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Fort Worth Family Law Blog

MLB player accused of not supporting 2 secret children

Baseball fans in Texas know that their favorite players are not exempt from real-life problems. Headlines have popped up about Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon, age 42. Reports swirling around a new court filing allege that Colon failed to make child support payments for two children born outside of his marriage.

Although Colon has yet to make a public comment about the case, a man at the pitcher's home denied the accusations. The unidentified man stood behind the front door of the baseball player's home when he responded to questions. He insisted that Colon had never missed a payment.

Difficulties in child custody and visitation

Parents in Texas who are getting a divorce should try to focus on making the process less difficult for their children. Unfortunately, parents often run into conflict over child custody, visitation and support. In a divorce that is particularly contentious, parents might end up returning to court frequently in order to get various parts of their agreement enforced.

Some parents might try to restrict the other parent's contact with the child. This might include preventing the child from talking to the parent on the phone or not allowing the child to meet with them on visitation days. Those who are on the receiving end of parental alienation may have little choice but to go through the court system in order to restore access to their children. In the meantime, experts say they should document every missed contact for the court hearing.

Divorce and retirement accounts

There has been a large increase in the number of Texans who are divorcing after age 50. This has the effect of placing many retirement accounts in play during the negotiations or litigation over property division. There are steps people should take to protect their ability to retire after their divorces are finalized.

Dividing retirement accounts is very complex. There are many different types, and all of them have their own regulations and laws governing them. Making certain to understand the rules that apply to a particular type of plan may be hard. People will also need to be able to understand what portion should be allocated to the marital estate and what is the separate property of the person holding the account if it was set up before the marriage.

The risks of social media when getting a divorce

When a Texas couple chooses to divorce, the number of factors that enter into how it will be settled are many. At the end of a marriage, emotions are undoubtedly running high with vast concerns. Although it might seem innocuous, keeping track of social media and what is posted there can be important.

There are numerous potential risks of taking part in social media. Legally, there can be incriminating pieces of information that can be utilized during the divorce proceeding. For example, if a person claims to not be able to afford spousal support but posts pictures of new purchases or a vacation, it can be harmful. Social media posts are also there to stay. Even if something that is a potential negative is deleted, there is a chance that it can be found and used in the case regardless of its context.

Arguments for and against ending a marriage

People in Texas usually contemplate divorce for a while before actually filing the paperwork. With the national divorce rate at around 50 percent, it's clear that a lot of people are choosing to part ways rather than work things out. Before ending a marriage, spouses may want to consider some of the best arguments for and against divorce in order to weigh their options.

One of the most common reasons people decide not to go through with a divorce is because they have children. If parents can work out their problems in a healthy way, it is usually better for the children to keep the family together. Some couples decide to stick together and work through their problems because they would be unable to support their financial burdens apart. Another common reason couples decide to stay together is that they are able to remember the love that began their marriage.

Judges often treat allegations of child abuse with suspicion

Experienced family law attorneys in Texas and around the country may urge divorcing couples to come to an amicable agreement whenever possible. Protracted court battles drain resources and offer no guarantees, and family court judges often treat allegations of neglect or cruelty with skepticism. Child custody and visitation disputes can be especially contentious, but it may be wise for divorcing parents to think twice before making accusations about bad parenting or child abuse in court.

The problem is that such claims are so pervasive that judges rarely take them seriously unless they are backed up with convincing evidence. The potential consequences of making allegations of child abuse, even if they are true, was shown by a survey of 240 family law cases by a George Washington University law professor. The professor found that mothers who made claims of child abuse lost primary or joint custody of their children 80 percent of the time.

Summer vacation planning for divorced parents

Summer vacation can be a stressful time for divorced parents in Texas. Because children's schedules change during the summer months, it is important to sort out a parenting plan before the school year ends. Children often adjust better to a divorce if the parents cooperate, so it is vital that both ex-spouses are involved in the planning process. Miscommunications will likely occur at some point during the summer vacation, and ideally, any disputes should be resolved through communicating with one another or attending remediation.

It may be helpful for parents to write down their children's new schedules on a calendar, so there is less chance for confusion about what activities they are attending. The older a child is, the more parents will have to consider their preferences. If parents are planning to take a vacation with the children, they should provide their ex-spouse with ample notice so the other person can make their own plans.

Prenuptial agreements to protect business assets

Business owners in Texas who are not married might want to consider how marriage and a subsequent divorce could affect their company legally and financially. A spouse could be entitled to half of the appreciation in value of a company that took place during the marriage unless a prenuptial agreement provides otherwise.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that couples sign prior to their marriage. The assets that each individual brings into the marriage are often classified as either separate or joint property in the document. In the event of divorce, any assets that were designated as separate will be the sole property of the original owner. If one spouse owns a business prior to marriage, classifying it as separate property in a prenuptial agreement could prevent the other spouse from being awarded half of its appreciated value in the property division stage.

Children's reactions to a divorce of their parents

When Texas parents are having marital problems, their children are likely to suffer, even if the parents attempt to hide their issues. Even if adults do not argue in front of children, most kids are able to tell that there is tension or something not right.

There is no question that when a couple decides to end their marriage that their young children will be affected, but it may be a good idea to not prolong the matter. When children do not know if their parents are going to be getting a divorce, it may be more difficult for them than if parents decide to split up.

The importance of a sound parenting plan

Although divorce can create stress for all members of a Texas family, a parenting plan can help to provide some stability by acting as a guide when doubts or conflicts later arise. Divorce's emotional elements can take years to resolve, and conflict between parents can be particularly hard on children. However, the implementation of a carefully composed parenting plan allows for disputes to be weighed against the terms decided in court or through mediation.

Joint legal custody provides for both parents to be involved in important decisions involving a child. Being able to manage these situations with minimal conflict from early in the process can facilitate a better transition that will support positive interactions with the children into their adult lives. Issues such as relocation or remarriage for one or both parents could occur, and including provisions for these situations in a parenting plan can minimize the need to return to court for a modification at a later date.

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