The Link Between Education and Divorce for Women

Conventional wisdom has long held that women who have higher levels of education are less likely to get divorced. However, researchers at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) have recently found that American women with the lowest and highest levels of education file for divorce at approximately the same rate.

The actual results of the study were as follows: women who had not earned their high school diploma or GED had a first divorce rate of 14.4 per thousand. By contrast, women who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher had an almost identical rate of 14.2 per thousand. Interestingly enough, both groups of women had rates of divorce that were higher than average.

Divorce is a reality.What these figures would seem to indicate is that  having a college degree (or degrees) does not protect a woman from eventually becoming a divorcee. This further suggests that, as NCFMR director Dr. Susan Brown says, “the relationship between education and divorce is [far from] straightforward.”

In the past, individuals of both genders saw divorce as one of the worst life-decisions a married woman could make, largely because of the negative impact it would have on her social and financial standing. But as women continue to become more independent, divorce has become the accepted way to make a fresh start.

If you are a woman who is considering divorce but who is hesitating because of the social and financial disadvantages you believe a dissolution may create, do some research about the real effects that it will have on your life. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm can also assist you by going over your legal options as you begin the divorce process: call us today for a free consultation.

Fathers’ Rights in Texas Child Custody Suits

Fathers custody rights divorce attorney
A divorce doesn't have to mean a father loses custody of his children.
More women may be out in the workforce and more men may be opting to stay home with their children, but the truth is that society hasn’t completely accepted the idea of males as caregivers. If you are a father who wants custody of your children as well as child support, you’ll need to have a compelling argument regarding why the court should take your side.

In Texas, the law encourages the court to award both parents with joint custody. But judges in individual child custody cases look at a number of different factors when considering which parent should receive the conservatorship of the child. These can include:

  • the child’s age
  • the child’s preference in cases where he or she is 12 or more years old
  • the age, health and character of each individual parent
  • the relationship each parent has with child
  • the nature and extent of each parent’s involvement with the child
  • the ability each parent has to provide for the child
  • evidence of child abuse

Of course, the main question courts will ask is “what’s in the best interest of the child?” Fortunately, none of these factors favors either parent. Best of all, the Texans Equal Rights Amendment which went into effect in 1973 specifically states that courts must look at the qualifications of the parent and not the sex when determining custody.

Statistically, men who ask for sole custody of a child in a divorce will now receive it at least 50% of the time. So the odds of you becoming your child’s conservator are equal to those of the child’s mother. The attorneys at The Barrera Law Firm are experts in the field of divorce law. We will defend your rights as a father. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Divorce and the Family Home

You and your spouse have decided to divorce. In Texas, property division is a big part of what comes next in the dissolution process. While such issues as child support, custody, visitation and maintenance can be revisited and modified in a divorce decree, you should know that once your property is divided, no changes can be made.

Where the family home is concerned, the spouse who receives primary custody of the children often feels compelled to keep the property. That spouse will typically argue that the children should experience as little disruption to their lives and routines as possible. Other arguments may center around emotional attachment to the home itself.

Regardless of whether children are involved or not, both spouses should put dollars and cents before sentiment when considering what to do with the family home. The individual who ultimately does get the property—if it is not sold—will have to consider how he or she will deal with mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utility bills and routine maintenance on a smaller post-divorce budget.

Before the actual division is made, each spouse should evaluate their asses and debts to figure out whether keeping the family home is economically viable. While it may be possible for you (or your soon-to-be ex) to keep the family home, doing so may be unwise depending on what you/your spouse must give up to receive and keep the property.

For example, the spouse with the greater interest in the home may have to renounce their interest in such assets as 401(k) accounts, pension or other retirement plans and turn them over to the other spouse to achieve a fair division of property held in common. If the cost to keep the family home is too high, then it is probably best for the divorcing couple to sell the family home.

The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm can help you make the best decision possible regarding whether or not to keep the family home. They will explain your options and develop a no-nonsense plan to make the division of property between you and your spouse one less thing you’ll have to worry about.

Divorce Statistics

So are their predictors to a divorce or is it all a crap shoot?

A walk down the aisle is one of life’s biggest gambles. A Time online article reports that “an average couple has a 57% chance of seeing their 15th wedding anniversary.” But statistics say little about which newlyweds will manage to stay together over the long haul. What can offer insight into the marriage crapshoot are a bride and groom’s maturity, the relationship they have with each other, their financial standing and their respective family histories.

The age difference between a bride and groom is important. Two young people fresh out of high school stand less chance of succeeding as husband and wife than a mature man and woman of at least 25. But, cautions Time, older does not mean better: “marrying at age 35 is not any better than 25.”

