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Houston Divorce And Family Law Blog

Research indicates parental alienation may not be what it appears

For many couples seeking a divorce in Texas, they are faced with the uncertainty of creating a new life of independency and self-reliance. Often, difficult decisions must be made regarding property division and spousal support. However, the most complicated cases are often those involving couples who have had children together. In many unfortunate circumstances, children may be misled by one parent to believe that the other parent is abusive or neglectful. 

While this may be true in some instances, new research suggests that not all cases of parental alienation may not be what they appear to be to an outside observer. A study of children with divorcing parents revealed that 11-15 percent of minors experienced parental alienation. However, evidence suggests that oftentimes, children may alienate their parents out of their own will, uninfluenced by parent intervention. Additionally, they often have logical and personal reasons for doing so. 

How can you determine your equal share of personal property?

You and your spouse may have already come to an agreement about how you want to divide the family home in your Texas divorce. What about the items in the home, though. If you have antiques, artwork and collections of value, these may change the way the judge determines an equal division of your marital property.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, any couple with valuable personal items should consider the benefits of hiring a professional appraiser. Before you make this decision, you should conduct a thorough inventory of all your personal property, including descriptions and photos of each item. If you are not sure whether an item is worth the cost of the service, you may be able to come up with a general idea of its value online before proceeding. 

Your credit, divorce and financial future are tied together

Now that you've made the decision to divorce, you probably realize that your life is going to change in a lot of ways. Some of these ways are fairly minor, such as not wearing a wedding ring any longer. Other ways are more serious, such as having your finances turned upside down.

One way that your divorce is going to affect your life is that it will impact your credit. This may not seem like too big of a deal now, but you might find that it is life altering in the near future.

Making the most of your mediation meeting

As you may be beginning to notice, divorce is rarely a seamless and smooth process. No matter the reason you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, chances are contention will be inevitable as your divorce proceeds. Fortunately, there are valuable tools such as mediation where you and your spouse can utilize professional intervention to reach beneficial solutions. At Fabio + Merrill, we have been able to assist many Texas couples through the often complex process of divorce. 

Getting the most out of your meeting with mediation professionals is due in large part to how proactive you are about preparing ahead of time. According to the Huffington Post, there are several things you can do to get yourself ready for a productive mediation meeting. These include the following:

  • Have the right mindset: Your purpose should be to negotiate and reach solutions, not to argue and put up a vehement defense.
  • Verbalize your concerns: If you are concerned about remembering all of the points you wish to discuss, do yourself a favor and verbalize them or list them in a document.
  • Organize your finances: Coming with neatly organized financials is an excellent way to facilitate productivity and keep things moving in the right direction. 
  • Know your rights: Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Do your research ahead of time and be familiar with your rights so you can feel confident about getting a fair outcome.

False domestic violence accusations and divorce

Our law firm understands the variety of complex issues that can arise when it comes to domestic violence cases. On the one hand, victims may suffer at the hands of an abuser or fear that their children are being abused. Domestic violence is an area of family law that can be especially emotional and it is pivotal for those affected by this matter to carefully assess their rights and options. However, we also are aware that some people in Texas have been falsely accused of domestic violence. In fact, these false allegations can also be incredibly upsetting and disruptive.

When a couple ends their marriage, one party may wrongly accuse the other of domestic violence for different reasons. In some instances, this may be an attempt to get even or cause hardships for the other party. However, there are other potential motivations which can have a significant impact on the outcome of a divorce case. For example, someone may wish to interfere with their spouse's ability to have shared custody or visitation rights.

Determining property during divorce without losing everything

For many divorcing Texas couples, the decision to end their marriage and go their separate ways was not one made without first considering other alternatives. Unfortunately, even though divorce is a helpful solution for many, it is costly in terms of a couple's health, financial independency and even reputation. However, with careful attention paid to doing things the right way, many couples have been able to overcome the difficulties of their circumstances and regain their independency and happiness. 

