I’m divorcing my wife in Houston b/c she cheated on me. We have 6 kids and I have my own business. We have a prenup in place – how does the prenup process work now that we’re actually going to use it?

First of all, in regard to your children, the amount of child support you might be required to pay is not determined in a prenuptial agreement.  The Court will follow state guidelines in making determinations for the amount of child support.

The Texas Family Code and court opinions clearly provide that prenuptial agreements and post-marital partition agreements will be enforced so long as they are not unconscionable (grossly and obviously unfair to one of the parties), were executed voluntarily, and each spouse provided complete disclosure of his or her assets or signed a waiver of disclosure or had adequate knowledge of the other spouse’s property and debts.  If you don’t have a Houston divorce attorney, it’s time to call LaFour Law today.  We can review your prenuptial agreement, the circumstances surrounding it, and then advise you accordingly.

LaFour Law has extensive experience in handling matters unique to the high net worth client and high net worth estate, including complex property division related to a divorce and ethical asset protection via premarital agreements and post marital agreements.

Prenuptial agreements cannot contain passages that violate a criminal law or even public policy.  Thus, if the Court determines that your agreement contains such passages, it may be determined invalid.  An otherwise valid agreement might be set aside if provisions make a spouse eligible for welfare. A court may require spousal support to the extent necessary to take that spouse off welfare.

Texas defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse with a person besides your husband or wife. If you are filing for divorce based on adultery, you should be prepared to show the Court proof of the affair.   In the event that you hired a private investigator to gather evidence of this, you should seek legal counsel immediately if you haven’t already.  Depending upon the methods used by the Private Investigator, the evidence found may or may not be admissible in Court.

Furthermore, a finding of adultery has no legal significance. Although in some cases, adultery can be justification to award more of the community estate to the victimized spouse.  A divorce judge in Texas has a lot of discretion in the distribution of a couple’s community property.  Most view adultery as just another sign of a troubled marriage, but other judges may look more dimly on adultery.  Although the marital estate is usually a 50-50 award, in some cases the distribution has been 70% to one spouse and 30% to the other.

Call LaFour Law today at 713-223-7700 to set up a consultation to discuss how we can work together.  An experienced Houston divorce lawyer can assist you in your Houston high net worth divorce in hanging onto the assets that are rightfully yours.

What does the term “conservatorship” mean when you’re figuring out child custody issues during divorce in Texas?

The Texas Family Code does not use the term “custody” in describing a parent’s legal relationship with a child.  Instead, Texas law describes a parent’s legal relationship with a child as a “conservatorship.” The term “conservatorship” focuses the responsibilities, rights, benefits, and burdens of the parent-child relationship.  The parent’s responsibility is to “conserve and protect” a child, not merely to own a child as one would own a car or other inanimate object.

There are no such legal terms as “full custody,” “sole custody,” “joint custody,” “primary custody,” or any other type of “custody” over children under Texas law.

There are two types of conservatorships in Texas:  1) Possessory and 2) Managing.

Possessory conservators only have access to the child under a defined schedule, as well as the right to inherit and bequeath assets through the child.

Managing conservators have all the same rights normally associated with a parent.  Under managing conservatorships, the parent has the right to manage the affairs of the child as long as that child is a minor.  These decisions include financial welfare, schooling, medical care, religious upbringing, psychological and psychiatric care, employment, legal rights and representation, consent to marriage, and consent to Armed Forces enlistment.

Note:  There are two types of managing conservatorships—Sole and Joint.

Texas law presumes that both parents should be appointed joint managing conservators and there are limited grounds for rebutting that presumption

When the conservatorship is defined as Sole, one person holds all managing conservatorship rights and responsibilities.  In the cases where Joint managing conservatorship is granted, two (or more) persons share the rights and responsibilities of the managing conservatorship.

Most disputes involving children do not end with the designation of “joint managing conservatorship”.  In the state of Texas, one parent is granted the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the children.

Texas law provides for the ability to restrict the Exclusive Right to Designate the Primary Residence to a specific geographical area.  However, the law does not automatically presume a geographical restriction.  A parent who wants a geographic restriction must justify why the court should impose a geographic restriction and this restriction must also be shown to be in the child’s best interest.

Geographic restrictions are often imposed with divorce decrees.  Although as time passes, and thus the circumstances for the family, either parent may apply to the court to alter the restrictions.  Again, the criteria for the court’s decision are always according to what is determined to be in the best interests of the children.

Call LaFour Law today at 713-223-7700.   We will walk with you through this painful process and provide you with guidance, compassionate leadership and protection.

