true. If your divorce attorney can prove that every purchase made with the credit card was for your spouse’s benefit alone, then your divorce lawyer may be able to persuade the judge that your spouse should be solely responsible for repaying the debt. Examples of purchases made for the sole benefit of your spouse might include a solo vacation, repairs to a house your spouse owned before the marriage, purchases to further an extramarital affair, and so forth.

This is why your divorce lawyer asks so many questions about your household finances, assets, and debts. These details can become extremely important, especially if you accumulated a lot of debt during the marriage.

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas publishes lots of information about credit card debt, debt counseling, and identity protection on its website, at: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/credit_cards.shtml.

Contact Attorney Kevin Buchanan for Answers to Questions About Credit Card Debt in a Divorce

Kevin Buchanan is a Dallas attorney offering family law clients skillful and experienced representation. Mr. Buchanan places a strong emphasis on fairness, and on treating all clients with dignity and respect. If you have questions about credit card debt in a divorce, he would be pleased to review your circumstances and offer his opinion. To schedule a private consultation, fill out the online intake form or call (214) 378-9500.

 

About the Firm

Kevin Buchanan & Associates, P.L.L.C., are a Dallas based civil litigation firm that handles a variety of cases, including personal injury, product liability, and business disputes in many jurisdictions throughout the United States.


Our firm recently negotiated a $1.25 million dollar settlement for the family of a man who died as a result of a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver.

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