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Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Law Blog

The importance of being assertive during a divorce

To reduce some of the stress in the divorce process, some Texas couples compromise as they work through issues around property division and spousal and child support. While it's a good idea to avoid deliberately putting up roadblocks to a friendly resolution, people should also make sure that they still protect themselves financially along the way.

The problem is that unexpected events could derail even the best-laid plans. For example, one couple worked out a shorter-term agreement for alimony, but then the spouse receiving support got colon cancer. They were able to reach an amicable agreement in which the other ex took the children for a few months and continued with support payments. However, he was not legally obligated to do so. The mother in another divorcing couple wanted to reduce conflict about child support, but she found that without a legally binding agreement, she struggled to collect.

What business owners should consider during a divorce

Business owners in Texas and throughout the country may derive a significant amount of income from their companies. Therefore, it is important that the business is valued properly in a divorce. It is also important to ensure that business assets are divided in a manner that allows the company to run efficiently both now and into the future. To determine a company's value, an appraiser should be given access to relevant records and other information.

The final value may be based on how much its assets are worth or how much income it generates. It could also be valued based on how much similar companies in a given area or industry are worth. Enlisting the services of an independent valuation professional may prevent an owner from exaggerating income or expenses in an effort to create a favorable divorce settlement. It may also prevent a spouse from receiving both an interest in the company and maintenance payments based on future projected revenue.

How co-parenting can change in the teen years

Even for estranged Texas couples who have successfully co-parented for years after a divorce, new challenges may come along once their children are teenagers. It is important that parents do not relax their communication with one another or with their child at this time even as their teen becomes more mature and takes on more responsibilities.

Communicating with each other can be tough, and parents may be tempted to do less of it once their child reaches the teen years. They may even decide to let the teen keep each parent informed. This can be a mistake along with failing to coordinate with one another. Teens need flexibility but can take advantage of too much freedom. Furthermore, parents should not assume their teen behaves the same way around each of them. This assumption could mean teens are not getting the guidance they need.

Making a plan for summer co-parenting

Parents in Texas who decide to divorce can face some unique challenges in the summer as they develop their co-parenting relationship. The busy schedule of school and extracurricular activities can help to keep kids' lives relatively consistent, even as they move back and forth between their parents' homes. However, while summertime can be a period for additional fun and adventure, it can also be a period of changes for parents and their children. There are some things that divorced parents can keep in mind to help their summers remain positive and enjoyable experiences for the kids.

Communication is always important to co-parenting, and this remains true in the summer. Conflicts over summer plans and schedules can often be avoided when parents share information with each other early enough to come to an agreement. Shared online calendars or posted schedules can also help kids be prepared for upcoming plans. In addition, it is important that parents keep their children out of their disputes. After a divorce, children continue to love both of their parents, absent a situation of neglect or abuse. Both parents have the responsibility to support their child's relationship with the other parent and to avoid negative talk or complaints about the other parent.

Co-parenting with teens

Parenting a teen can be challenging under any circumstances. However, Texas parents who are divorced may have to adapt to a number of changes. As teens are testing their new independence, exes who have been co-parenting for a long time may feel that they can finally ease up, but this is not the time for too much freedom. Failing to communicate effectively is one of the mistakes divorced parents make when co-parenting teens.

Teens are sometimes, but not always, more responsible than when they were younger. That's why parents can be lulled into a false sense of security. One parent may start to think they do not need to share as much information with the other parent, or they may assume the other parent knows the teen's friends. They might even default to having the teen carry messages back and forth between the ex. If the teen has begun driving, parents may coordinate less as well. However, this lack of communication can be a mistake. It can leave one parent in the dark about difficulties the teen may be going through.

Documents to gather before a divorce

Before initiating a divorce, a Texas couple should gather three types of financial documents. This preparation process can be particularly important for spouses who might be less informed about the financial side of the marriage.

First, a soon-to-be ex should gather three years' worth of tax returns and supporting documentation. They can get copies of the returns from the IRS if necessary. If there is a business, this element could be more complicated. One should also pull three years' of credit card records and bank statements. These documents will be helpful in creating a lifestyle analysis, which is essentially a record of all expenses and a look at the financial picture both before and after the divorce. It is important to be as thorough and accurate as possible. For example, although inflation might be low overall, this is not reflected in the costs of education and health care. Expense trackers found online can help automate this process.

How to deal with a jointly-owned business during divorce

Divorce can bring about a variety of issues for a Texas couple. One of the factors that might deeply impact each spouse's post-divorce life is how assets are divided and handled. If the couple owns a business together, the property division process will be that much more important.

The way the business is handled during a divorce will depend on whether the company was formed pre-marriage by one spouse or during the marriage by both partners. For the latter scenario, some might think that the only way to move forward is to sell out to one spouse or sell the business and split the profits. Others might want to continue owning and running the business jointly once the divorce is final. Spouses who want to continue running a business together should consider their relationship. In an amicable divorce, ex-spouses who get along well and can work together can make the new dynamics work within their business.

The various rights given to divorced parents

Most Texas parents who are divorced still have rights to their children. In some cases, one parent will be given sole legal or physical possession while the other is given access rights. However, it's also possible that parents will share possession in an effort to protect the child's best interests. Legal possession allows a parent to make important decisions, such as what religion a son or daughter is exposed to.

If a parent has physical possession, it means that the child lives with that parent on most days. However, it's possible that the noncustodial parent will be allowed to have overnight access. Sometimes, parents will engage in what is often called bird nesting. In such a scenario, the child remains in the same home and the exes rotate in and out on a regular basis.

Qualifying for a home loan with child support debt

Owing back child support may affect the ability of a person in Texas to get a mortgage but will not necessarily do so. A parent who has fallen behind in child support payments may be unable to get certain types of government loans, such as those associated with the VA or FHA. A 2016 audit found that applicants sometimes slipped through the cracks and were erroneously given loans, but there are other opportunities for financing that do not consider a child support delinquency disqualifying.

Credit reporting agencies do not report delinquent child support, tax liens and some other debts in the way they used to, so a person's credit score might be unaffected. However, a person may still be required to include this in a mortgage application. The first step should be checking credit scores to see if the overall credit is high enough to get a nongovernmental loan.

Alimony, child support requests filed in Wendy Williams divorce

Texas fans of TV host Wendy Williams may be aware that she is involved in a contentious divorce with her husband, Kevin Hunter, after 21 years of marriage. Williams filed for divorce in April 2019.

While it is not known what led to the breakup of the marriage, sources have pointed to a number of factors. Allegedly, Hunter was emotionally and physically abusive. It was also reported that in April, a woman he was allegedly in a relationship with gave birth to a daughter. Williams filed for divorce several days later. Sources say that Williams was driven to a substance abuse relapse by the situation.