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Child support is important, but not everyone is paying

Finding a foothold for financial security after divorce is not impossible. However, depending on a person's situation, doing so can end up being rather difficult. Divorced Texas parents often count on things like child support and alimony to make ends meet, but those payments do not always come as expected.

Recent statistics seem to indicate that Americans struggle to pay their court-ordered spousal or child support payments. Approximately 60% of child support orders are in arrears, meaning that the parent responsible for paying is not doing so. This could indicate that they possibly missed a few payments and are trying to catch up, they are not paying the full amount each month or that they have simply stopped paying.

Headed for your 2nd divorce? You'll face unique hurdles

Whether divorcing for the first or second time, the process is an undeniably emotional one. However, individuals who are pursuing their second divorce might encounter more complicated issues than those who are on their first. Issues such as property division, child custody and even financial security after divorce can all feel harder to manage for a person who already has one divorce under his or her belt.

Texas parents of young children usually do their very best to keep their children's best interests as the focal points of their divorces. This can be easier said than done for a person who has minor children from both a current and prior marriage. Establishing a new child custody agreement while still having an agreement from a past relationship can get complicated. Parents often struggle with finding the right balance between the two, and whether parenting time should overlap or if parents should try and focus on children separately.

How long does divorce usually take in Texas?

Most divorce cases are fairly straightforward. The matter of dividing assets can take quite a while, but it is merely a matter of negotiation. Things rarely escalate to an absurd point, such as what happened to one Texas woman who cited a "blood covenant" as the reason for why her husband should not be incapable of divorcing her. 

There are many questions you will have as you pursue the divorce proceedings. One of the most common questions that come up is, "How long will the divorce take to finalize?" The truth is that every case is different. Some divorces are final in a few months while others can span for years. It all comes down to how quickly you can gather the proper documentation and how soon you can decide on an equitable division of assets. 

How did the judge decide my child support amount?

Both child and spousal support are important parts of divorce that most people understand they may encounter when ending their marriages. However, confusion about how judges determine the correct amount for child support can leave some people in Texas worried that they are paying more than they should. Understanding what factors go into these decisions can help people better understand what they are paying and why.

Income is a significant factor in support decisions. Most people are already familiar with income from employment, but income can also refer to a number of other situations. For example, corporate contributions to a retirement account can also be counted as income, as can carried interest and bonuses for good performance or starting a new job. Judges may also look at a person's tax return to determine whether there are other unnamed sources of income.

Child support can be modified

Divorce can be difficult for children, but most Texas parents are aware of this and work to make sure that their best interests are fully respected throughout the process. This includes figuring out a child support order that both respects a child's needs but also his or her parent's ability to pay. In some cases parents may decide on their own child support plan while in others a judge will issue the order.

It is important to remember that child support orders are not permanent. Children's financial needs fluctuate, or their parents earn raises or lose jobs. As such, child support orders can be modified in court to more accurately reflect these types of changes. However, parents must have their order modified in court and cannot simply agree to a new payment schedule on their own.

Will my credit score take a hit because of divorce?

Ending a marriage can impact many different aspects of person's life, from where one lives to the household income. While change can be a good thing, divorce can have unintended consequences for those who are not aware of how dividing debt can impact the future. Here is what Texas divorcees should understand about protecting their credit scores during divorce.

Just like dividing up bank accounts and other property, debt must also be dealt with during property division. In general, any debt accumulated during a marriage is considered marital property regardless of who did the spending or borrowing. This means that it is possible for a person to end up being responsible for repaying a debt that has only his or her ex-spouse's name attached. Each person's responsibility for repaying which debts are laid out in a couple's divorce decree.

Woman receives $150,000 for back child support

Texas parents usually keep their children's emotional and financial well-being in mind during divorce. This includes adhering to a child support order that ensures a child's continued financial security. Unfortunately, some parents do not take this responsibility as seriously as they should. One woman in another state recently learned she could do something about it.

A judge recently awarded the woman $150,000 in past due child support and interest. The 74-year-old woman had divorced approximately 50 years ago and at the time her husband was ordered to pay child support for their then 3-year-old daughter. He was ordered to pay $210 for two and a half years, and after that he was to pay $180 until the child turned 18.

Millennials are prepared for divorce

Some people in Texas might have some preconceived notions about what prenuptials are and who uses them. However, young adults are shaking up those long-held beliefs. Millennials are not just delaying marriage until later in life, they are also better prepared for divorce than their parents might have been.

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials range in age from 22 to 37 years of age, including adults born between the years 1981 and 1996. Millennials' impact on marriage is clear. In 2005, the average ages of marriage for men and women were 27 and 25.5 respectively. In 2019, those average ages rose to 29.9 and 28.1. So why the later marrying age? With many Millennials entering the workforce in the midst of the economic recession, marriage was simply off the table for most people.

Looking toward college during divorce

For some couples, divorce is inevitable. Take one Texas couple who divorced after catching each other cheating on Tinder. Neither spouse recognized the other, so when they met up in person after finding "the perfect match," they knew the marriage had to come to an end. 

There are numerous items to bring up during a divorce, including child support, alimony and child custody. An integral component of child support involves determining who will pay for the child's college education. The child may not go to college for another decade, but it is vital to figure it out now to avoid conflict in the future. 

Bethenny Frankel caught up in child custody litigation

Texas parents generally just want what is best for their children. However, when parents end up divorcing, a child's best interests can be lost in the turmoil of a contentious divorce. It is unfortunately not uncommon for children to become pawns in difficult child custody battles. The TV personality Bethenny Frankel and her ex-husband Jason Hoppy appear to be dealing with this troubling situation right now.

Frankel and Hoppy married in 2010 and separated two years later in 2012. Their divorce was settled in 2016, but matters might not be over just yet. Frankel recently went back to court to ask for full custody of the couple's daughter, who is 8 years old. Frankel claims that her ex-husband is using video chats and her daughter to perpetuate ongoing abuse against her. She believes his actions have a negative impact on her relationship with her daughter.

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Law Office of Jacqueline McNutt
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