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While a divorce can be a contentious affair, you can choose to end your marriage amicably. Instead of asking a Texas judge to craft a settlement, you and your spouse may be able to come to terms on who gets the house, custody of the pets or control of a joint bank account outside of court.

Do you communicate well with your spouse?

If you communicate well with your spouse, you may be able to agree to an amicable divorce settlement by engaging in informal talks. In some cases, you may be able to come to an agreement without the assistance of a mediator or other outside parties. However, you may want to consider working with a professional as he or she may be able to make sure that the talks remain cordial and focused on settling the divorce in a timely manner.

Compromise is key

As a general rule, the best settlements are the ones in which neither side gets everything that he or she wants. Ideally, you'll focus on obtaining what you need to maintain a reasonable lifestyle after the marriage ends. It can be easier to get what you need by giving your spouse what he or she needs to survive on his or her own. For example, you may be able to keep the marital home in exchange for letting your spouse have a sports memorabilia collection.

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Tips on co-parenting after a divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Couples divorcing in Texas must divide a lot of their assets, and it can be a headache to deal with. However, the most important and often most difficult task is the division of parental responsibilities. In this part of the divorce, you're likely to go through a long process of deciding how co-parenting will work and if the other parent is even suitable to take care of children. Fortunately, many couples do find some sort of agreement, but that is not the end of the process. The following includes a few tips on co-parenting after a divorce.

Work as a team

Remember, they may be your former spouse, but they are still your children's father/mother. Positive and effective communication should remain in order to provide your child with the best life possible. Some items that require good communication include:

  • Educational choices
  • Medical decisions
  • Travel restrictions
  • Show empathy toward your children

You may not think that your children are old enough to understand the seriousness of divorce, but they do. Even if they do not understand what divorce is, they do understand that their routine has changed, and they no longer see mom and dad together. That is why it is so important to show empathy toward them and allow them to tell you how they feel and what they are worried about.

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When a couple is married and one spouse is the primary earner, that spouse’s Social Security benefits are intended to help fund retirement for both people. A lot of older Texas couples are divorcing closer to their retirement years, but that does not remove Social Security benefits for one spouse. Instead, that spouse might be able to obtain benefits based on the other spouse’s lifetime earnings.

Half benefit available for longtime ex-spouses

When a marriage lasts for at least a decade and ends in divorce, the spouse who earned less among the two already met the first qualifier to obtain benefits. That is at least a decade of marriage prior to divorce. Age is another qualifier. The former spouse seeking benefits and the primary earner each must be at least 62 years of age or otherwise qualified to draw a Social Security benefit. When the ex-spouse seeking a benefit files based on a former spouse’s lifetime earnings, the ex-spouse could get a benefit equal to half the amount of the primary earner.

Disqualifiers prevent benefits claims

Even when a marriage lasted more than 10 years and all other conditions are met for a spousal benefit, a couple things would stop that from happening. One is if the ex-spouse has remarried. If so, the new marriage applies regarding Social Security benefits. If the ex-spouse worked and qualifies for a benefit that is larger could be obtained via the lifetime earnings of a former spouse, then the ex-spouse cannot claim the lower benefit amount.

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Tax implications of divorce

Posted on in Divorce

When couples in Texas decide to get divorced, they are frequently focused on dividing their marital assets equally. To make sure that the property division is equal, divorcing spouses should consider the potential tax consequences. Some assets may be subject to higher taxes, which may make them worth less than taking other assets instead.

Taxes and different types of retirement accounts

Many divorcing couples have retirement accounts that will need to be divided. However, the types of retirement accounts need to be considered when deciding how to divide them. For example, if a couple has both a Roth and a traditional IRA that are equal in account values, choosing to let each spouse keep one might seem to be equal. However, Roth IRAs are funded with post-tax dollars while traditional IRAs are funded with pre-tax dollars. This means that the spouse who takes the Roth IRA will receive the account's full value at the time that distributions are taken while the person receiving the traditional IRA will have to pay taxes on the amounts that are withdrawn.

Child-related credits

Paying attention to child-related credits is also important. While the dependency exemption is currently suspended, it will return by 2026. This exemption allows the claiming parent to take a $4,000 exemption per child to reduce his or her taxable income. Parents should also think about other child-related credits, including the child care credit, the earned income credit and the additional child tax credit. Together, these credits can decrease the amount of taxes that a parent might be forced to pay and increase the amount of his or her income tax refund.

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History of and reasons for divorce

Posted on in Divorce

If you are married and considering divorce in Texas, you are not alone. There are several reasons why a marriage can fall apart, and divorce has lost the taboo that it had among older generations. Nearly half of first-time marriages, 42%, end in divorce, and that percentage increases with each subsequent marriage.

What is no-fault divorce?

Several decades ago, states did not allow married couples to get a divorce without a substantial reason, such as adultery or domestic abuse. Though these laws were presumably intended to protect the sanctity of marriage, they resulted in some fabricated stories from individuals stuck in a bad marriage. The rise in divorce rates in recent years is likely due in part to the advent of no-fault divorce, which allows individuals to get a divorce without proving that the other spouse committed a major transgression. Now, you can file for a divorce and simply claim that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.

Bad acts leading to divorce

Though you no longer need to allege fault when seeking a divorce, adultery and domestic violence remain common reasons why some spouses want to separate. Adultery may give individuals even more of a reason to separate given the prevalence and growing understanding of STDs.

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