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McKinney Divorce Law Blog

I have child custody, but my ex isn't paying support

Children often bear the brunt of their parents' divorces. Texas couples who file for divorce have much on their plates to figure out and one of those issues when children are involved is child support and child custody. What happens though when the parent who is supposed to pay child support is falling behind or doesn't pay at all? In many of these cases, child support is often difficult to collect, even if the payor faces jail time for not paying. The advice of an experienced lawyer is necessary.

Statistics show that in 2011 unpaid child support in the country totaled more than $14 billion. There are things a payee can do to try to get a payor to make good on his or her child support payments, but the road isn't an easy one. The first thing to do, experts suggest, is having a conversation with the individual who is the payor and trying to clear the air and find out why he or she has been unable to make payments. It could be because of a job loss, sickness or some other major issue. If there is a legitimate reason, the payee may have to look into other ways of bridging the financial gap until the payor can pay again.

A prenuptial agreement may help to make a marriage stronger

No one stands in front of a minister, priest or justice of the peace, believing the marriage they're entering into will ultimately end in divorce. But life does have a way of throwing curve balls, and that is why it's important for Texas couples to consider having a prenuptial agreement in place. The prenup, as it is sometimes known, is becoming a much more widely used matrimonial document.

Experts say a prenuptial agreement actually helps couples to communicate positively about their financial situations since money and communication are among two of the most prominent reasons couples end up divorcing. A prenuptial agreement differs from a post-nuptial agreement in that it is a document signed before a marriage takes place. They usually will outline what happens to property upon divorce as well as how assets and debts will be divided, among others.

Single parents eligible for child support payments, too

A child should be supported financially by both parents if at all possible, even when he or she lives in a single parent home. In Texas, as in all the country, child support is ascertained the same way whether the parent is separated, getting a divorce, unmarried or had the child after being sexually active with a stranger. The gist is, however, that the child's legal paternity must be established, although that doesn't always mean the child's biological father.

The processes for getting child support vary from state to state, but the federal government says every state must have child support guidelines in place. An affidavit must be filed with the court to secure child support. There are four options to do this: self-representation in court, agreeing to mediation, hiring a lawyer or getting help from the Texas child support agency. It may take several months, no matter what route is taken and the process must be started within 90 days of finding a noncustodial parent.

A prenuptial agreement is like an insurance policy

There is no way to predict what will happen in the future, but there are ways to protect long-term interests. One way a Texas couple can do this is by drafting a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Some think that taking this step is assuming the marriage will end at some point in the future, but it is really more of an insurance policy. The couple may never need it, but it will provide peace of mind knowing it's there.

One benefit of signing a prenuptial agreement is that it may actually help reduce conflict in the future. When drafting this type of agreement, the two parties will have to discuss their finances, fully disclosing the debts and assets they are bringing into the marriage. These conversations can help both sides have realistic expectations about financial roles during the marriage, thus reducing the chance of fights over money.

Difficult behaviors make child custody decisions more difficult

Divorce is never easy for a Texas couple, even when both parties say they are committed to proceeding through the process in an amicable manner. However, this process can be especially difficult when one spouse is displaying passive-aggressive tendencies. This type of behavior makes everything more complicated, and it can be especially harmful when children witness it or when it affects child custody decisions.

This type of behavior sometimes manifests in a spouse who did not want to divorce or believes he or she was wronged somehow. The feelings of hurt and confusion may manifest in a way that makes it difficult to have productive conversations or negotiate reasonably on a custody and visitation schedule. A passive-aggressive individual will often try and be the victim, blame others, avoid conversations or act emotionally.

Property division considerations for men facing divorce

The end of a marriage will bring significant financial changes to the lives of both Texas spouses. Men and women have different approaches to divorce, and their unique perspectives can impact the choices they make during the property division process. Men facing divorce may find it beneficial to plan for the financial choices they will make and how they can shield their long-term interests.

Financial planning for divorce can help prevent choices that could have a negative impact long-term. Traditionally, men are less likely to seek help for private matters, such as their financial health, but there has been an increase in the number of men seeking financial planning advice for their divorces. Men also experience sadness, anger and other strong emotions during divorce, and it can be helpful to work with a professional who can help them see the big picture.

Is it possible to keep the family home during property division?

In a divorce, a Texas couple must decide how to fairly divide all marital property, including the family home. For many, keeping the family home is important, but that is not always the best decision during the property division process. Retaining the home can be expensive for one spouse after a divorce is final, and it's prudent to consider long-term financial implications when thinking about this choice.

One option for dealing with the family home during a divorce is selling it and sharing the profits from the sale. While it's for sale, the couple will have to decide how to address mortgage payments and pay for upkeep costs. Getting a fair asking price is important for both parties. One consideration for a spouse is the potential tax obligations that can come after receiving a share of profits from a home sale. 

What's going to happen to family pets in a divorce?

When a Texas couple decides to end their marriage, they must address all marital assets and decide how they will divide them. One important factor to consider is what will happen to the family pet, which can be an emotional and contentious issue for both parties. To lower the chance of a fight over pet custody during a divorce, some couples choose specific types of prenuptial agreements before they marry, sometimes called pup nups. 

Couples often choose prenuptial agreements because they can protect their rights and interests in case of a divorce. It outlines how they will divide marital property, and it reduces the chance of fighting in court over assets and money. A pup nup serves the same purpose except it allows a couple to address how they will share custody of the dog or which party will get to keep the pet. 

Being prudent with property division decisions

Divorce will have a significant financial impact on a Texas couple. The two spouses will have to divide marital assets, and this likely means retirement and long-term savings. Property division is one of the most important aspects of divorce as these decisions can affect the rest of a spouse's life. This is why it is crucial to be prudent and careful when negotiating terms and agreeing to a settlement.

This is especially true in a gray divorce, which is a divorce involving two people who are age 50 and up. When a spouse is closer to retirement age, the financial impact of divorce is particularly significant. Dividing marital assets can reduce what an individual will have for his or her golden years. This may require a spouse to adjust plans and expectations for the future, such as when he or she may want to stop working. 

A prenuptial agreement can be a smart choice

When two people decide to get married, they are not thinking about what will happen if the marriage ends at some point in the future. Planning for a possible divorce may not seem romantic or necessary, but it's a prudent step for Texas couples of all income levels. A prenuptial agreement can prevent some of the complication that comes with ending a marriage.

One benefit of a prenuptial agreement is that it can outline how the property division process will work in case of a divorce. This eliminates the need for contention and litigation over marital property, streamlining the divorce process. With a prenuptial agreement, it can take less time to complete a divorce, saving money and reducing stress for all parties involved. 

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