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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.

Similarly, alimony is not exclusive to the female gender. Women make more money than they did in previous generations and may not qualify for spousal support payments after divorce. Men who have been taking care of children instead of pursuing a career might have a right to alimony from the ex-wife.

Divorce also requires the division of marital property. The law limits the segregation of assets from the marital estate. Simply placing money in an individual bank account instead of a joint account will not remove the money from the divorce process.

A person might benefit from seeking out legal advice before making decisions about a divorce or signing a settlement agreement. An attorney could answer questions about parental rights and the division of property. Legal support could provide important information before someone enters into mediation with the former partner. If disputes arise about child custody or property division, an attorney might resolve these through private negotiations or petition a family court. When approaching the court, an attorney may inform the judge about the person's financial or parental needs.

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