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Dallas Divorce Law Blog

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.

Learning about child reunification therapy

In an effort to prevent what psychologists label parental alienation syndrome, family courts in Texas and other jurisdictions are now considering reunification therapy in child custody cases. In some cases, the children are reunified with one parent while in other cases both parents are involved. The setting and timetable for the reunification may also vary depending on the program.

Some programs involve the parents and children going on a retreat for a few days while other involve the children living with a parent for up to 90 days. Others like to take a more organic approach that allows the children to regain trust in their parents over a longer period of time. However, there are some who are against the idea because it could cause more trauma for children or perhaps put them in the vicinity of an abusive parent.

Child custody agreements for children in school

When Texas residets get divorced or separate from their child's other parent, working out a child custody agreement can be difficult. People are often highly emotional during divorces or breakups, and unfortunately, they sometimes try to make custody decisions out of spite.

The most important thing for parents to remember is that their child's best interests have preeminence over their own. A good child custody agreement for children who are of school age will most likely vary between summers and the school year. When parents are trying to negotiate an agreement, they should remember to take into account their child's activities, age and developmental needs.

Discussing financial issues before a marriage helps transparency

As Texas couples know, finances make up a big part of married life. Some are are starting out, while others are already positioned in a career and might have been married previously. Despite age or status, it is wise for a couple to discuss finances before the marriage. Having a prenuptial agreement puts this discussion on paper.

Transparency is a good idea in marriage, and truthfulness about finances makes for a honest commitment to each other. Such honesty may be useful before the marriage begins. Sitting down and discussing one another's existing debt and past problems, such as bankruptcy or tax issues, is helpful. This establishes a baseline, and it might be best to decide if both partners will assume prior debt. A strategy can be worked out detailing how the debt will be handled during the marriage and who will be responsible for it.

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.

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