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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Research shows women pursue divorce far more frequently than men

It can be beneficial for Texas couples who are married or are cohabitating to understand the statistics of divorce and the end of unmarried relationships. Research is constantly delving into the statistics of marriages, relationships and how they conclude. A study presented to the American Sociological Association has found that females in heterosexual marriages more frequently ask for a divorce than men. If, however, the relationship is one in which the couple is unmarried and living together, the statistics are closer to even.

In the study, more than 2,260 adults who were in an opposite-sex relationship were asked about their relationships. In 69 percent of the divorces, it was found that it was the woman who pursued it. When the couple was living together without being married, however, it was equally likely that one or the other would end the relationship.

Child support modifications and jurisdictional issues

In some Texas child support matters, the noncustodial parent who has been ordered to pay support experiences a significant adverse change in financial circumstances long after the order has been issued. In those cases, the obligor may want to file a petition to modify the monthly child support amount to reflect the current circumstances.

When a child or parent has relocated to a new state after a child support order is already in place, the obligor may then wonder in which state the petition should be filed. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has been adopted by every state, governs that jurisdictional question. Under the law, the state in which the obligor, the recipient or the child reside will have exclusive jurisdiction over a filed child support modification motion.

The initial divorce consultation

When an individual decides that they want a divorce in Texas, one of the first steps in the process is to consult with an attorney. During the consultation, the individual will provide information regarding the circumstances behind the divorce as well as personal information such as their home address, phone number and email address.

Other relevant information that will be disclosed during this process includes the individual's income and whether or not they have children. If children are involved, the attorney may need to determine if the individual filing for divorce has a chance to retain parental rights. Finally, it may be a good idea to disclose how long the marriage has lasted and provide tax forms and other documents that could be used for property division purposes.

Rock stars file for divorce and joint child custody

Fame and fortune do not insulate parents from the possibility of divorce and child custody issues. The announcement by Gwen Stefani, the lead singer for the rock band No Doubt, that she would be divorcing her husband of 13 years, Gavin Rossdale of the rock band Bush, places them in a situation similar to divorcing couples throughout Texas.

According to court papers, both Stefani and Rossdale desire joint custody of their three children, ages 9, 6 and 1. Stefani stated in her divorce filing that irreconcilable difference prompted her to end the marriage. The couple urged the media to give them privacy as they sorted out their separation. They expressed the intention to continue providing loving care as parents to their children outside of marriage. The couple married in 2002 and became parents in 2006.

Avoiding legal mistakes in a Texas divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally-charged event, which could lead to mistakes that have long-term consequences. Common errors include choosing the wrong type of divorce or choosing the wrong divorce lawyer. In some cases, opting for mediation or collaborative divorce can help maintain a civil relationship between all parties, which may be in the best interest of the children. In addition, staying civil during the divorce process may lead to a faster resolution of the case.

This may save both parties thousands of dollars while obtaining a result that both sides can tolerate. Those who are fighting for child custody or for alimony may wish to refrain from posting on social media. Anything that is posted may be used against the individual who posted it as most judges will admit it into evidence during a divorce proceeding.

Dealing with pet custody in a divorce

During a divorce, who gets to keep the pets can become an emotional issue for many Texas couples. Although courts have traditionally treated family animals as personal property subject to the normal rules of asset division, many have now started to look at the matter in a way similar to how child custody and visitation issues are determined.

Treating a dog or a cat as purely personal property often led to questions of valuation that were not easily determined. Sometimes the pet was used as a bargaining chip in exchange for another asset, which often led to conflict and undue pressure.

Child custody and substance abuse problems

Many Texas residents are of the belief that if a parent has a history of substance abuse, that fact will be enough to prevent them from seeking and being granted custody rights for their children. While the courts will consider their substance abuse issues, that alone is normally not enough for a judge to prevent them from having visitation or custody.

In many cases, the other parent will ask the court for such things as supervised visitation in which a third party supervises the child's visit, random drug and alcohol testing of the parent or even that the substance-abusing parent not be allowed to drive their children. It is important for people to understand, however, that just because such restrictions are requested does not automatically mean they will be granted.

The Garner-Affleck divorce and prenuptial agreements

Many Texas residents may have read that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are divorcing after more than 10 years of marriage. From a family law perspective, one of the more intriguing aspects of their divorce is the timing of when Ms. Garner's petition was filed. Ms. Garner filed her petition seeking divorce 10 years and one day from their marriage date.

There are a few reasons why the timing is important. Under California law, reaching the 10-year anniversary is important as doing so makes the lower-earning spouse eligible for more spousal support and for a longer duration than if the marriage ends prior to 10 years. Another factor may be if the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place, as many wealthy couples do. In many such agreements, settlements are greater when people reach certain milestones, and some have settlements payable per year of marriage from the higher-earning to the lower-earning spouse.

Google co-founder divorces wife after 8 years

Texas investors may have heard that Sergei Brin, the co-founder of Google, has officially divorced his wife of eight years. A judge in Santa Clara County approved the divorce settlement in May 2015. The couple first separated in 2013 and, around that time, Brin was having an affair with an employee who worked in the Google Glass division.

The couple continues to live close to each other and are raising their two children in a cooperative fashion. It was reported that Brin and his ex-wife had a prenuptial agreement in place, which means that the divorce shouldn't impact Google significantly. Brin is estimated to have a net worth of $30 billion. His former wife is the founder and CEO of a human genome startup, and Google was an early investor in the company.

Shared parenting offers benefits

When Texas parents are going through a divorce, child custody is often a concern. In the past, it was often the case that one parent would end up being awarded primary physical custody of the children, with the other parent having limited time with the kids on weekends and certain holidays. Most often, it was the mother that was awarded custody. Unfortunately, these agreements sometimes left noncustodial parents and children feeling like strangers to each other.

A change has started to emerge around the country, with society developing different ideas about the parent-child relationship and the importance of children having ample time with each parent. As a result, there been a move toward shared parenting in which each parent gets to spend significant amounts of time with their child or children. While this isn't always possible, in many cases where there isn't a lot of conflict between parents, shared parenting can make a great deal of sense.

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