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A divorce changes all family dynamics. What once seemed easy can become fraught with difficulty, extra planning and second-guessing. This includes scheduling holidays like Mother's Day.

For moms, Mother's Day can be an exceptionally emotional event during or after a divorce. But both parents should understand it can be just as challenging for their kids.

Preparation is key when planning for holidays

When children live in two separate households, you and your ex (with the help of your lawyer) can accomplish much of the heavy lifting regarding where the kids will spend holidays and birthdays. When you are putting the details together for your Texas parenting plan, remember:

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Divorce is a very “me-centric” process, understandably encouraging divorcing Texas spouses to focus on their own personal, financial and emotional well-being. If you’re a parent, that level of concern extends to your kids.

But divorce affects everyone close, regardless of whether they are related to you or your soon-to-be-ex. Likewise, it will significantly impact the future of all the friendships you have established on your own or through your spouse.

Control the narrative and avoid hurt feelings

Talking about the end of a marriage can be awkward. How you approach these conversations will likely set the tone for future relationships with:

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Divorced or soon-to-be-divorced Texas parents face many challenges when raising their kids in separate households. Many spend too much time and energy stewing and arguing over missed payments, child drop-offs or pickups and other parenting issues.

A co-parenting arrangement can be even more challenging when mom and dad don’t get along. If this describes your relationship, modern technology may have a good option for you and your ex through a parenting app that can help create a more harmonious environment.

TalkingParents can help reduce conflicts

While several options exist for co-parenting apps, TalkingParents is most popular among parents with a history of conflict. The app keeps all co-parenting records in one place. The main features include:

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Some Texas parents fear that divorce could be so devastating to their children that the best option is staying in an unhappy and unfulfilling marriage. Psychologists agree that divorce or separation can be destabilizing and stressful for kids.

The best situation is having a supportive, predictable and loving household where both parents are present. However, divorce is usually a better option in the long-term when the parents are incompatible.

Parents can ease the pain of divorce

It is well documented that children of divorce are more likely to experience emotional and behavioral issues than those with intact families. But kids are resilient and can usually bounce back quickly when at least one parent:

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Most Texas parents agree to put their children's needs first after a separation or divorce. While their marriage may be at an end, they will continue to raise a family together as co-parents.

Divorce can be devastating for children, even if their parents still get along. The best arrangement for everyone involved is when parents maintain a respectful and civil relationship.

Five tips for amicable post-divorce parenting

Even divorced couples who come together to prioritize their parenting duties face many challenges, such as disagreements, feelings of abandonment and loneliness. But those feelings can often be overcome by looking at the big picture and pursuing these strategies:

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When parents decide to end their marriage, the first year or two can be incredibly challenging for their children, who are likely to experience anger, anxiety and disbelief.

While it depends upon the child, many recover quickly from the shock and get comfortable with the new dynamics and routines. But many kids struggle to feel “normal” again.

Divorce can mean different things for kids of varying ages

Divorce is disruptive for everyone, but it can be terrifying and confusing for children. Kids typically react differently based on their age:

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After a year of lockdowns, health scares and stress over the pandemic, a Texas summer is finally on the horizon. The turmoil has been extra challenging for many married couples experiencing trouble in their relationships.

But vaccinations are increasing, and public health restrictions are loosening. This summer may be the time that couples who have been cooped up with each other for most of the past year decide whether it's time to take action.

Steps to prepare for a possible divorce

The reasons and outcomes for divorce are different for every person. But there are some basic things to consider while you are contemplating what to do next, such as:

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Divorce can be a sad and challenging time. So much so that some Texans want to get it over with as soon as possible. However, speed should never replace thoughtful preparation to ensure you receive your fair share of marital assets.

Besides the emotional stress the process can create, the complexities of dividing marital property aren’t easy. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through the process, but it's vital to your future well-being to do some homework on your own.

Discovering and cataloging marital assets

If your spouse has handled the family checkbook and taken care of most or all financial matters during the marriage, you may not know where to look for marital assets and debts. But, with a little digging, you can gather the documentation you need for the following items:

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Why is it important to be proactive with your divorce? Divorce is a daunting step. The stress or dread it can generate often results in differing reactions for people in Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas.

Some are afraid to take the plunge and file for divorce, even though they know their marriage is over. Others belong to the “hurry up and get it over” camp, understandably wanting the pain to end quickly.

However, when parents end a marriage, it's crucial to protect their children's best interests, as well as their own, and fight for the best financial outcome now and in the future.

