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Houston Divorce And Family Law Blog

Approaching divorce during retirement

Making the decision to file for a divorce can always be hard, but for some people it is especially difficult. For example, those who recently retired or plan on retiring in the near future may have even more uncertainty when it comes to ending their marriage. If you are facing these hurdles personally, you should go over the ins and outs of your unique situation and do what you can to prepare. Our law firm is well aware of how tricky these cases can be, whether you are worried about child support, the distribution of your marital property, spousal support, or other family law matters.

As if divorce does not have enough of an impact on people from a financial standpoint, retiring can also raise concerns about money. Because of the potentially serious impact that both of these changes could have on your finances, you should do what you can to ensure that you are ready for any problems that may arise. For example, you may want to familiarize yourself with the laws regarding property division and you should try to have a good idea of what your finances will look like when you are no longer working, which could be especially important if you will be required to pay alimony or child support.

Can you still find happiness during a divorce?

If you and your spouse have recently made the decision to pursue a divorce in Texas, you may have begun to wonder if you will ever find happiness again. As you may have already experienced, divorce is often a long and often tumultuous process characterized by disagreements and sadness. However, you do not have to endure that type of experience if you shift your paradigm and take some proactive steps to stay happy.

According to the Huffington Post, there are a few specific things that have the power to transform your experience. These include the following:

  • Look for the good: It can be easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted by all of the details that you must address during your divorce. However, make an effort to look for the good things in your life. Plan activities that you can look forward to and make time for things that you enjoy doing. 
  • Embrace the change: While it can be saddening and frustrating to consider your failed marriage, embrace the upcoming change and view it as a step towards a better future. Chances are you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce for a reason. So, put that reasoning behind you and focus on how your life will change for the better as a result of your decision. 
  • Exude positivity: Your first instinct may be to lament your situation or consider how unfortunate your current circumstances are. Instead, create a new vision for yourself. Identify personal goals, pursue lifelong passions and create a story that is infused with positivity, personal affirmation and success. 

Divorce trials can be mentally and emotionally taxing

Thinking about a divorce might bring up images of a War of the Roses scenario. This type of divorce is possible, however, most divorces these days are handled through mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods. This isn't to say that there aren't still divorce trials, because there are some cases that just can't be resolved any other way.

When you are involved in a high-asset divorce, there is usually considerable stress on both parties to make decisions and come up with resolutions for contentious matters. Coming to these compromises might prove to be simply impossible. In those cases, you can turn to litigation to get the matters resolved. Here are some points to remember regarding a court battle for a divorce:

Should you consider a post-nuptial agreement?

The sobering truth about marriage in Texas is that many of them end in divorce. If you are married and you did not have a prenuptial agreement, you may want to consider a postnuptial agreement. Even if your marriage is currently wonderful, this type of legal document can help to prevent issues in the future.

According to ABC News, a postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement. The main difference is the postnuptial agreement is created and signed after you are already married. In the agreement, you can stipulate anything from finances to duties in the marriage. Many couples use them to set up agreements about how property would be divided in the event of a divorce.

Arriving with confidence for a divorce mediation meeting

If you and your spouse have agreed to pursue a divorce in the state of Texas, you may have begun to understand how the process evolves and why each step plays a crucial role in an amicable outcome. Mediation is a necessary part of the process to assist you and your spouse in separating assets and agreeing on how that will be done. At Fabio + Merrill, we are familiar with the progression of divorce and confident in our ability to help couples through a separation. 

According to the Huffington Post, you can be better prepared for your first mediation meeting by following some valuable advice beforehand. Your preparation may help you to arrive feeling confident and at ease instead of ridden with anxiety and nerves. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Write out a budget and stick with it. Doing so will help you demonstrate responsibility and avoid asking for too much which could hurt your outcome.
  • Articulate your worries ahead of time. Take the time to write down the things that concern you most. This way, you can reference your document instead of trying to fumble through your brain to remember everything under pressure.
  • Be realistic and do not allow your emotions to infiltrate your ability to be cordial and civil. Remind yourself that you are not going to get your way with everything and try to remain calm even when the other party does not reciprocate.
  • Plan to negotiate and compromise with your ex. Going into any mediation expecting to argue and come out a winner is an unrealistic expectation that should be set aside immediately.

