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Why should you consider mediation for your divorce?

 Posted on April 09, 2020 in Divorce

Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process for every member of the family. Even when both spouses resolve to remain civil and work through issues together, they may not agree on everything. However, this does not necessarily mean it is inevitable they will go to court. There are ways to resolve even the most complex disputes outside of the courtroom.

Mediation is a process that allows two parties to work together on their issues and resolve disputes without litigating. If you and your spouse can discuss issues in a respectful manner and have the desire to maintain more control over your final divorce order, you may consider the benefits of mediation. Before you make any decisions regarding your divorce, it is in your interests to consider the options available to you.

Why mediate?

In addition to the benefit of avoiding court, there are many reasons why Texas couples may want to consider mediation. Some of the specific ways it can provide benefits to you and your family include the following:

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Is alimony in your future?

 Posted on February 13, 2020 in Divorce

When a marriage comes to an end, there are many things to decide, whether between the spouses or before a judge. For example, most every couple has property to divide, and many have the custody and support of children to consider. However, one of the most controversial and misunderstood issues of divorce is spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony.

Spousal support is not an automatic part of a divorce order or settlement. Receiving an alimony award is a rare event because many spouses have relatively equitable incomes when they divorce. Because there may be advantages and disadvantages to receiving alimony, including understanding how it may affect your taxes, it is wise to discuss the matter thoroughly with your attorney to fully understand how it applies to you.

Are you eligible for spousal support?

Since the purpose of alimony is to provide a lower earning spouse with financial assistance to avoid struggle until he or she is self-sufficient, alimony typically has a deadline. However, in some circumstances, such as in the growing number of gray divorces, alimony may have no expiration. This allows a lower earning spouse a steady source of income, which may be especially important for spouses who are no longer able to work. Typically, a judge will weigh this and other factors including:

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Has the time come to tell your children about the divorce?

 Posted on December 20, 2019 in Divorce

Over the years, you and your family have likely had many discussions about issues that could affect the family as a whole. While some of them may have been joyous, such as planning the year's vacation, others may not have been so uplifting, such as having to talk about disciplinary action after one or more of your children broke the rules. Whatever the case, however, you have been open with your children.

Still, the idea of telling them that you and their other parent are getting a divorce may have you wanting to hold back. After all, this decision will change their lives, and you certainly do not want them to feel as if any of it was their fault. As a result, you want to tell them in the best way possible.

You know your family

Because you know your family best, you may have an idea about how each of your children will react to the news. You certainly want to be prepared for any and all reactions, so it may be helpful to have an idea of what you will say beforehand. Writing down what you want to say and practicing it could be helpful, and anticipating any questions the kids may have can also be beneficial. Of course, it will likely be best if you and the other parent can tell the kids together.

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Making sure your parenting plan will stand the test of time

 Posted on October 25, 2019 in Divorce

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is figuring out how to make sure your children do not suffer unnecessarily. Kids often struggle when their parents make the decision to end their marriage, and like other Texas parents, you want to provide them with as much stability and security as possible. You can do this with a strong parenting plan.

You have the right to have a say over what your custody plan looks like. This issue does not have to go to court, but instead, you and the other parent can work together to craft a parenting plan that will work for your unique family. This is not always easy, and you will find it helpful to keep your eyes on what is most important – the long-term best interests of your children.

The foundation of a good parenting plan

To make any parenting plan work well, you and your spouse will have to commit to keeping the needs and interests of your children as the priority. This may be complicated because you are also going through the emotionally difficult process of ending a marriage, but you will find it helpful to keep the focus in the right place.

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Valuing art is important to property division

 Posted on August 30, 2019 in Divorce

Whether you are an artist or just have a keen eye for appreciating others' art, you understand the importance of these creative pieces. Over the years and during your marriage, you may have collected or created several pieces that could hold significant value, both to you personally and monetarily.

Now that you are going through a divorce, you may worry that the art collection or even some of your personal works of art could end up in the possession of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Because Texas is a community property state, it is possible that your ex could end up with an equal portion of the art unless you fight for a different outcome.

What is the value of the artwork?

When it comes to valuing art, there is a bit of a subjective element to it, especially if you created the art yourself. You may have a sentimental attachment to it that you believe makes it more valuable, especially since you put your own time and effort into creating it. For other artwork, the value may depend on the career trajectory of the artist, whether the person has already become established in the art world, and the market for his or her particular work.

