Detente's blog

Texas Divorce Law: Agreement Incident to Divorce vs. Mediated Settlement Agreement

What is the difference between an “Agreement Incident to Divorce" (AID) and a “Mediated Settlement Agreement" (MSA) in Texas? Both are legal documents a married couple can sign to put into writing their agreements about the terms of their divorce before the judge signs the divorce decree. But that is just about the only similarity, and the differences can mess up everything if spouses choose the wrong one.

"Divorce Corp" Exposes the Dirty Business of Family Law

“Divorce Corp” is a movie scheduled to be released January 10, 2014 for six days in selected cities. Divorce Corp’s “grass roots movement to reform the US family law system” appears poised to radically expose the darkest side of the family court system and the divorce industry in America. Its “DIY Divorce” trailer alone will powerfully boost the public’s awareness of and demand for effective and affordable alternatives to divorce litigation like family and divorce mediation and collaborative law.

Collaborative vs. Evaluative Divorce Mediation

Typically attorney mediators in Texas - and especially former judges turned divorce mediators who are used to being in charge of making decisions - do mediation differently than at Détente. Détente does collaborative mediation. The others usually use what is called “evaluative” mediation. It is important to know the difference when choosing a mediator.

Texas Supreme Court: Mediation Critically Important to Protect Children

In the much awaited decision in the Texas child custody case of In re Stephanie Lee, the Texas Supreme Court steadfastly and emphatically supported the critical importance of mediation to protect children from the emotional and psychological damage of high conflict litigated custody battles. The Justices said Texas law gives a trial judge many opportunities in custody litigation to determine what is in the best interests of a child, but he or she does not have the power to refuse to accept parents' decisions about their child’s welfare when there was no family violence and the parents’ agreements were recorded in a valid, signed, mediated settlement agreement.

"August to December" Divorce

Summer is a good time to complete a divorce before kids return to school in the fall.  If you are a divorcing parent who in January will start a new job or relocate, fall can be just as critical a time to finish your divorce.  Settling kids in before the new year with Detente's exclusive "August to December" divorce can make all the difference to the success of their adjustment mid-schoool year, and to your peace of mind too.

Alimony and Spousal Maintenance Rules: Better Get It Right

Alimony (spousal maintenance) is a payment of money to a former spouse that continues after divorce. Alimony is tax deductible to the payer and taxable as income to the recipient if the payments truly qualify as alimony under IRS rules. Creative divorce settlements that include alimony or spousal maintenance can keep money out of Uncle Sam’s pocket and in your family’s – unless the IRS does not see it your way.

Taxes and Caps: 2013 Changes to Texas Child Support

Expect two big changes to Texas child support in 2013. Higher social security and Federal income taxes on January 1, 2013 will decrease parent's take home pay and decrease child support as calculated under the Texas guidelines for 2013. But on September 1, 2013 high wage earners will pay more child support when the cap on maximum monthly net resources on which child support is figured rises from $7,500 to $8,550 per month.

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