Author: Shawn M. Rudisel

Shawn M. Rudisel is the founder of The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. which opened in Houston, Texas in 2008. Shawn has successfully represented thousands of clients across Texas in family law related matters. He has been through divorce and understands the dynamics of process personally. Shawn is happily married and when he is not litigating in the courtroom he is enjoying time with his wife Samantha and six children.
Dividing a Business in Texas Divorce

Divorce and Property Division in Texas: What Happens to the Family Business?

This blog posts discusses divorce and property division where a business is involved in a Texas Divorce. Divorce can be complicated. After the issue of child custody arrangements, the division of marital property usually tops the list of complications. A family business can make an already complicated process that much more difficult. A family business is often a symbol of all the hard work and commitment you have put into both your family and your career, and walking away can be especially painful. If you are facing a divorce and you own a family business, you need an experienced Houston divorce attorney.

What is Martial Property in Texas?

In Texas, the property you acquire during your marriage is generally considered marital property. Marital property is divided between you and your divorcing spouse in a way that the court deems “just and right.” (See Texas Family Code 7.001). Suffice to say, however, that the court’s determination of what is just and right may be odds with your ideas of how to divide your property. Coming to terms with the outcome can be especially difficult. Unless you and your spouse are able to hammer out an agreement related to your business, the court will make the determination for you.

Read this blog post to learn more about “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know.

How Do I Value the Family Business in a Texas Divorce?

It is difficult to come to an equitable division of a family business in a divorce if you do not have an accurate valuation of that business. The thing about business valuations, however, is that they can vary widely. While reputable business valuators should ultimately come to similar values, there is plenty of room for your spouse to bolster the business’s value or to minimize the business’s value – depending upon his or her motivations. In other words, obtaining one business valuation that accurately reflects your business’s value and that both of you can agree upon can be a challenge. If you own a business chances are you have substantial assets.  For a more detailed discussion, check out our article “High Asset Divorce in Texas, What you Need to Know“.

Businesses are Sometimes More than Monetary Value

When your divorce involves a business, it is essential to recognize that the business likely has more than just monetary value. If you are involved in running the business, it is probably a labor of love that can be difficult to monetize. Further, the business provides you with a career and a means of supporting your family. This is something that a check written for an amount that equals roughly half the business’s value simply cannot do. If you are facing a divorce that involves a family business, there is a lot to consider.

Options for Dividing a Family Business in a Texas Divorce

If your business is a going concern that provides for your family, you have options when it comes to your divorce:

• You can continue running the business as business partners who are not married. If you ran the business together as a married couple, you still have the requisite experience, skill, and commitment to doing so that you had before you were divorced. However, if your divorce is plagued by acrimony – which nearly any divorce can devolve into – this path forward is unlikely to be successful.

• You can sell the business and split the proceeds. While this is often the cleanest approach, it has its own inherent difficulties. The proceeds from such a sale can vary widely due to a fluctuating market and to your ability to find the right buyer at the right time. Ultimately, selling for the sole purpose of divorce can be a financial setback.

• One of you can buy the other’s interest in the business. This option makes a lot of sense because it provides the business with continuity of ownership, it guarantees that the business will continue to be competently managed, and it bypasses the need to worry about the market and to find the right buyer right now.

The difficulty with this option is that it can be very hard to walk away from a business that you have worked so hard to manage and grow. Additionally, if your business continues on the successful path that you have helped set it on, your ex-spouse is likely to reap greater rewards (than you may have been compensated for) by selling in a strong market to the right buyer, which could take years but could also happen soon after the divorce.

When it comes to divorce and your family business, there are so many angles to consider that it is nearly impossible to formulate a “right” answer. Instead, a dedicated divorce attorney will help you see the big picture, will help you determine what options are likely to work best for you and your children, and will help you move forward with purpose – knowing that you have made informed decisions in your pursuit of life after divorce.

The Family Business and Mediation

If your divorce does proceed to court, the judge will determine how the division of your family business will be handled, and this is generally not in your best interests. If you and your divorcing spouse – with the guidance of your respective attorneys – cannot come to an agreement that is somewhat mutually satisfactory, formal mediation can help. The neutral mediator in the process will help both of you better understand exactly what your options are and what will likely happen if you take the matter to court. Hammering out a decision together that helps preserve the integrity of the business you built together can be an important step forward in the divorce process in Texas.

Divorce being what it is, however, mediation does not always accomplish its intended results. Your experienced Houston divorce attorney will work closely with you throughout the process and will help you keep your eyes trained for what is best for you and your children – whether that means continuing with the mediation process or proceeding to court.

Read this blog post for more information on mediation: “Houston Divorce Mediation and why it is better than Trial

If You Are Facing a Divorce that Involves a Family Business, You Need an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney

Few things complicate a divorce more than a family business, but experienced legal counsel will help you find a solution that works for you. The dedicated legal professionals at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., have the experience and fortitude to fight for your case’s best possible resolution. We care about your case, and we are here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Please read the articles below for more valuable information on the process of divorce in Texas.

Connect with me on Google+ at +Shawn Rudisel

Adultery in Texas Divorce

Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?

Texas Divorce and Adultery

Most Texas divorces are difficult, and every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances. If your spouse engaged in an affair during your marriage – or during the divorce process itself – it can make an already challenging experience that much more painful. If you are considering a divorce and wondering if your spouse’s unfaithfulness will play a role in its outcome, you need to speak with an experienced Houston divorce attorney. As discussed in our article, “Meeting Your Divorce Lawyer for the First Time: What you need to Know” it is imperative that you disclose this type of information. In the end, your spouse’s infidelity can affect the outcome of your divorce, but the effects likely will not be as straightforward as you might imagine.

