Fabio & Merrill

Houston Divorce Blog

In the eyes of the Texas courts, your pets are just possessions

The animals that you care for can fill a very important role in your life. Even if you and your spouse share children, you may have a special and truly unique bond with your pets, including dogs and cats. You will certainly worry about the custody of your children, but you should also think carefully about the best possible outcome for your pet.

Deciding who gets to keep your precious dog or beloved cat can often become as contentious as a custody battle. In fact, sometimes disagreements about pets can become more heated, as it is a winner-take-all scenario, as opposed to custody, which typically involves shared parental duties.

What happens to home equity when you divorce?

When you split from your Texas husband or wife, you will undoubtedly need to untangle many parts of your lives from one another’s, and part of this process generally involves dividing any assets or debts you currently share. For many Texas residents navigating their way through divorces, their homes represent their most valuable assets, so figuring out how to divide up any equity you have in your home is one of the most critical elements of asset division.

Per NerdWallet, most divorcing homeowners have several options at their disposal when it comes to splitting up equity they have in their homes. If market conditions are favorable, you may find that simplest way to untangle your life from your ex’s involves selling your shared house and then splitting up any proceeds you make when you sell between you.

What is a gray divorce?

If you and your longtime Texas spouse are heading for divorce after all these years, you have just become part of the gray divorce phenomenon. This is the nickname given to couples over 50 years old who divorce after a longstanding marriage.

Kiplinger reports the statistics with regard to gray divorces as follows:

  • Today, 25% of American divorces involve someone 50 years old or older.
  • In 1990, only 10% of divorces involved such an individual.
  • In more than half of today’s gray divorces, the couple’s marriage lasted for 20 or more years.
  • Gray divorce numbers continue to rise while the number of divorces by younger people continues to fall.

Examining why friendships change following a divorce

When two people are married in Texas, they often develop mutual friendships over time. Throughout the course of their marriage, they may share many experiences and adventures with other couples who they both enjoy spending time with. However, the nature of these friendships can change entirely when a couple pursues a divorce. Understanding these changes can be challenging and leave a divorcing couple feeling a bit lost as to what happened. 

An interesting friendship dynamic that many people do not readily realize until they are filing for divorce may be relationships they have formed with each other's family members. As such, these friendships have almost become a part of their marriage. Now that their marriage is dissolving, the uncertainty of maintaining that relationship can be intimidating and devastating. Perhaps the most important fact for people to remember going forward is that they cannot control how people will react to the news of their divorce. What they can do is to be respectful to their spouse by not sharing private details or being malicious in talking behind their back. They can also honestly answer questions without oversharing information. 

Can you prevent divorce from destroying your future?

While the idea that your divorce could help you to regain your independence and provide a solution to the ongoing marital conflict, it can also be unnerving to think about how your future has been altered by your decision to part ways with your spouse. As you begin working through the process of separating a life built with another person in Texas, it is imperative that you take action to prevent your divorce from destroying your future. 

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to use your divorce as an excuse to hold off on making any decisions at all. While it is dangerous and in some cases, illegal to move too many things around during your divorce that is the shared property of you and your ex, you can certainly begin to make preparations as soon as you file for divorce, to start planning for your future. Examples of things you may do include finding employment if you were previously the primary caretaker of any children or dependents, start saving any money you earn, take action to build and strengthen your credit score and take proper care of your emotional and physical well-being. 

Are you divorcing in retirement? Steps to protect your finances

Regardless of your age, divorce requires extreme attention to detail when it comes to your finances. This includes your assets, debts and retirement income, among other details.

When divorcing in retirement, which has become more common, it's imperative to understand the steps you can take to protect your retirement income.

Approaching the divorce process during pregnancy

Bringing a marriage to an end can be tough for any couple, but there are certain times when this process can be particularly complicated and worrisome. For example, someone who is expecting a child may have many questions related to their divorce, such as how custody will be distributed and the amount of child support that will need to be paid. Moreover, pregnancy can be a difficult time in one's life for other reasons, whether they have to take time off work or have various health-related concerns. It is imperative to approach your divorce properly if you are pregnant or your former partner is expecting a child.

Because pregnancy can be stressful and may change your life in many ways, it is especially important to take the right steps to work through the divorce process as smoothly as you can. You should try to have a clear understanding of your legal options and know which decisions will protect your interests. You may be able to work with your ex throughout the divorce, or there may be hard feelings and the divorce may be very contentious, which can be especially difficult during pregnancy.

High-asset divorce and investments

Whenever a marriage comes to an end, all sorts of family law issues may arise for both parties. Those with kids may encounter a number of stress-inducing legal issues, such as disagreement concerning the way in which custody should be divided, as well as child support. However, people who have a high net worth may have a particularly complex divorce, especially when it comes to the division of marital property. If you have considerable investments, you may be worried about what will happen to these assets in the wake of your divorce, and it is pivotal to prepare.

In some instances, investments may be considered marital property and the court may split these assets up. In other cases, one’s investments may not be considered marital property, thereby exempting the investments from division. It is essential to review the ins and outs of the property division laws in your state and try to develop a better idea of what may happen to your investments as you navigate through your divorce.

What property is exempt from division in a Texas divorce?

In Texas, a family court judge will consider all possessions acquired by a couple during the union as marital property. As in any other state, marital property in Texas is subject to division in a divorce. However, Texas is one of the few states that recognizes community property laws. Per community property laws, a judge must divide all marital property and income equally upon divorce or death, whereas in equitable distribution states, a judge will divvy up property in a way he or she considers fair. That said, is there property that is exempt from Texas's marital property laws? FindLaw says yes.

In a community property state, the courts apply an "inception of title rule," which means they consider an asset's status at the moment a party acquired it. For instance, if a person acquired a vintage vehicle prior to tying the knot, that vintage vehicle would remain that person's after divorce. If a person bought a vacation home after getting married, the vacation home would be the property of both spouses' regardless of which party used his or her income to purchase it. 

Emotional issues associated with property division

People frequently view property division with a great deal of consideration given to the financial impact of dividing marital property. However, some may overlook other aspects of property division which can be equally challenging, such as various emotional considerations that arise as a result of this issue. For example, some people may have a great deal of anxiety over addressing property division in court or losing key assets. Others may struggle with depression once marital property has been divided, whether they feel as if their former spouse should not have received certain assets or they are upset about losing items with sentimental value.

Divorce can be tough from an emotional point of view, and this is particularly true with regard to property division. From stress to feelings of sadness and even anger, these emotions can make it harder for someone to move forward after a bitter divorce. There are some strategies that can help people cope with these emotions, or minimize the emotional toll of property division altogether. First, preparation can be immensely beneficial and it is pivotal for people to do all they can to get themselves ready for court and the challenges that lie ahead. Property division laws should be reviewed and some benefit from consulting an experienced attorney.

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