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What is the impact of student debt in divorce?

For many people, student loans have overtaken mortgages as the largest financial burden of their lives. Six-figure debt is not unusual. When it comes to marriage and divorce, it is important to consider the impact of student debt. 

  Timing Is Important 

As a community property state, Texas considers both parties to the marriage liable for any debt taken on during the marriage. If your spouse took out student loans during your marriage, you are equally responsible for that debt. If your spouse already had student debt when you married, whatever debt remains when you get divorced will go with your ex-spouse. 

There is an exception to the rule that debt will remain with the party who took it on before the marriage began. If you cosigned the loan, perhaps as part of a refinance, then you legally accepted responsibility for repaying the debt. 

  Student Debt Paid During the Marriage 

A common concern when it comes to the equitable distribution of assets is that one party has paid more or less of the common expenses during the marriage. Student loans can leave one party unable to contribute equally to expenses like housing, retirement savings, and travel. 

When it comes to dividing those assets in a divorce, the law does not necessarily consider how student debt impacted the situation. A home purchased during the marriage will be considered marital property, subject to equitable distribution, regardless of how it was paid for.

  Discuss Student Loans Before Getting Married 

Student loans are often a driver of prenuptial agreements for couples considering divorce. Married couples considering refinancing options or a return to school should consider a postnuptial agreement to clarify the rights and responsibilities of the parties in the event of a divorce. 

  Disputes Over Money Are Common 

Debt and financial problems are among the most common causes of divorce. Student debt can lead to bitterness and division during a marriage and in divorce. 

Most debt repayment strategies suggest paying off debts in a particular order. The highest interest debt, typically credit card debt, is paid off first, with lower interest rate debt following in order. 

Credit card debt, however, is often shared in a couple while student loan debt can belong to only one party. The choice of how to prioritize debt obligations can easily lead to, or demonstrate, problems with the marriage. 

  Call Our Arlington Family Law Attorneys Today 

If you are considering divorce or you believe your spouse is considering it, you need legal assistance as soon as possible. The attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. have extensive experience in Texas divorce cases, including those involving student debt. Call 817-799-7125 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with our Arlington, TX, legal team.

How to Get a Protective Order During a Divorce

Some individuals choose to get divorced to escape violent situations. Others may experience threats from their ex-spouse during a divorce. If this is you, please know that there are legal steps you can take today to protect yourself and your family. Protective orders are available to put boundaries between you and your ex-spouse during this time.

Types of Protective Orders Explained

There are several types of protective orders you can receive for protection in Texas. The two main types of orders include:

  • Temporary restraining orders: A temporary restraining order is a court order that lasts for 14 days. The order is served by the sheriff and requires your ex-spouse to stay a certain number of feet away from you, move out if he or she lives with you and stop contacting you. Other conditions may apply depending on the severity of the situation.
  • Permanent protective orders: If you feel 14 days isn’t long enough, you can file for a permanent protection order that can last up to two years.

If your ex-spouse violates the protective order, there are major consequences. This is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas which is punishable by up to one year in jail as well as a fine. If your ex-spouse has violated other orders, they’re at risk of receiving a felony charge, which carries a longer prison sentence.

How to Get a Protective Order During Your Divorce

Obtaining a protective order will require you to file a form with the court. An attorney can help you fill out the form, so you can obtain your protective order faster. You’ll then need to attend a hearing where the judge will ask you questions about your need for an order.

If the judge finds you have cause for the order, they will grant a temporary order. If you need a longer permanent order, you’ll need to attend a second hearing. At this hearing, your ex-spouse will have the opportunity to dispute your claims. It’s recommended that you have an attorney to support you.

Call Our Fort Worth, Texas Attorneys for Help Today

If you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, please reach out for help immediately. The attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. in Fort Worth can support you during this time. Reach out to us today by calling 817-755-1852  or, if the situation doesn’t require immediate action, send us a message.