Texas: A No-Fault Divorce State

Texas is a no-fault divorce state in the sense that you do not need to cite fault to obtain a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, insupportability (often referred to as irreconcilable differences) typically stands in as the reason behind the divorce. It is important to recognize, however, that in Texas – unlike in many other states – you have the option of filing a divorce based on fault, including adultery. While most Texas divorces are no-fault divorces and the path toward such a divorce is far more straightforward, there are instances when pursuing a divorce based on fault is the appropriate approach. A dedicated Houston divorce attorney will help you determine your best options as you go through the divorce process.

The Legal Definition of Adultery

For your spouse’s infidelity to reach the level necessary to file for a divorce based on fault, his or her actions must correspond with Texas’s legal definition of adultery. In the Texas Family Code, adultery is defined very specifically:

• A married person who voluntarily has sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse commits adultery.
• A married person who engages in sexual acts (that are not intercourse) with someone who is not his or her spouse has not committed adultery.

This distinction can be a difficult concept with which to come to terms. For example, even if you discover that your spouse is having a heated relationship, including explicit photographs, on his or her phone or computer, this relationship does not equate with the legal definition of adultery. In other words, even though your spouse is engaging in behavior that you – and most other people – consider a betrayal, it is not adultery in Texas unless it meets Texas’s legal definition of adultery.

People also read: At Fault Divorce in Texas: Abandonment

We Were Separated at the Time

Even if you and your spouse were living separately at the time that the adultery occurred, it has no bearing on the legal claim of adultery. In Texas, married couples remain married until they are divorced. Texas does not recognize legal separations, so if your spouse begins a new sexual relationship before you are divorced, he or she is committing adultery. This is true even if you are separated and going through the divorce process.

Proving Your Spouse’s Adultery

To bring a divorce that is based on your spouse’s adultery, you must be able to provide proof of that adultery with evidence that is “clear and convincing.” This is a higher standard of proof than the “preponderance of the truth” that typically applies in civil cases. The necessary proof can be as simple as your spouse admitting to the relationship, but it can also necessitate the compilation of evidence that supports your claim. This means that your divorce is going to be decidedly more complicated and more labor intensive than a no-fault divorce would likely be. Your trusted attorney will help you determine if the additional outlay of work is worth the likely outcome.

Adultery and Your Divorce

In Texas, your marital property is not necessarily divided equally in a divorce but instead is divided in a manner that the court deems “just and right.” This means that the judge who hears your case has considerable latitude when it comes to the division of your marital property, which – other than child custody arrangements – is the primary focus of most divorces. As such, the judge who hears your case can take your spouse’s adulterous behavior into consideration when determining how your marital property should be divided between the two of you. If your spouse committed adultery, you can request that you be awarded a disproportionate percentage. Again, this outcome remains at the judge’s discretion when deciding property division in a Texas divorce.

It is also worth noting that pursuing a divorce based on adultery can have a motivating effect on some spouses. If your spouse is very concerned with his or her reputation, he or she may be inclined to agree to more generous settlement terms with you outside of court. Generally, avoiding court – where the judge will determine your financial future – is better for everyone. For a more in depth discussion of property division during a Texas divorce, read  our article entitled, “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know.

Some Components of Divorce Are Not Affected by Adultery

While your spouse’s adultery may play a role in how the court divides marital property between the two of you, there are certain aspects of your divorce that it will not affect:

• Eligibility for spousal maintenance or alimony is not affected by adultery. If you are eligible for spousal support, however, the amount and duration may be affected.
• Adultery probably will not play a role in the child custody arrangements that come out of your divorce. This is an illustration of the theory that being a faithless spouse does not necessarily make someone a bad parent. Our article entitled “Texas Divorce and Spousal Maintenance” gives an in-depth overview of spousal maintenance.

Moving Forward with a Fault-Based Divorce

There are situations in which moving forward with a divorce based on adultery is meaningful and situations where it is not. A divorce that is based on fault is typically a more complicated and expensive endeavor, so unless your marital property is fairly extensive, you may be better off going with a no-fault divorce. Again, however, every divorce is as unique as the two divorcing individuals, and a dedicated divorce attorney will help you see the big picture and identify the option that works best for you.

If You Are Facing a Divorce that Involves Adultery, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is always difficult, but infidelity often makes it that much more painful. If adultery plays a role in your divorce, the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C.,can help you navigate your best path forward. Our experienced divorce attorneys are here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Please read the following articles for a more involved discussion of Divorce in Texas:

Connect with me on Google+ at +Shawn Rudisel

Best divorce lawyer in Houston

Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas

If you’re going through a divorce in Texas, you have questions. Here are some answers to questions we often hear from clients when they first come to see us. For more information, call us today to speak with a Texas divorce attorney.  Texas Family Law is what we do.

How do I begin the divorce process in Texas?

The best way to begin the divorce process is by consulting with an experienced Houston divorce attorney, who will file an Original Petition for Divorce on your behalf.  You will be named as the petitioner (the spouse who begins the case by filing the Original Petition for Divorce), and your spouse will be named as the respondent (the spouse who is positioned to respond to the Original Petition for Divorce).

The following articles explain meeting with your attorney in more detail:

Can I obtain a legal separation in Texas?

In the State of Texas, unlike in many other states, there is no legal separation; you remain married until you are legally divorced. If you need to protect your interests related to your property and/or your children during the divorce process, you’ll need to obtain temporary orders.

Does Texas recognize common law marriage?

Yes, Texas recognizes common law marriages when three separate elements are all met:

1. A man and woman agree that they are in a common law marriage.
2. The couple lives together as husband and wife in Texas.
3. The two present themselves to the public as a married couple.

When all three elements are met, and it is determined that you are in a common law marriage, then (in order to dissolve that common law marriage) you must go through the divorce process just like any other married couple.

Where do I file for divorce?