Separating property during a divorce is often wrought with disagreement and disappointment. Fortunately, by implementing a couple of critical behaviors during property division, couples may be much happier with the outcome of proceedings. According to Live About, here are some of the things they can do:

  • Do a little research: One of the best things a person can do when they are getting divorced is to spend some time becoming familiar with the laws surrounding divorce in their state. With a basic understanding of what to expect, what is acceptable and the course things usually follow, a person may feel much more confident going into the process.
  • Invest in mediation: Mediation is an invaluable tool for couples who are indecisive and argumentive about how property should be divided. However, for those couples who are unable to hire a mediator, it is imperative that they work together to separate things and avoid wasting time on small things that hold little value.
  • Do not be secretive: A potentially incriminating mistake that any divorcing person can make is to hide things that they wish to keep. Doing so jeopardizes the likeliness that they will get any of it at all if their dishonesty is discovered. 

Establishing paternity in Texas

When a child is born to an unmarried couple in Texas, he or she does not automatically have a legal father. Instead, the biological father and mother have to take steps to establish his status. Once this is done, a father has all the rights and responsibilities of paternity, and the child receives all of those benefits and more.

According to the Attorney General of Texas, the easiest way to establish paternity is through signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This can be done at the hospital at the time of birth, and both parents must sign it. This free form can also be filled out at the following locations:

  • County birth registrar's office
  • Office of the Attorney General child support office
  • Any AOP certified entity

Do you need to worry about hidden assets in your Texas divorce?

You and your spouse at one time were willing to pledge the rest of your lives to one another. Over time, however, your circumstances changed. That love and trust may end because of the actions of one spouse, or it may have simply degraded and disappeared over time. Whatever the cause for the breakdown of your marriage, you're seriously considering divorce. However, you want to ensure that your divorce is fair, especially when it comes to the process of splitting up your possessions.

Hidden assets are one of the most common reasons for an unfair asset division process. One spouse, or sometimes both, will try to keep certain assets hidden from the courts and each other when going through a divorce. The motivation is usually keeping certain items away from a spouse to ensure the person who hides them receives them or to reduce how much gets split in the divorce. The more assets you have, the higher the risk that your spouse could try to hide something from you during a divorce.

Can you facilitate a successful divorce?

If you have carefully weighed each of your options before settling on divorcing your spouse, you may be questioning if your final decision is the right one. Fortunately, you can effectively faciliate a successful divorce in Texas if you are proactive about the way you get things done. 

The Huffington Post suggest some important steps you can take in guaranteeing a successful outcome as you work through divorce proceedings. These include the following:

  • Be financially savvy: You may be currently reassessing your finances and wondering where certain funds will come from. During this time, it is imperative that you use caution and remain savvy with your finances as you refigure your budget and develop financial independency.
  • Be courteous: While it may be incredibly tempting for you to talk negatively about your spouse, contend in court, hold bitter grudges or hurt his or her reputation, these kinds of behaviors will only set you back. If you desire a successful divorce, do your best to remain courteous, civil and kind even if that type of behavior is not reciprocated.
  • Be realistic: It can be easy for you to quickly form an expectation that is unattainable or irrational. As you begin working through your divorce, be realistic in the goals you set and in the outcome you anticipate.
  • Be proactive: Communication is an essential component if you desire a successful divorce. Any professionals you are working with should be contacted regularly to verify that everyone is working on the same timeline and that everyone shares a common understanding of developments in the case.

Suggestions to prevent your divorce from being high-conflict

If your marriage is marred by disagreement, bitterness and unhappiness, you and your spouse may have considered a divorce. What you should remember is that divorce, while a viable solution, is often a process that requires emotional strength, humility and a resolve to remain courteous. If you do not incorporate those behaviors, your divorce can quickly become full of conflict and anger. At Fabio + Merrill, we understand the complexities of divorce proceedings in Texas.

According to the Huffington Post, if you and your spouse are manipulative, unwilling to compromise, deceitful, quick to blame and unempathetic, your divorce may be prolonged and significantly more bitter. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of things proceeding in a tumultuous manner. These include the following:

  • Set boundaries: Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Create healthy and respectful boundaries. This can be done by communicating with your ex only when required, keeping correspondences brief and designating specific times to work on divorce assignments.
  • Find support: If you utilize your support system from the start, you may feel empowered, validated and motivated. There are certainly other people who have gone through similar circumstances and they may be able to provide you with helpful insight and support.
  • Remain realistic: It can be easy to be overcome by little details that cloud your perspective of reality. Do your best to remain realistic and focused on the big picture.
  • Be mature: While you may be dealing with a person who is disrespectful or bent on winning, do your best to stay strong. Do not overreact, respond with anger or be irrational. 

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