My Divorce Is Uncontested. Can I Do It Myself?

In an uncontested divorce, couples not only agree to get divorced, but they agree on all the other issues of divorce. For example, they agree on a property settlement that divides marital assets and debts and they agree on a custody arrangement for their children. 

If you believe your divorce to be uncontested, you might be wondering if you can handle your divorce yourself. Is that a possibility? Can you get a divorce without an attorney?

Why You Should Avoid a DIY Divorce

While it’s possible to get a divorce without an attorney, it’s not recommended. Even if you and your spouse seem to agree on every aspect of your divorce, opinions and feelings may change during the process. You may waste time and money on a DIY divorce, only to need to hire an attorney after all.

This is only one of the downsides of trying to DIY your divorce. Other dangers of going it alone include:

  • Improper division of assets: Dividing property can be complex, especially if you have an inheritance or separate property that is now a marital asset. Trying to divide the property yourself can leave you without your fair share of marital property.
  • Custody agreements that don’t work: If you have children, you’ll need to come up with a parenting plan between you and your ex-spouse. Complexities such as tedious work schedules can make creating a schedule difficult to complete on your own. And a custody arrangement that doesn’t work will require modification through court later, costing you more time and money.
  • Additional stress: Divorce is stressful and emotional. Trying to DIY your divorce can add additional stress as you try and move forward.

A Courtroom Dispute Isn’t the Only Option for Divorce

Many people consider a DIY divorce because they fear the drama of the courtroom. If this is you, rest assured that not every divorce requires a court battle. 

If you and your spouse can work amicably, you may be able to finalize your divorce through mediation or arbitration. An experienced attorney can help you decide which path is best for you and your family.

Considering a Divorce? Reach Out to Our Fort Worth, TX Attorneys.

If you’re considering a divorce, we recommend reaching out to an attorney for support. Trying to go through the divorce process alone can result in unnecessary stress and costly mistakes. To learn more about divorce from our Fort Worth, TX, attorneys, give us a call at 817-755-1852  or send us a message.


My Ex-Spouse Wants to Move to Another State: What Do I Do?

It happens. You get the call from your ex-spouse saying they’re considering moving to another state with your children. As you both share custody, panic sets in as you worry you’ll lose contact if they go. Luckily, Texas law helps protect you from this scenario. And the attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. in Arlington can help, too.

Texas Law & Joint Custody

Texas courts will do everything in their power to do what’s best for your children. So, unless there is a reason not to, such as a history of abuse, the courts will typically recommend a joint managing conservatorship. This means both you and your spouse will share custody of your children.

In a joint managing conservatorship, the court will determine the primary parent of your children, or the parent responsible for deciding where the children will live. Yet, this is most commonly a specific geographic area, enabling effective joint custody for both parties.

Your Ex-Spouse Can’t Leave Without a Court Order

Custody orders are concrete. This means that if the court originally requested the primary parent to stay within a specific geographic area, they must do so. Even if your ex-spouse is the primary parent of your children, they can’t leave without first going back through court.

The process involves petitioning the court and attending a relocation hearing. During this hearing, your ex-spouse will need to explain their reasoning for the move. The court must have valid cause to approve the move, such as relocating for a job. Your ex-spouse can’t simply move to try to keep you from your children.

Speak With an Experienced Child Custody Attorney

If you don’t already have an attorney, we recommend reaching out to one who can help you navigate the complexities of child custody modifications. Rest assured that an attorney can help you file the proper motions required to fight for your rights and those of your children.

Schneider Law Firm, P.C. has years of experience in child custody in the State of Texas. Whether you require an order modification or are considering a divorce, we’re here to help.

Reach Out to Schneider Law Firm, P.C. in Arlington

We know that you want what’s best for your children. If you’re struggling with a child custody issue, we’re here to support you. To learn more about your next steps, reach out to our Arlington, TX, legal team by calling 817-799-7125 or send us a message.  


Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

If you were to become incapacitated due to an accident or health condition, who would make decisions on your behalf? What about your finances? A power of attorney (or POA) is a critical legal document designed to protect in these situations.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A POA is a legal document that enables someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. This may include your spouse, a trusted family member or a friend. Depending on the type of POA you choose, the person you select (agent) can have limited or full authority.

Types of POAs

There are several types of POAs you can choose from to fit your specific needs. Some of these types include:

  • Durable POA: Some POAs are non-durable, which means they end if you become incapacitated. Durable POAs are the opposite as they continue once you become unable to make decisions. These are the most useful types of POAs for estate planning purposes.
  • Financial POA: This is a limited POA, allowing your agent to make decisions regarding only your finances. For example, this allows your agent to pay bills, get information about your financial accounts and file your taxes on your behalf.
  • Medical POA: A medical POA is also limited, allowing your agent to make medical decisions only. For example, your agent will decide what treatments you undergo in the event of an illness.

We recommend reaching out to an estate planning attorney who can help you choose the right type of POA for you and your family.

Who Needs a Power of Attorney?

Everyone can benefit from having a POA. In fact, a power of attorney is just as critical as a will when it comes to your estate plan. Anyone who wants to ensure their wishes are honored should have some type of POA. This is especially important if you have children that will need to be cared for or a high number of assets to manage.

If you’re without a POA and become unable to make decisions, someone you may not have chosen will need to step in and make them for you. A POA can prevent this.

Need a Power of Attorney? Call Schneider Law Firm, P.C.

Schneider Law Firm, P.C. in Arlington, Texas, provides estate planning services, including the drafting of POAs. We can help you ensure the protection of your family, finances and assets. To learn more about a power of attorney, give us a call at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.


Dirty Divorce Tricks—And Why You Shouldn’t Consider Them

Dirty Divorce Tricks—And Why You Shouldn’t Consider Them

When a spouse has blindsided you with a divorce, or when infidelity, debts, or other lies have come to light, it can be devastating. It can be so devastating that even the most reasonable people start to think about options that are prohibited under Texas divorce law.

These dirty tricks can be tempting. But they can backfire in a big way. Here are some of the most common ones and what you should know. 

Leaving Your Spouse With Nothing

Texas is a community property state. This means that all assets acquired during the marriage are to be split equally. But even so, many spouses entertain the vindictive thought of emptying the bank account, canceling the credit cards, or cleaning out the house.

However, leaving your spouse with nothing can backfire big time. Emptying a bank account can lead to an emergency hearing and long-term consequences for you that negatively affect the outcome of your divorce.

And canceling your spouse’s credit cards or emptying the house can provoke your spouse to fight. You’ll end up spending more time in court and paying much more in legal fees, which could reduce the financial resources you have available to move forward with your life.

Getting Your Spouse In Trouble

Getting your spouse in trouble may also seem tempting. You may envision revealing your spouse’s adultery to their paramour’s family. But this could lead to a long legal battle that costs you much more than your divorce ordinarily would.

You may also envision getting your spouse fired from their job or reporting them to the IRS. But dirty tactics like this can bite you. You may find yourself without  comfortable child support or an alimony payment that you otherwise would have received if your spouse was employed. You could find yourself struggling to make ends meet.

Leaving Texas With the Kids

Leaving Texas with your children  to unfairly keep them from your spouse is also against Texas law. If our family law courts learn that you intended to deprive your spouse of a relationship with the kids, your spouse could wind up with full custody, and you could find that you are the one who is deprived of valuable time with them. The dishonesty is simply too much to risk.

If You’re Tempted to Take Action, Talk With a Lawyer First

Legal counsel from an experienced attorney can save you a world of heartache. If you’re thinking about taking unfair actions against a spouse—even a liar or a cheater who really deserves it—it’s best to talk with an attorney before you act.

At Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our lawyers can help you know the long-term implications of your actions today. To talk confidentially about your options, call the Arlington, Texas, law office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message.

