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Recent blog posts

Key benefits of divorce mediation

Posted on in Uncategorized

Couples who get married usually plan to be together forever. However, that does not always occur. For those who may be contemplating a divorce, it can be helpful to understand a few things about the process.

Outside of court, divorce mediation is a common option for dissolving a marriage. There are a few key benefits in choosing mediation.

Cheaper

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By now, schools are used to students who have divorced parents. However, some schools and teachers are better at handling these situations than others. Still, you and your co-parent should expect a minimum of consideration from the school.

To that end, here is a look at how schools should communicate with co-parents who have legal custody of their children.

Clear policy

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Contrary to what you may believe, your divorce does not need to be nasty. While it will probably be painful and difficult at times, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be able to work together to get an amicable divorce. It will be better for everyone-including your kids-to divorce as quickly and harmoniously as possible.

So how can you avoid wasting years and tons of money in a contentious divorce? Here are some guidelines for ending your marriage as smoothly as possible.

1. Surround yourself with supportive people

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Parent-teacher conferences are often a joyous occasion. In addition to meeting your child's teachers and getting acquainted with their curriculum, you may learn about your kid's success in class and hear more about her or his academic strengths. You will likely emerge from the conference a proud parent, but the stress from sharing the time with your ex may put a damper on the excitement and pride you should be feeling.

It is important to develop some co-parenting strategies prior to attending the parent-teacher conference. Utilizing the following tips can help prevent tension and ensure the meeting is a productive discussion of your child's academic performance.

1. Stay focused on goals

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Prenuptial agreements and your divorce

Posted on in Uncategorized

If you entered into a prenuptial agreement, you need to know how its provisions can affect the course of your divorce proceedings.

Signing a prenuptial agreement can be a good way to protect your finances in the event of a future split. While the law generally wants people to have the freedom of choosing what to agree on, there are some areas where courts are unlikely to enforce prenups.

Prenups must be in writing

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Getting a visit from Child Protective Services is one of the things a parent dreads the most. Finding out that someone is questioning your parenting skills and feels as if the state needs to intervene can be a frightening, infuriating and humiliating experience. However, you are far from alone. Countless parents in Texas and elsewhere receive visits from CPS, and most cases find a resolution without having the children taken away.

Even so, this can be an uncertain time as you worry about the outcome of your case and whether you might lose your children. If you get a knock on your door and it turns out to be a social worker with CPS, stay calm and remember the following tips:

  • Ask to see the social worker's warrant. You do not have to let CPS into your home without a court warrant, no matter how intimidating they are.
  • You can tell the social worker you need time to get in contact with your attorney. The worker will likely schedule another visit, but this will give you time to prepare for the visit and seek legal counsel.
  • The social worker may return with law enforcement. You may ask again to see a warrant, but the law may require you to let the CPS worker into your home this time.
  • During the visit, remain polite but answer questions briefly and to the point. Do not offer additional information or appear overly helpful. The CPS worker's job is to make sure your children are safe and well cared for, but he or she is not your friend.
  • Ask for the social worker's contact information. A business card is ideal. If you decide to record the visit for your protection, you must inform the CPS worker that you are doing so.

It is possible that CPS may remove your children from the home, depending on the social worker's judgment. If so, do not panic. You may provide names of relatives or other people you trust for CPS to consider entrusting your children with while they work on your case. When you cooperate with the agency and law enforcement, you improve your chances of getting your children back sooner and closing your case.

Holiday co-parenting tips

Posted on in Uncategorized

Depending on your relationship with your ex-spouse, co-parenting may not be easy, and it may become especially difficult during the holiday season. Whether you have or are seeking full or shared custody, you want to create the best possible environment for the kids, which in many cases is spending time with both parents.

Having a specific plan for the holidays can be quite helpful. There are a few things you should consider in your co-parenting plans through the holidays.

Know the decree

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When a Texas couple with minor children divorces, the custody order is a necessary and important part of the divorce judgment. Parents must continue to follow the order, as failing to do so can involve legal consequences and may ultimately even affect custody.

However, circumstances can change. Sometimes an order that made perfect sense initially may no longer work in a new situation. When this happens, you may request a modification of the custody order.

Modification by agreement

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The basics of Texas child support

Posted on in Uncategorized

Divorcing Texas couples with minor children will have to deal with the issue of child support. Getting a quick overview of some basic concepts can help you better understand what to expect.

Similar to many other states, Texas law approaches issues relating to children from the standpoint of the best interests of the child. Thus, parents may not waive or agree to amounts below the state's guidelines. While they are free to compromise on their own rights, they may not do so on behalf of the child. They may, however, agree to amounts higher than those the guidelines would produce.

Who pays child support

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As your divorce becomes more imminent, you might be stressed about court room battles and unaffordable legal expenses. These are common reasons some divorcing couples choose mediation or collaborative divorce. These alternatives to litigation can help you save money and keep your sanity intact.

Even if you know these benefits, you might still be nervous about attending a mediation session for the first time. Before you begin, here are some important things you can to do get ready for mediation.

1. Gather important documents

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The department of Child Protective Services in Texas has long been under fire for insufficient action, lack of organized protocol and questionable treatment of foster children. All of these problems have understandably shaken faith in the department, but new legislation aims to empower CPS and restore Texans' faith in the services provided. There are a few things everybody should know about the laws.

According to the Dallas Times, the legislature extends over $500 million in new funding to CPS and the foster care system, and part of that funding may be available to people dealing with cases related to CPS. If you are facing a CPS-related legal issue, review these facts and consider consulting with a lawyer.

