Houston Family Law Blog

Ensure you are comfortable with the adoption terms

One of the things that you have to think about when you are planning on adopting a child is the type of adoption you want to have. There are two primary forms – the open and the closed. In the past, the vast majority of adoptions were closed so that the birth family and adoptive family didn't know each other. When the child reached adulthood, they could look for their birth family. This presents some challenges, especially if since the adoptive family had very limited information about the birth family.

Now, open adoptions are far more common. But this doesn't mean that they are right in all situations. An open adoption means that the birth family and adoptive family exchange information. In some cases, they have an ongoing relationship. The extent to which this happens depends on how comfortable both sides are with the situation.

Your child must feel at home at your house

If you move out of the marital home when you divorce, you might find that your children are having trouble adjusting to life at your home. There are some ways that you might be able to help them feel more at home there. It will take time, especially since they aren't with you on a daily basis, so be willing to give them time.

First, give them their own space. If your children can have their own bedroom, that should be their own space. If more than one will share the room, be sure that they each have their own drawers or area in the closet. This should be the place where they can keep their things.

3 areas of focus for your divorce strategy

When you are going through a divorce, there are three primary areas that might need to be addressed. Some divorces might have all of these, and others may have one or two. No matter what, it is a good idea to look into them so that you know what to expect. We are here to answer any questions you might have about any of these common concerns.

First, you will have to divide the marital assets and debts. This is known as property division. Some people who are going through this process choose to split up the larger assets like real estate before they move to the smaller ones. This enables them to use the smaller ones to balance out the agreement. Debts might be saved for last since these can also be used to balance out the agreement.

Marital agreements offer protection to both spouses

Becoming engaged to the love of your life is a big step in your relationship. It is also the start of wedding planning. While you might be focused on choosing a venue, colors and other aspects of the wedding, don't forget that now is the best time to protect your future. You can do this by entering into a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse.

Some people don't like the sound a prenup. They think it means that they plan for the marriage to fail. This isn't at all the attitude you should have about it. Instead, the agreement gives you and your betrothed a chance to ensure you are on the same with the financial matters of the union.

Take care of your finances during a divorce

Many people think about the emotional aspects of a divorce when they are first thrust into that situation. Instead of doing this, you need to ensure that you are taking steps to protect your finances through the process of legally ending the marriage. This doesn't have to be difficult, but it will take an effort on your part.

One of the most important things you can do is to make copies of all financial records. This includes the mortgage, pension statements, income tax returns, investment account records, insurance policies and similar paperwork. The more documentation you have for these types of assets and liabilities, the better you might fare in your divorce. They can also help you determine whether your ex is trying to hide assets.

Create traditions your children can look forward to

One difficult aspect of child custody cases that many parents have is that they can't stand the thought of the kids spending holidays with their ex. This isn't something that can be easily rectified since both parents will want the children on those special days. You might be able to do one thing to help minimize the impact this has on you – create alternate holidays for you to celebrate with the kids.

We know that this isn't ideal, but sometimes, kids look forward to unique traditions more than the traditional ones. One example of something you can do involves Christmas. If your ex has the kids for this holiday, you might want to start a "Second Christmas" celebration. Maybe you can go shopping with them the day after Christmas to catch some of the things they want on sale.

Have patience as you adjust to life after the divorce

Parenting is never easy, but when you throw a divorce into the situation, things get even more complicated. One thing that many people don't take the time to consider when they are going through a divorce is that they are now single parents. Yes, the children may go to the other parent's home sometimes -- but you are alone when they are with you. This means that your new life is going to be a test of your patience.

When it comes to your children, you have to have patience because they are dealing with major life changes. Behavior issues might manifest because of this so you have to take the time to look for underlying reasons why they might be acting out. Once you know what's going on, you can address those and try to help the kids through the challenges.

Adoption: A beautiful process despite the challenges

Many couples want to expand their families. They may decide to havetheir own biological children, or they may also adopt. Still others become dedicated foster parents. For those who are considering adoption, there are many factors that might impact the decisions they make. Adoption requires careful thought so that you can ensure you are ready for the commitment.

Remember that when you adopt a child, you commit to raising that child until adulthood. Even if you and your spouse divorce, you must still raise your adopted children in the same way that you'd raise biological children.

Parenting plans: Ground rules for your child custody matters

Your children count on you to provide them with a stable and loving support system. Doing this when you are divorced from their other parent might not be easy, but trying to make a co-parenting situation work can greatly benefit the children. We know that this can have some unique challenges for you.

One thing to remember when you are working with your ex is that the decisions you make now shouldn't be based on what your relationship was like when you split up. Instead, the sole focus should be on how you can help your children. When both parents work together and present a united front, the children know that they are secure. They also realize that they can't play one parent against the other.

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.

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