How can I make shared custody work with my ex-spouse?

Ending a relationship is never easy. When there are kids involved, things can get downright messy and confusing. Your divorce may be in its final stages or finally over. But before you can move on with your life in Houston, you must learn how to make custody work with your ex-spouse for the benefit of your children. 

In divorce, many things that were once shared between you and your ex-partner become separate. The one thing that does not change is your obligation to be a responsible co-parent with your former spouse. Unless your circumstances and the courts rule otherwise, you must find a way to raise your kids with their other parent to protect their best interests. Here are some things for you to keep in mind when trying to make your custody arrangement work with your ex-spouse. 

Helping your child thrive during a divorce

If you and your spouse are seeking a divorce in Texas, chances are you have begun to weigh the consequences and decisions that will follow your decision. Some of these include outcomes tied to parental visitation, alimony, spousal relocation and even separation of assets. However, if you have children, you may find that many of your concerns are centered around the needs and well-being of each of your children. At Fabio + Merrill, we understand the often-emotional complexities of family law. 

The Huffington Post recently shared some thoughts that can provide you with ideas for helping your children thrive during a particularly difficult time. These include the following:

  • Be kind: While you may be tempted to vent or talk negatively about your spouse, doing so in front of your children is damaging and can be hurtful. Remember that your children still value you and your spouse as their parents and be mindful of the way you speak about your ex.
  • Acknowledge sadness: When you notice your children showing grief and sadness, do not attempt to immediately solve their problems. Acknowledge the emotions they are feeling and do your best to allow them time to feel. 
  • Have open dialogue: Communication is vital in understanding the needs of your children and helping them to gain a new sense of normalcy. Encourage healthy conversations and do not be afraid to answer their questions. 
  • Provide comfort: Your children will need all of the love, comfort and reassurance they can get. Build a strong support system and remind your children that everything will work out. Be mindful to spend time with your children and do things that are fun and memorable.

Real estate and property division in Texas divorce

When it comes to dividing up property in Texas, divorcing spouses face some unique challenges. Not only is Texas one of only a few states states that still use community property guidelines when dividing property, real estate is a uniquely complex asset with many complicating factors.

If you and your spouse are heading for divorce, be sure that you carefully consider your real estate holdings before you wade into a complex property division negotiation. You may lose a great deal of time and resources fighting over improperly valued assets with deceptive liabilities entangled in them.

What could happen if I fail to pay child support?

Many family law issues can create problems for parents, such as custody battles and divorce-related stress. However, child support can be an especially hard topic for some people to work through, such as those who are unable to pay what they owe and custodial parents who cannot afford to raise their children. In Texas, it is critical for parents who are facing child support challenges to address their circumstances at once.

Many different hardships can arise for parents who fall behind on their child support, such as the garnishment of their wages and arrest. Moreover, parents could have their tax refunds offset for missing child support payments, according to the Internal Revenue Service. For parents who owe back child support, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service may offset some or even all of their tax refund, which could catch a parent by surprise. Furthermore, non-custodial parents should bear in mind that falling behind on child support can lead to stress, social challenges, and even passport problems.

What does the Texas Family Code say about prenups?

If you decided to look through the Texas Family Code to learn about prenuptial agreements, you would not find them. Instead, Texas statutes refer to them as premarital and marital property agreements. To be valid, this type of agreement must be a written document signed by both you and your future spouse.

A premarital agreement does not go into effect until you are married. If you want to change anything in it after you are married, you must agree in writing about any amendments or revocations, and both of you must sign it. The agreement is not valid if a judge determines that your marriage is void.

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