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Child protection defense: Mother of 5 arrested for abandonment

Texas police recently arrested a woman who supposedly left her five children at home alone while she traveled out of state. However, the woman refutes the allegation that she abandoned her children and is instead chalking it up to a misunderstanding between her and other adults. In this type of situation, mounting a strong child protection defense can be important, particularly for parents who hope to keep or regain custody of their children.

The mother admitted that she flew to another state in order to visit the beach with a friend, but she claims that two other adults were supposed to be caring for her five children. According to her, a neighbor had agreed to be with the children during the day. She also said that the father of one of her children had agreed to stay the night and care for the kids, who range in age from 12 years to 15 months.

How do credit card reward points factor into divorce?

Credit cards are a common feature in most people's wallets. These little pieces of plastic do not always indicate that a person is in debt, though. Instead, Texas consumers frequently open credit cards in order to earn reward points. While this is a useful approach, few people realize that those credit card reward points will have to be divided during a divorce.

It is not uncommon for married people to maintain their own credit card accounts separate from their spouses. However, if reward points were earned during the course of the marriage, it generally does not matter whose account they were earned on -- those points are marital property. There are exceptions, of course. Couples with prenuptial agreements might have already addressed this topic beforehand. Additionally, any reward points earned before getting married are usually still the separate property of the person who opened the account.

5 pitfalls of a DIY divorce

There are a lot of advocates for doing practically everything yourself, from working on home improvement to starting a business. The concept of a DIY divorce is exploding in popularity as well, especially with the widespread information available via the internet. While a cheap, fast and easy divorce may sound convincing, you may want to reconsider this prospect.

The fact is that DIY divorces can be harmful to your finances, emotions and legal rights. Here are some core pitfalls of getting a divorce without help.

Protect your business during divorce

A business is not built overnight. Owners in Texas put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to nourish their business operations, and the idea that a divorce could potentially halt or even undo that progress is understandably upsetting. Protecting a person's business interests is important, so here are a couple of options for doing just that.

Prenuptial agreements are much more common than they used to be, but not everybody is entirely on board just yet. Even if a business owner is in favor of using a prenup to protect his or her business, the spouse might not be. In this case, a person should strive to keep business and personal expenses completely separate. Maintaining organizing documents that clearly state the business cannot be transferred after a divorce is also helpful.

Divorce after 50 -- what should I be worried about?

An unhappy marriage is an unhappy marriage regardless of age. While in the past some unhappily married couples might have felt as though they had no options but to stick it out because of their age, current attitudes are much different. The Pew Research Center reported that, over the past 25 years, divorce actually decreased by 21 percent among adults between the ages of 25 and 39. For those over the age of 50, divorce rates skyrocketed by 109 percent.

Those in Texas going through a gray divorce -- splitting up after 50 -- usually deal with specific financial concerns that their younger counterparts might not have to think much about. For instance, divorcing at age 20, 30 or even 40 leaves an individual with plenty of remaining working years and earning potential. For younger adults, any financial hit from divorce can usually be made up. Those aged 50 and up do not have this luxury, and many have to figure out how to ensure their financial security for their retirement years. This is complicated by a shrinking asset pool that might have already grown stagnant.

Compromise in child custody is essential for co-parenting

Parents who file for divorce might be ending their romantic relationships, but this does not mean that they are cutting off all contact. Texas parents can usually expect to continue their parenting relationships with their ex. Rather than focusing on divided child custody efforts, many parents are now considering how to make co-parenting relationships work even when their marriages did not last.

Co-parenting is different than simply sharing custody with an ex. Parents who choose to co-parent after divorce commit to maintaining a united parental front, and many even choose to lay down similar ground rooms in their homes. While some might view this as an intrusion from an ex-spouse, it can be extremely helpful for ex-spouses and children alike. When rules are different from house to house, children can grow frustrated from the lack of consistency and act out. When parents effectively co-parent, they can foster a sense of continuity for their children.

Should I litigate over child custody?

There are certain financial implications involved with divorce, including a potential drop in income, division of assets and more. These are usually manageable, though, and any severe financial impact can be mitigated through careful planning and attention to detail. However, there are certain family law issues that some parents find difficult to overcome. Namely, child custody.

Even when Texas parents can work out most of their issues through mediation -- a time and cost-effective alternative to traditionally litigated divorce -- child custody can be a sticking point. When custody becomes an issue, parents often end up revolving much of their anger, time and energy around it, which can end costing them a lot in the long run. These feelings can spill over into other areas of divorce, making things that were once nonissues into something much bigger.

What sources of income count toward child support?

Divorce is full of complicated and confusing matters, one of which is child support. Not only do couples argue over who should have to pay child support but also how much the ex-spouse should have to pay. Even for those who were never married, ending a relationship that resulted in children still involves discussing child support.

Whether you are the one seeking payments or the one who will have to pay, you need to understand how the state determines child support so you can avoid errors and unfair payment amounts. Many factors go into the calculation, but the basic idea is that it relies on income.

Child protection defense: Mother of 3 charged with neglect

For parents, there is usually nothing more important than the safety of their children. Unfortunately, parents are still human and as such are not perfect. Parents in Texas make decisions each and every day that they later regret, wondering if there was a better option at the time. When these decisions lead to allegations of abuse or neglect, mounting a strong and timely child protection defense can be essential.

Texas police recently charged a mother with three felony counts of child neglect. The 30-year-old woman had reportedly left her three children between the ages of 13 and 6 at home by themselves on New Years Eve, 2018. The mother told her children that she would return home in only a few hours time, but she never showed back up.

Why do I need a child protection defense?

Your children mean the world to you, and anything that compromises your ability to be there for them can be particularly difficult. If you were accused of abuse or endangerment, you might understandably be feeling overwhelmed and confused about what to do next. Developing a strong child protection defense can be a crucial first step to getting you and your children's lives back on track.

The law is not stagnant, and as such rules and regulations are constantly changing. Texas Child Protective Services in particular is currently in the middle of some major changes, which can make dealing with this agency even more confusing than before. If you don't understand what is going on or if you expect past precedents to hold, you can feel completely bowled over when you are hit with different expectations or rules.

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