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Fort Worth Family Law Blog

Understand the ins and outs of financial planning in marriage

While couples do not necessarily plan to breakup in Texas or anywhere else in the country, things happen, situations change, and divorces occur. This is one reason that both partners in a marriage may want to understand the family's complete financial condition. In a marriage, there is often one person who pays the bills and manages the household finances, but this common practice could cause difficulties later.

Prenuptial or even postnuptial agreements may be a good place for couples to start. If they begin the process early in the relationship, it may provide more commitment to a couple's complete understanding of their financial picture together and as individuals. Each partner may bring different assets to the marriage, or down the road, one person might add assets from such things as an inheritance. Couples may own a business separately or together. There are any number of financial situations that should be well-defined.

All states now have no-fault divorce laws

The holiday period is a time of family gatherings and a source of joy for children, which is why couples in Texas and around the country with unhappy marriages often wait until January to file for divorce. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that divorce filings rise by about 25% in January, and figures from the United Kingdom suggest that about 20% of British married couples plan to file for divorce after the holidays. However, the overall rate of divorce is falling. Another report from the AAML reveals that the divorce rate in the United States is the lowest it has been since the late 1970s.

The divorce rate started to soar when states began to introduce the concept of no-fault divorce. During a no-fault divorce, spouses are not required to cite a specific reason such as adultery or domestic violence. In 2010, New York became the last state to pass no-fault divorce legislation. No-fault laws provide vulnerable spouses with an escape from abusive relationships and dangerous situations, and the data suggests that they save hundreds of lives each year.

How retirement savings could be affected by divorce

Texas residents who are considering a divorce should be fully aware of its financial implications. Since many are saving for retirement, they may wonder what will happen to their 401(k) or other retirement accounts. While each situation is different, there are a few basic things to expect.

Prenuptial agreements allow couples to customize a financial plan to be followed in case they divorce in the future. If a prenuptial agreement was signed prior to the wedding date, whatever was indicated as far as retirement savings will be followed.

Single-parent households more common in U.S. than elsewhere

Single-parent households have become fairly typical in the United States. However, a new study revealed that this is not such a typical occurrence in the rest of the world.

According to a new Pew Research Center study, the U.S. has a higher rate of children living in single-parent households than any of the other 130 countries and territories included in the study. Almost a quarter of children in the U.S. live with only one adult in the household, which is over three times as common in the U.S. as in the rest of the world.

How fathers can overcome bias in child custody cases

Fathers in Texas who are working to get custody of their children often fear discrimination or bias in favor of a mother. Part of the reason why this fear exists is because mothers were traditionally the ones who reared the children, and fathers were providers. In separation and divorce cases that took place in the past, mothers would be assigned responsibility of the children, and fathers would continue to provide materially for them.

Society today is a lot different. It is common for fathers to be awarded joint or primary custody of their children. This is especially the case if it is clearly in the best interests of the children to be with their father.

Social media could be invaluable during a divorce

Social media activity has been known to result in complications when Texas couples get divorced. One spouse may attempt to use their ex's posts or photos against them to get custody, spousal support or additional property. However, when used responsibly, social media could benefit someone while they go through the divorce process.

Social media connects like-minded people who may never meet each other in person. Divorce can be stressful; few people experience it more than twice in their lifetime, so it's not uncommon to have a lot of questions. By connecting with others who have faced a similar situation, people who are getting divorced may be able to get the support they need as well as answers to their pressing questions.

Divorced parents and long-distance bonding with children

Texas parents who are divorced and who live a long distance from their children might wonder how they can keep their bonds strong. While they may have less time with their children, they can focus on ensuring that the time they do have is quality. This means their time together should be mostly one-on-one time. This is not the time to introduce the child to people the parent is casually dating. Only once a relationship is serious should these introductions happen, and even then, parents should prioritize their visiting children.

Parents may have regular phone time scheduled with their children, but they can call outside those times as well. They can also use postcards or email, text and social media to send messages to their children. These messages should be positive or ask questions about specific things in the child's life, such as how they did on a test at school.

How divorce impacts business assets

When business owners in Texas get divorced, they may be putting the future of their companies at risk. This is because a spouse may obtain a portion of the company or its assets as part of a final divorce settlement. If a company has multiple owners, everyone's future could be influenced by the outcome of a divorce even if they aren't directly involved in it. One way to avoid a potential disaster is to have a buy-sell agreement.

A buy-sell agreement allows an owner to be bought out for a specified price in the event of a divorce. The agreement may also dictate whether a former spouse is allowed to own a share of the company or have other rights. Having a plan in place ahead of time may allow business owners to concentrate on running their companies during the divorce process.

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.

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