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Houston Divorce Blog

3 tips for dealing with a shocking divorce

When most people think about the possibility of getting a divorce in the future, they usually expect it to be a gradual process that comes with many warning signs. However, this is not always the reality. Sometimes, divorce comes as a complete surprise.

If you are dealing with the shock of receiving divorce papers, you may feel like your whole world is turning upside down. You are likely in a state of panic and confusion. Despite the turmoil you are experiencing right now, you can get through this with the right help. Here are some tips on how to handle a sudden divorce

4 most common gray divorce mistakes

The divorce rate among Americans over the age of 50 has skyrocketed in recent years. Data from the Pew Research Center shows the divorce rate among this demographic has nearly doubled since the 1990s. 

While divorce is roughly the same regardless of age, there can be key differences that alter the approach you need to take. Far too many people going through gray divorce make the following mistakes, which can significantly impact the outcome: 

Should you make informal changes in your divorce settlement?

Once you have a finalized divorce settlement, you are likely so relieved that the divorce process is over that you may assume the settlement is set in stone. While an original judgment or agreement does set up the legal framework for the expectations regarding you and your spouse post-divorce, as life goes on, things likely change over time.

Many divorced couples are not aware of how to go about modifying their divorce settlements or court-ordered requirements regarding children, custody, child support, visitation and the like. Some may even attempt to arrange an informal agreement or modification together with their ex-spouse, which is not always the best route to take. 

5 tips to help your children adjust to a post-divorce world

Although divorce is painful for the parties involved, the children of the marriage usually suffer the most. Some try to be brave, others become clingy, but all face heartache and confusion.

Here are five tips you can use in the important task of helping your children adjust to their post-divorce lives.

Divorced dads and the shame of being disconnected

Divorce is difficult for the entire family, but fathers have some particularly thorny issues that others in the family do not face. Mothers are often given the priority in terms of child care, custody and issues related to the children. This makes it tough for fathers to know where their role lies and how they can remain an active part of their children's lives.

Often, separation can lead to a father not seeing his child for an extended period of time. As one week comes and goes, then one month, then another, it can seem like there is no solution for getting reconnected to children, and a feeling of shame can grow from this distance.

3 ways to have a better divorce

The divorce process is often difficult, both emotionally and practically. You will have to handle a variety of tough issues. While there, unfortunately, is no way to guarantee a smooth, stress-free process, you can take some important steps to help you through it.

Every situation involves different people and circumstances. Depending on your specific set of facts and goals, you may need to consider steps in addition to the following general pieces of advice:

3 tips for changing your child custody order

Not every issue goes away once you receive your divorce decree. There are plenty of problems and questions that may arise in the weeks, months and years following your divorce. As a father, one of your main, ongoing concerns may be custody, especially if you did not get the amount of custody or visitation you prefer.

It is normal for you to want to see your kids more. You may be able to accomplish this goal by modifying your existing child custody arrangement. Follow these guidelines for a better chance at a successful modification request.

Property division, retirement accounts and QDROs

You and your spouse have been planning for retirement all your adult lives. Because your spouse made all those contributions to his retirement plans during your marriage, they are now marital property in your divorce. However, dividing retirement accounts can be a complex process, especially since each retirement plan may have its own rules. 

The IRS explains that you do have legal recourse to ensure that you still receive the retirement benefits that belong to you as the alternate payee. In many cases, you may do this without the penalties that come with early withdrawals. This is where a QDRO comes in.

Making the most of visits with noncustodial children

If you are a parent who does not have primary custody of your child, you may have standing visits with your son or daughter over the summer, on certain holidays or what have you. Because you only have limited time to spend with your child, you probably want to make every effort to ensure a smooth, positive visit that strengthens your parent-child relationship.

That may prove easier said than done, however, and particularly if you and your child often go long periods without speaking or spending time together. So, before your child arrives for his or her next visit with you, consider taking the following steps:

Is court necessary to modify a divorce decree?

In one sense, divorce decrees are set in stone. You must do whatever is in the decree, and if you do not, your ex-spouse could seek remedies in court. In another sense, though, divorce decrees are not necessarily set in stone. The courts recognize that few people's lives stay the same and that they may need to make post-divorce modifications.

Of course, the legal process often requires time investment and the involvement of lawyers. So, if both you and your ex-spouse agree on a change, it is it really necessary to go through a process with lawyers and the court system again?


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