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Divorce in Collin County
Getting divorced is a legal process that also has profound impacts on your personal, family and financial circumstances. The resolution of matters such as property and debt division, establishing spousal support, and developing a parenting plan can impact all aspects of your life; and, while it is possible to modify the terms of a divorce under limited circumstances, as a general rule, you should approach your divorce with the goal of achieving a final resolution. When overlooking issues can lead to unnecessary disputes, and when failing to consider future implications can leave you fighting in court to modify undesirable terms, investing the time to achieve a workable outcome is well worth the effort involved.
At Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC, we help divorcing spouses make informed decisions while leaving no stone unturned. We want to make sure that you achieve the best possible outcome consistent with Texas law, and we want to make sure that the terms of your divorce will serve your needs and lifestyle for decades to come. With years of experience representing spouses with diverse interests and a broad range of specific desires, we understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to secure the rights our clients deserve.
Experienced Representation for Simple, Complex and High-Net-Worth Divorces
Just as no two marriages are exactly alike, there is no such thing as a “standard” divorce. In order to adequately protect your interests, you will need to consider all of the relevant issues in light of the unique circumstances at hand. We have significant experience representing clients with unique needs, and we routinely assist spouses with:
- The Divorce Process and Divorce Litigation
- Amicable Divorce (or “DIY” Divorce)
- High-Net-Worth Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Military Divorce
- Alternatives to Divorce
- Common Law Marriage Divorce
- Same-Sex Divorce
In all types of divorces, there are a number of issues that come into play. From a financial perspective, the most significant of these issues is typically the division of assets and debts. Texas is a “community property” state, which means that each spouse is generally entitled to a portion of the couple’s marital estate. The law establishes a presumption that a 50-50 split is the most “equitable” resolution; however, there are a variety of circumstances under which this presumption can be overcome. Texas law also allows for spousal support (also known as “alimony”) under certain circumstances, and crafting an appropriate alimony award requires careful consideration of various legal, tax and other considerations.
For couples with children, child custody and child support considerations will usually take center stage in the divorce process. Texas law requires all custody determinations to be made in the “best interests” of the couple’s children, and there is a statutory formula for calculating each parent’s financial obligation. However, child-related matters are rarely straightforward and protecting your children’s best interests while securing your desired rights requires strategic planning and careful execution.
Q&A With Collin County Divorce Lawyer J. Ryan Nordhaus
Which of our assets are considered “community property”?
In Texas, the general rule is that any assets acquired during the marriage become community property that is subject to division in a divorce. This includes earned income as well as assets purchased by one spouse in his or her own name. In contrast, assets owned prior to the marriage generally remain “separate property” that is not subject to distribution. However, there are exceptions to both of these rules, and one of the first steps in your divorce will be to determine which assets are on the table.
What if my spouse and I both want to keep certain community property assets?
If you and your spouse both want to keep certain assets, you will have a few options available. Typically, divorcing spouses will negotiate a division of property that allows each to keep the assets that matter most. Neither spouse will keep everything; and, when negotiating an amicable resolution, spouses will generally agree to give up their rights in certain community property assets in exchange for exclusive rights to others.
If you and your spouse cannot come to terms on your own, then you may choose to engage the services of a mediator. If necessary, you can also go to court. If you go to court, the judge may award individual assets to you and your spouse; or, the judge may order you to sell disputed assets and divide the sale proceeds.
Are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements enforceable in Texas?
Yes, Texas law recognizes the enforceability of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements (subject to certain restrictions). If you have an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the terms of your agreement will override Texas’s default community property rules.
How can I show that obtaining custody is in my children’s “best interests”?
In order to obtain physical custody (technically referred to as “possessory conservatorship”), you will need to use Texas’s “best interests” factors to show that this is the most appropriate outcome. Texas law does not favor either parent by default, but rather focuses exclusively on determining what is best for the couple’s children. The relevant factors include:
- Any effect on the child that may result from being separated from either parent
- The parents’ availability as caregivers and their willingness personally care for the child
- The parents’ geographical proximity
- The parents’ physical, medical, emotional, economic, and social conditions
- The child’s physical, medical, behavioral, and developmental needs
- The child’s preference if he or she is 12 years of age or older
- Whether one or both parents were involved in the child’s caregiving prior to the divorce
- Whether the child will benefit from joint or shared custody
Do all divorces end up in court?
No. While some spouses are so at odds that their only choice is to turn to the Collin County courts for a resolution, many divorcing couples are able to resolve their differences amicably without going to court. In Texas, there are a few different options for addressing property division, custody, and support rights outside of court. These include private settlement discussions, mediation, and collaborative divorce.
Can you tell me more about mediation and collaborative divorce?
Mediation and collaborative divorce are two non-adversarial options for resolving divorce-related issues. In mediation, the spouses – each represented by their own attorney – work with a neutral third party (called a “mediator”) who helps them work toward a compromise. Unlike a judge, the mediator does not make any decisions for the spouses. Instead, the mediator helps the spouses keep an open perspective and consider creative solutions for dividing their assets and establishing a parenting plan.
A collaborative divorce starts with the spouses entering into a written agreement not to take their differences to court. The spouses do not work with a neutral third party, but instead (with the help of their respective McKinney divorce attorneys) take an open-minded approach to finalizing their divorce as efficiently and amicably as possible.
What is “community property” and why does it matter in my divorce?
In Texas, once you get married, most property that either you or your spouse acquire will be considered “community property.” Community property is deemed to be owned equally by both spouses. This is true regardless of which spouse earned or purchased it, and regardless of whose name is on the legal title (in the case of a house or a car).
However, when it comes to a divorce, most assets can’t be split down the middle. In addition, a 50-50 split isn’t necessarily warranted in each and every divorce. As a result, property division under Texas’s community property law can get complicated, and there are lots of options for divorcing spouses to keep in mind.
What can I expect during the divorce process?
While the divorce process is fairly structured regardless of which method you pursue, no two divorces are alike. Everything from your family’s financial circumstances to your spouse’s willingness to approach your divorce with open-mindedness will play a role in crafting your experience during your divorce.
That said, except in the ugliest of divorces, most people tend to find the process less burdensome than they initially expected. There are undoubtedly hurdles and challenging decisions along the way; but, with the right approach, you can often significantly mitigate the negative aspects of your divorce.
Contact Our Collin County Divorce Lawyers
If you are considering a divorce or have questions about the process, we encourage you to contact our McKinney, TX law offices for a free initial consultation. One of our attorneys will be happy to meet with you personally to discuss the best path forward. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call (214) 726-1450 or inquire online today.