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Fort Worth Family Law Blog

Considerations for special expenses during a divorce

A divorce involving Texas parents means not only the division of assets but also a consideration of the responsibilities and expenses related to raising their children. Child support settlements indicate what parents are responsible for, including entertainment expenses that range from concert tickets and movie rentals to extracurricular activities and basic classes such as swimming lessons. But when a child is determined to become an elite athlete, the question arises as to who pays for the special expenses related to the activity.

In many states, child support guidelines include language related to gifted or special needs children, which can be invoked in certain cases. In the case of a child who is a gifted athlete, a family court judge might choose to cite this language to address how the special expenses are covered and by who, particularly if it is deemed that it is in the best interest of the child to continue pursuing the sport.

Child custody and divorce may affect U.S. migration rates

Fifty years ago, it was more common for Texans to move to other states. This type of moving, called migration, is now occurring much less frequently across the U.S. Researchers have been baffled as to why migration rates have fallen so significantly. However, one researcher's work points to child custody as a possible cause.

The researcher analyzed data about U.S. migration rates in tandem with data about divorce and child custody cases. He found that there was a strong correlation between child custody matters and lower migration rates. Divorced parents who have children are much less likely to move between states than people who do not have children.

Decide what to do with the house

Texas couples who decide to get divorced often wonder how to deal with certain aspects of the process. One common area that leads to contention is property division, especially deciding on who should receive the marital home.

Property division comprises a large portion of the divorce process. The parties might be able to come up with their own settlement agreement and seek the court's approval, or they can rely on a judge to make decisions regarding how they will divide property. When deciding on how to divide the marital property, the couple often has several choices. One option is for one spouse to keep the house. This decision requires careful consideration to determine if one spouse is able to afford the home on his or her own and with only one income. If one spouse keeps the home, he or she usually refinances the home in his or her name and buys out the other spouse's share. Another option is to sell the home. The spouses may split the proceeds equally or in a different arrangement that they agree on. Some spouses may decide to keep the home for a certain number of years or to rent it out for profit.

Male unemployment among possible factors that lead to divorce

While neither economic independence for women nor sharing household chores more equitably seem to be major contributors to divorce, a study has found that unemployment for men may be a common cause. In Texas and throughout the country, marriages in which the husband does not work outside the home may be more likely to end up among the 50 percent of marriages that end in divorce.

Household chores did not seem to explain why the divorce rate has gone up from 30 percent in the 1960s. For example, for couples married before 1975, women who shouldered more of the household work were less likely to get divorced, but for couples married after that time, a woman doing less housework did not correlate to a higher divorce rate. A couple's financial situation also did not seem to affect whether or not they divorced. It was theorized that the reason unemployment among men is a significant factor in the likelihood of a divorce is because the unemployment among men is more likely to be involuntary.

Gray divorces may benefit from financial product

According to researchers at Bowling Green State University, people at or over the age of 50 divorced twice as much in 2014 as they did in 1990. While child custody is usually not an issue in 'gray divorce," divorces that happen later in life typically involve more complicated property division questions for Texas couples.

A financial product that is on the horizon may help people who are involved in gray divorces to divide their real estate assets. The divorce mortgage is specifically designed for divorced homeowners who do not want to leave their homes. Forbes says that divorce mortgages may be available before the end of 2016, and the financial product is also being talked about in Great Britain.

Divorce settlement agreements and their importance

Disputes sometimes arise after estranged Texas couples have reached divorce settlement agreements. These agreements become the court's orders in the divorce case, and they control. It is very important that people understand what is included in their proposed settlement agreement so that they understand the expectations placed on both parties.

When one ex-spouse decides to do something to help the other ex-spouse that is not contained in the agreement, the recipient may believe that the actions become part of the agreement. That is not the case, and the person may simply refer to the agreement.

Couples have options on settling divorces

Divorces can be unpleasant experiences, often resulting in expensive court battles, but Texas couples have several options that can make the process less painful. In many cases it depends upon how well the estranged spouses can communicate with each other.

The uncontested divorce is the least painful and expensive. This happens when couples work out such issues as division of assets, and child custody and support. Litigated divorces are at the other end of the spectrum. These may occur if couples can't agree on anything, and the court process is often lengthy and expensive.

Divorcing homeowners often face tough choices

Splitting up assets is a major part of the divorce process. From small personal items such as dinnerware and books to large-ticket items like vehicles, all shared property must be dealt with. Even when a split is amicable, divorcing couples in Texas often have trouble deciding how to handle what is typically their biggest and most valuable asset, which is their home. When it is burdened by a mortgage, it can be even more difficult.

Typically, there are two ways to deal with a mortgage during the end of a marriage, each of which require the cooperation of both parties to ensure a smooth resolution. Couples first must decide if it's in their best interest to sell or refinance. This is a deeply personal choice that is dependent on many factors, including whether or not minor children live in the home and the mortgage amount that was paid off during the marriage.

Divorcing spouses and financial planning

When a married couple goes through a divorce in Texas, there may be one spouse that is left with a lot less money. If people earned less income during the marriage and didn't save for retirement, they might have to petition for alimony payments in order to make ends meet once they are single.

Some former spouses may look back on their marriage and realize that they could have put themselves in a better financial situation with a little forethought. Although most married people don't want to plan for the possibility of a divorce, every married person could benefit from understanding their finances. Learning about budgeting, investing and saving for retirement can help an individual to prepare for the unexpected.

Half of all marriages still end in divorce, statistics say

Many Texas couples may have heard the adage that half of all marriages end in divorce, and this remains true today even though divorce rates on the whole are down. However, the 55-and-over generation is ensuring that the 50 percent figure does not drop.

People between the ages of 55 and 64 divorced more than twice as frequently as the same age group did in 1990. For those at or over the age of 65, the 2012 divorce rate was triple the 1990 rate. State laws, women's financial independence and longer life spans are all cited as reasons for the higher rates.

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