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Houston Divorce Blog

Fostering relationships between children and noncustodial parents

Your ex is certainly your ex for a reason, but one thing he will never be is an ex-parent. Even if you now have full custody of your children, it is important and beneficial in most situations for your children to maintain and foster a relationship with their noncustodial parent.

Depending on the circumstances of your separation, it may not be easy for you to put your personal feelings aside and encourage your children to maintain a relationship with the other parent. But for the sake of your kids, consider making these efforts:

  • Encourage communication between your children and the other parent, whether through email, phone or other avenues. Part of encouraging this type of communication means not using these calls or communications to pick fights, talk finances or touch upon anything else that might be a bone of contention.  
  • Maintain a united front, even if only in front of your children. Try to include your children’s other parent when parent-teacher conferences and similar situations arise. Seeing that you, too, make the effort to engage with and include the other parent improves the chances that your children will do the same.
  • Share art projects, school photos and other such items with your ex, and encourage your children to do so as well. This also shows your children that the other parent is still of value in their lives.
  • Keep your personal feelings for the other parent just that – personal. Do your children the courtesy of not badmouthing the other parent when the kids are around, or your children may think it is acceptable to do the same.

3 reasons to consider divorce as a senior woman

Most people associate divorce with those who are young, newly married or on a second marriage or higher. While it is true that these demographics have high divorce rates, it is also true that the rates are increasing for those who are older.

The trend, called “gray divorce,” has risen over the years for many reasons. You may be considering ending your long-term marriage but are not sure if it is the right thing to do. The following three reasons may help you decide if you should begin the divorce process.

How to know if you are ready for a divorce

Getting a divorce can be one of the most frightening things you will ever do. Even seriously considering it takes a lot of courage, let alone actually going through with it. But just because you have decided you want to end your long-term marriage, it does not mean you are ready to begin the process.

There are many things you must consider first or you will make lots of mistakes that can result in unnecessary costs, delays and conflict. Here is how to know when you are truly ready to start your divorce.

Taking charge of your finances before divorce

Most people know that separating your finances forms a crucial part of the divorce process. However, you are likely to encounter problems if you approach your finances with a lack of clarity. Learning about key issues and consulting a knowledgeable attorney can help you stay in good financial shape during and after your divorce. In addition to learning financial skills, taking the following steps can help you during and after your divorce.

The first issue you need to explore is the level of your awareness of family finances. If one spouse manages most of the family's bills and accounts, it can be easy to let things go on that front. You should have access to all bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card statements and all other financial information. You should also stay current on financial activity. Spouses who hide assets frequently begin by making unexplained withdrawals from joint accounts. Tracking activity will allow you to catch any out-of-place activity right away.

Are there legal protections against domestic violence?

There’s a reason that Texas courts respond quickly to domestic violence allegations. In a recent example, a Texas man walked into an elementary school and shot his 8-year-old son and his estranged wife.

The man reportedly had a prior history of domestic violence. Unfortunately, domestic violence and guns can be a deadly combination. One local Dallas judge has made it a personal mission to take guns away from domestic violence suspects, at least temporarily.

Do you need a QDRO when dividing divorce property?

Although a divorce may signify the end of a marital relationship, there’s no reason that long-term planning should be set aside. Indeed, our Texas law firm works hard not only to protect our clients’ rights during a divorce, but to help them take affirmative steps for putting their post-divorce finances in order

A qualified domestic relations order is one way to keep the big picture in mind during a divorce proceeding. A QDRO, which must be signed by a judge, instructs how retirement assets will be divided between the spouses. Notably, the payment does not have to be immediate or in a lump sum. A QDRO can used to pay child support or alimony. A QDRO may also be rolled over to another tax-deferred account. Since Texas is a community property state, the only condition is that the division be an equal, 50-50 split.

How can you prepare for a child custody battle?

If you are getting a divorce and anticipate a dispute with your spouse over child custody arrangements, it is important to be prepared. An attorney that focuses on family law matters can help parents prepare the documentation and other evidence they will need to demonstrate why a particular possession and/or access arrangement is in a child’s best interest.

The good news is that most family law courts in Texas no longer make child custody determinations based on stereotypical gender assumptions. Today, courts recognize that a child may benefit from the influence of both parents, and that support arrangements should reflect each parent’s ability to care for their children. Since both mothers and fathers may have jobs, both may have an equal ability to provide emotional and financial support. Indeed, many courts may begin the analysis with a presumption in favor of joint custody.

Does divorce mediation make sense for you?

Not all divorces need to generate a storm of bitter litigation. While not everyone can just sit down and come up with an agreement that works for both parties, you may wish to explore alternatives that fall somewhere in the middle. Divorce mediation, in particular, is gaining popularity for divorcing couples in many states, including Texas. Some counties even require couples to try mediation before litigating.

How it works

Considering divorce but not sure what to do?

The decision to divorce is one that many people do not make lightly, particularly if children are involved. Thus, it is natural that you would put off making a final decision for some time. The process is not one you need to go through alone, however. In fact, a lot of people can help you make an informed decision, and one of them is an attorney. Here is a quick look at how a lawyer may help.

Offering free initial consultations

5 myths about divorce that need to be dispelled

Divorce is a complex legal process that has many steps involved before it is finalized. It is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly. There is a lot of misinformation about divorce that comes from gossip and misinterpretation of the law. Instead of listening to your neighbor or cousin, you should speak to someone who knows and understands family law.

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