My husband and I are going to get a divorce. He’s a very successful businessman who has made a tremendous amount of money. He has lots of accounts, including several that I believe are hidden from me. What can a forensic account do to help me find these accounts?

Forensic accountants usually work together with your attorney to make sure you are not being cheated out of your fair share of the money.  A forensic accountant would look into the financial practices of your husband to see how much money he makes and spends and see if it adds up to the share about which you know.

There are some patterns in particular that forensic accountants might look for when investigating your husband’s financials.

  • Inter-family dealings

  • Unreported large cash transactions

  • Sudden decrease in your husband’s income level

  • Unreasonable owner salary levels

Forensic accountants normally work with your attorney as a team.  It is advisable to consult a Houston divorce attorney from a law firms such as LaFour Law before hiring a forensic accountant.

A competent forensic accountant will assist your lawyer with Examination for Discovery including the formulation of questions to be asked regarding the financial evidence.  In addition, the forensic accountant often attends the Examination for Discovery to review the testimony, assist with understanding the financial issues and to formulate additional questions to be asked.

These professionals can also provide assistance with settlement discussions and negotiations.   Their attendance at trial to hear the testimony of the opposing expert can provide invaluable assistance for your lawyer with cross-examination.

During divorce proceedings, for high net worth divorce cases such as yours, you want a forensic accountant who is familiar with legal concepts and procedures and will work hand-in-hand with your lawyer.  This forensic accountant will be an experienced hand at assisting with legal proceedings, including testifying in court as an expert witness and preparing visual aids to support trial evidence.

A Houston divorce lawyer from LaFour can assist you in attaining what is rightfully yours.  After reviewing your case, we will determine if the services of a forensic accountant would be beneficial for your case.

We have extensive experience in handling matters unique to the high net worth client and high net worth estate, including complex property division related to a divorce and ethical asset protection via premarital agreements and post marital agreements.

You need a strong legal advocate working for you. LaFour Law will skillfully and aggressively fight for you. We will work together at the onset of your case to determine your goals and then implement a plan of action designed to get you through the process as expeditiously as possible while not sacrificing the strong case leadership and personalized attention that are the hallmarks of LaFour Law.

Call LaFour Law today at 713-223-7700 to set up a consultation to discuss how we can work together.

My husband has stopped sending child support. He moved from Houston to Florida four years ago after we divorced. I can’t reach him in Florida despite repeated calls. What are my options?

My husband has stopped sending child support. He moved from Houston to Florida four years ago after we divorced.  I can’t reach him in Florida despite repeated calls. What are my options?

Anyone who has not made child support payments as ordered must pay back child support. The repayment of this debt might include fees and interest charges, in addition to the back child support. For the most part, states handle back child support, although the federal government can become involved if the obligor is at least two years behind in payments. Parents who owe back child support must pay the debt in full, even if the child is beyond the age of majority.

Established in 1999, the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) houses a database of 3.7 million delinquent child support obligors owing over $80 billion in past-due support updated on a monthly basis by participating states. The database is used to intercept insurance settlements to pay delinquent child support obligations owed to children and families.

Both Florida and Texas belong to the Child Support Lien Network and enforce child support orders from other states. Your ex-husband faces all kinds of penalties that may be imposed by state or federal governments:

  • Suspension of Licenses

  • Denial of Passport

  • Wage Garnishment

  • Seizure of Tax Refund

  • Property Seizure

  • Jail Time

  • Cross-Border Enforcement  (More than 100 countries have reciprocal child support arrangements for cross-border enforcement.)

Don’t try to handle this yourself.  Go through the proper legal channels.  A Houston divorce attorney can guide you in attaining the funds that are owed to you.

You don’t necessarily have to go to court.  A child support lien can arise without any court actions as long as the notice is proper legal paperwork that is filed to establish why your lien is valid and complies with state law.  Your Houston divorce lawyer can simply file the notice with the clerk of court in the county where you live, the county where your husband owns personal or real property, or the county where the child support has jurisdiction.

Note:  Only non-exempt properties such as valuable collections, second homes and second cars, and other luxury items can be subjected to a child support lien.  A lien against this type of property secures your debt because your husband can’t sell or dispose of the property without paying the money owed to you.  Since you hold an interest (the amount of back-support owed by your husband) on the property, you can foreclose on your interest in the property.

Even though you can under the law, if want to collect delinquent child support payment with a lien against property, you should seek legal counsel.   Call LaFour Law today at 713-223-7700 to set up a consultation to discuss how we can work together.