Houston Family Law Blog

Plan carefully for the division of retirement accounts in divorce

People who have pensions or other retirement accounts will typically have to divide them during a divorce. While other assets are handled through the property division process, these types of accounts have special considerations. When you are splitting up a retirement or pension account, the court needs to issue a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This legal document is prepared by your attorney and filed with the court. It then must be approved by the plan administrator. We know this might sound like a difficult process, but we are here to help you with it.

Without the court signing off on a QDRO, you could face penalties and/or be denied access to these benefits. For example, if the account holder withdraws money without the order, there will be early withdrawal penalties that must be covered. There may also be other implications.

Determine the parenting time schedule as quickly as possible

Child custody matters are sometimes hard to deal with. There is one area that might present unique challenges – coming up with the parenting time schedule. When you and your ex are trying to do this, you may find that you need to sit down with a calendar to ensure that both parents have as much time as possible with the children.

One of the first things that you need to do is to determine the general schedule that you will use when there aren't any special events or holidays going on. You should look at the child's school schedule to determine what type of split is necessary. You may also need to look at your work schedule and your ex's. Remember, the goal here is to have the child spend time with both parents. Usually, this is going to be fairly equal amounts of time. If the child is in school, that time might not be counted toward the time with one parent.

Adoption comes with many emotions and requirements

When a woman finds out she is pregnant, a lot of thoughts might go through her mind. A woman who isn't prepared to be a mother might decide that she wants to place her baby up for adoption. If the father of the baby agrees and both birth parents sign the paperwork, the baby can be adopted. This situation is the reason why adoptive parents have the option of adding a new baby to their family.

Adults who want to adopt might have some questions about what the process entails. We walk our clients through all of the steps they will have to take so that they know what to expect. This isn't a quick process, but it is one that is very rewarding when you get to bring your new family member home.

Mutual respect is a cornerstone of child custody cases

When you have children and go through a divorce, you have to deal with your ex on the child custody matters. You should work as a team to make this happen. Unfortunately, not all exes can do this. When there are contentious elements to the split, things might be difficult.

One thing that shouldn't ever be negotiable in this situation is mutual respect. You and your ex must agree that you are going to respect each other. This must be universal, no matter what is going on. Neither adult should speak ill of the other one, especially when the children are around.

Think about how you can balance property division decisions

Going through a divorce isn't anything that is going to be easy. You have to take the time to evaluate your future and figure out how you can make the best out of a difficult situation. While you might need to work through the terms of the divorce, you also need to work through your own thoughts and emotions. Trying to figure out everything during a tumultuous time can be a challenge, but if you meet it head on, you might find that you fare better.

We know that thinking about who is going to have the silverware and sofa might seem overwhelming. Then, you start to think about having to split the bigger things like the house and the vehicles. All of this can put you on a path that can benefit your life. We will work with you to help you determine what options that you have.

Consider these 5 points about prenuptial agreements

Before you walk down the aisle, you need to determine whether a prenuptial agreement can benefit you or not. While you might think that the answer is that it can't, you might be shocked to learn that you can reap great benefits even if you don't have considerable assets going into the marriage.

There are some specific points that we need you to think about if you are considering a prenup. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Prenuptial agreements protect both parties because they must be balanced when they are created. Agreements that favor one spouse over the other will likely be tossed out by the court.
  • You have to include a full disclosure of assets in the prenuptial agreement. Your future spouse must have an accurate representation of what you have so they can know if the terms are appropriate.
  • Debts can be covered in the prenup, so each spouse can avoid having to pay for bills the other person accumulated before marriage. Student loans are a common inclusion for this purpose.
  • Child support and custody can't be included in the document. These must be decided when necessary and those decisions must be based on what is in the child's best interests.
  • The prenuptial agreement must be presented well in advance of the wedding. Both parties need time to consider the terms and to have their own attorney check the document.

Sibling rivalry might get worse during a divorce

Parents have to deal with sibling rivalry even in the best of circumstances. When they divorce, the children might have a worsening rivalry that is difficult to handle. There are many reasons that rivalries get worse during divorce, so finding the one or combination that are causing the problem in your home can be a challenge.

One of the primary reasons that sibling rivalry occurs is because the children feel as though they have to compete the for the parent's attention. This can get worse during the divorce, since the children feel unsure about the changes that are going on in the family. They aren't sure what to do and just want any type of attention, even if it is negative.

Focus on self-improvement when kids are with their other parent

One of the most difficult things for parents to cope with as part of a child custody agreement is having time without the kids when they are with the other parent. Instead of looking at this in a negative manner, you can use this time to improve yourself. Feeling better about yourself and the direction of your life can vastly improve your parenting relationship.

During your marriage, you might have focused on things you could do with your spouse. Now that you aren't married, you can think about things that you wanted to try then but couldn't. Embrace your new-found freedom. Take the days that the kids are with your ex as a time for you to be adventurous. When it is time for the children to be back with you, find things you can do with them.

Tips for long-distance parenting agreements

After a divorce, one parent might move away from their children. This isn't an easy situation for anyone involved, but trying to find ways to help the children grow their relationship with both parents has to be the main priority. There are several ways that this positive long-distance parenting can happen, but they rely on the adults working together.

One thing that must be established early in the situation is making sure that the children have free communication with the parent they aren't with at that time. This should be uncensored, so the parent who does have the children shouldn't try to control or steer the conversations.

Taking divorce step-by-step can reduce stress

Determining that your marriage is over is a complicated matter. Once you decide that you are going to file for divorce, you need to make sure that you are taking steps to protect yourself. If you have children, you also need to make sure that they are getting what they need. This can be hard when you are already struggling to care for yourself.

We know that you might have some questions about the divorce. We can answer those for you and help you plan for what you might need to handle during this major life change. At a minimum, you will have to get the assets divided and a plan made for the children. In some divorces, other things like a family business might also have to be divided.

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