You can file either in the Texas county that you live in as a married couple (if you live together) or in the Texas county where either one of you lives (if you are no longer living together). It’s important to note, however, that the spouse who lives in the county where the divorce is being filed must meet residency requirements, including that he or she has lived in the county for at least 90 days (immediately prior to filing) and has lived in Texas for at least six months (immediately prior to filing).

Readers have found the following articles to be helpful:

What is a Waiver of Service?

Under the Texas Family Code, when one spouse opens a divorce case, the respondent must be notified – usually by a process server. If the respondent is willing to sign a Waiver of Service, he or she waives the need to be served formally.  This is one difference between contested divorces and uncontested divorce.

No Fault Divorce State

No, Texas is what is known as a no-fault state, which means either one of you can file for a divorce based on the fact that your marriage is insupportable. Basically, this means that it’s only necessary for one (or both) of you to want a divorce – whatever the reason is.  As discussed in “Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?” a finding of fault in a Texas divorce can affect property division.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Texas is one in which both you and your spouse come to an agreement on the major issues:

• On pursuing a divorce
• On child custody arrangements, including parental decision-making responsibilities, primary custody, visitation schedules, and child support
• On the division of marital property and debts
• On spousal support

If you and your divorcing spouse are able to come to an agreement on these major hurdles, you are well on your way to hammering out an uncontested divorce that will likely save you time, money, and heartache in the long run. This does not, however, mean that you should settle for less than you are entitled to expedite the process. A knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer will help you find your best path forward.

Please read the following articles on uncontested divorces in Texas for more in-depth discussions:

How is property divided in a Texas divorce?

While you may believe that divorce means that you’ll split everything down the middle, it doesn’t work quite that way in Texas. Instead, the court will determine a division of your community property that is “just and right.” In other words, the court has a good deal of discretion in the matter and can take a variety of issues into consideration:

• Who is at fault in the divorce (even though Texas is a no-fault divorce state, fault can play a role)
• If there is disparity in earning potential
• If there is disparity in separate property
• Each spouse’s physical health and condition
• Either spouse’s unusual spending

The fact is that the court’s determination of what is “just and right” could vary considerably from your own. Besides issues related to child custody concerns, however, the division of property is typically the most hotly contested component of any divorce. Work closely with your Houston divorce lawyer to help ensure that your rights are well protected regarding property division.

How is community property determined in Texas?

Texas, being a community property state, generally considers anything you acquire as a married couple – no matter whose name is on it – to be community property. Property that either of you obtained prior to your marriage (or that you received via gift or inheritance during your marriage) is generally considered separate property that won’t be factored into the division of community property in your divorce.

How long does it take to obtain a Texas divorce?

It’s impossible to know at the outset exactly how long it will take to obtain your Texas divorce, but you must wait a mandatory minimum of 60 days after filing before you are eligible to appear before the court and finalize your divorce. This time frame, however, can be deceptive – unless you and your divorcing spouse are in agreement on all of the major divorce issues, which is often easier said than done.

If You Have Questions about Divorce in Texas, Look No Further than an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a Texas divorce, you are bound to have questions, but the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., is here to help. Our experienced divorce attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the divorce process. For more information, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Spousal Maintenance and Alimony Texas Divorce

Texas Divorce and Spousal Maintenance

If you are considering – or are facing – a divorce in Texas, you no doubt have many concerns. Divorce is often overwhelming, and finding the best path forward can be exceedingly difficult. Typically, child custody and financial concerns represent a divorcing couples’ primary sticking points, and these financial concerns often include the prospect of spousal maintenance. Many people have misconceptions when it comes to spousal maintenance, so it helps to understand the basics.

For an overview of the divorce process, please read:

Texas Divorce: The Basics

Spousal Maintenance

In the State of Texas, what other states refer to as alimony or spousal support is known as spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance represents money that the higher earner in the couple pays the lower earner as a means of financial support. Spousal maintenance, however, is not a given in a Texas divorce. Instead, Texas has statutory requirements that must be met before spousal maintenance applies. In other words, spousal maintenance in Texas is probably less common than you think.

The Court’s Consideration

When it comes to determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate in a specific divorce, the court takes a variety of factors into consideration:

• You and your spouse’s assets and incomes
• You and your spouse’s employment histories and earning capacities
• How long you and your spouse were married
• You and your spouse’s ages and general physical and mental health
• You and your spouse’s separate abilities to provide for your own basic needs
• Whether you or your spouse committed adultery during your marriage
• Whether you or your spouse has a history of spousal or child abuse
• Whether you or your spouse contributed to the other’s education or the other’s increased earning potential
• Whether you or your spouse will be required to pay child support and if that payment will affect the payor’s ability to afford his or her own basic needs

There’s a lot to consider, and the court has considerable discretion when it comes to the determination of spousal support. An experienced Houston family law attorney will help you better understand what is most likely to happen within your unique divorce circumstances. The outcome of your divorce is likely to affect your finances well into the future, and your rights are far too important to leave to chance; consult with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer today.

Factors Closely Associated with Spousal Maintenance

To qualify for spousal maintenance, you (or your spouse) must be able to show that you have insufficient income and/or property to provide for your basic needs. There are additional factors, however, that – in tandem with this inability – are likely to require spousal maintenance:

• If your marriage lasted ten years or longer and if you, as the lower earner, cannot provide for your own basic needs
• If you are the lower earner and you are unable to provide for yourself because of a physical or mental disability
• If you are the lower earner and you have custody of your shared child who has a physical or mental disability which precludes you from forging financial independence
• If your spouse is the higher earner and he or she was convicted of committing family violence against either you or your children in the two years prior to filing for divorce

Even if spousal maintenance is ordered by the court, it is typically set for a specific amount of time that usually spans no more than 5 to 10 years, which is calculated in relation to the length of the marriage and other pertinent facts. The exception to this rule is when the lower earner has a physical or mental disability that keeps him or her back or when the lower earner has custody of the couple’s disabled child. Generally, the court is motivated to order spousal maintenance for the shortest amount of time that is reasonable.

