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When can I change my child custody and support orders?

Your child support and custody arrangement might have been the right solution at the time in which they were created, but now they are no longer relevant. Maybe you feel frustrated or even embarrassed to be in this situation and are wondering why you can no longer make it work. You are not the first person in Texas to go through this exact situation. Even the most carefully constructed child custody agreements cannot predict the future, and making changes is sometimes necessary.

Parents who divorce when their children are quite young are a good example of this. You and your ex may have spent anywhere from a few months to several years following a child custody agreement that works for everyone, but now your child is starting school and everything is changing. You cannot truly anticipate a child's needs when he or she enters school, and schedules that worked before might interfere with those needs. The same is true when a child moves on to middle or high school.

How Texas treats community property during divorce

Whether it's outfitting the family home with new furniture or making investments, the average married couple in Texas probably end up amassing much more community property than they might realize. If a couple decides to divorce, all that community property has to be divided up. This can feel like a daunting task when someone sits down to evaluate just which property is community. Here is some guidance provided by Texas state law.

In Texas, anything that either spouse acquires during marriage is community property. There are exceptions to this rule, such as inheritances, family heirlooms and birthday gifts, which are considered separate property. Separate property is generally anything that a person acquired before marriage.

Should you date during a divorce?

Some people get out of a bad marriage and immediately want to enter a better relationship. However, there are plenty of pitfalls to this course of action, and you should think twice before jumping into a new relationship so soon. 

During divorce proceedings, it is important to take care of yourself. No matter how good a relationship may seem, there will always be stresses associated with it. You need to be careful about who you spend time with at this trying time. Most people will find it is preferable to at least wait until finalizing the divorce before beginning a new relationship. 

Child support can cover out-of-pocket medical expenses

The cost of raising a child in Texas can vary from month to month or even on a weekly basis. While regular child support payments might help address most of a child's regular needs like food and housing, there are still many other costs that need to be accounted for. For example, how are divorced parents supposed to handle medical expenses that are not covered by insurance? This topic should be covered in a child support agreement.

Even if a child has health insurance coverage through one or both parents, out-of-pocket expenses are still a possibility. Uninsured medical expenses are any expenses that insurance does not cover, like deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions and more. These are usually the result of necessary medical care. A thorough child support agreement should address how parents will split the responsibility of these extraordinary medical expenses.

Don't let financial fears hold you back from divorce

Living in an unhappy marriage can take a toll on a person's emotional health and well-being. When most people realize that their marriages are no longer working, they usually consider the next logical step -- divorce. However, like with all major decisions, a person who is thinking about divorce should understand the future financial implications of this action. This is especially true for Texas residents who are in or near retirement.

A person who gets a divorce after the age of 50 will face unique challenges. For example, retirement accounts are often -- although not always -- considered marital property, meaning that a couple will have to divide their retirement savings. Whether a couple decides to split the funds half and half or to leave the account with one person in exchange for another asset, financial stability after divorce may not be guaranteed. This is because retirement savings that were sufficient to support two people in a single household generally do not stretch as far when supporting those same people in separate households.

Dads: Make sure you understand your child custody rights

There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with filing for divorce. You may not be sure whether you will have to pay spousal support or if keeping the family home is a good idea. But like other fathers in Texas, you might worry that child custody already has a certain outcome. Many people believe that mothers are automatically granted primary custody, but as a father you have rights.

It is true that moms used to be automatically favored over dads during custody matters. Family law courts now acknowledge how important it is for children to still have access to both parents and the ability to maintain close relationships. This means that many divorced parents now share joint custody, with each having equal parenting time.

Man charged for not paying over $100k in overdue child support

Parents in Texas who are not in a relationship with one another generally still need to provide for their children. Often, this means one parent will make child support payments to the other, custodial parent. These payments are vital for children's well-being and development. If the paying parent cannot make proper payments, it can have a detrimental effect on an entire family, especially if payments haven't been made for quite some time. This is what authorities in one state claim about a man who was tried for his failure to pay child support.

The local attorney general's office handled the case. Authorities claim that the father in question owed $117,000 in back child support. They took him to court and charged him with three felony counts of nonsupport of a child. They say that he did not make proper payments for seven years. He pleaded guilty and was ordered by a judge to repay the amount.

Why expecting parents should be thinking about divorce

Married couples will face plenty of stressful events over the years. However, few may expect one of the biggest sources of stress to also come from one of the biggest sources of joy -- having a child. The reality is that any source of significant stress can contribute to divorce, so expecting parents in Texas may want to consider the benefits of a postnuptial agreement.

Around 50% of first marriages do end up in divorce, and parents should consider what steps they could take to protect both themselves and their children's interests. Of course having a child does not mean that a couple is headed for divorce, but being prepared for a number of different possibilities is never a bad idea. Creating a postnuptial agreement is just one way of preparing for the future, including marital obligations like child care arrangements and financial contributions.

3 child custody myths you should not believe

If you face a child custody dispute, you are likely to feel a variety of emotions. To help you manage your feelings, you may ask friends, family members or colleagues for insight. While some information you are apt to receive is worthwhile, other details about child custody may prove misleading. 

How do you know the difference? While working with a knowledgeable attorney is likely your best bet, you should watch out for some common types of misinformation. Here are three child custody myths you should not believe:

Are you prepared for divorce? Millennials are

Millennials tend to get a bad rap for everything from where they choose to eat to how they pursue careers. However, they just might be having a positive impact on how people view Texas family law. This generation understands that prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy, and they are ready to protect themselves from the possibility of divorce.

According to a study from the AAML -- the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers -- 62% of divorce attorneys have seen more and more clients who are interested in prenuptial agreements. Just over half of those said that millennials were the largest group requesting prenups. Considering that early adulthood looks much different now than it did in the past, it is perhaps not a surprise that millennials are eager to protect themselves.

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