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Dallas Divorce and Family Law Blog

Divorce after 50 can pose many challenges

Divorce rates for individuals over the age of 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990's, and has roughly tripled for those aged 65 and older. In 2010, roughly 25% of divorces in Texas and throughout the country involved people within that age range. Ending a marriage at a later age can have a variety of emotional and financial impacts that shouldn't be ignored.

New Laws in the Texas Family Code - Do They Affect You?

On September 1st hundreds of new laws went into effect in Texas, including laws that raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 and laws that allow women to pump breast milk anywhere they want. But the question we all want to know is: What laws went into effect that may affect me?

Tips for considering financial stability in and after a divorce

Spouses in Texas who are getting divorced should consider certain steps to protect their financial interests. These steps range from creating a post-divorce budget to changing passwords when needed to understanding what the divorce is likely to cost and how that cost will be paid.

The process of developing a post-divorce budget can be simple, while contemplating property division can be complicated. For example, it's important to understand which assets carry significant tax obligations since the actual value of those may be worth less than it appears. Higher-earning spouses may want to keep assets that have fewer tax obligations since they will already be in a higher tax bracket. Another consideration is the liquidity of certain assets and how important that liquidity may be to each individual. An attorney can assist with decisions about a property division that will benefit you, or can refer a you to the appropriate trusted financial consultant, to assure these factors are considered in the final division of property.

Debt existing in both spouses' names is best paid off before the divorce is final. However if a co-owned debt ends up being one spouse's responsibility, the other spouse may want to request ongoing access to the account's records to ensure it's paid. Whether or not that debt is tax-deductible (such as a mortgage) can also factor into the division of liabilities.

Slow down to avoid these common divorce mistakes

Divorce is often a painful process, and that is understandable. It involves many complex emotions and some of the most difficult decisions a person must make. For that reason, many spouses want it to go quickly and be over with as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, in their rush to make a clean break and move on to the next phase in their lives, some couples make critical mistakes that can jeopardize their financial futures. As challenging as it may be to put emotions aside during a divorce, it is important to protect yourself from these mistakes so you can have the best possible chance at a fresh start.

Let's Dive Deep Into Grandparents' Rights in Texas

A Lengthy (but Informative!) Blog on the Hurdles to Obtaining Rights as a Grandparent

In a normal situation, grandparents would not need to sue for visitation or custody of their grandchildren because grandparents and parents would work together to encourage a healthy family bond between grandparents and grandchildren. However, our world is not perfect, and all families have some sort of conflict. Unfortunately, bonds between a parent and child are often broken (such as when parents divorce or separate), which may then make it difficult for that child to have a healthy bond and frequent visitation with grandparents.

A business owner should consider a prenuptial agreement

The common understanding of marriage has undergone some changes as society evolves and the very nature of the relationship between partners moves toward greater understanding and equality. From the earliest days when women were not considered much more than a form of property, the laws have created a system where at least in theory, marriage is a 50/50 proposition. However, if a couple ultimately divorces, splitting marital assets in that manner may not be appropriate. This may be especially true in Texas.

As one of a handful of community property states in the country, Texas has established a system in which it is presumed everything earned by either party during marriage is a community property asset that is to be divided equally should the two divorce. For an individual who owned a business prior to marriage, this can create an unintended result. The business may have been considered a separate property asset both prior to the marriage, and perhaps after marriage, depending on the facts and circumstances; however, the equity the business built during the marriage would likely be deemed a community asset. As legal experts can explain, a prenuptial agreement can be employed to address this issue before the couple ties the knot, setting the stage for a clearer and easier division of assets during the divorce process.

How parents can help their children after divorce

Parents who are ending their marriage understandably worry about how the divorce will affect their children and what they can do to ensure they protect and support them during and after the divorce process. Successfully co-parenting together can be one of the most valuable tools in ensuring those goals. When the parents are actively working to help their children build trusting, positive relationships with both parents, eventual stepparents and peers, then everyone benefits.

Parents can ease their children's stress by reminding them that the divorce happened between the two adults, not between the parents and the children, continually reassuring them that they are still loved by both parents. However rather than just using words, actively working together to promote the continued  development and maintenance of the relationship that the children have with the other parent can carry more weight. Children often feel like they are in the middle of the conflict, have divided loyalties, and can experience the guilt of betraying one parent when they are with the other one.

Special care should be taken not to talk badly about the other parent in front of the children. This can be very confusing to children and hurt their relationship with the other parent, which in turn increases their stress and impacts their emotional health. They see themselves as half of the other parent; if they are hearing negative things about the other parent, this can easily lead to negative feelings about themselves. This undesirable result can lead to life-long issues. 

Aspects to consider prior to seeking ownership of the family home

After years of living in the same home and growing accustomed to your surroundings within the community, the thought of parting with a home may seem daunting. While you might be perfectly content with staying in the home, some circumstances in life may leave you facing a difficult decision.

Should you and your spouse choose to take separate paths, you might have concerns over how best to handle the family home. Although this asset may hold a certain level of sentimental value, pursuing ownership of the home might not always be the most financially sound decision.

Adjusting the parenting schedule for the summer

Summertime is a change of pace for most families. The school schedule goes away (unless the children have summer school), and children enjoy a different rhythm to their days with day camps and sleep away camps; parents often enjoy a vacation or two with their children.  For divorced families under the Texas Standard Possession Order, the possession schedule changes in summer, too.

Research reveals that student loans may cause divorce

According to research, student loan debts may cause problems other than just accumulating massive debt. As is common with financial struggles in general, a heavy student loan debt load can create a lot of stress in a marriage relationship. Researchers have known for years that money problems, such as debt, causes stress in marital relationships. However, the most recent study shows that student debts are more harmful in that regard than other types of financial obligations. The Student Loan Hero study found that 33% of student borrowers believed their divorces were caused by money problems, with 1 out of every 8 students blaming his or her student loans for causing marital issues leading to divorce.

One particular problem with a student loan is that it is usually larger than the average debt. The average student loan is more than $34,000. Some students even have loans equaling $50,000 or more; for advanced and graduate degrees, student debt can reach six figures. Individuals graduating from college without a job may find it extremely difficult to pay back their loans. A married student with plans to buy a house and have children may face insurmountable monetary issues.

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Hargrave Family Law Jennifer S. Hargrave, P.C.

Hargrave Family Law
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Dallas, TX 75244

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