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Houston Divorce And Family Law Blog

Mediation in a divorce can help protect the friendship

Another January has arrived and with it plans for a new start, a pledge to eat healthier and finally lose weight -- whether it be physical weight or, for some, the heavy weight and stress of an unhappy marriage. In Texas and around the country January is known as divorce month by many in the legal community. The reasons for this may be many but the belief that January marks a new beginning is thought to be a major contributing factor.

Making the decision to divorce is not easy and the social and economical ramifications are many. One of the biggest costs in a divorce, in addition to pain caused to the family, is financial. A protracted legal battle can cost thousands of dollars and make a significant dent in the assets a couple accumulated over the course of the marriage.

Divorce can lead to a better family dynamic

The end of the year is a time for contemplating the year past and the year yet to come. It is a time for making resolutions and new beginnings. In Texas and around the country it is also a time for contemplating divorce. January has become known as divorce month in some legal circles as it has become a popular month to file for divorce.

This may be the result of people who were contemplating changes taking action and making those changes a reality. There may be many motivators for this. If spending time with a spouse's family has become a hardship another holiday may create a breaking point in a marriage. Likewise, if a break has been on a person's mind he or she may choose to spare the other's feelings until after the holidays.

Determining child custody can be an emotional struggle

No matter how well-planned or amicable, divorce is a major disruption in one's life in Texas. This is particularly true if there are children involved. It is certainly a disruption to one's personal life and can also have an impact on the individual's professional life. It is important to keep the best interest of the children in mind when negotiating child custody arrangements.

A parent may not wish to sacrifice any quality time with his or her children. While this is the ideal, it is not always realistic. Consider how much time is readily available for quality time during the work week. Overcommitting can cause undue stress on all concerned. Try to be objective when considering how much time is really available.

Maintaining relationships as the noncustodial parent

People commonly assume that the father will become the noncustodial parent and hold the responsibility for paying child support after a divorce. However, either parent could end up in this position. Whether you are the mother or the father, it is important that you find ways to maintain strong relationships with your children after the divorce.

You may worry that, as the noncustodial parent, your children will no longer value your relationship or that you will not have the opportunity to see them grow. Fortunately, that may not be the case. If your custody order does not prohibit direct contact with your children, you should have the ability to do your best to make the custody arrangement work.

Estate planning can involve more than wills

Another year is coming to a close in Texas and the new year is looming. With its approach people frequently review the past and consider plans for the future. Among those plans may be thoughts of estate planning. But what exactly does that entail and who should be concerned about it? Comprehensive estate plans are made up of more than last wills and testaments.

Estate planning, simply put, involves making plans for one's family and belongings in the event of one's death or serious injury. A will provides for what happens after one passes but what if a person becomes incapacitated? A durable financial power of attorney designates an individual who will be responsible for making financial decisions in the event the person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. Likewise, a health care power of attorney designates a person who can act on a person's behalf for medical decisions.

Wills and trusts allow one to plan for end of life

From the time a person starts school in Texas plans are being made for the future. Parents work for their children to have a better life and a chance at a promising career. The children begin planning for careers as they mature and begin to consider college and future plans. If people put as much thought into planning wills and other components for the end of their lives, they would be able to enjoy life and retirement with true peace of mind.

The stories of Aretha Franklin and Prince are by now familiar in that they passed away without having an estate plan in place, resulting in drawn-out legal proceedings to settle their large estates. There are certain steps that can be taken that will help ensure that one's final wishes are carried out. In addition to having an up-to-date will, appropriate life insurance can help provide income for a family. This may be particularly important when children are young. Regarding insurance and other accounts, make sure that beneficiary information is up to date as beneficiary designations are typically not superseded by instructions in a will.

Successful child custody arrangements are achievable

Divorce is seldom a simple process in Texas or anywhere else. When children are involved, the situation can become much more stressful and solutions more difficult to achieve. This can be particularly true where child custody is involved. The custody arrangement will almost definitely require contact with an ex-spouse, and that can be a challenging situation. One should always keep in mind the best interest of his or her child, and maintaining a civil relationship can simplify the situation.

There are some other measures that can be taken in an attempt to ease the stress that may be involved in sharing custody of one's children. It is important to always be respectful when speaking to or about the other parent in the children's presence. Studies have shown that children do best when maintaining a loving and respectful relationship with both parents.

Taking the "battle" out of a child custody battle

Going through a divorce comes with many challenges. When you put children into the mix, things tend to get even more complicated. Perhaps you are like other Houston parents in that you fear handling your child custody issues will turn into an all-out battle.

Some parents may have to go that route due to the nature of their relationship or some other circumstance that makes it necessary. However, if you are able, you could get through coming to a custody agreement and creating a parenting plan without feeling as though you went through a war.

Remember your estate plan when you divorce

If you are like a lot of people who get divorced in Texas, you may find the whole experience a bit overwhelming at times. This is completely understandable. Ending your marriage ultimately impacts every facet of your life and you will find yourself making decision after decision. In this situation, it can be all too easy to overlook some of the things that could benefit from your attention. Your estate plan is one of these things.

As explained by Forbes, there are some parts of your estate plan that you must keep on hold until your divorce decree is signed and finalized. There are some things, however, that you can do to update your plans as soon as you have separated from your spouse. Updating your health care advance directive and your durable power of attorney can be done at any time and it is recommended you do this sooner rather than later.

Is your spouse hiding assets?

As a person getting a divorce in Texas, you should understand that there are certain risks that couples with higher assets face that others don't. Some may be quite unexpected as well, such as the increased possibility of a spouse attempting to hide assets. While this is illegal, that doesn't stop people from doing it.

The Women's Institute for Financial Education (WIFE) takes a look at some potential signs that a spouse may be hiding assets. These signs typically manifest in behavioral or habit changes. For example, a spouse may become more irritable when questioned about finances. They may refuse to share things that were previously open between the two of you, such as receipts or deposit slips. They may become more furtive, sneaky, or generally act in a secretive way.

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Houston, TX 77014

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