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San Antonio Family Law Blog

Factoring retirement planning into a military divorce

Moving through the end of a marriage is never a simple or easy process, and many Texas residents feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions that must be made in a relatively brief period of time. For those who are going through a military divorce, planning for the future should be a part of the decision-making process, including planning for retirement. The decisions made during the course of a divorce will have a big impact on the shape of future financial planning, and understanding the pros and cons of various choices can make it easier to choose the best path.

One thing to consider is how military retirement benefits will be divided during the divorce. This is an area where the guidance of a family law attorney is invaluable. It can be hard to forecast the financial status of one's retirement years, especially when those years are decades away. Having an advisor who can provide as estimate of how various retirement investments will pay out in the future can make it easier to make wise decisions during the divorce process.

Business valuation important for divorcing entrepreneurs

Researchers estimate that among the 22 million small businesses in Texas and across the United States, about 3 million of them are owned by married couples. Jointly owning a small business can definitely add a new wrinkle to a couple's plan to divorce. A couple has several choices for handling the business as an asset, and most of those options require a business valuation to ensure a fair division of property.

Rather than dissolving the business, some couples may choose the difficult option of continuing the business partnership despite the divorce. This plan usually includes clearly defined goals and parameters for the couples and their roles in the business. Because this option is usually stressful for the couple, it seldom lasts very long, so it may simply be postponing more difficult choices.

Top 5 Divorce Myths

Half of the adults we know are most likely divorced. That's a lot of sources for information. And while your nail tech or barber may have some insights into the process, chances are they do not have a fully reliable bank of actual legal information. 

While there are many myths about divorce floating around out there, here are five of the most commonly held notions, along with whether or not it is actually true

Military divorce not surprisingly linked to job stress

Texas couples are probably no longer surprised to hear statistics about high divorce rates in the country. They may even have their own opinions for the reasons why so many marriages end in divorce. With the high population of military families in Texas, many may assume that military divorce rates are even higher than those of the civilian population. A recent study shows this assumption is not far off the mark.

The research examined divorce rates for those under 30 working in various industries. Among those with the highest rate of divorce are first-line military supervisors, especially enlisted servicemembers. In fact, 30 percent of those in this line of employment divorce before the age of 30. Perhaps not surprisingly, three of the top 10 occupations with the highest divorce rates are military.

Secrecy and separation may lead to military divorce

For many Texas spouses, strengthening their marital bond often occurs at the dinner table when they share the details of their days. Those daily experiences allow the spouses a glimpse into the time spent away from each other and provide a certain amount of decompression as the spouses express their feelings about the day's events. However, for those in the military, sharing details of daily events may not be possible, and this void may contribute to the high rate of military divorce.

Servicemembers with high security clearance may be especially bound to secrecy, preventing them from the intimacy of sharing the most basic conversations with their spouses. In fact, for some, the person they must be at work is very different from the person they are at home with their spouses. This dichotomy may become a wall between them. When civilian spouses cannot enjoy the simple connections other couples share – such as stopping by the office for lunch or asking about a spouse's day – they may simply pull back from communicating at all.

High asset divorce may require thorough appraisal of assets

When business partners go their separate ways, they typically obtain an objective valuation of their interests in the company to ensure each partner receives a fair share of the payout. When dealing with a high asset divorce, a similar valuation may be necessary. In fact, many spouses in Texas may not even realize the full value of their assets, and this could hinder them from receiving what they deserve and need for a comfortable future.

One area of a couple's finances that may require professional valuation is investment-related interests. Stock options, for example, may carry contingencies of which one spouse may not be aware. Since valuation of investments is more specialized than valuating a business, divorcing spouses may seek the advice of an attorney with experience in complex divorces who may have access to resources for complicated valuations.

Alimony raises concerns for many divorcing spouses

For many going through a divorce in Texas, it seems like no decision goes the right way. Naturally, you would hope to be able to keep as much money and as many assets as possible to take into your new life, but the sad fact is that community property will likely be divided in some way. Perhaps the most misunderstood ruling in some eyes involves alimony.

If you are ordered to pay spousal support, you may feel unfairly burdened. However, if you are granted alimony, it may be a relief. Like many approaching divorce, you may have many questions about this often maligned factor in marriage breakups.

Mistakes women over 50 make during a divorce

Female members of the babyboomer generation are more confident in their finances than any other generation of women in history. Yet, in a recent survey conducted by Allianz Life Insurance on women and money, over 64 percent of divorced respondents over 50 suffered post-divorce financial crises.

There are a variety of different reasons for this, including certain financial traps that women over 50 often fall into during the divorce process. As much as you may want to avoid conflict and move on with your life as quickly as possible, take care to avoid these common mistakes:

Business valuation includes intangible factors

The spouse of a business owner facing divorce may be justifiably concerned about how the business will impact the divorce proceedings. If no prenuptial agreement exists, the business is likely subject to property division according to Texas community property laws. This means that a business valuation may be necessary in order to determine how the business will be apportioned between the owner and the spouse.

Counting inventory and pricing equipment is only part of finding the value of a business. In addition to the tangible assets and liabilities, a business has value in its public reputation, known as goodwill. A business in good standing with satisfied customers and a recognizable brand may have significant value in its goodwill above what can be calculated in its accounts. However, because goodwill is intangible, its valuation may be subjective.

Rules change for retirement pay after military divorce

Texas men and women who serve in the military have long protested laws regarding the division of their retirement pay during divorce. Military divorce comes with unique rules meant to protect both servicemembers and their civilian spouses, and this involves the splitting of military retirement pay by as much as 50 percent. Although states have some leeway in deciding how much a civilian spouse receives after a divorce, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may change that.

Currently, if a veteran is eligible for disability pay rating 40 percent or less, the vet must relinquish an equal amount of his or her retirement pay to avoid taxes. This means that if an ex-spouse receives a portion of that retirement pay, and it is cut so the vet can receive disability, the veteran must replace the  former spouse's portion with part of the disability pay. Many states interpreted this to mean that reimbursement should take place even if the vet does not receive disability until years after divorcing.

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Law Office of Rebecca Anne Gonzalez
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San Antonio, TX 78216

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