Can I Date While Getting a Divorce?

Relationships are complicated. Sometimes, an interest in a potential new partner becomes the impetus for a divorce. Other times, a divorce takes so long that life continues for months or even years. Spouses become eager to make a connection with someone and to feel desirable again. No matter what the reason, many people find themselves wondering whether it’s okay to start dating before the divorce is finalized.

Of course, each situation is different and it’s impossible for an attorney to give legal advice without meeting the client and knowing their individual situation. 

Is Dating During Divorce OK?

Generally, most divorce lawyers tell their clients to avoid dating while the divorce is pending. Here are several reasons why.

Dating Causes Tensions 

When your soon-to-be ex learns that you are dating someone new, they are less likely to treat you favorably during the divorce process. You may experience increased challenges when it comes to child custody and property division – even if your ex originally claims to be supportive.

Dating Can Cause a Divorce to Take Longer and Drive Up Costs

When your spouse is less likely to cooperate with you, they are more likely to make legal challenges that can increase the cost of your divorce and the time it takes to finalize.

Dating Can Reflect Negatively on You 

When the divorce is pending, you are still technically married. In any divorce disagreement where your ex calls your moral character into question, dating may be used against you. While courts aren’t known to be especially harsh on dating, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s Best to Give Yourself Time 

A marriage that didn’t go well and a divorce that caused tensions can take a physical, mental and emotional toll. Giving yourself time can help you heal and learn who you are as a single person before becoming part of a couple again. You may find that you feel stronger and bring more to your next relationship when you’ve had time to rebuild on your own.

What to Do Instead of Dating

While your divorce is pending, you should avoid dating. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid having a social life. Experts recommend staying active with a group of friends instead of just one person. Be clear about your situation and set expectations upfront. If you are feeling lonely, it might be a good idea to find a divorce support group. Many local churches offer them, for instance.

Contact Us for a Consultation About Your Divorce

So, it’s probably best to avoid dating. However, every situation is different. The team at Schneider Law Firm, P.C., is there to support you in your situation.For a confidential consultation about your divorce, call our Arlington office at 817-755-1852 .

Should I Sign a Prenup?

“Should I sign a prenup?” It’s a question that we sometimes hear from clients on the verge of getting married. In some cases, prenups can bring peace of mind. But, they can also be a great source of stress. Here’s what you need to know.

Should I Sign a Prenup? | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – The best way to get a real answer about whether to sign a prenup is to talk directly with your own lawyer in a confidential consultation.

What Is a Prenup?

Prenups—also called prenuptial agreements or premarital agreements—are written contracts created and signed by two people before they are married. In the prenup, the couple agrees to terms that will become effective when they are married.

In a prenup, couples can agree on many things. They can agree to their rights to any property belonging to either or both of them, no matter how or when it was acquired or where it’s located. They can also agree to the right to buy, sell, use or otherwise transfer property. And they can agree to what happens to their property if they divorce or if one spouse passes away. Spousal support, estate planning, life insurance and the law governing the agreement can all be agreed to.

Are Prenups Enforceable in Texas Courts?

Prenups are generally enforceable in Texas courts as long as they meet some basic criteria:

  • They are in writing.
  • They are signed by both parties.
  • Both spouses must have disclosed all assets and liabilities before signing the document – so everyone involved has the full information they’d need to make the right decision.
  • Both spouses waived the right to future disclosure.

Texas courts have found prenups unenforceable in some situations, like when they were used to defraud creditors, avoid liability for child support or were used in a criminal way. Prenups have also been found unenforceable when one spouse coerced the other to sign or failed to disclose all of their assets.

Only Your Attorney Can Tell You for Sure Whether to Sign

A blog post can’t tell you whether or not you should sign a prenup; that’s an attorney’s job. The best way to get a real answer in your situation is to talk directly with your own lawyer in a confidential consultation. Don’t just depend on what you hear from a lawyer representing your potential spouse. Your own lawyer can review the document, get the facts of your relationship and discuss your options.

If you do have legal questions about a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to ask before your sign. A signed prenuptial agreement is generally enforceable in Texas courts—even if you later come to regret signing it. If you need advice, start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 .

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.4.htm

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces

Divorcing spouses often worry how they will make ends meet. They know the income that once supported one household must now be divided to support two, and they’re unsure what impact that will have on their finances. 

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we usually talk with our divorce clients in detail about their financial situations to make sure their interests are protected. Part of that conversation is talking about spousal maintenance (which our clients often refer to as “alimony” or “spousal support”).

Texas Courts May Order Spousal Maintenance in Some Cases

In our state, Texas Family Code Section 8.051 says that Texas courts may order spousal maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance if that spouse will lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs when the marriage ends. The spouse seeking maintenance must meet additional criteria, including:

  • Having an incapacitating mental or physical disability: Medical records are often required to prove the existence of the disability if it’s disputed.
  • Having been married for 10 or more years and now lacking the ability to earn sufficient income: This often applies to housewives who have spent more than a decade at home taking care of the children and running the household.
  • Being the custodian of a child of the marriage who requires significant care because of mental or physical disability: The child can be any age, from just born to a grown adult. Like with an adult’s disability, medical records are often required to prove the disability if it’s disputed.