Your Basic Needs Assessed

When the court looks at your (or your divorcing spouse’s) ability to cover your own basic needs, it looks at what kind of financial assistance you will need in the future to live on your own and to cover your basic needs. This determination will focus on several basic standards:

• Your food, clothing, and shelter needs
• The aptitude and ability you have to earn income
• Your monthly expenditures

Every divorce, like every marriage, is unique to its own specific circumstances, and the court will carefully consider the details attendant to yours in determining whether spousal maintenance is appropriate.

The Duration of Spousal Maintenance in Texas

When the court orders spousal maintenance, it employs specific parameters that limit the maximum amount and duration. Again, spousal maintenance is awarded for an unlimited period only in very specific circumstances. There are prescribed limitations based on how long your marriage lasted:

• If you were married for at least ten years but no more than 20 years, the maximum period of spousal maintenance is five years.
• If you were married for 20 to 30 years, the maximum period of spousal maintenance is seven years.
• If you were married for 30 or more years, the maximum period of spousal maintenance is ten years.

Again, these are the maximum time periods allowable by law (outside of the exceptions identified above). The court need not, however, award maintenance for the maximum time period allowable. Again, the court is generally motivated to award the shortest reasonable period of spousal maintenance.

The Amount of Spousal Support in Texas

The court is also bound by specific parameters regarding the maximum amount of spousal maintenance to be awarded. Spousal maintenance cannot exceed 20 percent of the payor’s average gross monthly income, and it must be capped at $5,000 per month.

If You Have Questions about Spousal Maintenance, Consult with an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney Today

If you are facing the Texas divorce process, you very likely have plenty of concerns related to your post-divorce financial future. There are a lot of misconceptions about spousal maintenance out there, but the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston will help you better understand the likelihood that spousal maintenance will play a role in your divorce. Our experienced divorce attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to advocate for your best interests throughout the divorce process. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Divorce Attorney Houston Texas

Divorce In Houston Texas: An Overview

Important Factors to Consider in a Texas Divorce

Every divorce proceeds along its own unique path. Some divorcing couples are able to keep things relatively calm and to follow the path they initially set out upon, while others find that their divorce proceedings become very complicated very quickly. Suffice to say, however, that no divorce is easy. Not only is every Texas divorce unique, but each state has its own set of unique divorce laws – and Texas is no exception. It can help to familiarize yourself with the Texas divorce basics. Keep in mind, however, that divorce is usually complicated and can affect nearly every aspect of your life for years to come. For this reason, it’s essential to retain a Houston divorce lawyer to represent your rights.

Please view the following article for useful information on your initial meeting with a Houston divorce lawyer:

In Texas, There Is No Legal Separation

When couples drift apart, they sometimes think that they can live separately and that sooner or later their new lifestyle will amount to a legal separation. In the State of Texas, however, there is no legal separation – no matter how long you live on your own. Failing to understand this fact can have serious consequences for your financial future.

Let’s consider an example: If you and your spouse live separately for many years, and your spouse lives the high life while you pinch your pennies, you remain tethered to that spouse’s financial situation. No matter how frugal and careful you may be, your spouse’s financial recklessness might as well be your own. To make things more complicated, your careful financial planning will benefit your spouse and help offset his or her own financial carelessness.

Naturally, there are further complications to consider:

• If your spouse purchases a home, you are a co-owner by default – and vice versa. This can obviously have significant tax implications.
• If your spouse starts a business, you are again a co-owner by default (and vice versa). Running a business can be a lucrative proposition, but it can also be a financial burden that racks up debt. The tax implications for a business are notoriously complicated.

All told, living separately from your spouse can leave you with more problems than benefits. Consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney before you make important decisions that could negatively affect your financial future.

There Are No Quickie Texas Divorces

Divorce is always a momentous decision, and the State of Texas doesn’t take it lightly. As such, there are no expedited divorce options in Texas. As you approach the divorce process, it’s important to recognize that it’s going to take some time. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. If you’re divorcing, you naturally want to put the entire messy ordeal behind you as quickly as possible, but it’s important to proceed with caution and to make sure you’re making the best decisions for you throughout. Rushing through a divorce, while it may feel like a relief in the moment, is never a good idea. There are a lot of details to consider, and the fact that Texas doesn’t allow you to expedite a contested divorce allows you the time to carefully consider all of your options with the assistance of an experienced Houston divorce lawyer.

While the timeline for every divorce is different, there are several important factors to keep in mind:

• At least 60 days must elapse from the time you file the Petition for Divorce until your divorce is finalized. In other words, even if you and your divorcing spouse have all the details tied up with a bow when you file your Petition for Divorce, you must still wait the full 60 days before your divorce can be finalized.

• In reality, very few divorcing couples are in total agreement on every issue – especially when it comes to child custody and the division of assets – so hammering out a settlement is likely to take some time. You can expect the process to take about six months to a year.

• If your divorce does become more and more complicated or contentious as it proceeds, the process can extend much longer than a year.

When you’re heading into a divorce, it’s important to be realistic about the time frame that you are probably looking at, and a divorce lawyer will be able to give a good idea as to how long your divorce will take.

