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El Paso Law Blog

Money troubles for women after divorce

Divorce can put a strain on finances for any Texas couple, but women could have a tougher time when ending a marriage. Women typically make less than men, and going through a divorce can hurt a woman's income even more. A 2012 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found a 41 percent drop on average for a woman's household income after divorce.

In addition to the wage gap, caregiving demands often impact a woman's earning potential. Women are typically expected to care for children and elderly parents, and this results in less time at a job and lower Social Security benefits. Regardless of income, many women have trouble with finances after the end of their marriage because they are not used to managing their money. If a husband takes care of the finances during a marriage, a woman might have little experience with money management. The simple fix is for women going through a divorce to start learning about their finances and financial planning.

The financial aspects of a divorce

Texas couples who decide to get divorced might find that it is an expensive proposition when court fees, lawyers and mediators are included. Many couples, however, forget that it can become even higher, when the years of child and spousal support that might follow are included. This is why couples need to focus on financial planning for post-divorce health when the idea of ending a marriage first takes hold.

According to government data, over 800,000 people get divorced each year in the U.S. And after 10 years of marriage, the relationship is considered long-term, which means that one party might have to pay alimony until the recipient's retirement age, if that person doesn't remarry. Child support must also be paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or the age of majority. These costs must be taken into account when a person seeks a divorce, as making an error during this part of the process might result in a tougher financial situation later on in life.

Going to bat for your children's best interests in divorce

If you're like many Texas parents, you may spend many weeks during spring and summer running back and forth to baseball games, soccer events and/or other special activities in which your children participate. In fact, some days, just getting away from work, through heavy traffic and to the field on time may prove as challenging (or so it may seem) as putting a man on the moon, but hey -- they're your kids and they're worth it, right?

If you're also one of many in the state who recently divorced, you remain focused on your children's best interests, especially if your former spouse refuses to cooperate. Since you have children together, you obviously understood that after finalizing your divorce, you'd continue to have to communicate with your former spouse on a regular basis; however, you may not have been expecting problems to arise regarding your new parenting agreement. It can be quite stressful, especially if you don't have a support plan to rectify such situations.

Dealing with the home in a divorce

Some El Paso residents may want to buy a home after they go through a divorce. Others may want to keep the family home. Both of these processes may become difficult after a divorce.

There are a number of points a person should consider as well. These include the home's value, whether the person is employed, the person's income, whether the person is paying or getting alimony, how cooperative the person's spouse will be, and if there is enough money for a down payment. It may help to consult a mortgage specialist.

Learning more about what divorce can accomplish

Texas residents may have seen people go through divorces on television or may have friends or family members end their marriages. However, that may not truly prepare people for their own divorce and its consequences. It may be a shock to give up property or lose the ability to see a child on a regular basis. The best way to obtain a favorable outcome in a divorce is to understand what it aims to accomplish.

For parents, a divorce proceeding will likely determine who is responsible for child support. While state guidelines may be used to determine the amount of support paid, other facts such as a parent's financial situation and the custody agreement may be used to set an amount. Alimony might also be ordered based on the facts of a particular case.

Certain professions result in higher divorce rate

Couples in Texas might welcome the news that the divorce rate has been dropping since its peak in the 1980s. They might also be interested in knowing that certain professions, such as those of enlisted military personnel, face a higher risk of divorce in general.

Military professions earned three of the top 10 spots for highest divorce rates. These included the highest divorce rate for enlisted military supervisors, including those who are the leaders of operations and coordinate the missions for other enlisted personnel. This group has a divorce rate of 30 percent by the age of 30. Overall, people serving in the military have the highest rate of divorce by 30 at 15 percent. Military careers pose a set of challenges for married couples that can lead to divorce, including one parent serving away from the family, couples marrying too young and moving around often, financial issues and post-service, depression and other mental issues that veterans often have to deal with.

Common misconceptions about divorce

Some El Paso residents who are considering a divorce might believe a number of myths about the process. For example, some might believe that it is easy enough to see how much child support they will be required to pay using a child support calculator. However, there are a number of factors that may be taken into account in determining child support, and legal advice may be required.

Another misconception some people may have is that they will not be responsible for the mortgage if they agree that the other spouse will own the home. Lenders will not see it this way, and the loan will have to be refinanced or an appropriate indemnification sought. People might also think they do not need to divide a retirement account, but usually this is considered marital property that is split in a divorce.

Parents fearing deportation seek custody arrangements

Texas parents who are undocumented immigrants and who think there's a possibility that they might be deported might want to know how to protect their children. Across the country, parents who feel at risk are turning to child custody orders to ensure that their kids will enjoy stable lives.

Legal workers say that since the 2016 presidential election, many parents have been increasingly worried about the possibility of deportation. Churches and other community centers have also been seeking help from immigration workers to guide parents through the process of creating child custody arrangements in case they get deported.

What to do to get custody of a sibling

A El Paso resident may be concerned about a younger sibling's safety with the biological parents and wonder how to get custody of the sibling. The first step might be for the person to try to talk to the parents and convince them to give up custody of the child. If the parents do not agree, the older sibling must persuade a court that the child is experiencing abuse or neglect and is in danger. Courts are otherwise reluctant to separate children from their biological parents. If the court is convinced, the older sibling may still struggle to prove independence and the ability to care for the child.

Another scenario is one in which the parents have died. The parents may have named the person the legal guardian of the sibling in the will. However, if this is not the case, other family members might want to try to get custody of the child as well, and there could be a custody battle.

Unexpected life changes can spark a need for support modification

As a parent, you probably want what is best for your child. Perhaps you and the other parent were unable to continue in a relationship. Although you might not want to fund the other parent's personal endeavors, supporting your kids financially could be a top priority. Unfortunately, certain life changes can create monetary issues that challenge a person's ability to maintain the current standard of living.

With a previous child support order in place, there could be consequences for missing payments. However, in some cases, such as a loss of income or change in health, you might not have a choice in the matter, potentially prompting a need for an adjustment to the original agreement.


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