In some cases, courts can order a spouse to pay spousal maintenance when that spouse has been convicted of a crime that constitutes domestic violence against their spouse or children. Several different crimes constitute domestic violence, including sexual assault.

Spousal Maintenance in Texas Divorces | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Divorcing spouses often worry about how they will make ends meet. Here’s what you need to know about Texas spousal maintenance law.

“Minimum Reasonable Needs:” What Does That Mean?

The law says that a person is eligible for spousal maintenance when they lack property to provide for their “minimum reasonable needs.” But, what does that mean? There is no set amount. Instead, minimum reasonable needs are determined on a case-by-case basis. What may be reasonable for one person is different for another. In many cases, attorneys can guide their clients through putting together a reasonable budget based on their history and their predicted needs after a divorce.

How Is the Spousal Maintenance Amount Determined?

The amount of spousal maintenance that someone pays or receives is determined on a case-by-case basis. While you might be tempted to compare yourself to a couple you know or read about in the news, it’s best to talk with a lawyer directly about your own situation.

If courts order spousal maintenance after divorce, you should know that there is a cap on the monthly payment. A spouse will pay no more than the lesser of $5,000 or 20% of their average monthly gross income. This is different from child support, which courts calculate based on net income.

There are tax implications, too. Spousal support is paid from post-tax money. So, the spouse who receives it does not have to pay tax on it. This can have huge tax implications.

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Maintenance

Because spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis, it’s best to talk with a lawyer about your own situation. Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Sources: 

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.8.htm https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.71.htm#71.004

Time Apart: How to Navigate Separation in Texas

Sometimes, spouses are not completely ready to experience the finality of divorce. Yet, they feel their marriage is on the rocks and they need some time apart to decompress and consider how to move forward. If this sounds like you, know that there is an alternative to divorce in Texas: informal separation.

Texas Does Not Offer Legal Separation

In most states, couples have the option to enter into legal separation. Through legal separation, both spouses live apart but remain married, following a court order. The finances are still divided and if there are children, child support and custody arrangements are made. 

In Texas, no laws exist that govern legal separation. For couples ready to end their marriage, divorce is often viewed as the only legal option to pursue. Yet, this isn’t the case. 

The Alternative to Legal Separation: Informal Separation

In an informal separation, you and your spouse live apart. While an attorney isn’t necessarily required, one can help you create an agreement between you and your spouse to serve as a contract during your time apart.

These agreements can help you divide assets and set boundaries without a divorce. For example, spouses can enter into a partition and exchange agreement which allows a spouse to transfer community property—marital property—to the other spouse. An agreement can also cover estate planning, alimony and more.

Why Should You Try an Informal Separation?

If you feel time apart would benefit your marriage, separation is a great option. It allows you to consider and evaluate whether divorce is the best option for your family. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to have constructive conversations with your spouse to resolve any open conflicts. It’s possible that a separation can be just what you need to avoid an impending divorce.

Time Apart: How to Navigate Separation in Texas | iStock-1057547460
817-799-7125– Although there are no laws governing legal separation in Texas, there are still alternatives to divorce through informal separation. To learn more, visit us today.

Divorce Isn’t the Only Option in Texas

You have the option to participate in an informal separation with legal protection in Texas with the help of an experienced attorney. We can help you choose a path that’s right for you and your family. To learn more about informal separation or for help deciding which step to take next, call our Arlington, TX, lawyers at 817-799-7125.

Sources: State of Texas Family Code

Considerations for Special Needs Children in Divorce

Approximately 40-50% of marriages within the United States end in divorce. Some of these divorces involve special needs children and children dealing with disabilities of all forms: physical, learning, emotional and behavioral. The divorce process can become extremely complex if there are children with special needs involved.

Planning for Medical Care & Long-Term Expense

Special needs children must have access to medical care in many forms. For example, the child will need access to advanced medical care but may need behavioral healthcare as well. Although child support and insurance may cover a bulk of these expenses, they won’t cover it all.

For some children with severe disabilities, long-term care may be required, even after they turn 18. Some of these expenses may include long-term or permanent medical care, as well as skilled care housing facilities.

Each spouse must work together and consider these expenses as they negotiate asset division during divorce. For example, assets received by the child may hinder their ability to qualify for government benefits. Plus, other financial safeguards such as trusts may be required to fully protect the child in the future.

Visitation & Custody Considerations

Depending on the severity of the child’s disability, traditional visitation and custody arrangements may not be what’s best. For example, switching back and forth every other week may wreak havoc on a child’s wellbeing. All children need structure, especially during life-changing situations such as divorce.

Parents must also determine who’s responsible for transporting the child to and from medical appointments, school and other activities. This may also directly affect a visitation and custody arrangement, especially if the child’s transportation needs are complex.

Considerations for Special Needs Children in Divorce
817-799-7125 – As a parent of a child with special needs, your divorce will be complex. To learn more about what to consider during the process, visit us today.

The Bottom Line: You Must Plan Ahead

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce involving a special needs child, you must be willing to compromise and work together to plan ahead. We recommend working with a professional attorney who can help you understand the legal implications of your divorce and to create a plan that will best protect your child.

Don’t Try to Handle the Complexity Alone

You and your child deserve to feel protected as you journey through the divorce process. An attorney can help. To learn more about your options, reach out to our Arlington, TX, law firm today by calling 817-799-7125.