Readers have found the following articles to be helpful when learning about divorce in Texas:

Your Texas Divorce Is No Time to Fly Solo

It’s clear that divorce is complicated, that emotions run high throughout the process, and that the financial and emotional consequences of your divorce are likely to reverberate far into your future. Given this complex arrangement, it is almost never a good idea to tackle a divorce on your own. In fact, there are several excellent reasons not to:

• When you are going through a divorce, your emotions are almost certain to be running on overdrive, and that can color your decision-making process. It’s challenging to separate your initial emotional reaction to an issue from a response that will serve you best in the long run. Your experienced divorce attorney will help you distinguish between the two.
• The details in a Texas divorce matter – including child custody issues, child support, the division of your assets, and tax repercussions – and chances are that you have neither the experience nor the expertise to adequately attend to these issues that will almost certainly affect the financial future of both you and your children. A dedicated Houston divorce lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and skill to help.

Please review the following articles for an in-depth look into property division in Texas:

Texas Divorce Law Is Complicated – Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today

At the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., our dedicated attorneys focus exclusively on divorce and family law, which allows us to offer you the experienced guidance you need to help navigate the always-complicated path toward divorce. Your future is far too important to leave to chance. Going through a divorce is difficult, but we care about you and your claim, and we’re here to help. For a free initial consultation, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

High Asset Divorce in Texas

High Asset Divorce: What You Need to Know

High-Asset Divorce in Texas: Unique Complications

While most Texas divorces are complicated and questions related to finances top tend to top the list of complications, divorces that involve significant assets take things to the next level. Other than issues related to child custody, finances are the single most emotionally fraught – and often contentious – component of any divorce. When you get into the territory of high assets, finances naturally become more complicated. The world of high finance often involves businesses and multiple real estate holdings, which are typically far less transparent when it comes to assigning value for the dissolution of a marriage. If you are facing a high-asset divorce, you need a skilled divorce attorney with experience handling these complex cases.

The Complications that Come with High Finances

As marital estates become larger, they also naturally tend to become more opaque and more difficult to track. The intricacies of business structures and taxation dictate that the more wealth you amass, the more complicated your finances become. This makes obtaining an accurate reading on your marital assets that much more laborious. If you and your divorcing spouse have considerable assets, it is very likely that you will need the highly specialized services of forensic accounting to calculate a reliably accurate valuation for your holdings.

The Division of Property in a Texas Divorce

Texas is a community property state, which generally means that the judge will assess the circumstances of your divorce and will divide your property – both assets and debts – in a way that he or she deems “just and right.” Just and right can obviously mean very different things to different people, and you and your soon-to-be-ex are very unlikely to see eye-to-eye on this matter. There are two factors that often play a determinative role in situations in which assets are divided lopsidedly:

• The spouse with the most responsibility for raising the children may be awarded a larger percentage of the marital property.
• A spouse with significantly less earning potential may be compensated with a larger percentage of the marital assets.

The fact that the State of Texas is not looking to divide your marital wealth evenly down the middle makes it that much more important to enlist a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer to protect your finances throughout the divorce process.

Your Finances

In marriages with high assets, as with many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to play a far more integral role in the family’s finances. This can make determining the value of your estate even more nuanced. If you are not the party with a more active role in your family’s finances, it can put you at a disadvantage, and for this very reason, it is important to bring in an experienced divorce lawyer as quickly as possible.

The fact is that the person who is more intimately involved in your marital finances has some decided advantages when it comes to presenting your assets in a particular light. In other words, he or she likely has the insight and finesse to paint a less-than-accurate financial picture. Your financial future very likely depends upon your divorce settlement, and it is far too important not to protect your rights and to aggressively advocate for the financial settlement to which you are entitled.

Underhanded Tactics

The stress and anxiety associated with divorce are difficult to overstate, and divorcing spouses are often not at their very best when under this kind of pressure. In fact, some divorcing spouses are not above hiding assets, devaluing assets, quietly moving or selling assets – and worse – in an attempt to skew the finances in their own favor in the divorce. If your spouse is more closely involved in your family’s finances than you are, he or she is more likely to have the financial upper-hand, and it is critical that you bring in a dedicated divorce lawyer to not only help determine what your marital assets are but also to help protect your “just and right” share of those assets throughout the divorce process.

If you have reason to believe or suspect that your spouse is engaging in underhanded financial tactics, do not hesitate to share this information with your attorney. The sooner your dedicated legal advisor engages the specialized services of an investigative forensic accountant, the more secure your finances will be.

Matters of Privacy

If you are going through a high-asset divorce, the dissolution of your marriage may be the subject of a good deal of attention. After all, the world of high finance is interesting exactly because the reverberations often affect far more people than just the divorcing couple. In other words, high-asset divorces are often high-profile divorces. As such, your divorce and your financials may well be subject to more public scrutiny than you would like. A dedicated Houston divorce lawyer will endeavor to protect your privacy and to help ensure that your private financial records remain sealed and private.

Your High-Asset Divorce

Every divorce is difficult, fraught with emotion, and utterly unique. When a divorce involves the division of a sizable estate, it makes the entire process that much more delicate. Whether you are simply considering divorce or your divorce is an inevitability, it is never too soon to begin gathering your financial information and documents in the creation of as thorough a financial snapshot as possible. Synthesize the financial information that you have access to and carefully examine it with your legal counsel. A high-asset divorce has an additional layer of complexity that necessitates exacting scrutiny.

If Your Divorce Involves High Assets; Consult with a Dedicated Houston Divorce Attorney Today

The fact is that divorce is hard, and a high-asset divorce is that much harder. If you’re facing a high-asset divorce, it is critical that you obtain an experienced divorce lawyer with whom you feel comfortable working. At the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. our experienced legal team understands the intricacies of high finance, and we’re dedicated to fighting for your financial rights. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Houston Divorce Process

Texas Divorce: The Basics

What You Need to Know Before You Begin the Texas Divorce Process

The divorce process is never easy, but there are steps that you can take to better prepare yourself for the difficult path ahead and to help mitigate the hardships involved. While no two divorces are exactly alike, they all share certain elements that are important to consider. Take the time to get to know the basics, and you’ll be better prepared to take on your divorce.

