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Houston Business and Family Law Blog

Should I let my spouse keep the house?

If you and your spouse in Texas are getting divorced, you know that it can be difficult to choose which one of you will end up with what assets or debts after your divorce has been completed. Every single thing in your life can feel subject to the choice of who gets what. Some choices may be heavily influenced by emotions and some may be heavily influenced by the financial ramifications. When it comes to your family home, the choice is often influenced by both emotions and money.

If your spouse wants to keep the house you bought together, you might initially think this is fine. However, Bankrate urges divorcing spouses to take a step back and evaluate this choice objectively and understand the potential consequences. If your spouse keeps not only the house but also the mortgage with your name on it, you will remain financially liable for the debt. This may happen even if you sign away your portion of ownership via a quit claim deed.

Benefits of joint custody

If you are a parent in Texas and are going through a divorce, figuring out custody is probably high on your priority list. While you may think you are the better parent and want to fight for sole custody, it is important to take a step back and look at the benefits to both your child and you when the court decides on joint custody. While joint may not be the best in every situation, it is the preferred method for most families.

Phys.org discusses that joint custody has a positive influence on a child's general well-being and development because there is more time spent with both parents. Research shows that children of all ages who split time between both parents fare just as well as those who live with married parents. Their physical and emotional health as well as their social behavior is better than that of children who live mainly with one parent. Children who live jointly between both caretakers tend to build healthier relationships as they grow older.   

What steps can you take to prevent international child abduction?

Anyone who has ever gone through a Texas divorce can likely attest that the process can prove long, tedious and complicated, and in situations where the married parties are from two different nations, the separation can prove even more convoluted. You may, for example, have to navigate complex child custody matters, and depending on the relationship between you and your ex, you may, too, have concerns about your former partner abducting your child and taking him or her overseas.

Per the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, arguably one of the most important things to do if you have fears about international child abduction is to take action right away. Do not hesitate in doing so, and one of the first things you may want to consider doing is securing a court order that restricts your child from traveling, obtaining a U.S. passport or what have you.

Dealing with court-ordered mediation

Many Texas court systems recommend, offer or order mediation services for divorcing couples. Understanding the court's position on this conflict-resolution tool often helps litigants get the most out of mandatory mediation sessions. There is not much continuity within the different circuits, but there are some predictable elements. 

One common theme is that non-economic issues regarding children tend to be the most commonly mediated disputes. Another is that, while assistance is often available, it is typically only provided to couples with significant financial need.

These signs could indicate that you are heading for divorce

Like other couples, you probably never thought when you got married that you would consider getting divorced. What may have started as a fleeting thought might now consume you.

You aren't sure whether your relationship has reached a point where the two of you would fare better apart than you do together. You want to be certain, especially if you share children with your spouse.

I can't afford my child support payments. What should I do?

As a divorced parent, being away from your children can be difficult, even when it's just for a few days. You may make every effort to be involved in their lives, including taking advantage of your custody arrangements and making court-ordered support payments. But life can throw you curves sometimes.

An unpredictable event may be making it more difficult for you to comply with the court's orders for child support. If you have lost your job, suffered a medical emergency or experienced another financial setback, you may be wondering how you will cover your child support obligation. The good news is that you may be able to obtain a support modification that can offer some relief while you get back on your feet.

Your divorce and your debts

Any person who lives in California and has agreed with their spouse to get divorced will have to face the difficult process of splitting up their marital estate. This means that not only will they have to work through negotiations for their belongings and other assets but for their debts as well. 

SoFi explains that California is a community property estate so most debts may be viewed as the equal responsibility of both spouses. There are nuances that can change that determination, however. Some might assume that if a debt is in one person's name only, it still remains their sole responsibility but that may not be. A student loan taken out during the marriage might be a joint responsibility if the money was used to pay rent, for example. 

Getting a handle on your investments during a divorce

Divorces necessitate that Texas couples account for all of their assets, which may be easy to do when it only involves real estate or bank accounts. However, it can be more complicated when investments like stock portfolios are taken into account. Unfortunately, while both spouses in some couples have about an equal understanding of their finances, not all spouses are intimately involved with making investment choices during the marriage.

A spouse who was not strongly involved in investment decision making may not know where all the investments are. The spouse may also be unaware of exactly how many investments a husband or wife had made. Without this knowledge, it can be a scary prospect to try to track down all the unknown investments. Spouses inexperienced with financial investments may not know where to even start looking or who they should ask to find where the investments are located.

Who gets to keep the dog in a divorce?

Until recently, judges across Texas and the United States who were presiding over divorce cases would often treat shared pets in the same manner they would other shared “assets,” such as vehicles or real estate. Increasingly, however, judges across the nation are starting to consider pets in the same way they would children, meaning they may consider the overall wellbeing of the pet before deciding with whom it will live.

According to Psychology Today, nearly 40 percent of modern divorces involve parties who are fighting over dogs, and this figure is likely to rise as more couples choose not to have children in favor of keeping pets. Until recently, though, court systems would consider factors such as the monetary value of the dog before making determinations. Now, many courts across the country are considering the “best interests of the dog” before making pet custody decisions, with California leading the charge.

Court appearance: Improving your chances of winning child custody

Despite certain perceived historical precedents in child custody battles, there are no sure bets when you take your challenges to the courtroom. Texas family law judges are supposed to examine each case individually rather than basing their decisions on tradition or stereotypes. This means that, whether you are a mom or a dad, you cannot go into the courtroom without giving careful thought to how you will present your case.

In custody matters, preparation is critical; you have too much at stake to leave the outcome to chance. You can take certain steps to build a case for your good parenting -- from the moment the custody of your children becomes an issue.

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Houston, TX 77056

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