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Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Law Blog

Don't neglect college education during a divorce

During divorces in Forth Worth, Texas, and elsewhere, financing college education sometimes gets put on a back burner. This is not surprising as other issues may require more immediate attention. But with planning, financing the children's college education doesn't need to fall by the wayside.

Divorce often causes a temporary financial setback for both parties. In many cases, two incomes were used to finance one household. After a divorce, two separate households need to be supported. It will take an adjustment period for the ex-spouses' financial conditions to stabilize.

Prenuptial agreements for wealthy adult children

It's common for Texas residents to get married believing that they are entering a relationship that will last the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, divorce rates show that this is not always the case. Divorce takes on an extra level of complication for children of wealth. In many cases, it is beneficial for these individuals to create a prenuptial agreement prior to making their wedding vows.

In some cases, children of wealth do not grow up understanding the concept of getting married and having a prenuptial agreement signed before they wed. This is especially the case if their parents were not wealthy when they married. Therefore, it can be a challenge for wealthy individuals on the verge of matrimony to think about or talk about a prenuptial agreement. In fact, it is often the parents who encourage the kids to take this step to protect themselves.

The process of establishing paternity

Texas residents and others can establish paternity in two different ways. First, they can voluntarily acknowledge paternity by filling out a form at the hospital when the baby is born or at any point before the child turns 18. It may also be possible to establish paternity through genetic testing if there is doubt about who the child's father is. Genetic testing will involve the mother and the child in addition to the alleged father.

If a man alleged to be a child's father doesn't submit to testing, he could be named the child's father by default. The same could occur if the tests reveal that he is the father and there are no efforts to dispute the finding within 60 days. Establishing paternity can be beneficial to the child because he or she gets to inherit from that person.

Joint legal custody offers both benefits and drawbacks

Joint legal custody gives both divorced parents the right to be in charge of any major decisions about a child's life such as schools, medical care and religious training. Some Texas parents may share legal custody even if only one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation rights. This is an arrangement that has both advantages and disadvantages.

Joint legal custody can be good for the co-parenting relationship. Requiring regular communication about what are often difficult topics, it can push parents to set aside their differences and find a way toward solutions. When children see their parents working on and solving problems in a healthy way, this is beneficial for then as well. However, uninvolved parents can make sharing legal custody difficult as can manipulative parents. Some parents complain that the other parent will insist that they must agree because of the joint custody. Another potential frustration about joint legal custody is that it does not offer a clear map of how to reach success or even what success may look like.

About custodial parents

When the courts in Texas stipulate that children must spend the majority of their time with one parent, that person is referred to the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent may have an integral role in raising the child as well and work collaboratively with his or her ex, but the custodial parent still has the most responsibility, according to the law.

Parents who are awarded sole physical custody of their children are not always classified as custodial parents under the law. In situations where single parents are bringing up their children on their own, and the other parties are not participating in their children's lives, the single parents may be required to petition the court for child custody to be considered the custodial parents according to the law. People who are uncertain if they are legally classified as custodial parents should speak with an attorney who practices family law.

New child support agreement for Jeremy Renner

Texas fans of actor Jeremy Renner may be familiar with his 5-year-old daughter as well since he frequently posts her photo on social media. Although Renner has said it is difficult being a single father, he wants more children, but he will also be paying more in child support.

Renner and his wife split in 2015 but agreed to share custody of their daughter. Renner also agreed to a child support arrangement of $13,000 monthly. If his income topped $2.3 million annually, he was supposed to up his payments to 5 percent of the excess.

Possibilities for flexible child visitation schedules

Parents in Texas can create a number of different arrangements for child custody and visitation depending on their schedules. While a traditional arrangement in which the noncustodial parent has the child every other weekend might work for situations in which parents work regular 9-to-5 jobs Monday through Friday, this is not the case for every parent.

If the custodial parent often travels on weekends, for work or other reasons, the child could stay with the noncustodial parent until Monday. Another alternative is for a child to have a weekday evening visit with the noncustodial parent. This could also be turned into an overnight stay.

Custody arrangement offers unique alternative for parents

When Texas parents decide to divorce, some of the most challenging aspects to deal with can include handling the division of property, including the marital home, as well as child custody issues. Many divorcing parents want to do everything they can to help reduce the emotional burden on their children. Not only is the marital home often one of the largest assets handled in the divorce, but it can also be one of the most emotionally meaningful items for the family, especially children.

One trend that aims to boost a child's stability after a divorce is called bird nesting. This is a form of shared, joint custody in which the children remain consistently in place in the family home while the parents move in and out for their custody time. On their weeks without custody, they either switch in and out of an apartment or find another place to stay.

Lack of financial knowledge may complicate a divorce

People over 50 are twice as likely to get divorced than they were in the 1990s, and this could lead to financial problems for people in Texas who have not been active participants in the household finances. According to a report published by UBS Global Wealth Management, 56 percent of married women allow their spouses to make major financial and investment decisions.

This statistic does not appear to be generational. The study found that 54 percent of baby boomer women and 61 percent of millennial women allow their husbands to make the investment decisions. Twice as many men as women described themselves as very knowledgeable about investing while 75 percent of women said they knew little about investing. Combined with a divorce late in life, this lack of understanding about finances can result in financial stress for women after divorce. Over half of women who were widowed or divorced said they wished they had learned more about finance during their marriages. Remarried women tend to become more involved with marital finances.

Financial steps to take before filing for divorce

When Texas residents are considering a divorce, there are steps they can take even before the process begins to protect themselves financially, particularly if they anticipate an acrimonious split. One of those steps is getting copies of all important financial documents and keeping them in a safe place such as with a friend or relative or in a safe deposit box.

People might also want to review their credit reports and correct any erroneous information before the divorce is underway. They might also want to look at any joint accounts and make sure their spouse is not abusing them. Another consideration is setting up a personal account that is separate from joint accounts. People who do not have their own lines of credit may want to try to establish one. It may be possible to get a credit card based on household income for people who do not have one themselves. People should also be prepared for how their tax situation may change. In addition to no longer filing as married and being in a different tax bracket, they may owe taxes on some assets that were sold during the divorce.