Determine Whether Your Marriage Is Truly Over or Not

If you’re considering divorce in Texas, your emotions are inevitably running high. In fact, it can be difficult to make important decisions in this state. If your spouse is insisting upon a divorce, there may not be much you can do about it. If that isn’t the case, take the time to make sure that a divorce is really the answer you seek before rushing forward with the legal process. There are a variety of options when it comes to couple’s counseling – ask a trusted friend or family member for a counselor recommendation, research the services available at your place of worship, or speak with a reputable family law firm about resources in Houston. Even if your spouse isn’t interested in moving forward with counseling or therapy, it can help you personally get a better handle on whether divorce is right for you.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel 

Even if you don’t end up ultimately pursuing a divorce, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney early on. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will discuss what you’re likely to encounter throughout the divorce process with you, including what your settlement might look like. Divorce is scary, but knowing that you have a knowledgeable professional to guide you can help.

Don’t Make Important Decisions Before Discussing them with Your Attorney

If your marriage is beginning to feel unmanageable – or even impossible – you may be tempted to move out of your marital home and to deal with the details of your divorce down the road. Decisions like this one, however, can have dramatic reverberations throughout your divorce – and beyond. Talk to an experienced divorce attorney before you make important decisions that could have consequences you haven’t even considered.

If You’ve Been Unfaithful in Your Marriage, Share the Information with Your Lawyer

If you’ve had an extramarital affair, you may be tempted to unburden yourself of the guilt by telling your spouse or a trusted friend about it. While this is an understandable impulse, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if, instead, you share the information with your experienced divorce attorney – and only with your experienced divorce attorney. Although Texas is a no-fault divorce state – which means you can obtain a divorce for any reason and need not prove your spouse was engaged in wrongdoing – having an affair can still affect your divorce settlement.

Find more information on adultery in the article below:

Consider Your Finances before You Pursue a Divorce

If you’re considering a divorce, carefully consider your finances before you begin the process. Divorce does strange thing to people – even the person you think you know best in the world (your spouse) may surprise you during the divorce process. This can include playing dirty financial tricks. Your family law attorney will help you assess your financials and how best to proceed. While every couple’s financial circumstances are unique, there are things that you can do prior to beginning the divorce process to help safeguard your finances throughout. Having a sound financial plan can help you avoid some common divorce pitfalls.

Consider All of Your Valuables

Ultimately, you’re going to need a financial snapshot of your marital assets and debts. But there’s more to consider than just the financial component. You also own things that are of purely sentimental value, such as photo albums, family portraits, and family heirlooms and keepsakes. Now’s a good time to think about safeguarding those items that can never be replaced.

Your Marital Assets and Debts

After issues relating to child custody, child support and dividing your marital assets and debts is likely to be the most critical element of your divorce. The more you know about your family’s financials, the better off you’ll be. Gather all the financial information and documents that you can early on and organize them into something you can share with your divorce attorney. With a clear picture of your marital finances, your skilled divorce attorney will be able to help guide you in the direction that best protects your financial future.

Your Divorce Goals

If you’re at the point that moving forward with a divorce is an inevitability, it’s important to remember that Texas is a community property state. This means that your marital assets won’t necessarily be divided straight down the middle but that, instead, the court will determine what it considers “just and right” within your circumstances. The court’s version of just and right will likely not coincide with your own.

Further, when it comes to the details of your child custody arrangement, you have a vested interest in carefully crafting the custody schedule that you believe is best for your children. While the court always prioritizes children’s best interests, you obviously know better when it comes to your own children.

The more that you and your spouse can agree upon, the less the court will decide on your behalf. If you and your soon-to-be ex can’t hammer out the details together (with the help of your respective attorneys), a mediator may be able to help you find common ground.  The mediation process is a great way to save on legal expenses.

If You’re Considering Divorce, You Need a Dedicated Houston Family Law Attorney

While it’s impossible to predict at the outset exactly how your divorce will proceed, there are some basic steps that you can take to protect yourself along the way. The dedicated divorce attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help guide your divorce toward its best possible resolution. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Selling a home during divorce

Selling Your Home and Divorce

Maximizing Profits on Your Home Sale during Divorce

Divorce in Texas is complicated, and taxes are complicated. The combination of the two can be overwhelming. One of the most critical components of any divorce is the division of assets, and because your family home is likely your greatest asset, the sale of your home in the divorce process can play a significant role. As such, it’s important to have a working understanding of the tax basics as you move forward. Your experienced Houston divorce attorney will guide you through the process to help ensure that you minimize any capital gains taxes on the sale of your home.

ReadFrequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texasfor more information on the divorce process.

Capital Gains Tax and the Sale of Your Home

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may allow you a tax exclusion of $250,000 on the capital gains you receive with the sale of your primary home. If you file jointly with your spouse (even a soon-to-be ex-spouse), you can potentially exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains received in the sale of that home. When you’re divorcing, of course, this can get complicated, and there are plenty of details to take into consideration.

The Home Exclusion Rule

In general, tax rules allow homeowners to exclude any profits made in the sale of their primary home from being taxed as income as long as two major conditions are met:

1. You and your spouse lived in the home as your primary residence for at least two of the last five years.
2. The profits you received from the sale of your home is not more than $500,000.

If your divorce is finalized before you sell your home and it remains your primary residence, the exclusion may still apply, but it will be divided in two, and your cap will be set at $250,000 in profits.

Further Details

As with almost everything else that involves the IRS, there are more details to consider:

• To capitalize on the tax exclusion, you cannot have sold another home and taken the same tax exclusion in the previous 24 months.
• If you remarry before you sell the marital home from your previous marriage, you may forfeit your eligibility for the tax exclusion.

