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Get child support right the first time

As a parent, you already know that the financial undertaking of raising children is not for the faint of heart. From school supplies and fees to the weekly grocery bill, it is not cheap to be a parent. This may have you worried about your upcoming divorce, particularly if you earn significantly more than your soon-to-be ex, or vice-versa. Who will foot the bill for health care costs and how will you divide financial responsibility for other major financial responsibilities? Your child support order can cover all of these concerns. 

According to Texas family law, child support can be determined by a formula that takes a number of considerations into account. This process can be straightforward in some cases, and involves calculating both of your incomes, parenting time, health insurance costs and several other factors. You may want to have your W-2 or several pay stubs ready to go for this process. 

3 mistakes to avoid during your child custody battle

Your custody battle may be difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Despite the challenges of a custody case, your goal is to get a good decision.

Remember that every step you take during your custody hearings is crucial. Making a mistake may cloud how the court sees your parenting abilities. Even small errors may make you look bad. Here are some mistakes to avoid during your custody battle:

Here's why you should be paying your child support

Divorce is an emotionally straining period of life, which can make some court-ordered decisions feel like more of a burden than a legal obligation. However, shirking certain duties -- such as child support payments -- is not a good idea. Staying current on child support will not only keep a Texas parent out of trouble with the court but it also has numerous other benefits. 

No, money cannot buy love. But a parent's commitment to continued financial support of his or her children can certainly demonstrate that love. Parents who are actively engaged in the financial well-being of their children are readily displaying their level of commitment and love for their children. This involvement goes beyond finances, too. Studies have shown that when noncustodial parents pay child support, they are far more likely to remain involved in other areas of their children's lives as well. 

Divorce and property division -- why you should think about taxes

Most people in Texas understand that there are financial implications to divorce. It is not necessarily uncommon for divorcees to experience a temporary drop in income, a loss in retirement savings and other finance-related issues. However, this does not mean that unhappy couples must necessarily delay divorce. Instead, people should be vigilant regarding the short and long-term implications of property division throughout the entire process. 

Before a couple can divide their property, everything must be listed and valued. However, understanding the value of a marital asset might tell someone how much money it is worth, but this alone does not paint a complete picture. Some assets -- like cars and homes -- have significant upkeep costs. These also may have tax implications, as do certain investments or retirement accounts. 

Is divorce contagious?

Most people in Texas know that financial stress, constant arguing and unrealistic expectations can lead couples to reevaluate their marriages. But what about other common divorce factors that are less well known? It turns out that simply knowing someone who has divorced increases the likelihood of filing for divorce. 

Researchers from three major universities -- including Harvard University -- pulled together to study the effect of divorce on the people around a divorcing couple. The chances of a person ending his or her marriage after a friend's divorce is a staggering 75 percent. For those who know someone with a friend who has divorced, the chance is 33 percent. 

Angelina Jolie recently filed paperwork for child support

It is not uncommon for Texas couples to work out arrangements regarding their children long before they finalize their divorces. Even if child support or custody will ultimately be changed, having a tentative agreement is essential for the well-being of the children involved. However, it is usually best to have a court order in place, otherwise issues surrounding these topics are likely to come up.

Even wealthy celebrities are not immune to family law problems. Actress Angelina Jolie recently accused her ex -- Brad Pitt -- of skipping out on child support for their six kids. According to her, Pitt has not paid so much as a dime in support. Jolie recently filed documents seeking an official court-ordered support agreement.

Three costly divorce mistakes to avoid

Getting a divorce can cause a lot of fears. One of your biggest concerns as you separate may be your wealth and property. Ending your marriage can impact your financial well-being, especially if you make some costly errors along the way.

Thankfully, you can protect your assets. Here are some of the most expensive mistakes you should avoid so you can limit the financial consequences of your divorce.

Will my wife automatically get her way with child custody?

Divorcing the mother of your children can be an emotional experience. As a father, you may feel worried about how much time you will have with your kids after your divorce. This is understandable as, looking back at how these matters were handled in the past, Texas mothers seemed to come out on top in child custody matters. 

Your child's best interests should be the focal point of any custody agreement you create. Historically, most family law courts assumed that all children benefited most from having their mothers act as primary custodians. Now courts understand that there is far more nuance in these matters. 

How can I prepare for alimony discussions in divorce?

The idea of making regular payments to an ex is difficult for some Texas divorcees. Particularly for those who do not have children, the idea of making a clean break and going on their separate ways is preferable to maintaining ties through alimony. However, since alimony is a reality for most people, it is best to start the divorce process as prepared as possible. 

Commonly referred to as spousal support, alimony provides temporary financial support from one person to another after a divorce. The higher or sole-earner is usually the party who pays. However, both people -- not just the one who will be paying -- need to have a firm understanding of their financial positions. Doing so can help answer important questions, such as "How much financial help will I need?" and "What is a reasonable amount I can pay?" 

Divorce and student loans -- more connected than you think

Student loan debt may seem like it is spiraling out of control. College graduates in Texas often leave school with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, repaying those loans can be both financially and emotionally stressful. That is perhaps one of the reasons why student loan borrowers are slightly more likely to see their marriages end in divorce.

Debt of any kind can be stressful for relationships, but student loans are on an entirely new level. The average loan for 2016 graduates was $39,400. It is easy to see why only 23 percent of people without student loans cited money and debt as a contributing factor for their divorce, while over a third of those with student loans cited the same reason. All in all, 13 percent of all divorced individuals specifically blame their enormous student loan debts for their divorce.

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Law Office of Jacqueline McNutt
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San Marcos, TX 78666

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