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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Texas alimony in divorce negotiations

When the topic of divorce comes up, many Texans wonder how alimony may be awarded and how that will affect their ongoing financial stability after the divorce. Alimony, or spousal support, is different than child support because it is paid directly to the former spouse for their continued well-being and ability to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Alimony should always be considered when deciding whether to pursue a divorce proceeding.

Most family law courts will examine the financial, physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of both parties when deciding whether to award alimony payments. The overall financial condition of the marital estate will generally also be examined to ensure that if alimony is awarded, the amount is fair and equitable to both spouses. Ability of the paying spouse to maintain alimony payments for the duration ordered by the court is also a large factor in alimony awards.

Age may affect ending a marriage

As Texas residents may know, divorce has become more common for couples over the age of 50 than it was previously. An article in the New York Times suggested that one reason is that people in this age group are frequently on their second marriage, and statistics show that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages.

A sociology professor thinks that longer life spans may be contributing to the incidence in older couples. He suggests that individuals may look at their marriage and, although it isn't bad, they may no longer feel as happy and wonder if they want to continue for many more years in the same relationship. Another sociologist postulates that finances may have something to do with the chance that a divorce will happen. Because older couples might be better off financially, they may be more likely to divorce than younger couples. A study conducted by Brigham Young University, however, found that over 50 percent of younger couples between the ages of 25 and 50 said that they had contemplated divorce at some point.

Financial infidelity can predict divorce

Many couples in Texas struggle with their finances. When spouses are not honest with each other about these problems, the result can often be divorce. According to a Kansas State University study, couples that argue over money early in their relationship are more likely to get divorced later on.

A lot of money-related arguments between spouses revolve around one spouse's 'stealth spending" or 'financial infidelity." A study by determined that one in five couples believe that it is OK to make $500 purchases on the sly. The study also found that 6 percent of spouses admitted to keeping a hidden bank account that their spouse doesn't know about. Another study found that 64 percent of men destroy receipts or hide things that they purchase in order to avoid fights with their spouse.

Going through a divorce as a company owner

When Texas entrepreneurs are heading towards divorce, they may be worried that the divorce could negatively affect their business. In some cases, there are some valid causes for concern, especially if their spouse was involved in the startup of the business or played a part in the growth of the business. Regardless, there are some things that entrepreneurs should think about when going through the divorce process.

Before filing, owners should have a plan in place. This includes determining what assets are part of the company. The entrepreneur may be required to sell a part of the company to their spouse as part of the divorce agreement, but keeping the end goal in mind may help make this process go much more smoothly. Keeping communication open and coming out of the divorce on friendly terms if possible may also help the entrepreneur get what is wanted in terms of the company.

How business interests are treated during a divorce

Texas business owners going through a divorce are sometimes surprised to learn that their companies will be treated in much the same way as any other marital asset. Some entrepreneurs believe that forming a corporation will shield them from property division in the same way that it protects their personal assets from business-related litigation, but this is not the case. However, the date that a business started operating may have an impact on how it is treated during divorce negotiations.

The entire value of businesses that were formed after a marriage will be subject to the rules of property division, but businesses that predate a marriage are treated differently. In these situations, usually only the difference between the current value of the business and its value at the time of the marriage will be divided. Dividing the business presents additional challenges, and judges are often reluctant to order a business sold. This is because businesses are more difficult to appraise than artwork or real estate, and entrepreneurs may rely upon business income to make court-ordered child or spousal support payments.

Divorce mediation basics

Marriages fail for a variety of reasons, and every Texas couple that splits up has unique circumstances. Unfortunately, emotions can run high at the end of a marriage, even if the spouses are committed to an amicable breakup. In some cases, what should have been a straightforward divorce becomes acrimonious due to a couple having difficulty making decisions about things like property division and child support.

In recent years, divorcing spouses have increasingly turned to professional divorce mediators to help them avoid expensive, emotionally draining conflicts. A mediator works with the parties both one-on-one and together to identify goals, address concerns and to resolve difficult issues without going to court.

False positives shown to occur in marijuana testing

As many Texas residents know, drug testing is used routinely for a variety of reasons, including pre-employment screening or situations where an adult's ability to care for another may be affected by drug use. One problem is the number of false positives for marijuana that occur, causing harm to an individual who is not involved with drugs.

Drug testing has been linked to picking employees who are less likely to quit work or be less productive. Drug testing is used to make sure someone injured on the job was not inebriated or using illicit drugs when the accident happened. In cases where child custody is questioned due to a parent's history of drug use, testing negative on a drug test helps assure the child's safety. A major diagnostic laboratory routinely performs drug tests in this country. In 2014, testing included over 800,000 saliva tests, 6.6 million tests using urine and more than 210,000 drug tests on hair. In addition, 2.5 million or more federally required tests were performed. Of these, more than 200,000 resulted in false positives. That figure did not include drug tests given in child custody situations, however.

Legal representation is important during a divorce

A Texas resident whose marriage is coming to an end may find it worthwhile to hire a family law attorney, regardless of the reason for the breakup. As most people don't understand how courts work, they could forget documents, miss deadlines or fail to take action in their case. During a legal proceeding, those who represent themselves are held to the same standard as those who have an attorney present.

Therefore, it may be best to have a professional who understands what to do in front of a judge or what to say or not say while the case is ongoing. It may also be a good idea to have formal representation by a third party who may be able to provide an objective viewpoint regarding the merits of the case. The attorney may also be able to suggest a reasonable settlement proposal that may end the case in a amicable and timely manner.

Financial issues to consider in a Texas divorce

A divorce is often a very emotional experience for the entire family. However, it's important to try to maintain a clear head through the process so that financial concerns can be addressed rationally. When divorcing spouses in Texas understand how property division will affect finances, they will be in a much better position to negotiate for a fair settlement.

After a divorce, many people will be living on a single income rather than the double income that they were accustomed to. By taking this fact into account, a spouse may have a better understanding of how much alimony or child support they should pursue and whether they will be able to afford to make mortgage payments on the family home.

Divorce and having a baby before marriage

According to a study by the Council on Contemporary Families, having a baby prior to marriage does not increase the odds of a couple getting a divorce. Researchers gathered data on women in Texas and around the country who had their first child between 1997 and 2010 and found that divorce rates were similar regardless of whether they got married first or had the child first. It is thought that the diminished stigma of having a child out of wedlock has led to this result.

Those who are familiar with the issue say that there is less pressure to get married just because the couple had a child. Instead, they are more likely to advance the relationship at their own pace and get married when they are ready. In addition, more women were having children out of wedlock between 1997 and 2010. In that time period, 35 percent of women gave birth out of wedlock compared to 17 percent from 1985 to 1995. Those women from the earlier time period who later got married saw their chances of divorce increase significantly compared to those who waited to have their first child until after they wed.

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