Telling Your Teen About the Divorce

Most parents begin a divorce with one main concern: minimizing the impact of the divorce on their children. Often, they incline to say as little as possible in hopes of shielding the child from the truth. But silence can be misinterpreted, and kids often end up with more questions and worries if a parent doesn’t discuss divorce matters.

It is much better to talk about divorce with your kids, being as open as honest as possible while still being respectful of the other parent. Here are some tips for telling your teen about the divorce.

Tell Your Teen Together

Teens are at a unique age. While they crave the independence of being with their friends, they still very much need stability. Your message should help reassure them that they’ll still have two loving parents, even if things are changing.

You and your spouse should tell your teen together, if at all possible. That way, your teen hears the same message from both of you and is surrounded by both parents during a challenging time.

Pick the “Right” Time and Place to Talk About the Divorce

There’s no one “right” place to deliver the news, but it’s important to think of your child’s best interests when deciding when and where.

Since it may take your teen a while to process the information, consider telling them on a Friday evening or just before a school break. That way, your teen will have a few days before facing the next long day of high school—with all the pop quizzes, grueling sports practices and social drama that comes with it.

Tailor Your Message to Teenagers

When you’re talking about divorce (or any important topic), tailor your message to the child’s age. For a teen, this often means focusing on how the divorce will affect them. Teens want to know things like:

● Who they’ll live with

● Whether they’ll have to move

● If they’ll have to change schools

● What arrangements will be made for family pets

● What their friends may think

● How household rules will be enforced

Talk to Your Teen & Your Lawyer

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we can guide you through the divorce process and be by your side every step of the way, from the initial filings and conversations with your loved ones to the final order for divorce and beyond. To talk confidentially about your options, call our Fort Worth, Texas, law office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

How to Tell If Your Ex Is Hiding Assets in a Divorce

Hiding assets in a divorce is more common than you might think. While the law requires that both spouses make complete and honest financial disclosures, spouses frequently try to cover up the truth. And the consequences are serious.

If your spouse is hiding assets in a divorce, you could end up with much less than you deserve in a divorce settlement. Your entire future could be affected. Here’s how to tell if your spouse is hiding assets in a Texas divorce.

Your Spouse Is Being Overly Secretive

It’s natural for spouses to pull back and communicate less during the divorce process. In fact, things can often get very tense. When your spouse seems to be going to great lengths to keep you from financial information, it can be a sign that they are hiding assets.

Here are some actions that should raise some red flags:

● Your spouse has always handled the finances, even when you wanted to take a role in managing them

● Your spouse refuses to share key information, like bank account numbers, tax returns and retirement account balances

● You discover evidence of a bank account you were never told about

● You discover that your spouse is keeping a separate post office box

● Information or computer programs have been deleted from the family computer

You’re Suddenly Seeing Big Financial Changes

When an account that has had a steady pattern of withdrawals and deposits for years suddenly shows signs of other activity, it could be evidence that your spouse is attempting to hide assets.

Dishonest spouses often try to hide marital assets by moving them to other bank accounts, kind of like a marital-asset shell game. The transactions may be concealing something else going on, like money going into a secret bank account or paying off debts or assets that were never disclosed.

There’s a Discrepancy Between Your Spouse’s Lifestyle and Their Claims

When an ex-spouse claims that they are unable to pay alimony or child support but takes exotic vacations, it may be a sign they are hiding assets. Dishonest spouses are often caught posting about their vacations on social media or pulling up to court in brand new cars.

If you are seeing your spouse with luxury goods that are beyond their claimed budget, it’s a good time to talk with a lawyer.

Get an Attorney’s Help With Hidden Assets

If you’re suspicious that your spouse may be hiding assets, talk with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., based in Fort Worth, Texas, we can take immediate legal action to protect your financial future.