Again, it’s imperative that you work closely with an experienced family law attorney before making any important decisions regarding the sale of your home during a divorce.

Divorce: Throwing a Wrench into the Situation

Divorce has a way of complicating things, and this is never more true than when it comes to your finances. If you’re divorcing, the home-exclusion tax rule continues to apply to either you or your spouse (or possibly to both of you, depending upon who is living in the home as a primary residence), but whether you sell the house during or after the divorce can have an effect. Let’s consider two scenarios by way of example:

1. If you and your divorcing spouse both continue to live in your marital home (as each of your primary residences) until the house sells and you jointly file your taxes that year, you should be able to exclude a total of $500,000 from any profits you make on that sale. If, on the other hand, you file separately, you should each be able to exclude $250,000.

2. Until your divorce is finalized, you and your divorcing spouse can continue to file joint returns, and as long as you both meet the residency requirement, you can both enjoy the tax exclusion. However, if one of you moves out of the marital home (as so often happens during a divorce) the two-year residency requirement (two years out of the previous five) will come into play.

Both of these considerations are important to keep in mind as you move forward with your divorce. If you do get the tax exclusion and your divorcing spouse misses out on the tax break, you may be asked to make up for the financial discrepancy in your divorce settlement.

The Optimal Approach

Optimally, if one of you will not be keeping the marital home post-divorce, it’s in the best interest of both of you to sell your house sooner – rather than later – in the divorce process. If your divorce becomes more financially complicated and/or contentious as it proceeds, the time component could leave you unable to collect on the full $500,000 (combined) tax exclusion. Consult with a skilled Houston divorce attorney to help ensure that you maximize valuable tax exclusions.

Your Divorce: Your Home

Every divorce is unique and uniquely complicated. After issues related to child custody, however, the division of your assets will likely be the most important issue you and your divorcing spouse will face. While your home is very likely the most significant asset you possess, it is also your home, and you may not be inclined to leave it – especially if you still have children at home. There’s a lot to consider. Some couples find a means of keeping the custodial parent in the family home – at least until the children have graduated from high school. Your dedicated family law attorney will help you explore the options that are available to you and will help you find the best resolution for you and your children. Divorce is stressful, but an experienced divorce attorney will prioritize your best interests and will aggressively advocate for a positive settlement resolution.

If You Are Facing Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce, in and of itself, is difficult. When you compound the issue with the sale of your home, things become even more complicated – financially, logistically, and emotionally. In fact, most of us have much more invested in our family homes than simply a dollar amount. If you are facing a divorce and are likely going to have to sell your home, you need the professional services of a Houston divorce attorney. The dedicated legal professionals at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, focus exclusively on divorce and family law, and we’ll help you better understand your options and help you find a resolution that works for you. For a free initial consultation, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Uncontested divorces in Houston Texas

Uncontested Divorce – Doing it the nice way

Uncontested Divorce? It’s Still a Good Idea to Retain a Houston Divorce Lawyer

When many people hear the word “divorce,” they immediately picture spouses who are involved in ongoing disputes and can no longer stand to even be in the same room. While it is certainly true that many divorces are extremely adversarial, there are also couples who both recognize that it’s their best interest to get a divorce and attempt to work together to resolve the issues they need to resolve before their marriage can be over. Though this article focuses on uncontested divorces, our article, “Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested divorces: What you Need to Know” outlines the differences between the two.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are your spouse are getting along and seem to agree about how to resolve these issues, it’s understandable that you’re considering handling your divorce on your own. It’s important to understand, however, that It’s always advisable to consult with an retain a houston divorce lawyerattorney during the divorce process. Even if you don’t retain a lawyer to handle every aspect of your divorce in Texas, it’s important to understand your legal rights and to be prepared to fight for them in the event that a dispute arises.

Not Understanding Your Rights Could Result in Disastrous Consequences

When you’re getting divorced , it’s critical that you understand your legal rights and the divorce process in Texas. If you don’t, you could make concessions in your settlement agreement that you don’t even know to question. To understand how this may work, it’s helpful to consider a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that your spouse started a business during your marriage. The business was entirely his or her idea, and you never worked for it or on it. At the time of your divorce, the business really hasn’t taken off and has no real value. Because you never contributed to the business, you don’t feel like you have any ownership interest in it and frankly don’t care as it’s not generating any income or worth anything. As a result, when you and your spouse are going through your assets, you have no objections when your spouse says “I’m going to keep the business, okay?” Five years later, long after your divorce is finalized, your spouse sells the business for $10,000,000.

In this hypothetical scenario, you potentially walked away from $5,000,000. How? Because your spouse started the business while you were married, it was considered marital property. This means that, absent other circumstances, you likely had a 50 percent interest in the business, even though you did not work for the business or participate in its formation.

While this is an extreme example, it goes to show how important it is to fully understand your rights. The most effective way to ensure that your divorce agreement is your best interest and does not result in unforeseen consequences is to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney as soon you realize that your marriage is ending.

Your Amicable Divorce Can Turn Adversarial in the Blink of an Eye

It’s also important to keep in mind that while you are your spouse maybe getting along just fine right now, that may not continue to be the case. Even if you agree that the marriage needs to end, emotions can be unpredictable, and suddenly you and your soon-to-be ex may be unable to communicate constructively. Fortunately, if you’ve already retained an attorney to represent you, he or she can jump in and communicate with your spouse on your behalf. An emotionally uninvolved party can often negotiate more effectively than someone with an emotional stake in the outcome of a dispute. In addition, the participation of an attorney will let your spouse know that you are serious about enforcing your rights, which can significantly strengthen your bargaining position.

