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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Divorce considerations for older people in Texas

While the U.S. divorce rate has been going down over the past several years, some specific demographics have been experiencing increases. For those over the age of 50, the rate of divorce has doubled in the last 26 years. Since people over age 50 are nearer to retirement, they may want to consider some unique financial factors before filing for divorce.

It is important for potential divorcees to understand that many things, such as insurance, cost more for single people than they do for individual people who are married. Before filing for divorce, seniors should understand what their spending habits are and determine how much money they will need after the separation. For example, they might want to consider selling the family home instead of staying in it. If a divorcee does wish to keep the home, they should know for sure that they will be able to afford it in the long-term.

The Pitt-Jolie divorce and the likelihood of a prenup

Texas is a community property state, and this means that the shared marital property of people who divorce there will be split equally unless they can otherwise come to an agreement. This is also true in California, the state where Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. However, observers believe that based on the fact that both were married before and had valuable assets prior to their marriage, they probably signed a prenuptial agreement.

Jolie and Pitt had been together for a dozen years and married for two. Since their marriage, they have between the two of them made about $117.5 million with Pitt earning the bulk of that. Jolie is also financially successful having earned more than $40 million. If the couple does have a prenup, then it probably covers property division. However, the homes they bought prior to their marriage, in New Orleans and France, are not considered marital property.

Divorce and college savings plans

Although most Texas couples who are planning to tie the knot consider the commitment to be a long-term matter, divorce rates reflect the reality of how many marriages come to an end. When that happens, family finances can suffer dramatically, especially if the estranged spouses choose to litigate the matter. In addition to dealing with decisions made by the court, spouses must satisfy their financial obligations to their attorneys. A college savings account could be eyed as a source of funds for managing life expenses or for avoiding the need to dip into another type of account.

Many types of college savings plans can be revamped for use by another beneficiary. In selecting a plan that can't be changed, it may pay to opt for a custodial 529 plan. The beneficiary cannot be changed, which means that the intended child should receive the funds, which are considered a completed gift at the time the account is funded.

Valuating a business for property division purposes

Whether a divorcing couple has one car and a checking account or valuable real estate and stocks, property division is a part of every divorce case. One asset that can be particularly difficult to divide during a Texas divorce is a business. Before property division negotiations can even begin, divorcing spouses who own a business must determine how much the enterprise is worth.

A professional valuation analyst will often be needed to determine a business' value during the property division process. A valuation analyst can perform a simple calculation of value or a more detailed full valuation. While a calculation of value is quicker and less expensive than a full valuation, a full valuation is much more reliable.

The role of the calendar in Texas divorce cases

Findings to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association suggests divorce may be seasonal. After looking at divorce filings in the state of Washington from 2001 to 2015, researchers found the filings increased in March and August. The increase in August may be caused by parents who want to have the divorce finalized before the start of the new school year.

The March spike may be explained by the fact that the days start to get longer during that part of the year. Longer days are thought to inspire people to take action such as getting a divorce. Furthermore, couples who may have wanted to divorce immediately after the Christmas holiday season may finally have the money or have worked up the courage to do so.

Men's work statuses correlated with divorce risk

Many Texans file for divorce each year. When people marry, they generally do so without thinking about the possibility that their marriages might fail. There are multiple factors that can lead to divorces, and a study highlights the role that work status plays.

According to a Harvard University researcher, there is no relationship between the working status of women in marriages that took place after 1975 and divorce risk. Women who were married prior to that year did have higher risks of divorcing if they performed fewer household tasks, meaning that for older marriages, the risk goes up for marriages in which the woman doesn't fulfill the traditional homemaker role. For modern women, the lack of a relationship between their work statuses and divorce risks means that it doesn't matter if they have a job or instead choose to stay home.

The primary caregiver role and child custody decisions

Texans who are having problems working out residential custody arrangements with their children's other parents may find it necessary to file petitions in family court. People who do so might wonder how judges make decisions about who will be given primary residential custody of their children.

Judgeshave a tendency to favor parents who have been their children's primary caregivers. This is because psychologists believe that having a close bond with primary caregivers is important for healthy child development. In order to determine which parent has served as a child's primary caregiver, the court may look at evidence about which parent clothed, fed, bathed and dressed the child. The judge may also consider which parent met with teachers, attended extracurricular activities and involved his or her child in leisure activities.

Flexibility in divorce

Divorce affects many families in Texas and throughout the United States. The rate of divorce is still about 50 percent, and the process can be very draining both emotionally and financially. Thankfully, there are options.

When a couple is considering getting divorced, they can choose among litigation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and uncontested divorce. In litigation, one person files the divorce petition, and both parties will usually have attorneys to represent them. The attorneys strive to get their clients the best possible resolution to matters such as alimony, custody and child support.

Anticipating divorce and financial planning

Most married couples plan on being together forever, so it is not always easy for them to consider the possibility of divorce in the future. However, not being prepared might lead to a more precarious financial situation after a split.

One of the ways couples prepare financially has to do with their retirement plans. In most cases, retirement planning is not balanced between both couples. If divorce does occur in the future, one of the spouses might find themselves with less money than they anticipated. Financial experts recommend anticipating a divorce when planning for retirement in order to make good choices ahead of time. Such planning can ensure that both spouses will remain financially secure.

Prenup nixed in immigrant divorce case

Alimony disputes and other divorce-related matters are not uncommon in Texas courts. Prenuptial agreements often play a role in the outcome of these disputes as two parties bring their marriage to an end. While a legally executed prenup could limit the rights of the spouse with less money at the end of a marriage, other contracts related to the relationship could come into play. This was the case with a Turkish woman who married a U.S. citizen of Turkish origin.

In sponsoring his wife-to-be to come to the U.S., the man agreed to provide sufficient support to keep her income above 125 percent of the poverty level. The couple also worked out a prenuptial agreement prior to marrying, agreeing to forgo any alimony in the event of divorce. The husband in this case had a net worth of approximately $5 million at the time of the marriage.

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