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Are you considering adopting a relative's child?

 Posted on July 05, 2019 in Divorce

It is not unusual for people to find themselves in situations in which they must make difficult decisions. For some Texas residents, an unexpected pregnancy could put them in a predicament that has them questioning their futures. If you have a loved one who does not feel ready to be a parent, you may be considering adopting the child.

Kinship adoption can often help mothers-to-be have an option for helping their children have happy and healthy lives even though the biological parents may not currently be capable of raising children. If you are in the position of potentially adopting a relative's child, you need all the reliable information you can get.

Why kinship/relative adoption?

Adoption in any form can be difficult for birth mothers, even when they know it is the best decision for their children. Having a child adopted by a relative can have numerous benefits, including allowing a child to grow up as a part of his or her biological — even if extended — family. This type of adoption can also be useful to the child's medical care, as the family's medical history will still be known.

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Can I ask the court to change my child support amount?

 Posted on May 10, 2019 in Divorce

Paying child support is a necessary annoyance. While you may understand the logic of providing funds for your child's needs and wants, child support is an expense that does not fluctuate, no matter your financial circumstances. In fact, if you are experiencing a serious setback, you may find the monthly support payments to be a heavy burden or even a hardship.

With your other financial obligations, you certainly have alternatives to explore when times get tough. Child support, on the other hand, is a constant, and Texas family courts do not appreciate excuses when you do not pay. However, if you are going through a difficult time, you may find relief in a modification of your support payments.

Why might a modification be appropriate?

Returning to court to seek a modification of your child support may seem intimidating, but it is a critical step to take if you are unable to meet your obligation because of any of the following or other circumstances:

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More couples are turning away from divorce litigation

 Posted on March 21, 2019 in Divorce

What it means to be a family has changed over the years. In most households here in Texas and elsewhere, strict gender roles no longer exist. Blended families exist all over the country, and many of them thrive.

Because of these and other societal changes, the way that people divorce has changed as well. Numerous couples decide to work together to reach a settlement on their own rather than engage in litigation. Granted, in some instances, going to court is necessary, but when possible, many couples take the opportunity to take another path.

Why avoid litigation?

The traditional courtroom divorce tends to automatically pit you against your future former spouse. This situation does nothing to foster cooperation and compromise. When you go through this system with children, you may find that you experience difficulties co-parenting. The prevailing theory is that one party must "win," which could carry over into how you parent post-divorce.

Parents today put more emphasis on making sure their children make it through the divorce process as unscathed as possible. The problem is that the stress, contention and emotional toll of going to court don't get you to that goal. Outside of the emotional issues, litigation often takes longer, costs more and results in another person making decisions that impact your life. Like most others, you may not receive the satisfaction from your experience that you deserve.

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How can you protect your interests in a high asset divorce?

 Posted on January 22, 2019 in Divorce

Walking through divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process, no matter how wealthy a couple is or how valuable their marital assets may be. However, couples facing the prospect of a high asset divorce may face unique challenges when resolving financial matters and settling property division issues. There are specific steps you can take to protect yourself and seek a positive financial future.

High asset divorces often involve complex real estate holdings, valuable savings accounts, business assets and more. For many of these things, it is not always easy to determine who should get what, and you may not even be certain of the value of many marital assets. It is in your interests to know how to protect yourself and seek a final order that is fair and sustainable well into the future.

What can you do?

During divorce, you may feel out of control regarding what will happen to your money and possessions. If your spouse controlled the finances during the marriage or you did not earn an income because you stayed home with the children, it is especially prudent to know about your property rights and how to make smart decisions during divorce. Some of the things you can do to shield your interests include:

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Is child support adjustable?

 Posted on November 30, 2018 in Divorce

In Texas, when a couple divorces, each party is still required to supply financial support to their children. The court may order one parent to pay child support — usually, the person not named the primary custody holder or the spouse who has been the breadwinner in the marriage. The amount ordered is determined by looking at a number of factors. What happens if, down the line, the payer or payee feels there is an issue with the ordered amount?

Believe it or not, child support orders are adjustable. How can the payer or payee seek a support modification?

Talk it out

It may be possible for you and your ex to come to new terms on your own. If, by talking things out, you can come to agreeable terms, you must submit your proposed plan for court approval. The changes you agreed to will not take effect until the court approves, so those paying should keep paying the amount listed in the original court order until the modification is actually official.

Go to court

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