Lisa E. McKnight, P.C. - Family Law Specialist
Contact Today
for a Confidential Consultation
Phone: 214-528-4191
Toll Free: 866-586-5149
Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Co-parenting plans can reduce divorce trauma for children

Emotions often run high during divorce negotiations in Texas and around the country, but even spouses who find it almost unbearable to be in each other's company for more than a few minutes are often able to put their differences to the side when young children are involved. Much has been written about the traumatic impact that a divorce can have on children, but many of these problems can be avoided if parents are able to accept that their former spouses are doing the best that they can and generally act with the best of intentions.

Family law judges make child custody decisions by considering what's in the child's best interest, and co-parenting solutions are now generally preferred whenever possible. Establishing rules and disciplinary measures that both parents will adhere to and enforce eliminates situations where children are able to play one divorced parent against the other, and seeing parents who really don't like one another cooperating in this way sets an example that can benefit children greatly in adulthood.

Locating a non-custodial parent for child support enforcement

For many single parents in Texas, it can be difficult to make ends meet. For the most part, custodial parents are entitled to receive regular child support payments from their child's other parent pursuant to a court order. In some cases, the non-custodial parent must be located so that the child support order is effective. This can pose a problem, however, especially when non-custodial parents are purposely trying to avoid their financial obligations.

Fortunately, there are several routes custodial parents can take in order to locate their former spouse for the purposes of child support enforcement. The first step of the location process is to collect personal information about the non-custodial parent. Useful identifying information includes the parent's Social Security number and birth date, as well as a list of former or current employers and family members. Custodial parents may also choose to utilize the Federal Parent Locator Service, which collects data on non-custodial parents.

How a mediator can help parents resolve conflict around a move

When parents in Texas divorce, they might agree that they will continue to live in roughly the same vicinity for the sake of the children. However, when one parent decides to move to live closer to a new partner, this might cause problems with child visitation times. The move may be disruptive to the ex-spouse's own life and their child's life, and they may resent the added commute. The parent may feel as though they are in the right by refusing to cooperate with the parent who moves.

However, even though it might feel unfair, the parent might need to compromise for the sake of the child. It is the child who will miss out the most if they are unable to see the other parent.

Prenup trends for Millenials

Although most Texas couples marry with the intent of staying together for good, divorce statistics demonstrate that a split is a significant possibility. Litigation can cost both parties a great deal of time, stress, and money. Some of these challenges could be minimized by pre-planning one's exit strategy through the use of a prenuptial agreement.

Statistics show that Millennials are increasingly using prenups as they marry. In fact, more than 60 percent of lawyers involved in a recent survey indicated that the greatest increase had occurred in the preceding three-year period. As many individuals wait until they are older to wed, there are often more assets to protect in case of divorce. There may be businesses or intellectual property to protect. Although the growth of a business might take place during an entrepreneur's marriage, the hard work needed to get the company started might precede the nuptials. Another important issue for many Millenials is potential inheritances, which could be considered marital property if comingled. By addressing this interest prior to tying the knot, such assets could be protected.

Who gets the student loan debt in a divorce

Divorce means splitting debts as well as assets, and this may include student loans as well. Student loans obtained prior to the marriage may not be considered shared marital debt and might remain the responsibility of their owner, but student loans acquired after marriage might be split between the couple even if only one person got the education. Since Texas is a community property state, courts will in general divide assets and debts equally in a divorce.

Some couples who were married prior to 2006 may have consolidated their existing student loans for interest rate purposes. Even if the prior loans were taken out before marriage, the resulting obligation is considered to have been incurred on the date it was signed and thus it is a marital obligation.

How the Hague Convention helps Texas parents

The Hague Convention is a treaty that the United States is a signatory to and aims to keep parents from illegally taking children out of their home country. The goal is to return any children taken to another back to their country of habitual residence. From there, any custody or visitation issues can and should be resolved by a court in that country.

The Hague Convention is important because American court orders may not be recognized in another country without it. Furthermore, countries are generally only allowed jurisdiction within their own borders. As each country is considered to be a sovereign nation, other countries are not allowed to meddle in their affairs. Therefore, the Convention provides a way for countries to partner together to find a resolution to child custody matters that spread beyond the borders of a child's home country.

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.

FindLaw Network