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What should I know if I’m considering a divorce?

 Posted on April 01, 2022 in Divorce

Spring is here, and for many Texans, it's a time of hope and renewal after a long and stressful two years. It's also a time for many couples to reassess their marriages, especially those who put divorce plans on hold during the pandemic.

If you and your spouse have already separated or attempts to strengthen your marital bond haven’t gone as planned, you may be thinking of taking the next step to ending your marriage. But you likely have a lot of questions.

Focus on the three main divorce issues

The first impact of divorce is always emotional, whether intense sadness or anger. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's the normal way to respond. But once the divorce process begins, it's crucial to focus on the three primary legal aspects:

  1. Child custody: In Texas, custody is called conservatorship. Courts generally award joint managing conservatorship, meaning parents share in decision-making for their kids, even if they primarily live with one parent. The parent without primary custody is called the possessory conservator. If you and your spouse disagree on a parenting plan, a court will decide for you.
  2. Dividing assets and debts: Texas is a community property state, which generally means all property and debt acquired during the marriage are divided in a “just and right” manner. Assets include bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement accounts and investments. Debts include credit card balances, mortgages and loans.
  3. Sharing income: If you are the higher-earning spouse and the possessory conservator, you can expect to pay child support until your children turn 18. You may also be required to pay alimony, called spousal maintenance. Texas has a standard formula for calculating child support. The lower-earning spouse must request spousal maintenance, and determining the amount is separate from child support.

Preparing for divorce requires much preparation, including accessing and sharing financial information with your lawyer. By focusing on the business side of the process and not letting emotions dictate actions and behavior, you can potentially save time, money and stress. You can also chart a course to a brighter future with reduced anxiety.

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