Our experienced lawyers also work with other professionals, including investigators and accountants to help protect our clients’ assets. To talk confidentially about your options, call us at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

What You Need to Know About Long-Distance Custody Arrangements

What You Need to Know About Long-Distance Custody Arrangements

One of the most important assets created during a divorce is the child custody agreement. After all, it’s critical that your children have adequate parenting time with you and your ex-spouse in most cases. Yet, what happens if you or your spouse must move away?

Distance doesn’t stop you from having a relationship with your children. Long-distance custody arrangements are a great way to ensure you and your spouse co-parent effectively.

Potential Scheduling Ideas for Long-Distance Arrangements

During your divorce, you and your attorney will work together to create and propose an arrangement that fits you and your child’s needs. There are many ways a long-distance arrangement can work, depending on where you must live, travel requirements and finances.

Some schedules include children staying with the distanced parent during summer breaks as well as spring break every year. Some allow the child to visit the distanced parent every other Christmas for a week or more. Other options include:

  • A visit every other week, depending on travel requirements
  • A visit every other month for a week or more
  • A visit for one weekend each month

Long-Distance Co-Parenting Tips

Long-distance co-parenting, although challenging, is far from impossible. You and your ex-spouse must continue to communicate and work together to parent your children. Here are some other quick tips that can help:

  • Use your tech tools: Technology makes it easy to remain in your child’s day-to-day life no matter where you are. You can use tools such as Skype to video chat. If you have an older child, text messaging and apps can help keep you in touch.
  • Respect your ex-spouse’s parenting time: Both parents need to have dedicated time with their children. While your child is with your ex-spouse, respect their time and give them space.
  • Revisit your plan when appropriate: Long-distance arrangements may need revising as you and your ex work out the kinks. Remain open to revisiting your plan and making changes to improve it over time.

Need Help With Your Custody Arrangement? Reach Out to Our Legal Team!

In most cases, it’s in your child’s best interest for you and your ex-spouse to share parenting time. Although long-distance custody can be difficult at first, an attorney can help you create a plan that works best for your family. To learn more about child custody, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

Can I Lose My Alimony In Texas?

Can I Lose My Alimony in Texas?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is sometimes awarded to one spouse after a divorce. The goal of alimony is to ensure the less-moneyed spouse can maintain their lifestyle and financial wellbeing.

If you’ve been awarded alimony, you may wonder if it’s something you can lose. In Texas, the loss of alimony can be triggered by certain circumstances. Let’s dive in.

Who Is Eligible for Alimony in Texas?

First, it’s important to understand who’s eligible to receive alimony in Texas. After all, it isn’t automatic for every divorce. The court will determine eligibility for alimony based on many factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age of each spouse
  • Earning capacity for each spouse
  • Contributions to the marriage

The court may order spousal maintenance if the spouse receiving it has a disability that hinders their ability to work. Another reason for a court to award maintenance is if a spouse must stay home to care for a child with a disability or impairment.

What Events Can Trigger the Loss of Alimony Payments?

Court-ordered alimony payments have a specific end date. For example, if you and your spouse were married for over 30 years, you could receive alimony payments for up to 10 years after your divorce. However, certain events can trigger an early termination of your payments:

  • If the court-ordered alimony is based on your disability and you improve to the point of being able to work again.
  • If your earning capacity increases with a new job or inheritance.

On the flip side, if your ex experiences a disability or loses his or her job, the court may terminate based on their inability to pay.

What If My Ex-Spouse Tries to Unfairly Terminate My Alimony?

If your ex-spouse wishes to terminate your alimony, they’ll need to show proof of your increased capacity or improvement. Without it, the court will have no reason to terminate unless you’ve reached the end date. An attorney can also help you protect your rights if your ex should try to treat you unfairly.

Questions About Spousal Maintenance? Call Us Today.

Are you concerned about losing your alimony due to a qualifying event? Worried about your financial situation? Our Fort Worth divorce attorneys can help you. To learn more about alimony or for answers to your questions, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.