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El Paso Law Blog

Tips for a child custody case

A parent in El Paso who is getting a divorce may also be heading into a child custody battle. If possible, it is best to avoid this. The parent might be unhappy with the judge's decision, and a compromise in which both parents agree to share custody might be better. However, if a court case is unavoidable, there are steps a parent can take that may increase the likelihood that they will win custody.

The parent should research child custody and may want to hire an attorney. During the child custody hearing, the parent should dress professionally and conduct themselves politely because these will all influence the judge's opinion of the parent. A judge may also look more favorably on a parent who can demonstrate that they are able to compromise with the other parent. A parent might also be allowed to bring in documentation that supports their side.

Requesting retroactive child support

Some Texas noncustodial parents may have fallen behind on child support. When this occurs, the custodial parent might wonder how to claim back support.

In order to do so, the parent must file a claim that may require several pieces of supporting evidence. This evidence might include proof of non-support and of attempts to collect support. If the parent who has not paid support is the father, it might be necessary to present proof that he knows that the child is his.

Costs associated with the QDRO

Some El Paso couples who are getting a divorce might not realize that they need a document known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in order to divide a retirement account. This is a complex document and process, and individuals who rush through this process might find that they end up paying more in fees and taxes than they expected. People might want to visit a certified divorce financial analyst that can help them and their attorney understand the financial implications of the document.

A retirement account may be divided 50/50 in Texas since it is a community property state. The QDRO may also be used to pay spousal or child support.

Reached the end of your tether? Divorce may be the way to go

Whether or not to file for divorce is not likely a decision made without considerable thought, and in many cases, it may be the last option. However, certain circumstances are intolerable -- some of which might even put you and your children in harm's way. The time may come when you want to take back control of your life.

Do you recognize any of the following scenarios?

Are prenuptial agreements a good idea?

When Texas couples start talking marriage, reception hall dates, flowers and honeymoon destinations are usually the primary topics. People generally do not want to think about the possibility of marital breakdown during this time. However, given the rate of divorce in the United States, finances are and should be a significant concern.

Contrary to what many people believe, a prenuptial agreement is not a new idea. In fact, marriage contracts were largely the norm rather than the exception until women were able to own and manage property and funds in their own right. Today, many people are reconsidering the wisdom of prenuptial agreements that can help them understand what will happen to their assets and debts should the marriage come to an end.

How DPPA may help some parents collect child support

Paso parents who fail to pay child support and who leave the state in order to avoid it may be punished under a 1998 federal law called the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. In addition to leaving the state, in order to be prosecuted under DPPA, parents must not have made child support payments in over a year and must owe upwards of $5,000 or they must not have made payments in more than two years and must owe over $10,000.

The penalty for a first offense under the DPPA is up to six months of imprisonment. For a second offense, a person might be incarcerated for up to two years. The person might also be required to pay back child support.

Putting children first while getting a divorce

Children are often hit very hard by divorces, but much of the emotional damage can be mitigated by the way that parents handle themselves during the process. Some of the ways that Texas parents can reduce the blow of splitting up include picking a good time to tell the kids about it and providing stability for them.

If possible, parents should tell kids about a divorce during a time that children will be best able to deal with the news. Some kids may require extra attention from parents to reassure them, and a break from school is probably a good time to tell children that may need more time with parents about a split. For kids that do better if they have distractions from bad news, a time when school is in session is probably a more opportune time to tell them about a divorce.

Getting a prenuptial agreement before marriage

For some Texas couples, the idea of signing a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married is seen as a red flag. However, this document can protect both individuals should they divorce later in life or if one spouse becomes incapacitated and cannot make decisions or dies.

Since more couples are getting married later in life, they often bring significant assets such as businesses, property and family heirlooms to their unions. A prenuptial agreement will clearly list which assets are separate, meaning that the person who brought them to the marriage will keep them should a divorce occur. However, any increase in value may not be protected.

A divorce needs as much preparation as a marriage - if not more

Considering the amount of preparation that goes into a wedding, a divorce deserves the same attention, as it will determine the post-divorce lifestyles of both spouses and any children they may have. As with any major experience in your life, preparing for your divorce may significantly lessen your level of stress and allow you to enter a new episode of your life on a stable financial and emotional basis.

Rather than just automatically following the routes taken by family and friends who got divorced before you, exploring the available options and the related pros and cons might be a good place to start planning a divorce.

Reasons to have a prenuptial agreement

Although couples in Texas who are getting married might not want to think about prenuptial agreements, putting one together can have a number of benefits. A prenup may be particularly important in certain circumstances. For example, if one person is going into the marriage with considerably more assets than the other, they might want to protect those assets in the event that the marriage ends after just a few years.

Another consideration is if one person owns a business. A prenup can prevent a spouse, who may have no knowledge of the business, from being able to take ownership of part of the business as a condition of the divorce. If either person is coming into the marriage with children from a previous relationship, they might want a prenup in place to ensure that assets go to their children. Finally, a prenup may be useful if one individual is deeply in debt. Ultimately, a prenup can be good for a relationship because it forces both parties to be open about their financial situation and to discuss their financial philosophies.

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10514 Montwood Dr.
El Paso, TX 79935

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