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Sugar Land Family Law Blog

Divorce brings complications for kids going back to school

Parents in Texas who are approaching or going through a divorce, as well as those who've recently finalized a divorce, are wise to give some thought to their kid's upcoming school year. For children and parents, negotiating the logistics of school, friends and activities can get more complicated following divorce. By keeping a few things in mind, however, parents can be prepared when their kids head back to school.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that expenses are likely to increase. The divorce agreement will typically cover large, predictable expenses, but the beginning of the school year is a time of unforeseen costs. Some divorced couples agree to divide such costs evenly; some base responsibility for costs on their relative levels of income, and some use a list of expenses and divide them on a line-item basis.

Learn what can happen when child support payments go into default

In Texas and throughout the country, child support is an important issue. Court systems everywhere maintain that children have the right to be properly supported by their parents. If parents fail to pay court-ordered child support, they can be held in contempt of court, and federal laws will sometimes come into play. It is possible that a parent who defaulted on child support could be sentenced to prison time or extensive fines and still be required to pay the child support.

When a divorce occurs, establishing custody guidelines and making provisions for the financial support of any children involved is a crucial part of the process. Typically, both maternity and paternity of the children are determined in the beginning of the divorce procedures. While both parents are often documented on a child's birth certificate, there may be occasions when an assumed father might question his biological relationship to a child. In cases such as this, genetic or DNA testing can be utilized to resolve paternity issues.

Protecting personal assets before remarriage

Subsequent marriages present a myriad of complications, from blending families to complicated financial assets. After the dissolution of a first marriage, those considering marrying again may wish to prevent issues present in a first divorce by establishing separate property before signing a marriage license. For those considering remarriage, a prenuptial agreement can offer valuable protections for property owned before the marriage.

Defining and protecting assets

A prenup can make your second divorce go more smoothly

You may have married when you were too young or impetuous the first time around, but the divorce taught you a thing or two.

You did not have a prenuptial agreement then, but you insisted on it when you married for the second time. Unfortunately, the marriage is over, but in one respect, this divorce will be easier because you thought ahead. Here are four of the lessons you put into practice:

Debt struggles leading to millennial divorces

Some Texas millennials may be in danger of getting divorced because of difficulties with managing student loans. A survey by the site Student Loan Hero found that 13 percent of divorced respondents said their marriages ended because of student loans. More than 33 percent blamed student loans as well as other financial issues.

The average outstanding balance for student loans has increased more than 60 percent in the last 10 years to $34,000. Borrowers who graduated in 2017 owed more than $39,000, and some people have upwards of $50,000 in student loan debt. In another survey, more than 40 percent of borrowers said they fought with their partners about money. Almost 20 percent said lying about finances to a partner was OK, and nearly a quarter had not disclosed the extent of their student loan debt to their partners.

Marital debt and other surprises that may arise in divorce

Women in Texas who are getting a divorce might be unprepared for the financial side of things if they have not been participating in the family finances. The online marketplace Worthy conducted a survey in which it found that almost half of divorced women faced financial surprises in divorce. Almost a quarter of women 54 and younger said they had left financial decisions to their husbands while 18 percent of women 55 and older reported the same.

The types of financial surprises that women encounter in divorce include thinking child support and alimony will last longer, not expecting to have to work outside the home and assuming they will keep the family home. Some are also surprised by the cost of divorce and the price of health insurance. Some are unaware until the divorce of the family's debt load including credit card debt, student loans, the mortgage and auto loans.

Making parenting schedules

Texas parents who have split still have to work with their former partners to ensure that the children are able to adapt well to their parents not being together. Developing an efficient parenting schedule is one way to do this.

Parenting schedules are mainly about dividing the duties of child custody. However, parents can also use the scheduling to show their children that they are the first priority and that their parents are willing to work with one another, despite any disputes they have, to see to their well-being.

Report suggests divorce may reduce readiness for retirement

When a marriage comes to an end in Texas, it can mean short-term financial issues for newly single individuals adjusting to shifts in income and expenses. A report by the Center for Retirement Research suggests that divorce can also impact readiness for retirement. Changes pertaining to how alimony payments are taxed could present additional challenges for divorced couples.

According to the CRR's National Retirement Risk Index, half of all households in the United States may not be able to maintain their standards of living after retirement. This figure is nearly 10 percent higher for households going through a divorce. Nationally, divorce rates are down except among couples 50 and older. Unfortunately, seniors may find it especially difficult to compensate for financial losses prior to retirement.

What to do when a divorce order is defied

Texas residents and others going through a divorce may have the power to create a divorce agreement that meets their needs. However, there is no guarantee that a party to the deal will live up to its terms. If a former spouse is not paying child or spousal support as agreed, it could be possible to take legal action to have that person held in contempt of court.

Such a ruling might result in the party who is not complying with the agreement spending time in jail. It may also result in wages being garnished until a person is current with his or her payment obligations. Divorce agreements could stipulate who pays some or all the debt accrued during a marriage. However, if a debt is in a person's name, a missed payment can result in damage to a credit score regardless of who was supposed to take care of it.

When can child custody be changed in Texas?

Once you have a child custody agreement, you have restricted options for getting it changed. Furthermore, a custody change is unlikely to be granted if it does not seem to be in the best interests of the child.

That said, there is still a lot of room to negotiate for custody changes within these boundaries. Here are some common scenarios when custody may be modified:

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