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Divorce and socioeconomic status could be linked

A person's socioeconomic status can affect many different aspects of his or her life. Most people already know that living in a different income bracket or class can mean different opportunities for things like education and jobs, but it could also influence a person's satisfaction in his or her marriage. In some situations, it could even lead to a divorce.

Researchers at University of Texas joined up with researchers from an out-of-state university to examine marital happiness in the years following the start of a marriage, and the results were recently published in psychology journal. While people generally believe that marital satisfaction declines over the years as couples leave the newlywed phase behind, these researchers determined that satisfaction actually largely stays the same. This conclusion came from analyzing mostly middle-class, white couples, though.

Your visitation rights as a grandparent

The bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is truly a special one. When parental issues get in the way of that relationship, it can be heartwrenching.

Thankfully, there is a possible option for recourse available. As a grandparent, you may have specific rights in regard to visitation.

Don't believe these common divorce myths

It is easy to find out information on ending a marriage from friends, relatives or even movies. However, finding accurate information may be much more difficult. This is because myths about divorce are a common problem in Texas, and they may make it more difficult to make fully informed decisions during the process.

One of the biggest myths is that filing for divorce will put an immediate end to marital problems. A person might anticipate that the fighting and constant stress of an unhappy marriage will dissipate, but this is often not the case. Divorce is an emotional process that can take a toll on people, even when ending a marriage is the best decision for everyone involved. From fighting over property division to disagreements regarding child support, there are plenty of opportunities for stress and fighting to survive through the divorce process.

Prenuptial agreements protect separate property during divorce

Marriage looks a lot different than it did just 10 years ago. Young adults in Texas are putting off tying the knot for longer periods of time, and many have a different outlook on marriage and divorce than their parents. This includes prenuptial agreements, which are far less controversial than they used to be.

Since today's adults are deciding to wait to marry, most have time to focus on building careers and establishing important assets. Even though property that a person acquires before marriage is usually separate property, it could still be compromised should he or she end up divorcing. Not only that, but young adults usually bring some level of debt to a marriage, for which a spouse in a subsequent divorce could possibly end up at least partially responsible.

Some parents delay divorce because of financial stress

Money is a big source of stress in marriage. Unfortunately, money is also a big hurdle for divorce. Many people in Texas stay in unhappy marriages because they are worried they will not have any financial stability in the future. While anyone can feel this way, the problem tends to affect more women than men.

The Stress in America: Paying With Our Health survey from the American Psychological Association found that 64% of adults in America feel either somewhat or very stressed over money. That percentage increases for parents, 77% of whom report feeling stressed about the costs of raising children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that parents shell out about $233,610 just to raise a child to the age of 17.

Why child custody matters for taxes

Out of sight, out of mind is how many people feel about tax season. It is hard to get in the mindset of thinking about various tax deductions, refunds or how much a person will have to pay when filing returns is still several months away. Texas parents who are going through a divorce might already have a lot of things on their plates, but they should also be sure to look toward the future in all matters, especially those related to child custody. This means also thinking about taxes.

Parents will not be able to receive any child dependency deductions until after 2025, as it was temporarily eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Some divorcing parents may think that it does not matter who claims a child as a dependent since this deduction no longer exists, but there are still many tax benefits for claiming dependents. In general, the custodial parent will get to claim the child on his or taxes, although there may be exceptions.

Is it realistic to keep the house after divorce?

Buying a house is a significant investment for Texas couples, both financially and emotionally. This can make dividing this property during divorce particularly difficult. For those who are hoping to keep the family home during property division, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Before deciding whether keeping the home is a good idea, the divorcing couple has to determine the home's value. After figuring out the value, the couple should subtract any outstanding balance on the mortgage and any outstanding equity. What remains is the couple's shared equity in the house. Keeping the home usually means buying a soon-to-be ex out of his or her share.

How to be there for your kids during divorce

There is no way around the fact that your divorce will be difficult for your kids. They may struggle with feelings of loss and anxiety. It is possible for them to even blame themselves and feel overwhelming guilt. But ending an unhealthy marriage may be better for them in the long run. 

Still, it is important to recognize the hardships your children experience and help them throughout the process. Consider the following guidelines for helping your children cope with the divorce.

Here's how Texas judges look at income for child support

Providing financial support for a child is an important part of being a parent. When parents are divorced, one parent usually -- although not always -- pays child support to continue providing that sense of financial security. However, a parent cannot rely on a friend or family member's support order as a predictor of what he or she might pay. In Texas, judges take a variety of factors into account.

When one parent has primary custody of a child, the noncustodial parent generally pays child support. The amount that a parent is ordered to pay should be fair and used to cover some of the child's expenses. This may include direct expenses such as new clothes and school supplies, or indirect expenses like housing and grocery costs.

Using child custody agreements to address back-to-school matters

Parenting after a high-conflict divorce is often much harder than most people realize. Advice that might be suitable for those who are effectively co-parenting per their child custody agreements usually does not apply to parents in high-conflict situations. Back-to-school time can further strain tensions between parents who continue to engage in ongoing acts of aggression after divorce

Even for children who are enrolled in Texas' public school system, attending school is not cheap. From purchasing classroom supplies, personal items -- such as backpacks and pencil boxes -- and back-to-school clothes, the costs can quickly add up. Co-parents are often advised to simply split the bill or address school costs as the need arises, but this is not a good idea for high-conflict parents. To avoid conflict over these expenses, parents who struggle with unrelenting malice and continual court actions should address how these costs will be handled in their divorce decree.

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Law Office of Jacqueline McNutt
1712 N IH 35
San Marcos, TX 78666

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