MEDIATION IN A TEXAS DIVORCE CASE IS “A MUST”
Mediation is a more effective method of dispute resolution than divorce litigation. Resolving disputes in mediation takes some of the pressure off our court dockets. Getting the most value out of the mediation process should be your primary goal.
REASONS WHY MEDIATION IS A MUST FOR DIVORCE CASES:
Cost-effective: eliminating costly additional preparation and trial.
Expeditious: resolving issues in a day compared to the weeks or months it takes to get before the Court.
Children: settling the dispute out of court can be very beneficial for children and reduces the emotional strain on the parties.
Control: parties maintain more control over how decisions are made and the terms of agreement.
Agreement not imposed: avoiding the adversarial process in which court dates and judicial decisions are imposed.
Confidential: in a private divorce mediation, discussions and tentative agreements are confidential.
The roadblocks to a successful mediation are often hidden issues that may have no direct bearing on the case. Typically, these are “ancient issues” in the relationship. Mediation is balancing the problem-solving focus with the need to overcome or transform hidden obstacles with careful communication.
In most cases, participants in mediation can reach a point where they will agree on one thing: that it’s better not to let their anger get in the way of their own best interest, and especially the best interest of their children.
Adjusting Custody During the School Year
Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy bonding with your children. You and your former spouse may have each taken an opportunity to travel with your children at some point. However, if you’re in the process of getting divorced, you may need to look at your parenting plan and visitation schedule to ensure it remains fair. In most circumstances, courts want to see visitation and shared custody arrangements that facilitate healthy relationships between the children and both parents. Working together to create an acceptable parenting plan shows the courts that you are putting the needs of your children first
Full-time school reduces free time for family fun
There simply won’t be as much free time to split up during the school year. You and your spouse need to find a way to make shared custody work. Perhaps you alternate weeks picking the kids up from school for completely shared, 50/50 custody. Maybe one of you spends every weeknight with the kids and the other typically spends the weekend or every other weekend with them. Every family has different demands, schedules and needs. Try to be flexible and to remember that your children need both of their parents.
Try to work to reach a place where you and your spouse can both attend critical functions, like parent-teacher conferences or school plays. Ideally, your children will have two fully engaged parents advocating for the best possible educational outcome. Good co-parenting and compromise will be critical to the success of your arrangements. If you can remind each other about important assignments or upcoming special events, you will both be there to encourage and support your children throughout the educational process.
DIVIDING STUDENT DEBT AND OTHER DEBT IN A TEXAS DIVORCE
When couples divorce, people typically focus on issues like asset division and child custody. However, the division and allocation of debts can have a significant effect on the size of the property settlement you receive. You may think that just because you didn’t co-sign for a credit card, you won’t be responsible. The courts in Texas, however, have a different view when it comes to financial responsibility and fair division of both assets and debts in a divorce.
Let’s say that your former spouse completed school before you were married. Chances are, those debts won’t affect your community property settlement. But if your former spouse took out those student loans during your marriage, you may incur liability for a substantial amount of that debt. Texas law leaves it up to the courts to interpret what is the fairest way to split up both assets and debts. They won’t just look at amounts and who benefited. The courts will also look at who has greater earning potential and at the reason for divorce. Fault can result in more uneven distribution of debts.
You may have to share some of your spouse’s debts
If you were married when your former spouse was racking up credit card debt, medical debt or student loans, you could very well end up paying for some of those debts. Texas is a community property state for purposes of asset and debt division. Assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally split evenly between spouses, while most assets and debts from before the marriage remain the possession of one spouse. Even if you weren’t buying anything with that credit card or didn’t co-sign for the student loans, if the debt was created during the marriage, you may have to share it.
It is important to note that Texas law does protect divorcing individuals from a spouse taking on new debt after someone files for divorce. The courts may intervene in certain situations, like the sale of a home, major credit card purchases or similar situations intended to cause financial hardship for the other spouse.
In general, everything that you and your spouse purchased during the course of your marriage is marital property. You and your husband will have to divide anything that the court classifies as marital property. Texas divorce law incorporates the principles of community property. This means that, in theory, you should divide all property obtained during the marriage should be equally divided. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, the court will allow you to divide the property according to the contract.
Inception of title rule
Equal division does not necessarily mean perfectly in half. The court will enact the inception of title rule with regard to certain property. This means that the court will examine the status of the property at the time you or your husband acquired it and make a decision based on those facts.
Not all the property you acquired during your marriage falls into the realm of community property. For example, any birthday gifts or inheritances you received, family heirlooms, or anything you bought before you were married classifies as separate property in the eyes of the court.
However, if your separate property becomes too commingled with the community property and it is not easy to separate the two, it might lose its status as separate. In this situation, the property will be subject to the division rules that pertain to community property. Furthermore, you will have to provide evidence that the property is separate and should not be included in the community property.