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El Paso Law Blog

Texas handles property division using community property approach

Going through the dissolution of a marriage can be just as financially complicated as it is emotionally complex. This is true whether you had only a few years to accumulate assets or you built up wealth over the course of several decades.

The decisions you make regarding property division can have long-term consequences, so being informed about the process early on is critical. Here is a glimpse at how Texas law handles property division during divorce proceedings.

Prenuptials still carry a stigma

While marriage certainly shouldn't be considered as a business proposition, people should realize that the act of marriage creates a legally binding contract between the two spouses. No Texas business owner is ever considered anything but wise by planning for the possibility of an exit strategy, but somehow, the prospective spouse who presents a prenup is often met with resistance from the other party or family member.

While it cannot be denied that there is a certain loss of romantic idealism when a prenuptial agreement is in the conversation, experts point to several very good reasons why it can be beneficial to one, or, perhaps, both parties. Long gone are the times when the norm was for couples to marry young and stay married until parted by death.

Making goals and raising children after a split

The new school year brings an opportunity for parents in Texas to set new goals and expectations with their children. For divorced parents, this might mean putting aside their differences and working together as much as possible to provide support and stability for their children.

After a divorce, it is very important for parents to continue helping their children develop and grow in a stable manner. A new school year is the perfect opportunity for parents to sit with their children and discuss academic and personal goals for their year and agree to three main goals. If the parents cannot agree to sit together during this process, they should encourage their children to discuss the goals with both parents separately. This way, there are fewer misunderstandings, and the children will know that both parents are in agreement about their growth.

Elements of a child custody hearing

Parents in El Paso who must attend a child custody hearing should dress professionally and prepare for questions the judge may ask. Examples of these questions might be whether the parent can offer adequate emotional support for the child and what the sleeping arrangements are if the parent has a small living space. The judge might ask a working parent what child care will be available when the child is not in school.

Child custody hearings may be held in a smaller courtroom than those used for other types of legal proceedings. In addition to the judge, the parents and their attorneys, there may be witnesses, such as child care providers or teachers, who come to testify on behalf of one of the parents. Older children who wish to participate in the decision may also testify.

Study looks at effect of deployments on military marriages

Some military families in El Paso may experience stress and even divorce as a result of deployments, but a study by researchers at the RAND Corporation found that the relationship between military deployments and marriages is a complex one. The study looked at 1,358 families to examine the connection between deployments and marital satisfaction.

Deployments did result in lower marital satisfaction based on information gathered from both spouses. However, the first deployment appeared to cause the greatest stress. The most significant difference was between couples who experienced no deployments and those who experienced one or more. Subsequent deployments following the first one did not appear to add as significantly to marital unhappiness.

Parenting plans may make child custody easier to address in Texas

Going through divorce can certainly be emotionally challenging for you and your spouse. However, if you have young children, the process can take just as great of an emotional toll on them, too.

Fortunately, when it comes to child custody in Texas, most parents can resolve their cases without having to go to trial. This is possible by creating a parenting agreement during divorce mediation or informal negotiations, for example. Here is a look at the process of creating a parenting agreement and receiving court approval for it.

Dealing with child support after divorce

Dealing with a divorce in El Paso can be time consuming and stressful. Divorce is never a simple experience, and when children are involved in the marital separation, emotions can be tricky to deal with. While the parents may have come to terms with the separation prior to it happening, many children struggle with understanding why their family dynamics are changing. This can add an element of frustration, anxiety and sadness to any divorce.

For many families, an impending divorce is not a surprise; however, couples may wonder what they need to know about custody and child support in the separation. Determining who will have custody of the children is important because it determines not only where the children will live but also where they will go to school and what activities they will be involved in. If the children need to move to a new home, for example, they may be required to attend a different school.

About child support cases

Child support payments can be a confusing topic for many parents in Texas because of the different categories of child support cases. However, the different child support cases aid the government in maintaining track of children and families who need the additional financial assistance. All parents who receive or pay child support should be aware of what type of child support case they have.

Child support cases in which the custodial parents receive assistance from the Office of Child Support Enforcement are referred to as IV-D cases. Typical types of assistance may include establishing paternity locating non-custodial parents or enforcing the terms of a child support order.

Dividing properly efficiently when divorcing past age 50

Couples who choose to get divorced when they are older may have a retirement account such as 401k or an IRA to divide in the process. However, even if a Texas couple splits amicably, it is necessary to allocate the funds within the account properly. Otherwise, it could result in an unnecessary tax hit or otherwise jeopardize an individual's financial situation. If a 401k is being divided, it must be done under the terms of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).

This order will allow funds to be transferred into the name of the other spouse. When the transfer occurs, funds that are put directly into a 401k will not be taxed. If funds are taken out of the account, it will be necessary to pay income taxes, but no early withdrawal penalty needs to be paid. The reason why funds inside of a 401k or an IRA may be eligible to be split is that funds used to grow the account are generally considered marital funds.

Tips for effective co-parenting after divorce

Divorced parents in Texas should keep several guidelines in mind to make the co-parenting process smoother. The most important thing to remember is that everything should be done with the best interests of the child in mind. Parents need to recognize that even if they consider the other parent unpleasant or incompetent, that individual is still an important figure in the child's life. Only if abuse or other issues affect the child's safety should parents interfere with that relationship.

Parents should set up calendars in each household so that they and their children can clearly see the custody/visitation arrangements for the month. Communicating over text or email and using online tools for scheduling and communication may help reduce the likelihood of conflict. Certain rules should be consistent between households; although, they may need to be general, such as "be respectful," since different parenting styles may have contributed to the divorce in the first place.


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