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Divorce is difficult, but not all divorces are created equally.  Here in Austin and Greater Metro Area, more and more people are choosing to resolve their family law issues via the collaborative process.  Collaborative divorce is a method of dispute resolution where the spouses agree from the beginning that they are each going to retain attorneys who will work as settlement specialists and who will not engage in court battles. Here are the top 5 reasons any Texas couple considering a split should choose collaborative divorce:   Privacy Rather than have their dirty laundry aired in a public courthouse, spouses going through a collaborative divorce resolve all issues through privileged and confidential discussions in a private conference room. This can be especially important for business-owners, professionals, and high-profile Florida residents who are concerned about the public release of either financial details or embarrassing personal shortcomings.   Respect By its very nature, divorces that go through the court system are adversarial.  They pit husband versus wife, mother versus father, as each side tries to prove to a judge that he or she is a better parent or deserves more money.  In contrast, collaborative divorce is a team-based method of conflict resolution, where attorneys help the spouses attack the problem rather than attack one another.  The attorneys help foster an atmosphere of respect and dignity within discussions. Parents and their children (whether minor or adult) are the ones who benefit the most from this aspect of collaborative divorce, as though the marriage is ending, the relationship as co-parents will continue.   Efficiency Ninety percent or more of all divorce cases end up settling, whether before filing a petition for dissolution of their marriage or after the parties have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and many years going through trial but right before a […]

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Collaborative Divorce   Recently updated !

Full Custody: Is It Really What You Want?
    There are many parents who go through a divorce, and for most of them, getting full custody of their child is their ultimate goal. If you are going through a divorce and you have consulted an attorney, it is likely that the attorney will ask you what your goals are in the divorce case. If you have not read any of our previous posts regarding child custody, you could still be hoping that you would be awarded full custody of your child once the divorce is finalized. Most parents undergoing a divorce want to have as more time as possible with their child, possibly because they feel that they’re losing hold of everything else in their family life. Some parents would even resort to intimidation, just to gain full custody of the child, which, by the way, is not a legal term. ‘Full Custody’, we mean.   There are also cases wherein parents are seeking full custody because of very legitimate reasons. There could be the presence of abuse from the other parent, neglect, or other significant reasons. There are also some who would like to terminate the other parent’s rights to the child, or just restrict the time the other parent can spend with the child. Other times, one party in the divorce is just angry and is trying to get back at the spouse in the worst possible manner, using their child. He or she might even threaten the other parent with a lawsuit. Whatever the case, it is almost impossible for Texas courts to terminate parental rights under normal circumstances.   What Full Custody Means Full custody is a huge responsibility. It means physical possession of your child and making decisions for your child, all by yourself. It also places a huge responsibility for you […]

Full Custody: Is It Really What You Want?   Recently updated !

Getting a divorce calls requires splitting community property – this means taking all of the community property you and your spouse own and dividing it up accordingly. Of course, you also each have your separate property which you will have to determine and announce separately in court. It’s the jointly-held property that can get a little complicated during the divorce. Who gets to decide regarding the division of your community property? Making the Decision in Splitting Community Property There are only three people who can make that decision. First, you and your spouse – if you decide to forget your ill feelings towards each other (if you have any), team up and make a rational decision about splitting community property that you own. Second, the judge in the court where you filed for divorce can make a decision in splitting community property instead of you and your spouse. You might be surprised to know that a majority of divorce cases and community property division is often wrapped up with mediation rather than a bawl in the courtroom. Mediation is the process that you and your spouse should strongly consider if you want to settle your community property issues outside of the courtroom. You can actually deal with all the agreements that you need to sign to finalize your divorce during a mediation, in the presence of a mediator. This is a great option because you and your spouse can be in control unlike when you have to go on a trial. Mediation can help you and your spouse get what each of you really wants at the end of your marriage and it provides flexibility. Of course, there is a possibility that you will get better results with the judge – or worse. Mediation or Trial You might have to […]

Splitting Community Property in Texas

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As the new school year is about to begin, I’d like to offer some tips for the newly-divorced or new members of a blended family to ease the transition and try to avoid unnecessary conflict. First, get ahead of your anticipated disputes by designing, implementing, and complying with a detailed and customized Parenting Plan (easier said than done, right?) This document is your roadmap, and provides all parents (biological and step parents) the specific terms and conditions under which they are to operate, leaving no room for “innocent” confusion or misunderstanding. Second, set expectations relating to school work. Who will be responsible for making sure that classroom assignments are properly completed and handed-in? Who is available to work on research projects that span across multiple weeks? Perhaps design this by subject matter (Mom helps with Math, Dad helps with English). Or maybe Mom will work with one child, while Dad works with the other. There is no “correct” answer but a well-designed Parenting Plan identifies roles and responsibilities so that academic performances don’t suffer. Third, discuss what you are willing (or, aren’t willing) to agree to relating to after-school activities and sports. And please, DO NOT engage your child(ren) in the discussion until after you’ve fully discussed it with the other co-parents involved. Consider the necessary logistics of your child’s participation in after-school activities or sports before making any promises that may or may not be able to be fulfilled. Will this unduly burden one parent, negatively affect time-sharing or prevent adequate time for homework? Are there safety and/or financial considerations? Fourth, think about how you want to present yourself to your child(ren)’s teachers and coaches. Do you want to be the bitter, hateful parent, who seethes at even the mention of the other parent’s name? Do you want to […]

