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Divorce: Amazon founder never signed prenup

Amazon is such a common feature in the lives of most consumers that it might be hard for some people in Texas to imagine a world without online shopping. Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos might also find it hard to think back on the past before he created one of the largest retailers, especially as he heads for what will surely be an expensive divorce. The couple never signed a prenuptial agreement.

After 25 years of marriage and four children, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are ready to end their marriage. While untangling decades of shared lives can be difficult enough as it is, Jeff Bezos currently owns the most wealth of any person in the entire world. Without a prenup, dividing up all of that wealth -- much of it tied up in Amazon stock -- will be quite difficult. The split could also see significant changes for Amazon since it will give MacKenzie Bezos a potentially substantial stake in things.

Modifications are sometimes necessary after divorce

Ending a marriage can be an emotionally taxing process, and reaching the best possible solution to important matters like child support, custody and more usually feels like a monumental achievement. So what are you supposed to do when something gets in the way of your divorce agreements? You may have to go back to court for a modification or enforcement order. 

The old saying goes that the only consistent in life is change, and this is true even if you have post-divorce court orders in place. However, if you or your ex experience a significant life change, you will need to petition the Texas family law court for a modification of any relevant orders. Common reasons to request modifications include: 

  • A change in income 
  • Relocation that will affect child custody 
  • A child's special needs 
  • An increase in children's expenses 

Child protection defense: What are mandatory reporters?

Mandatory reporters play an important role in protecting children who are suffering from abuse. However, because of the nature of being a mandatory reporter, some adults may act overzealously and report things that are either non-issues or completely non-existent. For Texas parents who are currently working on their child protection defense, here are a few important things to understand about mandatory reporters.

A mandatory reporter is a person employed in one of many different professions who typically regularly engage with children. In these professions, individuals must report any suspected child abuse or face losing their career and livelihood. While teachers are perhaps the most well-known profession that requires mandatory requiring, day care workers, school administrators, teachers' aides, doctors, medical facility staff, nurses, police officers, psychiatrists and many more also fall into this category.

How to make your divorce go faster

As you face the reality of your marriage ending, one of your core concerns is probably how long the divorce process will take. You may hear about long, drawn-out breakups from friends, family members or the news. Not only does a long divorce take a toll on your emotional health, but it can be financially taxing, too.

Thankfully, your divorce does not need to be unnecessarily lengthy. While dissolving your marriage may never be a breeze, you can get through it faster if you follow some tips.

Want a better divorce? Forget about getting revenge

In some cases, getting divorced might seem like more hassle than it is worth. There are the seemingly endless months of litigation, money shelled out for court fees and the emotional burden of fighting an ex over every small matter. Contrary to the popular depiction of divorce in the media, most Texas divorces do not have to go this way.

While divorcing couples usually have very good reasons for ending their marriages, it does not mean that they have to wage war in the courtroom. Seeking revenge by trying to "win" or getting justice in court often involves using screenshots or photographs to demonstrate just how awful their ex acted. While this might feel cathartic, outside of extenuating circumstances courts generally do not care about this information. In the end, it only drags things out and makes the process harder than it strictly needs to be.

Divorce will be more difficult after the first of the year

Ending a marriage is never an easy process, but there are recent changes to tax laws that could make it even more difficult in the New Year. On January 1 of 2019, laws that have been in place for 75 years will change, affecting how taxes work for those who pay or receive alimony. As a result, many people have been trying to finalize their divorces before the end of the year. Those in Texas who will file for divorce in 2019 will find it beneficial to learn about how the process will affect them and what to expect.

The intent of alimony is to offset the economic hardship that divorce brings for the lesser-earning spouse. This means that a spouse who worked part time or stayed home with the children will have financial support from his or her former spouse. However, tax laws also offered incentive to the spouse who was making these payments, allowing him or her to deduct that amount for tax purposes.

Moving? Include virtual visitation in child custody agreement

Life is already complicated enough as it is, but add in issues like parenting and divorce and things can get so much more difficult. This is especially true when it comes to balancing child custody and work or family obligations. Sometimes, life simply requires that a Texas parent live far away from his or her child, but there are solutions to bridging these distances.

Visitation becomes difficult when a parent lives a significant distance from a child. While the parent might be able to see the child on a handful of major holidays or during school breaks, this is not necessarily enough time to establish and maintain meaningful bonds. This is where technology makes things easier. Virtual visitation gives parents an avenue to continue engaging with their children on a regular basis.

A postnuptial agreement can protect you during divorce

Some Texas couples feel that they do not have enough assets to warrant a prenuptial agreement. Others worry that bringing up the topic will send the wrong message to their fiance. For whatever reasons a couple decides to forgo a prenup, ideas of what a marriage will be like and the reality of how it actually is are often quite different.  However, this does not mean that they will have to resign themselves to being unprotected during a divorce.

A postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenup, except that it is signed after a couple has already tied the knot. The reasons for drafting a postnup are as wide and varied as the reasons for a prenup, but the end goal is usually the same -- protecting an individual's interests during a divorce. This involves carefully detailing which property is separate and which is considered community property, the latter of which will have to be divided during property division. Some people even choose to skip this matter and address exactly how to divide assets in their postnup.

How to establish paternity of your child in Texas

If you and your girlfriend part ways, but she is pregnant with your child, do not assume you will have any rights as a father. In fact, Texas law states that being the biological father is not enough to establish paternity when the parents are not married. Until you take the steps to establish paternity, your child does not legally have a father. 

There are several different ways to establish paternity.

What to do about your pets during divorce?

Leaving a spouse is one thing, but saying goodbye to a pet is another altogether. For many people in Texas, pets are truly members of the family, making separating from them a painful and difficult experience. However, going through a divorce does not mean potentially giving up on ever seeing a beloved animal again.

In the past, pets were treated as little more than property during divorce proceedings. Whoever bought the pet or paid the majority of its associated bills or costs "won." Now, as the obsession of Americans with their pets reach new heights, this old approach is no longer cutting it. Owners often ascribe feelings of parenthood to their pooches or cats, and spending on pets hit an all-time high of $86.7 billion in 2018.

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