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Dallas Family Law Blog

The impact of politics on marriage

Texas couples might find information about the impact of politics on marriage useful, particularly if they are seeking the reasons for disagreements that might even lead to separation and eventually divorce. Data from Wakefield Research, a polling firm, indicates that arguments over politics, particularly after President Trump's election, do have a negative effect on a relationship.

In its survey, the firm found that that 10 percent of relationships ended over political disputes. For millennials, the rate is more than double at 22 percent. To gather the data, Wakefield surveyed 1,000 people. Nearly 25 percent of those surveyed admitted that they had fought with their spouse or partner over politics since President Trump was elected. Additionally, 22 percent of the survey participants also said that they know someone whose relationship had been affected negatively since the election.

Avoiding disputes about child custody and vacation

Texas parents who are divorced might have specifications regarding vacation plans written into their custody orders. However, if they do not, this could become a point of conflict. Even when custody orders do specify how vacations should be divided, some tips may help reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings or tension.

Parents should make vacation plans as early as possible and should communicate those vacation plans to the other parent. Failing to do so could actually cause legal problems because it is important for the other parent to know where the child is going and when. It is especially important to communicate in writing about the plans if they differ from the custody order so that a parent has proof that the deviation was agreed upon.

Fighting for custody? Keep this in mind

Texas parents who are fighting for custody know that the whole process is delicate and emotional. When relatives and friends get involved, offering advice and pressuring towards certain decisions, it can become even more complicated. While working out a custody and parenting plan amicably is ideal, it is not always possible, particularly since the custody negotiations come after the dissolution of a relationship.

However, keeping calm during child custody proceedings is very important. Emotions can lead to rash decisions, and these can have negative consequences. If the negotiations are going well, it is best to keep it friendly, instead of yielding to pressure from outsiders or making emotional decisions. Additionally, it might be a good idea to be careful about sharing information about the case, since the other parent might be told what is being planned and therefore prepare a stronger case.

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck seek amicable divorce

Texas child custody disputes can become pretty stressful, especially if the parents cannot work together. However, as actress Jennifer Garner and actor Ben Affleck show, not all divorces have to become battles.

The two revealed on April 13 that they were officially filing for divorce. They both filed "in pro persona", meaning that they intend to represent themselves during the divorce. This unusual move shows that the former couple intends to go through the divorce without lawyers and that the divorce is amicable. However, this move also allows the former couple may also be able to keep their divorce agreement private.

The anatomy of a child custody case

If a Texas parent is seeking custody of his or her child, he or she needs to establish that obtaining custody is in the child's best interest. In some cases, this may mean studying the law regardless of whether the parent wanted to resolve the case in court or by other means. Parents are urged to take nothing for granted when it comes to how a judge may rule.

It is often a good idea for parents to work out a parenting plan on their own without going to court. This is because a judge's ruling may be surprising to both parents and not what they hoped for when opting for litigation over compromise. In many cases, sharing custody of a child is in his or her best interest no matter how much a parent may want sole custody.

Vehicle registration program helps in collecting child support

In September 2016, the Child Support Division in Texas started a program that would not allow parents who were behind on their child support to register their vehicles. Attorney General Ken Paxton reports that so far, the program has been a success with more than 3,800 parents paying over $1 million in back payments as of the end of March.

Parents have the opportunity to set up a payment plan before their registration expires. The CSD sends them a reminder 90 days in advance.

Receiving child support from a disabled parent

When a Texas noncustodial parent who has been ordered to pay child support suddenly becomes disabled, the injury could have an impact on the parent's ability to make payments. For custodial parents who rely on child support to pay everyday expenses and other important costs, such as expenses associated with medical care, making ends meet can become difficult.

However, custodial parents should be aware that a sudden disability does not mean that a parent can immediately stop making child support payments. If the disabled parent can't afford to continue making payments, they must request a modification to the existing child support order. If the disability is temporary, the modification will probably only last until the parent goes back to work. If the disability is permanent, the modification may also be permanent.

Complications when business owners divorce

If a Pennsylvania couple is getting a divorce and one or both own a business, the process could become more complicated and costly and might threaten the survival of the company. This is the case with a translation software business in Delaware where the founders were not married but were in a relationship. The two never created an agreement describing what would happen if the two split up and one wanted to leave the company. When the relationship did end, they could not agree on what to do with the company, so they went to court. A Delaware judge ruled that due to their deadlock, the company could be sold.

The state legislature has become involved in that case because the business could be sold to a private equity firm. This could hurt company employees. A similar case occurred in Louisiana where a woman owned an online diaper business that her husband got in the divorce. The woman had to buy it back.

Collecting child support and the DPPA

If a Texas parent moves out of state in order to avoid paying child support, the other parent might be able to seek punishment for that parent and possible restitution using the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. Since 1998, this federal law has helped punish parents who either owe more than $5,000 in child support and have failed to pay support for over a year or who owe more than $10,000 and have failed to pay child support for more than two years.

A parent may file a child support case involving the DPPA in the jurisdiction where they or the child lives or in any federal court. The DPPA is specifically aimed at parents who have left the state or who travel between states.

Gray divorce rates climb in Texas

Although the number of younger couples divorcing is dropping, 'gray divorces," those involving individuals over the age of 50, are climbing steadily. In fact, it has doubled since the 1990s. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, for every 1,000 married couples who were at least 50 years old, 10 divorced.

The divorce rate for those who are 65 or older has grown even more significantly; it has tripled since 1990. While the gray divorce rate has increased, it is still lower than that of couples under the age of 50. For those between the ages of 40 to 49, 21 out of every 1,000 married couples divorced.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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