Co-Parenting for the School Year

 The first thing people worry about when they start thinking about divorce is their children and their property. The children, the house, the cars, the money and other properties are things people think about the most when they’re on the verge of getting a  Texas divorce. If you happen to be in the same situation, these are subjects you need to seriously think about. Were there any debts incurred during your marriage? How seriously have you contemplated about the financial issues and responsibilities you have during your marriage? If you think that only the property and assets are divided when a divorce happens, you’ll have to think again. Debt is just as important as retirement accounts and properties and it is divided between the couple as well. The amount of responsibility each spouse needs to take at the time of the divorce for the debts incurred during the marriage is extremely important. Preparing for Debt in Your Divorce One of the most common debts in a marriage that are strongly debated about by both parties are credit card debts. When marital debts are divided, they can be handed to either of the spouses or both. Credit cards are a different matter. If you have applied for a credit card that bears your name and your spouse’s name during the duration of your marriage, none of you can be freed from the liability for the future usage of the card. It may have not happened to you, but it is something to be careful about. A lot of clients I came across with complain about how credit card companies and debt collection companies keep hounding them to pay off debts and credit card balances that they had nothing to do with. This is really a horrible situation because your spouse could […]

Dealing with Credit Card Debts in a Texas Divorce

Co-parenting hacks are definitely needed when you deal with your child after your divorce. We all know that the strongest impact and blows from the divorce end up on the children. The divorce will completely change your child’s life and their views of the world. It will also change the way they spend time and interact with you and your spouse. You might get so focused on dealing with the divorce yourself that you might lose sight of how it affects your children. Even from the onset of the divorce, there are many issues that will lead you to fight against your spouse, and in the midst of that are your children. During the divorce, you and your spouse would argue about issues such as who gets primary conservatorship and how much child support must be paid. However, more than anything, you should be concerned about the psychological and emotional status of your children. Their ability to trust must be impaired because of the divorce, and it’s up to you to build it up again. Of course, there are also situations where children are actually relieved that their parents are getting a divorce. Your relationship with your spouse may have made the home environment uncomfortable and suffocating for the children that they would actually want the marriage to be over. Regardless of what your situation may be, there’s likely a relationship with at least one of your children that you’d have to rebuild. The best medium to fix any broken relationship or iron out a strained one is through co-parenting. In order to do it right, you might need a couple of co-parenting hacks. What is Co-Parenting? Where divorce is, co-parenting is also usually present. It may be commonly utilized by people around you during the divorce but nobody is […]

Co-parenting Hacks For Your Post-Divorce Life

Tips on How To Deal With A Controlling Spouse During a Divorce
  A controlling spouse is likely to cause you distress before and during a divorce. Such a spouse will also cause you a lot of unnecessary grief after the divorce if you do not deal with him or her properly during the divorce. If you are reading this post, you probably believe that you have a controlling spouse who constantly dictates what your actions and your children’s actions should be. This could even be a factor of why you are facing a divorce or is considering one now.   A controlling spouse means an unhappy marriage. After all, you probably entered the marriage with expectations that your partner will support your independent thoughts and judgments and what happened is just the opposite. A divorce with a controlling spouse can have different circumstances from a normal divorce.     Planning a Divorce When You Have a Controlling Spouse   A controlling spouse is a marital headache. There’s no other way but their way. They are always critical and inflexible. The worst thing is that if a situation is not going the way of the controlling spouse, he or she can turn it against the other spouse. The controlling spouse can also manipulate things in the marriage to make sure that he or she gets what he or she wants every single time. It can be extremely trying for the other spouse, and divorce is likely to come into the picture. However, just because you are undergoing divorce does not mean that you’re safe from your spouse’s controlling claws.   So, if you are dealing with a divorce with a controlling spouse, there will be more things for you to consider. Therefore, you’d have to plan for your divorce properly, setting goals along the way. There is a chance that your divorce […]

Tips on How To Deal With A Controlling Spouse During a Divorce

Divorce Rates Fall
US Divorce Rate Continues to Decline In a bit of positive news, the US divorce rate has continued its steady decline over the past few years to reach a new 35 year low. Its easy to jump to conclusions in regards to this data, as there are many different contributing factors, but it is an extremely interesting data point regardless. From my own experience, lack of financial resources to even contemplate the possibility of divorce tends to be a large factor in making that leap, and I am not sure that the decline in divorces really speaks to much more than the fact that many people simply don’t have the financial resources to contemplate and go through with a divorce process right now. Especially coupled with the rapidly declining marriage rate, more people than ever seem to be making the determination that marriage is not a necessary institution, even from the perspective of raising children. I may have a somewhat biased viewpoint in this, but I deal with a large number of couples and parents on a daily basis, and the skillsets to be a good parent, and a good co-parent, are not necessarily the same skillsets to make a good spouse. I think as people continue to think about the long term ramifications on their lives prior to getting married, the divorce rate will continue to decline. What is a Typical Marriage? I think that the idea of what a marriage is has been going through some radical shifts recently, and there is no longer a singular “ideal” of what a proper marriage should look like. Traditional societal and gender roles are becoming rapidly more amorphous, which allows a lot more flexibility on the parenting side of things, and also forces a lot fewer parents and couples into situations that […]

Divorce Rate Plunges to New 35 Year Low