Relatives may receive compensation

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Being a military parent is difficult on family life. You may miss important milestones in your children's lives or have a hard time establishing a strong relationship when you are gone so often.

Divorce only compounds the problem, making it even harder to spend time with your kids when you can. It also adds complexity to child custody. Before you work out an agreement with your ex-spouse, be familiar with Texas law on military service and custody to ensure you do what is fair for both you and your children.

Texas law

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Divorce is a complicated and painful process for anyone, but many of the challenges are often exacerbated for military families. If you are going through a military divorce, you are facing unique legal issues and personal difficulties. You may be wondering how you are going to get through the separation in one piece.

One route you should consider is mediation. Mediation is a viable divorce alternative that benefits military families in multiple ways. Continue reading for the top reasons you might want to consider mediating your divorce.

1. Timely

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As a military parent, you may have concerns about how your divorce will affect your ability to spend time with your children. However, the courts recognize that it is in the children's best interests to maintain a healthy relationship with you.

Here are some ideas to help you keep up the bond you have with your children after divorce.

1. Create a military parenting plan

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Dividing the marital property in a divorce can mean tackling a lot of complicated issues. Knowing some basics about how the process works can help you make informed decisions at the various stages of your case.

When divorcing couples litigate their case in court, the judge typically issues orders on disputed issues. Some couples who do not have major disagreements may opt instead to draft an agreement with the help of their attorneys. For others, mediation can provide a fruitful way to negotiate disputes. Whichever way you take, understanding the standard approach to property division can help you define your goals for the process.

Just and fair division

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Couples wishing to divorce in Texas have several legal hoops to jump through. One of these is the parenting plan, which Texas law requires you to submit if you are divorcing with children. Lawmakers introduced this requirement to promote the best interests of the children and encourage the parents to cooperate in setting up effective parenting arrangements going forward.

Understanding what to expect with your parenting plan and what to include will make it easier and faster to get through the process successfully.

The plan will be part of the final order

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Transitioning to single parent status

Posted on in Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, you probably cannot wait for it to be over and to be able to say you are single. Although 34 percent of children live in a single-parent home, the situation is still treated as though it is abnormal. You are not alone as a single parent, even though it can feel that way. There are things you can do to make the transition easier.

Practice self-care

You are going to grieve the loss of your relationship. Knowing this helps you be ready for those days when you just do not want to get dressed and be an adult. Take time to do things for yourself when the other parent has the children. It is okay to enjoy your time alone.

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Signs your spouse is hiding assets

Posted on in Divorce

Impending divorce can bring out the worst in a person, especially when it comes to finances. Many spouses begin squirrelling away assets in order to avoid having to share them with the soon-to-be-ex in the course of property distribution. If you are thinking about divorce, it pays to stay alert to signs of secretive financial activities. Otherwise, by the time the court is dividing up marital assets, the hidden assets may be long gone.

Sudden changes in spending and withdrawals

Abrupt and unexplained changes in financial habits can serve as a red flag. If your spouse suddenly begins withdrawing amounts of money and refusing to tell you what for, you may want to look further. Once withdrawn and turned into cash, the money will be hard to track.

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Can a divorced couple co-parent?

Posted on in Divorce

The American Coalition for Fathers & Children reports that the "vast majority of kids want more time" with the non-custodial parent following a divorce. While there are some situations in which it is difficult to stay connected, in general, the State of Texas presumes that children need to have contact with both parents and encourages parents to stay involved with their children. If two people cannot live together and parent, how can they ever learn to co-parent following the divorce? It is possible.

Here are some tips to help you and the other parent work together:

  • Remember that co-parenting is the best option for the children. It helps them to feel more secure, and they benefit from the consistency of rules and rewards between homes. It sets an example for getting along and for problem-solving that may help your child do better in school and social settings.
  • Separate your feelings from your behavior. You might be hurt and angry, and you probably have every right to be, but do not let these feelings dictate how you behave. Think of your divorce as a new relationship with your ex-spouse. It is not going to be easy, but when you stay focused on what is important (your kids), you can remember why you need to act with grace and purpose.
  • Do not use the kids as messengers. Keep negative feelings about your ex to yourself, and do not try to compete with the other parent. Your child has enough love to go around. Make good memories with your time instead of complaining.
  • Find a mediator who can help you with the big problems. Learn from your mediator for the next time.
  • Before saying anything, think about what is best for the child. Breathe and be flexible.
  • Create an online calendar that can be updated by both of you. Give the other parent the opportunity to be present during doctor's appointments and school events. No, you do not have to be the secretary, but a shared calendar is good for communication.
  • Aim for some consistency when it comes to rules and schedules. Try to get your child to bed around the same time as the other parent. Make sure schoolwork is done before playtime.
  • Co-parenting is not 50/50 parenting, it is shared parenting.

Find a lawyer who focuses on your goals

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How divorce affects young children

Posted on in Divorce

Divorce is seldom easy for anyone involved, but when there are young children, it can be much more difficult. That is because the effects of divorce on children are unique, and they differ quite widely according to the child's age. If you are facing a divorce and want to know how to approach the topic with young children, there are a few best practices that are well-supported by research.

Communication is essential

According to an article posted by the Michigan State University Extension, the key to helping young children understand and process the changes that happen during a divorce is communication. Depending on the age of the child, her or his level of understanding might be fairly limited. By openly discussing what is happening and why without assigning blame, it is easier for children to come to terms with those changes. The best results occur when parents communicate with the children together, and these tips can help things go more smoothly:

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