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Texans going through a divorce often feel that their lives have veered out of control. The end of a long relationship can turn their world upside down, especially if children are involved.

If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, you will not want to leave your future to chance. There are alternatives that can put you in the driver's seat instead of leaving the outcome in the hands of a judge.

Resolving conflicts out of court

More and more people understand that taking control of the divorce process can be a better route than going to court. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers both parties a way tofind a reasonable agreement and avoid litigation entirely. Two ADR methods include:

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Posted on in Divorce

When a once-loving relationship no longer works, thoughts for one or both spouses often turn to separation or divorce. During the past year, these difficult situations have become even more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conflicting reports over whether the number of divorces increased or decreased in 2020 only feed the confusion over how the pandemic is affecting couples on the brink of a breakup. If you are in that category, here are some coronavirus-related questions to consider.

Should I wait until the crisis is over?

Many couples who were already headed toward divorce before the pandemic chose to hit the “pause” button, thinking they couldn’t or shouldn’t split up during a health care crisis.

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Divorce often takes a tremendous toll on a family, especially when the couple ending their marriage has children. Regardless of which parent is the managing conservator, Texas courts expect that both parents will continue to be a present and positive force in their kids’ lives.

Psychologists say even when children live in separate households, they can still thrive when co-parenting relationships avoid bitterness and anger. For many former spouses, that may be easier said than done. However, it's crucial to remember that your children's future is at stake.

Five tips for peaceful co-parenting in Texas

Kids learn about life and relationships from watching their parents. They observe how you interact with each other and the various ways – verbal and nonverbal – that you communicate. Even if you and your ex went through a contentious divorce, try to put those feelings aside and remember:

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Posted on in Divorce

Valentine's Day is supposed to be all about love, romance and happiness. Unfortunately, it can be the opposite for many people when their marriage no longer works. Too often, a once-loving relationship turns to disappointment, sadness and, in many cases, anger.

While February will always be associated with love, it's also a month when divorce filings and calls to divorce attorneys increase. If you are contemplating a divorce, the key during this time is focusing on the future, not the past.

Strive to put reason ahead of emotion

While many couples focus on the romance of the season, it's crucial that you don’t get caught up with wistful emotions that distract you from the practical financial considerations of divorce.

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Going through a divorce can be a devastating experience when dealing with the sadness of ending a once-loving relationship. It can also be an exciting but confusing time when you eagerly anticipate a better life and the beginning of a new and healthy partnership.

But after spending years as half of a couple, dating may be a frightening thought. When is the right time to start meeting new people? And, how do you do that? Dating apps? The answers are different for everyone, but it's essential to take the time to say goodbye to your old life before starting a new one.

Advice for dating after a Texas divorce

Wait until your divorce is final before dating. You need to process the end of the relationship and think about your own needs going forward. Some experts say that could take as much as a year. Here are some other tips:

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When a spouse exhibits hostile feelings toward their partner, children are often caught in the middle. This can lead to feelings of anger, fear or resentment towards one parent by the children. This is often referred to a parental alienation.

Parental alienation is a common syndrome in many divorces. This can result in children refusing to see or even talk to an alienated parent. This attitude can even influence Texas child conservatorship decisions.

What are the signs of parental alienation?

In a perfect world, divorcing parents put the needs of their children first, and many do. However, others driven by anger and bitterness against a spouse may lose sight of that and manipulate a child usingguilt or even direct disparaging remarks to damage the other parent's credibility. Signs of parental alienation include:

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The year 2020 was certainly one for the books! Now that the holidays are over and we are into 2021, you may be wanting a fresh start. Is it time to make a transition in your life? Are you ready for a new beginning? Before you consider the DIY approach to divorce, beware. There are a lot of mistakes we frequently see people make that can have long-term, and often irreversible consequences.

Advance Division of Assets

Perhaps you and your spouse have discussed how to divide your estate upon divorce and generally have an agreement. That's great! However, you should resist the temptation to go ahead and divide the assets before filing or finalizing your divorce. Why? First, not all assets are created equal. It may seem reasonable to trade the house for your spouse's retirement account, but they may not be even swaps. What is the fair market value of the house? Does it need repairs to realize any value from it? The retirement account is not liquid and can result in in penalties and interest if reduced to cash. And don’t cash in the retirement account! You will bring unnecessary penalties to yourself that are not necessary. There is a way to divide the retirement account post-divorce where the non-participating spouse will not be penalized. But it needs to be done correctly. Finally, a division that is just and right may nor may not be a 50-50 division. A lot of factors, including the assets of both spouses and their respective earning powers and the tax effect of the division should all be taken into consideration.

