Fabio & Merrill

Houston Divorce Blog

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.

Should divorced parents spend the holidays together?

As a divorced parent in Texas, you know better than most that divorce and split-parenting is never easy. However, this statement becomes especially true during the holidays. In addition to having to establish a fair holiday schedule, you also need to take into consideration gift purchases, familial obligations, blending traditions and, of course, the location of the festivities. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make, however, is deciding whether you and your former spouse should come together during the holidays and maintain old family traditions or spend the holidays apart and establish new ones.

According to Social Work Today, parents need to put serious thought into their decision to either spend the holidays together or to spend them apart. Though you and your spouse should always put your children’s needs first, one of the first things you should consider is whether you and your spouse can handle an hour or two together without any fighting or tension. If you cannot, coming together for the holidays will only serve to ruin the good cheer for your little ones.

Inheritance, divorce and "commingling" assets

Imagine your uncle Frank left you a sizable inheritance. The money was a surprise and an important boon that helped you get through a financial rough patch. Now that you're getting a divorce, however, your soon-to-be ex wants a piece of the inherited assets that remain.

Does your spouse have the right to receive part of Uncle Frank's inheritance money? In some cases, your spouse might be able to take some of the money. In other cases, you will keep all of it. The answer depends on what you did with the money after receiving it.

Former NBA All-Star headed for a divorce

Family law experts in Houston often counsel people to consider a creating a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. The problem that many may have with a prenuptial agreement might be that it gives the impression that the one asking for it has doubts that the marriage will last (and that is the last thing one should be thinking going into such a relationship). Such a move may be viewed as selfish, yet in reality, having a prenuptial agreement may offer financial protection to both parties to a marriage. 

Consider the case of former NBA All-Star Scottie Pippen, whose wife recently filed for divorce (this actually marks the second time the couple has initiated divorce proceedings, as Pippen himself sought a divorce in 2016 before the couple decided to attempt to reconcile). While it has yet to be confirmed, it is believed that the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement, as Pippen's wife has asked for alimony and for the court to handle the couple's property division proceedings. 

Spousal support dispute erupts between A-Rod and ex-wife

Alimony and spousal support can easily become one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce case in Houston given the perception that such a benefit is often viewed as being punitive. Many think it is viewed as a prize that one spouse wins from the other, when in reality it simply is meant to help an economically disadvantaged spouse support themselves in the immediate aftermath of their divorce. Ultimately, the hope is that their circumstances change to the point of no longer needing it. Conversely, the financial situation of the one paying it may also shift to the point of where a payment obligation is no longer feasible. 

That is the argument currently being made by former Texas Rangers star Alex Rodriguez. Now that he no longer draws income from the then-record $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees, he claims that he should no longer have to pay the same amount in spousal support. Rodriguez pays $115,000 per month in both spousal and child support. In addition, his ex-wife was awarded the couple's multi-million-dollar mansion as well as a cut of his career earnings in the couple's divorce settlement. Currently, Rodriguez draws income from several projects, including analyst work for both Fox Sports and ESPN. 

What are the conditions for which alimony is awarded?

In a divorce in Texas, you may bring up the topic of alimony or spousal support. This is money paid by one spouse to the other to help provide for financial needs. The court may order you to pay or you may receive it. However, spousal support is not always ordered in every case. The law has specific instances in which the court can require alimony.

The basic requirement for a spousal support order, according to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, is that you do not have enough finances to support yourself and you need extra income from your ex-spouse. When looking to see if you have enough money to support yourself, the court looks at property you own. If you could sell property to provide an income, the court considers that.

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