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Bryan Texas Family Law Blog

Financial tips for divorcing men

As a husband and father, you have some unique considerations when it comes to getting a divorce. This is especially true if you are the main breadwinner and/or oversee the household finances. Divorcing can be complex and quickly become a hostile situation between you and your ex.

Thankfully, you can end your marriage and split your belongings much more simply if you follow some tips and the advice of your lawyer. Here are some financial guidelines for divorcing men to keep in mind. 

The why and how of establishing paternity

Unmarried dads in Texas may find themselves scratching their heads about the process of establishing paternity. They may also have more questions than they know how to find answers to and wonder whether they should even bother to assume legal responsibility for their children. These questions are not uncommon.

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse addresses them in an effort to help dads feel good about the legal process of paternity establishment. After all, if fathers believe the end result of the process is worth it, they are more likely to wade into what can feel like murky waters. 

How is separate property handled in a divorce?

Have you recently filed for divorce or are thinking about legally separating from your partner? You may feel overwhelmed when faced with the many issues that must be settled in the final divorce papers. One of the most difficult may be that of separating property that you have accumulated during the course of your marriage. Contrary to what you may think, not all property is considered jointly owned and you may not have to divide some items in the divorce decree. Separate property is identified as property owned privately by either party before becoming married, and in some cases, this property may stay in the possession of the original owner, even in the case of a divorce.

Separate property may be a home or vehicle that you owned prior to marriage and have kept only your name on the title. Other items that may be separate property include gifts given to either spouse by a third-party, inheritance money, compensation obtained from a personal injury case or money made prior to the marriage and kept in a separate account.

Why fathers receiving sole custody is more common

Whether you are currently going through a divorce in Texas or you are just considering filing your divorce papers, you may be involved in the child custody process. As part of the procedures, the judge presiding over the case may determine whether sole-custody or joint-custody is in the best interest of the child. While it used to be commonplace for mothers to receive sole physical custody of the children in a divorce case, more and more fathers are being granted full-custody of their children.

The trend of more fathers receiving sole physical custody and mothers being forced to pay child support may be a product of the changing working environment across the United States. Not only are there more women in high position careers across the country, but more dads are staying home to take care of the kids. When the judge considers who is best equipped to have the children full-time, he or she will often consider who spends the most time with the children on a regular basis. Stay-at-home fathers are more likely to be granted full physical custody of the children.

Can your wages be garnished for failure to pay child support?

If you are a Texan obligated to pay child support under a court order, you need to know that your wages are subject to garnishment should you fall behind in your child support payments and/or refuse to make them. The Office of the Texas Attorney General explains that your employer must withhold money from your paycheck once it receives a proper Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support from the appropriate court or agency.

Per Texas law, you must receive a notice of the proposed garnishment that gives you the opportunity to contest it before the garnishment proceedings begin. Should you fail to receive this pre-garnishment notice in the mail for whatever reason, such as because you moved from your previous address and left no forwarding address with your local post office, your employer nevertheless must begin garnishing your wages upon receipt of his or her own notice to do so. However, (s)he must give you a copy of that notice.

My ex is keeping the kids from me to get her way. What can I do?

There is perhaps no greater conflict in family law than that of child custody and visitation rights. As the non-custodial parent, you still have the right to see your children, as outlined in your parenting agreement. You might have the kids every weekend or every other week. Like many other non-custodial parents in Texas, you may have your children for several weeks in the summer and on certain holidays. It can be frustrating and heartbreaking if your ex-spouse makes it difficult to see your children.

Your ex might not be home at the appointed time when you show up to pick up your kids, or she may have texted you that you can’t have them on your designated weekend. This could have been an oversight, or you might have previously agreed to let your ex keep the kids on that particular weekend to visit their grandparents. However, it is a different story if your children are being withheld from you without your consent. In fact, withholding visitation may be considered a court order violation, and your ex could be held in contempt, as FindLaw explains.

3 key benefits of divorce mediation

If you are working your way through a divorce, and, particularly, if you are doing so and also a father, you may be considering undergoing divorce mediation, as opposed to traditional courtroom litigation. Unless the situation between you and your soon-to-be-former wife is especially acrimonious, you may be wise to do so, as mediation offers numerous benefits for you, as well as any children you and your wife may share.

Some of the primary advantages of divorce mediation are that it can enable you to do the following:

What causes gray divorce?

When you recite the vows, ‘until death do us part,’ you may be planning on spending the rest of your life with your spouse. Yet, with over half of the marriages in the United States ending in divorce, you may end up filing for divorce. Surprisingly, the divorce rate among couples over the age of 50 is growing steadily, as reported by Bowling Green State University. The phenomenon known as gray divorce is shown in the fact that 600,000 people over the age of 50 filed for divorce in 2009, equating to one in four marriages. That number grew from one in ten marriages ending in divorce in 1990. Researchers predict that there will be more than 800,000 gray divorces by 2030.

What is the cause for this increased number of divorces later in life? Couples who focus their relationship on their children or career may find that they no longer have anything in common when the children move out of the house or when people retire from their jobs. Rather than spend their years trapped in an unhappy relationship, couples may decide to get divorced after decades of marriage. These types of divorce have become more socially acceptable. Years ago, it was common to stay in a marriage because it was frowned upon to file for divorce. Women were often financially dependent on their husbands and couldn’t make it on their own. With an increased number of women in workplace, women may feel empowered to leave their marriages.

Fathers play a crucial role in children’s lives

Although children who are involved in a divorce may end up in the sole-custody of one parent, it is crucial that they are exposed to both their mother and father on a regular basis. Children need the financial and emotional support of both parents in order to have the best chance of a living a full and happy life. However, a number of children who live with their mothers’ have limited access to their fathers. Studies show that this limitation can impede on a child’s development.

One review performed by the Father Involvement Research Alliance found that toddlers who have access to their dads on a regular basis are often more sociable, have higher IQs and are better problem-solvers. Also, children were found to act less impulsive and have a higher self-confidence. As they grew into young adults, kids who spent time with their fathers had more successful careers, better marriages, completed higher levels of education and had a greater social support system. Overall, they experienced a better general physical health, cognitive and behavioral health.

Tips for creating a parenting plan

When parents in Texas file for divorce or legal separation, they must make important decisions regarding their children. Some of the most crucial decisions involve creating a parenting plan. The parenting plan documents which parent is entitled to spend time with the children and when, including details such as holidays, vacations, birthdays, school breaks and other circumstances. There are some important things to keep in mind when creating a personal parenting plan.

First, parents should make sure that all of the topics are covered in the document. This includes the following:

  •          The normal days and times the children will be with each parent.
  •          How and where the exchange will take place.
  •          How decisions will be made when it comes to the children.
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