Not Accounting for All Assets

A second mistake we see people make is drafting their own divorce decree and failing to account for all assets. The fact that an asset is in the sole name of one spouse does not mean it does not get addressed in the order. A house purchased during the marriage is presumed to be community property, even if only one spouse's name is on the title. If you have not told your spouse about that bank account with your mad money or the winning lottery ticket, and he finds out about it later, you may find yourself in further litigation. Undisclosed assets are subject to future division, and in some instances, may be awarded 100% to the other party. The best way to prove disclosure is to list it in your order.

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For many people going through a divorce, the family home will be the largest asset divided. While Texas is a community property state, that doesn’t necessarily mean marital property is split evenly. Instead, courts typically distribute assets in a“just and right” manner.

Despite the monetary value of a home, it's also one of the most challenging issues from an emotional standpoint due to the years and memories you’ve already invested. It's even more difficult for parents who don’t want to uproot their young kids from familiar surroundings.

Get an accurate appraisal

Obtaining a precise valuation of your home is essential to receive your fair share. While realtors use comparative market reports to determine a home's value, divorcing couples should work with a licensed appraiser, who considers additional factors. This is especially crucial when high-end upgrades are made to the property.

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on a majority of Americans. Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions more have suffered economic hardship due to job loss and other lost opportunities.

While vaccines are being distributed, these impacts of the virus are likely to be felt for months to come. COVID-19 has also exacted a toll on many marriages, some that were already struggling before the pandemic arrived.

Reasons for divorce during the age of COVID

The news hasn’t been all bad for married couples. Some marriages have become stronger as spouses pull together during a challenging time. However, being together in tight spaces with nowhere to go has forced others to reexamine their relationships, and many have not survived the scrutiny. Some of the top reasons for divorce during this time are:

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Posted on in Child Custody

The year 2020 has delivered many hardships and heartaches. Whether you have been personally affected by COVID-19 itself (or have a family member or friend who has) or have managed to remain healthy, we have all been affected. Some have suffered job losses, schools just do not look the same, many are engaging in school at home guided by parents who are trying to navigate the virtual work and school environment. However, all negatives have a positive opposite. We have learned new skills, embraced technology, spent more one-on-one time with loved ones, and connected in new ways with our children. For divorced parents, co-parenting has become even more important, and many families have gotten creative to ensure that their children can still enjoy positive relationships with both parents. Co-parenting during the holidays is stressful in the best of times. Here are a few tips for co-parenting during the holidays in the midst of a pandemic.

First, try to get on the same page about the pandemic. Leading health experts are warning us that there will continue to be a rise in cases during the months of December through February, and many of us are seeing such a spike in our communities. The Texas Supreme Court has made it very clear that the pandemic does not override Court ordered possession schedules. However, if you or your child has been exposed, communicate with the other parent, quarantine when necessary, and keep everyone safe. But do not use the pandemic as an excuse to cut your child's other parent out of the picture. Children still need love and time from both parents!

Second, spend true quality time and reconnect with your children during your possession time. Frequently, the holidays are filled with busyness and consist of just going places for the sake of going places. Participate in virtual events, watch holiday movies on Netflix, bake cookies and decorate! Talk to your kids, and give homemade Christmas presents! Make sure your children grow up to remember the Christmas of 2020 as the time they had fun with their parents at home!

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You and your spouse have decided to part ways. You want your child to maintain a close relationship with both parents, but you also want to keep your child safe. You’re concerned about how your ex's bipolar disorder could affect their parenting abilities. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme mood swings. During such episodes, bipolar sufferers may act in a way that's different from how they would normally behave. They may exhibit signs of either mania or depression – and will alternate between these two states:

  • Depression: Individuals in this state are often sad, exhausted and apathetic. They may be disinterested in things they would normally enjoy – such as hobbies or friends. They may find it difficult to get out of bed. This condition could affect a parent's ability to care for their children – from preparing meals to holding down a job.
  • Mania: In this state, individuals experience some type of “high” emotions. They may be happy and energetic – feeling as though they have superpowers – or they may be angry and agitated. Individuals in this state often act impulsively, without considering rationale or consequences to their actions. Excessive spending is common during manic episodes.

Options for handling a spouse's mental illness during your divorce

No parent should have to lose their relationship with their child solely because they have a mental illness. However, you may be worried about the safety and wellbeing of your child while in the care of a parent with a mental illness. If your child's safety is a concern during your divorce, you may be able to obtain a temporary child custody order issued for the duration of the divorce proceedings.

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