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Houston Business and Family Law Blog

How a bankruptcy could affect your divorce obligations

The burden of debt can weigh you down, affecting every area of your life. Even your relationships and your physical health may suffer if you are struggling to keep up with your creditors. If your financial difficulties began or worsened after your divorce, you are not alone. Divorce is often the catalyst for a sharp decline in one's standard of living. It is not unusual for this to reach a crisis point within the first few years after a separation.

If you are exploring your options for debt relief, you may be considering bankruptcy. Depending on your circumstances, bankruptcy has the potential for eliminating or reducing your debt considerably and giving you a fresh start. But what if your debts include obligations related to your divorce, such as child support or alimony?

Do you really own valuable antiques?

If you and your spouse are like most high-asset Texas couples, you probably own several things that you believe to be valuable antiques. If you divorce, the value of these things could account for a large part of your marital property and therefore become important with regard to your property settlement agreement.

Before jumping to the conclusion that these items are highly valuable, however, you need to have them appraised. You may discover that they are neither antiques nor valuable.

Are more men getting custody of their children?

Going through a divorce or legal separation in Texas, or anywhere in the United States, can be difficult and often overwhelming. This is especially true if there are children involved. Parents who have spent a good portion of their lives taking care of their children must suddenly split their time with the other spouse, which can be hard in certain situations. Traditionally, mothers have been awarded primary custody of the children, as they were generally the ones who stayed at home and cared for the children.

Times have changed over the years, however, and as women have entered back into the workforce, many women have taken high-ranking positions. In some cases, women have become the bread-winners of the family and fathers are left to stay at home and provide care for the children. In these types of situations, the fathers may be the ones who are awarded primary physical custody of the children, as they are the ones who take the kids to school, help with homework and provide caring support. In fact, as many as 2.2 million fathers across the country have primary physical custody of their children, with mothers as non-custodial parents. There are some mothers who pay child support to their children who are in these types of situations.

Signs you may be ready for divorce

All marriages go through rough patches, and those times can either make or break a relationship. Perhaps you have experienced difficult times with your spouse in the past, and you somehow pulled through. Nevertheless, with each difficult time, it may seem harder to reconnect with your spouse, and you may be wondering if the marriage may really be over this time.

Every marriage is different, and it is impossible to generalize meaningfully about complex relationships. But there are some common signs that many couples exhibit when their marriage is no longer healthy.

Are digital valuation tools reliable for appraising artwork?

If you and your spouse are going through a high-asset divorce in Texas, and if you acquired a significant amount of artwork during your marriage, you may want to know how you can ensure the divorce judge divides that artwork fairly between the two of you. While many people assume that the most reliable valuations come from humans, the NAEPC Journal of Estate and Tax Planning suggests that digital tools offer the most reliable results.

The Cincinnati appraiser of fine and decorative arts, collectibles and antiques who authored the study says that digital tools play a crucial role in the division, disposition and protection of tangible personal property during both divorce and estate planning. However, not all digital tools are created equal. You can ensure that the program you choose to use offers the most fair and accurate appraisal by checking to make sure it has certain characteristics.

You can't just move away when you have a child custody order

When the court entered your original child custody order, it was made using then-current information about you and the other parent. Decisions were made based on where you each lived, your jobs and where your children attended school, among other things.

Now, whether it's months or years later, your circumstances have changed. As the adult with the larger percentage of parenting time, you serve as the primary custodial parent. You may think that you can move away with the children without obtaining the permission of the court as long as the other parent agrees, but that isn't the case.

How bad is emotional abuse?

When it comes to safely escaping from an abusive marriage, a great deal of emphasis is placed on domestic violence. It’s true that violence can threaten the safety of abused spouses and children. However, emotional violence should not be discounted. You and other Texas residents in unhappy marriages should understand what constitutes emotional and psychological abuse, as well as the long-lasting effects.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, emotional abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse, and it may be even more difficult to recognize. You and your spouse may argue often, but you might not realize your spouse’s behavior counts as abusive. Non-violent abuse can include verbal, financial and psychological attacks, which can impact your self-esteem and independence. The following behaviors are classic signs of emotional abuse:

  • Your spouse isolates you from family members and friends by not allowing you to see or contact them without his or her permission.
  • You are not allowed to work outside the home or have access to a car, phone or internet.
  • Your spouse belittles and insults you, then says you are being overly sensitive to teasing or harmless jokes when you try to defend yourself.
  • You constantly feel afraid of the slightest misstep upsetting or angering your partner.
  • You feel as if everything that goes wrong, even if you had no control over it, is your fault.
  • Your partner tells you and others that you are crazy and that everything is in your own head.

Do I have to pay alimony after a divorce in Texas?

Alimony, spousal support or spousal maintenance, as Texas courts call it: These terms all refer to the same legal concept. Either you or your former spouse would take on part of the financial responsibility for the other after your divorce.

Assuming you were the financial provider of the family, you might have serious concerns about supporting your former spouse as you proceed with your life. After all, you would probably face many changes that require a reinvestment of your resources, such as buying a new home, starting a new family or looking for a new career. 

Temporary orders can help keep things calm during a divorce

Regardless of what led to the dissolution of your marriage, you may feel like your world is ending. Nevertheless, life goes on. Your children have to get to school, you must work, and meals need to be cooked. These may be difficult to do under the present circumstances.

In fact, you may feel overwhelmed by some of the decisions you must make. For example, if you and your spouse are splitting up, who will stay in the house? When will you see the children? Who will pay the bills? How will you manage those daily obligations you used to handle as a couple? You certainly don't want to be battling with your spouse over these issues for months to come.

Avoid taking your old arguments with you into court

You probably knew before you got married that your relationship would not always be like it was during the honeymoon. Of course, that foreknowledge does not make it any easier to accept when it becomes too much to handle. However, there could be an upside to this situation. If you were able to realize that your arguments with your spouse had become a toxic influence in your life, you could avoid letting animosity further trouble you by ruining your chances of an advantageous divorce agreement.

At Laura Dale & Associates, P.C., we know that Texas couples going through a divorce have a lot on the line. Our clients' futures and those of their children are often hanging in the balance of a court decision. We realize that it is impossible to always remain calm. 

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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
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Houston, TX 77056

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