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McKinney Divorce Law Blog

An impartial party may be needed in some child custody disputes

When a relationship between parents sours, children often find themselves caught in the middle. If a child custody dispute involves allegations of neglect or abuse, the services of a neutral attorney are often contracted to protect the best interest of the child. Texas parents who are concerned about the outcome of a contentious case may benefit from the services of a Guardian  ad litem.

No matter whether child custody disputes are the result of a divorce, protection order or revisiting a prior agreement, any allegations of abuse or neglect may require the services of a court-appointed impartial attorney for the child. This court-appointed Guardian ad-litem serves a vital role in ensuring that the custody order represents the best outcome for the child. This individual is appointed by the judge and works with the parents' attorneys in a neutral fashion. He or she is granted full access to all pertinent information related to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the child.

A prenuptial agreement can set couples up for marital success

One of the most-cited reasons for a divorce is financial struggles. In fact, disagreements over money are the second leading cause for divorce, behind marital infidelity. For that reason, it is recommended that engaged Texas couples help set the stage for marital success by drafting a prenuptial agreement.

It may seem counterintuitive to draw up a contract that dictates how property would be handled in the event of a divorce before the wedding even takes place, but doing so can help couples get on the same financial page. It is one thing to intend to keep separate assets, but during a marriage, it may be difficult to ensure that each party maintains separate property. If one spouse has the expectation of receiving significant assets at some point in the future, having a plan ahead of time can ease the division process if a divorce becomes inevitable.

Tips for winning child custody disputes in court

When it comes to their children, Texas parents will move mountains to ensure that they have everything they need for a healthy and well-balanced life. One of the most crucial elements in any child's life is the presence of loving and devoted parents. When a child custody dispute is unavoidable, there are steps one can take to help ensure the best outcome for their children.

One of the first steps is to to demonstrate a willingness to co-parent effectively. Avoiding negative comments and dragging a child into a dispute with the other parent will show a court that one has a child's best interest in mind. Likewise, a parent will fare best if he or she takes full advantage of parental rights, including visitation and custody time. Parents who make every effort to make their child their priority demonstrate to the court that they take the responsibilities of parenting seriously.

Company announces new way to make child support payments

In today's changing technology and business climate, companies are always looking for ways to streamline services and transactions. Advances in banking technology and the growth of companies that manage payments for both business and private clients have opened up new avenues for parents to obtain and make their child support payments. A recent announcement by one company may benefit noncustodial parents here in Texas and elsewhere.

Conduent Inc., a company that specializes in processing business transactions recently announced a partnership with PayPal. This new arrangement will allow those who make child support payments, such as noncustodial parents and employers, to utilize the ExpertPay service to make these payments through a PayPal account. PayPal offers the ability to make paying for goods and services more convenient by eliminating the need to enter either credit card or bank account information for each transaction.

Property division: Restructuring may help post-divorce finances

In a marriage, couples usually have a system for meeting financial goals. In the aftermath of a divorce, figuring out how to set new financial goals may take significant effort when working with limited resources. Though Texas is a community property state, along with negotiations over property division, there are several strategies that can be implemented to achieve financial security.

One of the first steps is to design a budget that will meet all of one's "newly single" expenses. This budget should take into account all of the obligations that need to be addressed that may have been previously handled by a spouse. In the beginning, such a budget will likely be restricted to short-term goals, but may be expanded once a comfortable cushion has been provided. Along with budgeting, it is important to address any debts that may have been accumulated through the divorce process and to re-finance any shared debt into the responsible party's name.

Concerns that some parents pose risk in child custody cases

The breakup of a family is traumatic and confusing. In spite of the fact that a relationship between the adults has ended, parents often work together to ensure that each is entitled to nurture his or her relationship with the children. There are times when Texas parents struggling with child custody may have legitimate concerns over the well-being of their children. 

One family law advocate expressed concerns over the prevalence of parental alienation claims, especially in complicated custody disputes. Though traditionally, mothers usually prevailed in custody disputes, evidence points to fathers being more successful in winning custody rights when they raise the issue of alienation. More importantly, fathers are purportedly more likely to be awarded custody in spite of abuse allegations if there are also claims of alienation. 

Property division does not have to uproot financial future

A divorce can be draining -- emotionally, mentally and financially. While it is unhealthy to remain in an unhappy marriage, entering into the property division proceedings without a clear plan for the future can threaten financial stability. Texas residents who are contemplating a divorce may wish to make preparations ahead of time.

One of the first steps is to devise a budget. Take into account everything that will need to be acquired, such as a new apartment, car and necessary expenses that include health and other insurances. Furthermore, it is important to take into consideration the everyday expenses as well. It is suggested that one starts with the basic needs and then revises a budget periodically to include such things as retirement and savings accounts.

One county reaches out to help parents with child support orders

Parents who find themselves in an unsustainable relationship often find themselves facing some challenging decisions. One of the most difficult is deciding with which parent a child will reside and which parent will be primarily responsible for providing child support. Though the majority of non-custodial Texas parents intend to ensure that their children's needs are met, life circumstances may make it difficult to meet their support obligations.

One county in another state has taken the initiative to reach out to select parents about their child support orders. In the third mailing related to this new project, the county's Child Support Enforcement office reached out to two sets of parents: those with support orders $50 and under who consistently make payments, and those with orders of $500 or more a month who are behind. There are guidelines that can be followed for making adjustments to these types of support payments.

Many worry over division of marital assets, money after divorce

Women often find themselves choosing to remain in an unhappy marriage rather than face financial hardship. Those who sacrifice their careers to raise a family, often find it difficult to re-enter the workforce. As a result, these Texas  residents are understandably concerned about how the division of marital assets would impact their financial future if they choose to file for a divorce.

In spite of the fact that many people have to adjust their lifestyles after their marriage, most have no regrets. One suggestion to improve post-divorce finances is to become informed about all marital assets before a divorce. When only one partner handles the household's monetary affairs, it leaves the other spouse at a disadvantage when it comes time to split assets. Those who have not taken an active role in the financial aspect of the marriage may need to take time to become educated about the assets available and gather information regarding how to budget for separate households.

For parents facing divorce, child custody decision is priority

Parents who have decided that a divorce or separation is the best solution for a troubled relationship have many concerns. The issue that takes precedence for the majority of parents is deciding on child custody plans. While legal custody is not usually a sticking point for most families, Texas residents may struggle to settle on the most suitable physical custody arrangement.

Legal and physical child custody are both matters that parents will need to address, whether they can arrive at an agreement between themselves or with the guidance of family law attorneys.  Legal custody pertains to which parent will make the major decisions regarding important concerns like education, health care and religious instruction. Unless there is a concern over the fitness of a parent, most parents will share legal custody with both parties having a say in these important decisions. Physical custody deals with how the child will spend time with each parent.

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