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Tessmer Tips / 21.09.2015

Top 10 things you must do once your divorce is final: #2 - Take care to change any personal and/or financial information needed.  For example: open new checking and savings accounts, update any automatic payments taken from your accounts, change your passwords to all online accounts and your email, open a new safety deposit box in your name only.   Top 10 things you must do once your divorce is final: #3 - Revoke any Powers of Attorney naming your ex and make new ones.  Create a new Estate Plan (Will, Medical Directives, etc.).  Change beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies....

Tessmer Tips / 20.09.2015

We handle a lot of divorce cases. Yours may have been fairly painless - or, it may have been contentious and seemed to have dragged on forever.  Either way, now it is over and you are officially divorced, but there are still some details to handle. Stay tuned this week to see the top 10 things we advise our newly divorced clients to do - and don't worry, if you need assistance with any of them, we are here to help!   Top 10 things you must do once your divorce is final: #1 - Secure several Certified Copies of your Final...

Tessmer Tips / 18.09.2015

Texas law requires that division of property must be equitable under the circumstances.  There are many things the court considers in determining what is “equitable”, including fault in the breakup of the marriage, the difference in earning potential between the spouses, which spouse has custody of the children, and more.  An equitable split does not mean that the division of property will be 50/50, and a court is never allowed to award one spouse’s separate property to the other spouse.   A couple can name specific property as “community” or “separate” themselves in two ways.  First, before marrying, they can execute a...

Tessmer Tips / 17.09.2015

In the case of splitting debts in a divorce, the key principle to remember is that any agreement reached involving the assignment of a debt is binding between the spouses, but generally does not extend to creditors. A proper divorce settlement will take several factors into account, such as when the debt was acquired, the names on the debt account and how ownership of the asset associated with the debt – for example, a vehicle – is structured. In general, if the credit of both spouses was used to acquire the debt, or both spouses are named on the credit...

Tessmer Tips / 16.09.2015

A business or professional practice can also be community property and must also be considered in the division of property. Probably the most difficult aspect of determining the value of a business or professional practice is the valuing of “goodwill”.  Goodwill is the intangible value that most businesses have based on their name or reputation.  Even a business that cannot be sold has a goodwill value, which must be ascertained when the couple divorces.  Again, having a qualified Family Law attorney on your side in a case like this is crucial, because he will bring in a CPA or business...

Tessmer Tips / 15.09.2015

Community property does not just include things like real estate, household belongings, and vehicles.  It also includes intangible property such as income, dividends, benefits and debts.  All community property must be divided when the marriage ends, and all of the debts as well.   In some cases, when a court awards a portion of one spouse’s retirement benefits to the other spouse, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared to be sent to the employer, who will be ordered to distribute benefits to each spouse in accordance with the court’s order.  A QDRO is not a “google and do-it-yourself” document. ...