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How can a parent help a teenager cope with divorce?

Parents who are going through divorce often worry about the effects the change will have on their children. Each child may have a unique reaction to the news, but there are also some trends within various age groups.

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers may show regressive behaviors, and grade-school children may lash out against the world. However, it can be difficult for parents to determine when a teenager’s behavior is a reaction to their parents' divorce and when it is typical teen moodiness.

A few signs a marriage is in danger

While divorce may come as a relief for some unhappy spouses in Texas, the decision to split up is usually not so easy. However, there are a couple of red flags that indicate a marriage is headed for divorce.

When a couple stays together simply because they feel it is better for the children, they often have disrespectful, combative and unhealthy attitudes toward each other. These relationships often end in divorce when the kids grow up and move out. While divorce is not the solution for all couples, the children should not be the main tie that keeps them together.

Planning for the future after divorce

People going through divorce in Texas may struggle with difficult times. The emotional, practical and financial consequences of the end of a marriage can lead to depression, uncertainty and isolation. Even though divorce is almost always a challenge, there are a number of steps that people can take in order to help themselves move forward and get through a difficult time. The period after divorce offers a chance for a fresh start, and that new beginning can be hopeful and positive for many people.

The financial aspects of a divorce can be some of the most significant. After all, property division can have a major impact on people's bank accounts, investment funds and retirement plans. People may be tempted to be more reckless financially after ending a challenging marriage. However, the immediate post-divorce period can be a bad time to make financial decisions. It can be a good time, however, to seek out a financial adviser to help people revise their plans and create a new financial vision for a single future.

Texas may let you adopt your steppchildren

It sometimes takes a while for couples to realize one spouse might adopt the other’s children, becoming a stepparent as well as a parent in the eyes of the State of Texas. Occasionally, a blended family with two sets of kids might all become legal parents and children together. Once you see the potential emotional, financial and legal benefits, they can be hard to forget.

But every state presents its own obstacles, requirements and process. Texas does stepparent adoption its own way and, like other states, its rules may or may not turn out to be hurdles that can be cleared in your situation.

Study find happier newlyweds less likely to divorce

When Texas couples consider ending their marriage, they often wind up struggling over issues related to money. Whether they're dealing with retirement funds, the family home or ongoing support, issues over asset division can be some of the most significant in any divorce. After all, the financial effects of a divorce can linger on long after the personal and emotional issues have been resolved years before. Because of the importance of these issues, many people think that finances are a major cause of marital unhappiness and stress. While this may be the case for some people, one study found that other issues were more indicative of future problems,.

Researchers at two universities aimed to look at reasons for marital dissatisfaction and divorce. They noticed that most studies had primarily involved middle-class couples and wanted to look at the potential effects of socioeconomic status on marital satisfaction. Therefore, they identified 431 couples living in a lower-income area to study over several years. Participants received an eight-question survey in 2009 as newlyweds and answered the questions each year until 2014. The researchers found that lower-income couples' happiness was not primarily affected by their income. Instead, the major issue seemed to be how happy they were when first married.

People should avoid assumptions about will happen during divorce

Not every marriage in Texas stands the test of time. Spouses can grow apart and choose to live separate lives. Family law directs the terms of a divorce, but each divorce represents a unique transaction. People should not assume that their child custody arrangement, alimony agreement or division of property will mirror those of other people.

Many men believe that courts will automatically grant child custody to women. This assumption leads some men to avoid asking for custody. The law views the best interests of the children as the highest priority. A father who wants to raise his children or has already been involved in their care has a right to petition for custody.

Financial impact of gray divorces

In Texas, an increasing number of seniors are choosing to get divorced. Divorces after age 50 are called gray divorces, and they have more than doubled since 1990. These gray divorces can present unique challenges for older adults. Since they are closer to retirement and have potentially amassed substantial assets during marriage, the property division process can be more difficult.

According to a study that was completed by researchers at Bowling Green State University, older couples who get divorced often see their household wealth decrease by half. Older women who get divorced experience financial declines that are nine times greater than married wives.

What to do if a child is unsafe with the other parent

A Texas parent who is worried about the safety of their kid with the other parent should be prepared to provide documentation backing up their claims. This might include police reports or medical records if the child was treated after being abused. While taking such allegations seriously, judges also usually want to make sure that parents are telling the truth.

A parent should note any abuse or neglect that happens during or after the divorce process. If child protective services gets involved, the child's neighbors, teachers and family members might be interviewed. During this time, the other parent may still have access to the child; although, it may be limited. A parent might want to take the kid to a therapist if there are signs of trauma, and the therapist could also be interviewed. The judge may also order the child to meet with a second therapist for evaluation.

Dealing with a child's request to change custody plan

Parents in Texas may face an emotional challenge as well as legal and financial concerns if their child says he or she wants to go live with their other parent. There are several circumstances that can lead to a child wanting to change homes, from serious conflict in the home to a desire for a different lifestyle or a more attractive school option. Depending on the circumstances, there are different options available to custodial and non-custodial parents. However, absent a situation of neglect or abuse, communication between parents and children can be critical to reaching a resolution.

Parents should have an open conversation with their kids before making a spur-of-the-moment decision about a child custody change. This means taking the children's concerns seriously, even when the parent feels hurt or upset about the things being said. At the same time, it can be important to establish ground rules for the discussion. After all, it is not appropriate to demand a custody change any time there is a dispute about normal household obligations and rules. Still, parents should think about how they would perceive the situation through the eyes of their children. A parental divorce or separation can be a challenging time for children.

Prenups can help couples avoid financial stresses

Many of the stresses associated with divorce in Texas have to do with the finances of the parties during divorce and thereafter, when they are living separately. A clear and accurate prenuptial agreement can reduce the costs of divorce and help the parties prepare, reducing that stress. A problem is people tend to think of prenups as only useful or necessary in cases involving wealthy or celebrity individuals. Prenups are perhaps even more valuable for people who don't have a lot of extra money.

When people get divorced, they are required to make disclosures of assets and debts, income and liabilities as part of the divorce process. Having a prenup in place forces those sorts of disclosures much earlier on, as a matter of course prior to the marriage. It may be awkward for the members of the couple to discuss their finances bluntly and honestly, but it can also make the relationship stronger. Research on the subject indicates that disputes about money are among the best predictors of eventual divorce, and a prenup can reduce the likelihood of those disputes.

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