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Dallas Family Law Blog

Avoiding the avoidable after divorce

When spouses in Texas decide to end their marriage, there are a lot of changes they must make. Some changes are informal, such as taking their ex-spouse's initials off their towels, as the old adage goes. However, other changes are more formal in nature. For example, a case going before the U.S. Supreme Court, makes it clear that it is important to update important documents after a divorce to ensure that a former spouse is not a named beneficiary.

The Court rarely reviews divorce cases. However, it will rule on the validity of Minnesota's revocation-upon-divorce law, which automatically removes former spouses as beneficiaries from life insurance contacts. The issue before the Court is whether this law violates the U.S. Constitution's contract clause, which prohibits laws impairing contract obligations. The Court has not addressed the contracts clause in 25 years.

Ways to make the divorce process easier for the entire family

Divorce is difficult for any Texas family, no matter how amicable the two partners may be. No matter what, the end of a marriage is difficult for children to process, and many parents strive to make this transition easier for their kids. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways that you can reduce the stress and complication associated with divorce.

Whether you are filing for an uncontested divorce or you are preparing for a lengthy and contentious litigation process, you will find it beneficial to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Avoiding certain behaviors and making it a point to do certain things can help you navigate your divorce.

A parenting agreement can benefit your child custody arrangements

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is determining who gets custody of the children. After all, to you, the time you have with your children is more valuable than anything else you have.

Fortunately, most cases involving child custody can be resolved without having to go to court. This is possible through informal negotiations or an alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation. Here is a look at what creating a parenting agreement involves during a divorce proceeding in Texas.

The factors that influence child custody decisions

Child custody is often one of the most commonly contested issues between two parents facing divorce. Texas parents are naturally concerned with the best interests of their children, and you want to do everything to ensure you are able to retain a strong relationship with your children after the divorce process is final.

Navigating child custody concerns is never easy, even between two parents who resolve to remain amicable and work on a custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the kids. As a parent, it can be greatly beneficial to understand how custody decisions are made and what you can do to protect your parental rights.

The divorce tab for debt

It is a simple truth that part of ending a marriage deals with money. The ledger sheet in a Texas divorce is not restricted to dividing the couple's assets. Debt division can be even more important, because courts divide both assets and debts during a divorce.

Texas is one of the community property states where both spouses are responsible for all the debts accumulated during marriage regardless of how the debts were held. For example, both spouses are liable for a credit card balance even if it was secretly accrued by only one spouse.

Having the divorce talk

Before going to court, a spouse in Texas must take the first step in ending a marriage. They must tell their soon-to-be former spouse that they want a divorce. If this conversation goes poorly, it can add further conflict and cost to the divorce process.

This conversation is not the beginning of the end of a happy marriage. It may go without saying that spouses in a happy marriage would never consider divorce. However, a spouse in an unhappy marriage may never leave their unwanted relationship if this conversation is never held. That being said, there are ways to mitigate a painful situation and allow the couple to move on.

When is an annulment appropriate for Texas couples?

The decision to end a marriage is never an easy one to make. It can be complex and emotionally challenging to address issues such as child custody and property division, but for some Texas couples, divorce is not the only option. In rare cases, it could be possible to seek an annulment of the marriage instead of a formal divorce.

If you think you could benefit from an annulment instead of a divorce, it is important to fully understand this process and what it means for your future. There are stark differences between a divorce and an annulment, and you would be wise to fully understand both the benefits and implications of this choice before you move forward. As with all important family law decisions, it can be helpful to seek qualified guidance as you consider your choices.

Preparing financially for a divorce

Before filing for divorce, spouses in Dallas should take precautions for protecting their property and income. This is particularly important for spouses who suspect that their soon-to-be former spouse will hide assets or that the divorce will be bitter. Stay-at-home parents who did not work also have rights to the money their spouse earned and should also safeguard these rights.

Spouses should not file for divorce until they have enough money for living expenses for at least three months and legal fees. This requires saving as much money as possible, avoiding new debt and using cash instead of credit cards.

Getting to a strong premarital agreement

There are two mistakes concerning premarital agreements. One mistake is not seeking a timely agreement. Another mistake is having an agreement that is invalid in Texas.

A premarital agreement is not the most romantic way to celebrate an engagement, but it helps avoid problems if the marriage fails. These agreements govern the division of money, valuables, homes and other assets during divorce.

Is "nesting" a realistic co-parenting option?

Like many Texas parents going through divorce, your focus is on your children's well-being. Studies show that kids do the best when they are able to maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents following divorce.

Studies also show that moving children between homes can be very stressful on the kids. What if there as a way to minimize the stress that the children experience? "Nesting" might be an option, as long as the court approves.