Things You Say and Do Can Affect While Your Divorce is Pending Can Affect its Outcome

Another reason that it’s highly advisable to retain an attorney while you’re involved in a seemingly uncontested divorce is that your actions while your divorce is pending can have a significant impact on its outcome. For example, if you are your spouse have amicably separated, you may want to celebrate your newfound freedom by starting to date again or going out more often with your single friends. Unfortunately, these kinds of seemingly innocuous actions could affect your legal rights in the event that your divorce became contested at a later date. Texas judges are allowed to consider infidelity when they make determinations about the way that marital property is divided and may not look favorably upon a spouse who couldn’t wait until the divorce was final to start a new relationship.  Similarly, if going out with single friends tends to involve drinking alcohol at bars and clubs (as it often does), a judge may question your ability to effectively parent any children you and your spouse may have.

You may want to read, “Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?” for an in depth discussion of infidelity and its effect on divorce in Texas.

The guidance of an attorney through the divorce process can be invaluable, whether it’s amicable or not. At the Rudisel Law Firm, we represent clients in both uncontested divorces and contested divorces and are dedicated to finding solutions whenever possible. In fact, in some instances, we are able to assist both spouses in their divorce, allowing the couple to save time and money. To find out if this option may be available to you, call our office today.

Call The Rudisel Law Firm Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney in Houston
If you are considering divorce or have already started the process, it’s highly advisable to retain a Houston divorce lawyer as soon as you can – even if you and your spouse are getting along. Divorces that start off amicably have a way of getting adversarial pretty quickly, and it’s only prudent to make sure that you are ready to protect your legal rights. To schedule a free case evaluation with Texas attorney Shawn M. Rudisel, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Meeting your divorce lawyer for the first time

Meeting your Divorce Lawyer for the first time. What to expect.

Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Houston Divorce Attorney

You’ve made the decision to end your marriage and have set up a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston, which is a great first step if it’s time to leave your current relationship. If you’re like most people, this is the first time you’re going through this process and are unsure about what to expect. Here are five things that you should do to prepare for your first meeting with your divorce attorney to help you get as much out of your meeting as possible.  This first meeting is crucial to the process of divorce in Texas.

1. Relax

Meeting with a complete stranger to discuss something as intimate as divorce is understandably a stressful experience for many people. It’s important to understand that divorce lawyers are professionals who work with people in your situation on a daily basis. In addition, keep in mind that anything you tell your attorney is confidential and that he or she has an ethical duty to be on your side. Your lawyer is never going to judge you or question your version of events, so there’s no reason to stress out about your first meeting

2. Be Prepared to Ask Questions

During your first meeting with your lawyer, he or she will undoubtedly have many questions for you about your situation. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that your initial meeting is also an opportunity for you to ask your attorney questions. Divorce in Texas is a complicated legal matter, and part of your lawyer’s job is to help you understand the process you are about to go through and your legal rights. Understand, however, that your attorney can’t guarantee any results, so don’t expect to get answers to questions like “am I going to get the house?” or “how much alimony am I going to receive?” Some examples of questions you may want to ask at your first meeting with your Houston divorce lawyer include the following:

• What are your fees?
• Can you estimate the total cost of my case?
• Based your initial impressions, will I be able to receive temporary spousal support?
• How long do you take to respond to emails or phone calls?
• Will anyone else in the office be working on my case?
• Do you settle or litigate most of your divorce cases?
• How long does your average divorce case last?

These are just a few of the questions that you may want to ask during your first meeting with a lawyer. Don’t hesitate to make a list of questions that come to mind in the days and weeks leading up to your first meeting and bring it in with you. You should walk out of your appointment with a better understanding of the divorce process and feeling confident that you’ve chosen the right lawyer to represent you.

3. Gather Important Financial Documents

You should bring basic financial documents to your first meeting in order to allow your attorney to get a basic overview of you and your spouse’s assets and liabilities. These are fundamental when discussing property division in a Texas divorce. Examples of the documents that you may want to bring in include:

• Bank statements
• Credit card statements
• Business operating agreements
• Brokerage account information
• Investment account information
• 401-K and other retirement account statements

Bring as much information as you can, and keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if an account or an asset is your name or your spouse’s name only. Whether assets are community property or separate property is often a complicated legal question, and the name on the account or title is often irrelevant to that determination. If you can’t find important information, don’t worry too much about it, as your lawyer will be able to obtain anything you need for your case during the discovery process.

Please see our article “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know” fore more information on assets and liabilities.

4. Be Ready to Discuss Personal Details about Your Life

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about your first meeting with a Houston divorce lawyer is the fact that you’re going to discuss details of your personal life that you may not be comfortable discussing with a friend, much less someone you’ve never met. Remember, it’s important for your attorney to know as much as possible about your situation and your marriage as possible. Holding back information can only hurt your case, it can never help. Some of the more uncomfortable issues that may arise include the details of your financial circumstances, substance abuse, infidelity, domestic violence, or mental health conditions. While it may be difficult to discuss these kinds of issues, you need to be prepared to do so, as they could have a significant impact on your rights and the outcome of your divorce.

5. Make a List of Your Goals In Divorce

Finally, it’s important to communicate your goals to your attorney. For example, if you really want the house, it’s essential that your attorney knows that fact when he or she starts developing a negotiation or litigation strategy. Likewise, it will have a significant impact on the way your attorney goes about advocating for your rights if you really don’t care about the house, as walking away from the marital home can be used as a strong bargaining chip in negotiations. Make a list of everything you’d like in regard to your assets, your children, and your future financial obligations or rights and share that list with your attorney. The more your lawyer knows about what you want, the better he or she can represent you.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with a Houston Divorce Attorney, Call The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. Today.

If you are considering getting a divorce or think that one may be in your near future, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Whether a contested divorce or uncontested divorce, the process can have an impact on the most important aspects of your life, including your financial security and your relationship with your children, so it’s critical to make sure that your rights are protected along every step of the way. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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