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Dallas-Fort Worth Family Law Blog

Effects on a marriage of a wife's illness

Women in Texas who have a stroke or develop cancer or heart disease may have a higher divorce risk than women who do not get sick. However, if men develop these conditions, the risk of the marriage ending in divorce does not increase.

A number of studies support these conclusions. In 2015, a study published in "The Journal of Health and Social Behavior" reported that only the wife's illness was a predictor of divorce. Another study conducted by Purdue and Iowa State University researchers examined the effects of a stroke, lung disease, heart problems or cancer on more than 2,700 relationships. Researchers concluded that women who suffered from heart problems or a stroke had an increased likelihood of divorce compared to women who developed cancer, but none of these effects seemed to be the same for men. Overall, women do not enjoy the health benefits of marriage that men do.

Divorce acn be financially harmful

From a statistical standpoint, five out of every ten married individuals get divorced at some point in their lives. To make matters worse, divorcees who decided to take another stab at it have a higher chance of breaking their vows yet again, and matters are just worse for those who try to take a third swing at marital life. With that being said, citizens of Texas should be aware that several experts advise married couples to do their best at making their marriage work rather than resorting to the divorce courts at the first sign of trouble.

Divorce comes with plenty of financial problems, plenty of which divorced couples tend not to be prepared for. For example, whichever party ends up keeping the house has to contend with paying the bills, the cost of maintenance, and any other costs, but they have to do so with only half of what they had before the divorce. Alternatively, if the couple decides to sell the house, they will probably have to accept a price well below that of the market in order to expedite the divorce proceedings and not be mired in legal limbo for too long.

When one spouse is the more attractive partner

People in Texas looking for a romantic relationship may find that physical attraction is one of the most significant factors drawing them to a partner. On dating sites, people report that they message people up to 25 percent more attractive than themselves. While people may have widely variant views of which traits are the most physically attractive in a partner, social beauty standards can play a significant role in how people view themselves and others, even far outside the realm of dating. Many people find themselves in long-term relationships with people of approximately equal attractiveness, but other couples show a wide gap in their physical beauty.

Various studies have attempted to examine how these attractiveness differences could affect a relationship's happiness and stability. Some research found positive results. A study of newlywed couples in which both parties' attractiveness was ranked by a panel of observers found that men married to more attractive women were happier and more committed to their marriages. However, other studies found more concerning results.

An uncontested divorce is probably easiest on your children

The divorce of parents is typically a traumatic experience for the children of the family. Kids tend to remember the negative emotions of a divorce far more than the positive consequences it may generate in both parents.

Depending on the age of your kids, a divorce can produce a wide range of social, emotional and behavioral symptoms. The good news is that these symptoms typically go away on their own within a year or so. However, there are steps that you and your spouse can take during your divorce to minimize the negative effects of ending your marriage on your children.

The benefits of sharing child custody

Some parents in Texas who are going through a divorce might wonder whether sole or joint custody would be best for their children. Studies have shown that even young children benefit from joint custody arrangements.

The work of one psychologist was endorsed by more than 100 experts after he examined research and many studies on the subject and found that joint custody leads to the best outcomes. Furthermore, he said, current thought in child development does not support the notion that it is unhealthy for infants and toddlers to spend the night with their father instead of their mother. Another researcher examined more than 50 studies and came to similar conclusions. She found that children in joint custody situations had higher rates of academic achievement, physical health, satisfaction with life and self-esteem while those in sole custody situations had more depression, anxiety, behavioral problems and stress-related illnesses. Those in joint custody situations also had better relationships not just with their parents but with others as well. This was even the case in high-conflict divorces. The only exception seemed to be when a parent was neglectful or abusive.

Divorce, taxes and dividing assets

Taxes are an important consideration when negotiating divorce settlement terms. Texas couples should take care to understand the tax ramifications of how their assets are divided.

What happens to the family or marital home can be a point of contention for many divorcing couples. One spouse may want to stay in the home after the divorce is finalized. It is not unusual for divorcing individuals to not pursue ownership of other assets, such as the retirement funds of an ex-spouse, in order retain the home. However, before any terms are finalized, it is important for divorcing individuals to make sure that they can actually afford to keep the home.

What to do about the house in a divorce

One of the more difficult assets for some couples in Texas to divide in a divorce could be the home. They might want to try to sell it immediately, but this actually often turns out to be something that is only done on a judge's orders.

Another option is for one person to keep the home, but this can become complicated. First, it is necessary to ensure the person can afford all the expenses associated with the home. Next, couples need to look at their options for putting the home in the other person's name. These include a mortgage refinance, one spouse buying the other out or even one spouse signing the home over to the other without an exchange of money.

Solving debt issues may reduce divorce risk for couples

Not many couples seeking a divorce in Texas cite money problems as their main reason for splitting. Even so, a Couples & Money survey conducted by a financial services company notes that more than half of all couples begin relationships with existing debt, and 40 percent say this burden ultimately has a negative impact on their partnership. Couples also tend to disagree over who is responsible for the marital debt. If paying down debt is a priority, partners often experience issues with lack of communication that may further compound problems.

Squabbles about money matters are also a leading predictor of divorce. Part of the problem may be not being fully aware of debt obligations. In fact, the Federal Reserve estimates that Americans underestimate their student debt by 25 percent and credit card debt by nearly 40 percent. Debt-related behaviors may also contribute to financial stress during a marriage. For instance, some couples might have credit card payments so high that they worry about meeting basic expenses while others sometimes splurge in an effort to resolve marital troubles.

The challenge of parenting after divorce

Divorce can, at times, mean a complete separation between the two ex-partners. When children are involved, there is usually a lot of interaction between the two divorced parents. This can create frustration and stress for all involved.

Under ideal circumstances, the divorced individuals would interact with each other in a way that reflects the best interests of the children. They would understand that even though they did not make the best marriage mates, they still have the chance to be great parents. This could require them to behave well when in each other's company and to communicate with each other. Although the bonds that drew them together when they first got married may have disappeared, their commitment to the welfare of their children should be put above their own personal convenience.

How to ask for a divorce without adding more stress

Asking for a divorce is likely to be one of the most difficult things you ever have to do. If you find yourself in this position, you should consider the many steps you can take to ease your stress.

There's no way of knowing what will happen when you sit down to talk about divorce with your spouse. Even if the both of you are ready to move on, it doesn't mean the conversation will go smoothly.

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