Fabio & Merrill

Houston Divorce Blog

Who is at risk for a gray divorce?

As the Institute for Family Studies points out, gray divorces are on the rise with baby boomers leading the pack for most divorces over 50. Facts such as this lead many older married couples to wonder, are their marriages in trouble? If you worry about the state of your Texas marriage, IFS's gray divorce statistics may interest you, as many yield common patterns among divorcing couples.

As the IFS report indicates, more than one-third of gray divorces occur among couples who are in marriages of over 30 years. That rate drops to just 12 percent for those who have celebrated their 40 anniversary. However, that is not to say that if you and your spouse have been together for more than three decades but not quite four you will get divorced, and nor does it mean that if your marriage has lasted for more than 40 years you are in the clear. As the study goes on to further explain, there are a lot of nuances when it comes to gray divorce statistics.

Are you familiar with these divorce myths?

When going through a divorce, it's important to separate fact from fiction. If you neglect to do so, you could make a mistake that costs you time and money, while also adding more stress to the process.

There are a variety of divorce myths circulating, all of which can complicate your situation. Here are six of the most common:

  • Mediation won't work: There are times when divorce mediation doesn't work, but you shouldn't assume this from the start. Even if you're at serious odds with the other individual, you have the opportunity to work through your issues in mediation.
  • You'll lose everything: Regardless of the reason for your divorce, property division should be fair and equitable. Even if you're responsible for the divorce, it doesn't mean you'll lose everything. You have the opportunity in mediation to negotiate and compromise.
  • Your ex-spouse can keep you from seeing your children: While you may not win physical custody of your children, you should be able to settle on a visitation schedule that allows you to spend time together.
  • Mothers have more power than fathers: This may have been the case many years ago, but the law has evolved in more modern times. Now, decisions regarding custody are based on the best interests of the children.
  • Divorce always results in hostility: There are times when this happens, but through collaborative divorce or mediation it's possible to avoid additional battles. With this approach, your focus is on resolving conflicts, as opposed to blaming one another.
  • Your children choose whom they live with: Depending on the age of your children, they may have some say about where they live. However, as noted above, child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the children.

What if your spouse is caught hiding assets during your divorce?

Texas is a community property state, meaning the court divides a divorcing couple’s shared assets in a manner that it deems fair. In an effort to tip the coffer in his or her favor, your spouse may, unfortunately, take steps to hide assets from the divorce process. If caught, however, this could have a serious impact on the outcome of your case.

During your divorce, you and your spouse may be required to disclose your assets and debts, including those you share and those that are yours alone. Hiding assets during the divorce process, or neglecting to report them, is known as fraud against the community.

What can I do about divorce ruining my credit?

As you may know, divorce can create financial difficulties. Now you must get by on one income, and your credit may suffer for it. In fact, as many Texans know, getting a divorce can be ruinous to one’s credit – even if it is a relief to get out of a miserable marriage.

Bankrate explains that the end of a marriage can be especially hard on women’s credit reports. If you stayed home to raise the children and take care of the house during your marriage, you might not have enough credit in your own name. As you try to adjust to making ends meet by yourself, you may find it difficult to pay your bills on time. Your ex-spouse might not be paying his or her share of the marital debt, which can also negatively impact your credit.

Is there a way to protect your business in divorce?

If you are like most people, you entered your marriage with the hopes of happily ever after. Unfortunately, not even half of all married couples achieve this goal. According to Inc., 52 percent of first marriages end in divorce and 70 percent of second and third marriages end more or less the same way. Whether you and your significant other have yet to tie the knot, are happily married or are in the throes of a Texas divorce, if you own a business, take proactive measures now to protect the business you spent so many resources growing and nurturing. Otherwise, the Texas courts may award your spouse 50 percent of the company in the divorce.

Ideally, the best way to protect your business in a divorce is to draft and sign a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Of course, if you are reading this after divorce becomes a probability, this measure will not help you. However, if you simply wish to prevent an issue should you and your significant other decide to part ways in the future, talk to your lawyer about what you need to do to draft a conscionable and valid agreement that will override Texas's community property laws when it come to your business. If you create a post-nuptial agreement, note that the courts will only recognize it if you and your spouse created it before either of you ever mentioned divorce.

Remember to take time for yourself during a stressful divorce

As a prosperous individual, people often assume you have it all: You run a successful business, have well-behaved children and great friends. To top it off, you have a great spouse who seems like they support you. What they don't know is that your relationship with your spouse is platonic, and you're ready to go through a divorce. You want to break things off, but you don't know how to handle the fallout.

It can be hard to end a marriage, no matter how long you've been together or what factors play a role in your case. If you are not sure you want to go through with a divorce, you should consider marital counseling or therapy before doing so. If that doesn't work, then you and your spouse may benefit from separating.

Preventing divorce from destroying a person's retirement future

For many couples, the decision to divorce does not come without considerable forethought. Often, many couples may turn to counselors and other professionals for help finding solutions to their marital conflicts, but when other options fail to provide relief, they resort to divorcing and ending their marriage. This choice results in the need for many Texas couples to reassess the life they have grown to share and decide how to split things to give each a chance at creating a new life for themselves. 

One of the most complicated things to separate according to CNBC is a couple's retirement savings. If they have made considerable modifications to their spending habits to contribute large sums into a retirement account of some kind, their growing fund could comprise most of their financial assets. Often, splitting these assets can cost an excessive amount in fees to move the money elsewhere or leave people dissatisfied with a ridiculous contribution to their former spouse who they no longer speak to. 

How can you ready your finances for divorce?

If you and your spouse are about to embark on a high asset divorce in Texas, your only concerns right now may pertain to alimony and the property division process. However, because your divorce is a high asset one, know that your financial concerns should begin long before you even file the paperwork.

According to MarketWatch, there are several things you can do right now to ensure you are financially secure post-divorce. For one, gather your financial documents. Ideally, you should have five years'-worth of payroll stubs, bank statements, tax returns, benefits information, property information and investment account information. Evidence of all these documents will speed up financial discussions during your divorce, a fact in and of itself that will save you money.

Who pays college expenses for a child?

College is an expense that you as a parent usually pay for your children. In a divorce situation, who pays for college can become a complex situation. Unless you made plans in your divorce settlement, you may face some issues when it comes time to pay for your child's postsecondary education in Texas.

According to Forbes, once your child reaches the age of 18, support obligations usually end. This also means that there is no requirement for anyone to pay for your child's college costs. Most often child support orders do not include payment for education past high school graduation.

What is 50/50 custody?

The typical arrangement for custody in the past in Texas was one parent getting the children and the other getting visitation rights. As time has gone by, though, the family court system has seen the negative effects this type of arrangement can have on the children involved. If you get a divorce today, the court may suggest something different called 50/50 custody.

The idea of 50/50 custody is becoming more popular because it allows your kids to spend equal time with you and their other parent, according to Advantage4Parents. In this type of arrangement, you and the other parent share the custody of the children. Neither of you has more legal rights to the children.

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