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Dallas-Fort Worth Family Law Blog

East to follow advice on getting past the end of a marriage

Divorce can be a traumatic event for anyone who experiences it. However, it is important for Texas residents and others to avoid going into a shell when their marriage ends. Ideally, individuals will work with professional therapists or others who they trust to work through their feelings. It may also be a good idea to work with a financial adviser who will likely take an objective approach to decisions such as selling a home.

Those who have just ended their marriages should understand that it can take time to get past their trauma. However, there will likely come a point where an individual will mostly or fully move past the dissolution of a romantic relationship. It can be a good idea to embrace the uncertainty and chaos that can come with a divorce. In some cases, it will force a person to grow and gain a new perspective on life.

Millennial couples are interested in prenuptial agreements

A survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that prenuptial agreements have become more popular in Texas and elsewhere in recent years. Of those who took part in the survey, 62% said that they saw an increase in the number of clients who sought such agreements for themselves. Those who participated in the survey also said that the increase was being fueled by millennials.

Millennials tend to wait longer before they get married, which means that they may have valuable assets to protect. In 1962, 90% of Americans were married for the first time by age 30, and in 2018, only 54% of Americans had gotten married at least once by age 30. This means that they may have retirement plans or investments in tech companies that need to be accounted for. A New York Post report found that 70% of millennials are invested in stocks or some other asset class.

Reasons to use prenuptial or postnuptial agreements

Some people in Texas may wonder if they should create a prenuptial agreement before getting married. A postnuptial agreement is also a possibility for a couple who is already married. Pre- or postnuptial agreements are generally not necessary for people who are going into a marriage with few assets and no children from a previous relationship. However, people who do have children or significant assets or who anticipate an inheritance that they want to protect may want to consider using these tools.

A prenup can be useful not just in a divorce but in the event of a person's death. A person who has children from a previous relationship may want to specify in the prenup that the estate goes to the children and not the spouse if the person dies. However, prenuptial agreements largely deal with how property should be divided in case of divorce. Couples should avoid including clauses dealing with any other elements of their marriage or a potential divorce since a court could consider the document frivolous and dismiss it.

Older couples and divorce: financial considerations

The divorce rate has been stable for most age groups for a while. However, gray divorces involving older people, particularly over the age of 65, have doubled since 1990. As some Texas couples will experience, the financial aspect is more complex in gray divorce because there are usually more assets to negotiate.

Protecting financial stability is a primary concern for couples going through a gray divorce, and the type of state a couple lives in will dictate the process of division of property. Texas is a community property state, so all assets and debts acquired during marriage, including physical assets, money and other financial instruments, will be divided evenly during the process. However, this does not mean that process is simplified. There are several things that couples should consider during a grey divorce. The first, of course, is alimony. Because alimony is paid based on total compensation, when the amount is being determined, things beyond basic salary must be considered. These include car and trip allowances, compensation packages, stock options and ownership in companies.

Anyone can follow these co-parenting tips

Even with the best intentions, there's nothing easy about co-parenting. You're sure to run into challenges and arguments every now and again, resulting in an increased stress level.

Fortunately, with a few key co-parenting tips guiding you, it's easier to get on the right track and remain there in the future:

  • Don't make it all about you: It's easy to make co-parenting decisions that benefit you, but you must also take into consideration the well-being of your children and the feelings of your ex-spouse.
  • Be flexible: You should strive to follow your parenting agreement and visitation schedule. You should also realize that flexibility is a big part of co-parenting success. For instance, if your ex asks to alter their visitation schedule for a couple of weeks, do your best to accommodate their request.
  • Don't argue about everything: It's easy to turn every disagreement into an argument, but this doesn't do anyone any good. There are times when it's best to simply go with the flow.
  • Settle on the best communication strategy: There is more than one way to communicate with your ex, so consider all options. You can communicate face-to-face, over the phone, via text messages and via email.
  • Never put your children in the middle: Keep your divorce between you and your ex. Putting your children in the middle, such as by asking them who they like better, is only going to make things worse on everyone. You want to do whatever you can to comfort your children during this time. Putting them in the middle is not a good way of doing so.

What does a divorce mediator do?

It's important to be 100 percent clear on how the divorce mediation process works. This allows you to make all the right decisions along the way, while preventing costly mistakes.

Knowing what to expect from a divorce mediator is critical, as this knowledge positions you for success.

Hiding assets during a divorce

Property division negotiations often become contentious in high-asset divorce cases, and this is especially true in states with community property laws like Texas. Hiding assets during a divorce is both unethical and illegal, and spouses who engage in this type of behavior can face consequences ranging from an unfavorable property settlement and a contempt of court citation to criminal charges for fraud or perjury. The steps spouses take to conceal assets and cover their tracks are sometimes elaborate, and it usually takes the skills of specialists to identify them.

Overpaying creditors is a common way spouses hide money during a divorce. Once the settlement has been finalized, the spouse contacts the creditor for a refund. Reconciling bills and payments is the best way to prevent this from happening. Art, antique or classic car collections provide another way to conceal assets. When spouses become adamant about items of seemingly little value during property division talks, it could be a sign that the asset in question is actually quite valuable.

Managing finances during a divorcing

Many divorcing spouses in Texas go through major financial difficulties. For some, dissolving a marriage takes time and resources. The first step is to adjust the budget after losing the salary a spouse provided.

The assets one retains after a divorce can have a big impact on future finances. This is especially true when one ex wishes to keep the house. Those who have limited funds may struggle when making house payments, trying to refinance a mortgage and buying out the other spouse.

Study finds emotional reasons key to divorce decisions

A study that appeared in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that the main reasons for divorce could be shifting away from issues such as infidelity or violence and toward a lack of emotional fulfillment. Texas couples may be more likely to end their marriages because they no longer love or trust their spouses than in previous generations.

According to the study, which surveyed more than 2,300 people who were recently divorced, a lack of love was the number one reason given. In second place was an issue that is already well-documented as a reason, a lack of communication. In third place, people said there was no more trust in their marriage or that they no longer respected their partner. Some studies indicate that respect is even more crucial to a successful marriage than love. Finally, in fourth place, people said their divorce happened because they had grown apart over the years.

Steps for a parent to take if a child is in danger

There are situations in which some separated or divorced Texas parents may be concerned about the safety of their children with the other parent. This could be leading up to custody negotiations during a divorce, or it may happen after a divorce. Whenever it occurs, a parent should gather documentation to support allegations that the child is unsafe.

Judges will generally take these allegations seriously and investigate them, but they will also want to make sure a parent is not lying. Child protective services may become involved. Family, friends, neighbors and others might be interviewed to provide witness statements. If there are any relevant police or medical reports, parents should provide these. The other parent may still be allowed to spend time with the child while the investigation is ongoing although it could be only in supervised conditions.

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