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El Paso Law Blog

Dealing with finances after divorce

After a long-term marriage ends, both spouses will have to adjust to new financial realities. While it can take some time for an individual's finances to stabilize after the asset division process, knowledge of personal finance strategies can hasten this process. That's why all soon-to-be exes in Texas should be prepared for the future.

Unfortunately, many couples, particularly older partners, divide money management chores along gender lines during their marriages. Practically speaking, this means that the wife often handled household finances, such as paying bills and making household purchases, while the husband handled long-term investment decisions. As a result, a woman may find that she lacks the skills needed to manage her assets after divorce.

Divorce can solve many issues, but does have a few limitations

Many people who attempt to battle through an unsuccessful marriage will ultimately choose to end it in hopes for a better future. During a divorce, individuals can formally end the partnership and close out the shared business of the marriage. A divorce can help individuals settle many marital matters, but it still can't quite solve every problem associated with ending a marriage.

If you decide to end your marriage, you will want to understand exactly what a divorce can and cannot do for you. If you enter a divorce settlement with an unclear understanding, you may not achieve the best possible outcome for your emotional and financial futures, as the consequences of a binding divorce settlement can potentially affect your lifestyle for years to come.

Fights over household workload can cause divorce

Many couples in Texas have disagreements over how to split the household chores. Even if they can agree on what the split should look like, each person may have a different idea as to what is clean or how to fold the laundry. While disputes over housework can actually get so heated that they lead to divorce, there are ways to handle such problems.

For instance, couples can benefit from learning how to communicate with each other. Ideally, chores will be split equally to prevent one person from getting frustrated with their role in the relationship. If a couple has children, they could also be asked to pitch in around the house. Those who can afford to outsource household tasks should consider doing so to reduce their stress. A study done in 2008 discovered that something called "time affluence" can improve a person's life.

Divorcing while planning for financial future

When a person decides to end his or her marriage, dealing with the financial complications of a divorce can be among the most complex and contentious issues. Many El Paso couples of all income levels have established deeply intertwined financial lives and a shared vision of the future; choosing to separate those strands can lead to sharp disputes and give rise to serious concerns about the future. When considering divorce, taking action to protect one's financial health and well-being can be particularly important in preparing for a single future.

A fair divorce settlement will address all marital assets, including real estate, investment funds and retirement accounts. For many couples who divorce, their retirement accounts are often the largest single asset at stake in the separation. This is especially true for people who decide to divorce later in life, who also have a smaller amount of time to rebuild their finances after the division of marital assets. Thorough and complete records, including bank statements, account documentation, real estate deeds and photographs of valuables, can help one's divorce attorney to advocate clearly and correctly for one's position.

Divorce and marriage rates in the military

Women in Texas who are in the military might be more likely than their male counterparts to get divorced. For example, in the Army, the divorce rate for women is about 275 percent higher than it is for men.

The overall marriage rate in the military has declined. In 2011, 56.6 percent of active military personnel were married while in fiscal 2017, it was down to 51.7 percent. This is consistent with the overall decline of marriage in the general population. The declining number of military marriages is occurring even though marriage rates in the military tend to be higher than in the overall population because of benefits that accompany marriage, such as housing or housing benefits. Despite this, millennial-aged military members may have a similar view of the institution as their civilian counterparts, which is that the traditional support systems provided by marriage are unnecessary.

Will alimony be a part of your divorce settlement?

When you get a divorce, you may need to settle several financial matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You may be able to decide on how to split up the major assets like the house and cars, and if you have children, you will probably face several custody and child support issues. Another matter that commonly arises during the divorce process is the question of alimony, or spousal maintenance.

Alimony is a financial payment made to an ex-spouse who typically earned less during the marriage and who may be facing hardships and disadvantages after the breakup related to his or her inability to find adequate financial resources. Whether you are the person who will be making alimony payments, or you are the individual who will be receiving them, you may want to take advantage of the resources readily available to assist you during this time.

Child support collection mechanisms improved

Unpaid child support can be a major burden for many single Texas parents who struggle to pay rent, bills and other expenses. In many cases, collecting child support has been eased by the payroll withholding process. The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement reported that nearly $33 billion in support payments were passed through their system in the fiscal year of 2016. Of those, 75 percent were processed through payroll withholding.

The OCSE is working together with payroll agencies and professionals to streamline and improve the process in a number of ways. While all employers must report new hires and follow up with quarterly reports, some workplaces make the process more difficult by using different employee identification numbers for the same person. The OCSE is developing a process to help combat this issue. In addition, the agency has established a registry for employers who hire people in multiple states. By using the registry, employers can report all of their staff in one state.

Splitting retirement funds during a divorce

People in Texas may discover that there are expensive consequences for not using the proper procedures to divide their retirement funds. In addition to giving an ex-spouse more of the retirement funds than was originally intended, there may also be hefty taxes and withdrawal penalties that may have to be paid. It is important that divorcing individuals are aware that each of the different kinds of retirement accounts is governed by their own set of rules.

Workplace retirement plans, whether they are 401(k) plans or regular pension plans, have to be divided using a qualified domestic relations order. For individuals who may be entitled to a portion of their ex-spouse's workplace retirement funds, using a QDRO is the only way with which they will have legal access to their share.

Legal options for grandparents denied access to grandchildren

In general, parents welcome the chance for their children to form relationships with their grandparents. When parents object to contact, however, a grandparent will likely need a court order to obtain the legal right to visit grandchildren. Texas state law does not grant grandparents an automatic right to see grandchildren. Federal law affirms this view because of a decision from the Supreme Court of the United States that established parents as the parties who decide who has contact with their children.

For a grandparent to have an access or visitation case heard in court, the person must show that a parent is in jail or prison, mentally incompetent, dead or living separately from the child. If the parents have allowed others to adopt their child, grandparents will have no ability to file a petition for visitation.

Tips for keeping both parents in a child's life after divorce

When parents in El Paso get a divorce, they should make an effort to ensure that the child maintains a relationship with both of them unless there is some reason to worry for the child's safety. If one parent thinks the other is a mediocre parent, this is not a sufficient reason. If the parent is abusive or endangers the child's well-being in some other way, such as because of substance abuse, then the other parent might want to limit that parent's access to the child. Otherwise, the child will generally benefit from time with both parents.

In some cases, a parent might need to make sacrifices in order to maintain this relationship. One mother moved 80 miles from her son's father, so the father had to make more effort to maintain the relationship. After a few years, the mother moved closer to the father even though it meant that she had to move out of the house she owned and pay rent on an apartment.


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El Paso, TX 79935

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