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Community property law on the marital home

Who gets to keep the house during divorce is best determined by examining the total amount of community property acquired and the total amount of debt incurred during the marriage. Texas is a community property state, and the value of the community property is evenly divided between the divorcing parties. Separate properties are those that belong to one spouse or the other, such as inherited property or intellectual property. Separate property is not divided upon the dissolution of the marriage.

Who gets the house is a financial and an emotional decision. One spouse may be able to purchase the house from the other. If the children are already grown, it may be easier to sell the home and divide the proceeds evenly.

Relationships aren't always logical

About half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. While some exes in Texas may have had good reasons to end their relationships, not all marriages end for logical reasons. For instance, one woman filed for separation because her husband got the wrong present for her birthday. Another decided that she didn't like the fact that her husband got drunk at the wedding and filed for divorce after the honeymoon.

In one internet forum thread, attorneys have shared some of the most irrational reasons their clients have filed for divorce. Other petty reasons for ending a marriage included a dog that urinated on the floor and a husband who left his wife because she chewed too loud. He said that it made it unbearable to eat and caused him to develop mental health issues. In some instances, a person decided to end a marriage for reasons that were both strange and logical at the same time. For instance, one husband filed for divorce because his wife wouldn't allow him to bring a loaded gun into their bedroom for use as a "marital aid."

What happens to your vacation home after your divorce?

Whether you have a beach house on South Padre Island, a cabin in the Hill Country or a quaint place somewhere else, you probably love your vacation home. If you are going through a divorce, though, you must divide your marital property with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. What happens to the vacation home? 

As you may know, Texas is a community property state. As such, the assets you acquire during your marriage are likely community property. When you divorce, a judge determines a fair and equitable way to divide everything you own. When it comes to your vacation property, where it ends up may depend on a few factors. 

Divorce considerations for the summer months

People in Texas may be more likely to divorce in the summer months. There are a number of factors that may contribute to the spike, including the increased family togetherness that comes along with holiday trips and school vacations. According to research, divorce filings are most common in August and March. Some note that couples may notice more problems in their relationships when they go through more togetherness, whether during summer trips or the winter holidays. Others note that summer vacation from school allows kids' schedules to be rearranged with less disruption when parents separate.

Even if they are not sure they want to divorce, people in troubled relationships may want to make sure that they are prepared. Divorce is a legal and financial matter as well as a personal and emotional separation. This means that having key documents in place and advance planning can be important to emerging successfully from the end of a marriage. Some of the important paperwork that people may want to collect include tax returns, credit card statements, phone bills, retirement account statements and real estate documents. When only one spouse handles financial matters, the other may face severe disadvantage and confusion when moving toward a divorce.

Marriages may fail for surprising reasons

Entering into marriage is typically a time of great optimism with looking forward to a long, productive, and happy life together. Most Texas couples are likely aware that statistically, many marriages do not endure for the long run but are convinced that divorce is what happens to other people. As much as many people believe divorce cannot happen to them, the underlying cause of the rift between the respective parties may be even more surprising.

There are some obvious issues that can arise in a marriage that place an enormous strain on the couple and are likely to lead to a break-up. Domestic violence, substance abuse, and infidelity inevitably prove to be all but intolerable. Regular and ongoing financial struggles can also prove toxic to the well-being of a relationship. However, family relationship experts point to one cause that most couples typically don't worry about as leading to a large number of break-ups.

The importance of financial information in divorce cases

The prospect of divorce can be particularly daunting for spouses in Texas and around the country who do not make day-to-day financial decisions. These spouses, who are most often wives, may be uncertain about ending unhappy marriages because they do not know the size of the marital estate, how much money has been put aside for retirement or whether they can expect to receive enough spousal support to live comfortably on their own.

The best way to address this uncertainty is to gather information that provides an accurate picture of a couple's financial position. Tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills are a good place to start. In addition to providing information about income, tax returns may also reveal how much money is being saved for retirement as these payments are usually tax deductible. If these documents are not readily available, they may be obtained by contacting an accountant or tax preparer.

How do courts define the best interests of the child?

In custody cases, judges make a lot of decisions based on the “best interests of the child.” This is subjective terminology that may mean different things to each parent, so it can be a frustrating principle for either party to follow.

If you are unsure about developments in your custody arrangement, consider what factors the judge is looking at to help you understand. Knowing what the courts are looking for can help you supply appropriate evidence to support your own case.  

Buying the family home after a divorce

One of the most valuable assets Texas couples may buy during a marriage is their home. If the marriage ends in a divorce, there are likely to be disputes regarding what should happen with the property. Before making decisions about the home, such as whether one spouse should purchase the home in their own name, there are certain factors that should be carefully considered.

One issue to consider is how much the mortgage should be in order to execute a buyout. In some cases, other assets owned by a spouse can be applied to the buyout amount. This could then reduce the loan amount that's needed. In other cases, one spouse may prefer to use cash from the home in order to adhere to the buyout terms. If this occurs, the amount of the new mortgage will be higher. A professional divorce mortgage advisor could help a couple figure out what would be the best mortgage to apply for. After this has been determined, the buyout structure can then be established.

Opinions vary on divorce for stay-at-home parents

Studies show that people in Texas and across the country have widely different perspectives of how stay-at-home parents should be treated during a divorce. Around 25 percent of mothers and 7 percent of fathers across the country stay home to care for their children, in what is often a joint decision between both spouses in a marriage. There are a number of reasons why people make this choice; in the first place, many simply believe that a parent, especially a mother, is best placed to provide care for their children. For others, the decision is simply practical; daycare may cost more than the salary brought in by the stay-at-home parent.

A stay-at-home parent, unlike most paid childcare services, is available all the time to perform full parenting duties. This can give the working parent the freedom to work lengthy hours, take business trips or pursue a promotion without being held back on the "mommy track" or even the "daddy track." Sometimes even spouses with high-powered careers of their own choose to stay home after having a child. Around 10 percent of mothers with a master's degree or higher leave the workforce to become stay-at-home moms.

Working to develop a positive co-parenting relationship

When parents in Texas decide to divorce, the end of their marriage doesn't bring an end to their need to work together to raise their children. It can be challenging to move from being spouses to being co-parents, but doing so successfully can help children emerge successfully and happily from their parents' divorce. At the heart of a positive co-parenting relationship is always remembering that the kids' interests come first, even when the relationship between the parents is full of pain and conflict. This means recognizing that each child's relationship with both parents is very important and must be protected.

Parents should continue to work together after their divorce to give their children a sense of stability. This can include common rules at both households. Of course, this does not mean that parents need to agree on minor issues; many times, conflicts over parenting choices helped to contribute to the end of the marriage. However, shared basic expectations about kindness or fulfilling academic responsibilities can be common between both parents' houses.

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