Dallas Divorce Law Blog

Overdue child support and homeownership

It is not completely impossible for Texas parents who have overdue child support obligations to obtain a loan to purchase a home. However, they should realize that having delinquent child support is considered a derogatory credit event and can possibly impair their chances of having their mortgage application approved.

The first step a person should take is to obtain a copy of his or her credit report and carefully review what has been listed. People should verify that all of the line items are correct and determine if their FICO score is within the requirements set by mortgage lenders. In order to determine if they will be able to afford a mortgage payment while paying off their child support arrearage and any current debts they may have, they should use a home affordability calculator.

Prenuptial agreements in a Texas divorce

Prenuptial agreements continue to become more common, especially among couples where at least one party owns or expects significant assets. Generally, a valid prenuptial agreement can serve to determine property division in a divorce.

People on the brink of divorce often want to know whether the prenup they signed all these years ago will still hold up in court. Whether you are hoping to enforce your agreement or challenge it, it can help to know some basic principles that can affect this issue.

Regaining rights to a son or daughter

Parents in Texas who have lost custody of their children may not understand why this happened to them. However, they should understand that they may still be allowed to have visitation or other rights to their children. If they want to get custody back, it is important to understand why it was taken away and comply with any court order to help rectify the situation.

For instance, a parent may be asked to attend anger management classes or get help for a drug or alcohol problem. While individuals may not feel like they have a problem that needs to be addressed, it is generally better to comply with the court as opposed to arguing about an order. This may help parents get on a judge's good side and make it easier to win back custody at a later date. As a parent fulfills obligations imposed by a judge, it may be worthwhile to request an in-home evaluation.

Co-parenting when the school year begins can be challenging

Divorced parents in Texas and around the country generally try their best to put their differences aside when the welfare of their children is at stake, which is why family law judges tend to order co-parenting arrangements whenever possible. Psychologists have found that the children of divorce fare best when they spend time with both their fathers and their mothers, and this is especially true during the start of a new school year.

Children who are about to start attending a new school are often apprehensive. Parents may recall feeling the same way themselves, and they can help their children to overcome their anxieties by explaining how their own fears turned out to be unfounded. The computers and other supplies that must be purchased before the start of a new school year can strain the budgets of divorced parents, but arguments over money should be avoided when children are feeling vulnerable.

What is the definition of commingled property?

While most people believe the divorce rate in the United States is about 50 percent, the truth is vastly different. The actual divorce rate tends to be around 42 percent, but it is difficult to get an exact figure due to the numerous ways by which professionals measure it. 

In a divorce, each party will attempt to regain control of various assets. One aspect that frequently comes up is whether an asset should be "separate property" or "commingled property." It is critical to understand the difference so that you know what is off the table. 

How tax reform has changed divorce planning

For divorcing couples in Texas, financial planning for divorce has become more complicated since the passage of the tax reform law. Some changes could impact divorces that are finalized after 2019, making planning crucial.

According to Accounting Today, people who pay spousal support will no longer be able to deduct their payments on their taxes. People who receive spousal support will no longer have to report it as income. This change is important since the paying spouses will lose a benefit. They might want to negotiate with their spouses to secure an agreement to a lump-sum payment of alimony that occurs in 2018 rather than agreeing to ongoing monthly payments that they won't be able to deduct.

Understanding the types of child support cases

There are a number of different types of child support cases that may apply to Texas parent. When exes are newly involved with the system, they may not be sure exactly how these cases are defined or why they are different. For example, some families manage child support payments directly between the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent while others pay child support through a state agency. There are a few types of cases, including IV-D, IV-A, IV-E and non-IV-D child support matters.

The "IV" designation is a reference to Title IV of the 1975 Social Security Act, which regulates the grants that states receive for aid and services to children and their families. In an IV-D child support case, the custodial parent receives some kind of support from the Office of Child Support Enforcement in order to receive payments. The types of assistance can vary based on certain factors, including establishing paternity or enforcing an existing child support order. An IV-A case is one in which the custodial parent gets public assistance from the state; in these cases, an automatic referral is made to the OCSE.

How might the concealing of assets affect your divorce?

You and your spouse have significant assets that you acquired during your marriage. Since Texas is a community property state, you know that your marital property will be divided when the judge finalizes your divorce. This may be reassuring, as you realize that becoming single can affect your financial quality of life, but you also worry that your spouse is the type to hide assets, so a portion wouldn’t become yours after the divorce.

Concealing marital property is against the law, and your soon-to-be-ex could be in contempt of court for lying under oath about his assets. However, this does not stop divorcing spouses from trying this tactic all the time. The following methods of concealing assets are common in family law courts:

  • Reporting an income that is less than the actual salary
  • Having one’s employer delay a promotion or annual bonus until after the divorce, or pay extra funds “under the table”
  • Regularly withdrawing a small amount of money from a joint bank account (getting cash back while grocery shopping, for example) and depositing it in an unknown bank account
  • Giving money or property to a friend to hold onto under after the divorce
  • Selling assets without the other spouse’s knowledge and hiding the profits
  • Charging personal purchases to the company’s account

How to be a good parent after a divorce

Parents in Texas may be able to dissolve their marriage, but they are not able to put an end to the relationship that they have with their kids. This means working together with the child's other parent to raise a son or daughter. To increase the odds of being an effective parent after a divorce, it is important to focus on the child's best interest.

Children need both parents in their lives when they are both fit to do so. It is important to remember that to a child, a mother or father is always a mother or father regardless of what happens. Children should not be privy to any disputes or conflicts between parents. They should also never be used as leverage in a dispute or conflict. Doing so may make them feel like it is necessary to choose sides.

How to resolve financial issues in a relationship

Texas parents who are planning to get married should have a conversation about finances as soon as possible. Doing so could make it easier to determine who will work and who will stay at home with the kids. It may also be a good time to discuss whether a parent will transition out of the workforce or back into the workforce in the future.

Proper planning might prevent a situation where one parent feels stressed out about their career but feels as if there is no option but to continue working. Stress about work and money can have a negative impact on a marriage and even lead to a divorce. Ideally, individuals who are raising children together will take time to empathize with what the other is going through.