Premarital cohabitation is no guarantee of success either. Statistics show that men and women who live together before marrying are actually more prone to getting divorced than those who do not. This is likely because “whatever it was that made them not want to get married in the first place ended up becoming a problem long term.”

If a newlywed husband leaves all housework and child-rearing duties to his wife, this may cause resentments that, over time, will undermine the relationship and help to bring about eventual dissolution. Mutual sharing of domestic responsibilities helps couples long-term.

Money issues also determine the success or failure of a marriage. A relatively small amount can help a lot. Time online reports that if a couple together earns “a modest $50,000 as a family, the odds of seeing their 15th anniversary jumped to 68%.” Interestingly, wealthier couples will typically divorce over interpersonal conflicts while those with less money will divorce because of financial problems.

Children of divorced parents are 14% more likely to end up divorced themselves. However, those who come from a household where marital problems were out in the open tend to do better in their marriages than those who come from households where interpersonal difficulties between parents were kept out of sight. Individuals in the latter group tend “not trust their relationships.”

If your own “marriage gamble” doesn’t pay off long-term, you’re in good company: in fact, you’re actually in the majority. Many factors—some of which are out of your control—go into to making a marriage work than just saying “I do.”

But keep in mind what IS in your control if your marriage must head towards divorce: which is how you handle the divorce. The best option is always to seek the help from a good family lawyer.

What Women Seeking a Divorce Should Know

Divorce
Facing divorce? Call The Barrera Law Firm for expert legal assistance.

No matter how you slice it, divorce is difficult for everyone involved. But if you are the wife in a marriage where your husband is the breadwinner and/or controls the family finances, the situation could get especially sticky.

Forbes online recommends that you should take especial care in getting your financial house in order as you prepare for an independent life: “it’s critical that you immediately gather all your financial records, including bank account information, mortgage statements, credit card bills, wills [and] trusts.” You should also go over your will and/or any medical directives you have to make sure that you prevent your husband “from making medical decisions on your behalf or inheriting all your assets should you die before the divorce agreement is signed.”

Once you’ve stored all important documents in a secure place that only you can access, next thing to do is get a copy of your credit report and keep a close eye on it. That way, “you’ll know if your husband is charging gifts for [a] girlfriend under joint credit cards, or if he’s dissipating marital assets in some way. Plus, you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your all-important credit score.”

The next thing to do is open new accounts in your name: make sure that you don’t use the same bank for you and your husband may have joint accounts. “Go to a different bank, and open a new checking and savings account in your name.” If you don’t already have a credit card in your name, Forbes suggests you get one.

Once your accounts are open, the website suggests that you “begin securing funds for legal and other professional fees.” This may be one of the most difficult of your tasks: Forbes states that “if your husband controls all access to the family funds, he can make it difficult (if not impossible) for you to have the resources necessary to hire a divorce team you need.”

Finally, since you will very likely be receiving legal and financial mail that you will want to keep confidential, you will want to open a post office box. That way, you’ll know “that your mail is being delivered to a secure, locked box” and have that much less to worry about during a time of upheaval and change.

Divorce Rates

(Reuters) – Men and women in the South have higher rates of divorce than any other region of the country, while those in the Northeast have the lowest, according to a Census Bureau report on Thursday.

Statistics from “Marital Events of Americans: 2009,” show that in the South, per 1,000 men or women, divorce rates were 10.2 and 11.1 percent.

By contrast, Northeastern men and women had divorce rates at 7.2 and 7.5 percent.

The national divorce rate was almost 10 percent, at 9.2 for men and 9.7 for women.

The report is the first to examine and detail marriage, divorce and widowhood among Americans ages 15 and older, using data from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS).

“Divorce rates tend to be higher in the South because marriage rates are also higher in the South,” Diana Elliott, a family demographer at the Census Bureau, stated in the report’s release.

To read the full article, click here.

More Facts About Divorce in Texas and Child Custody

Under Chapter 153, of the Texas Family Code, a court may not discriminate as to who would be the better custodial parent because of gender of the parent or marital status of the parent.

Rights of Parents at All Times

Unless limited by court order, a parent has at all times some of the following rights:

(1) to receive information concerning the health, education and welfare of the child;

(2) access to medical, dental, psychological and educational records of the child;

(3) to consult with a physician, dentist or psychologist of the child;

(4) to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities;

(5) to attend school activities;

(6) to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency.

Custody Battles and What Goes On

A custody battle can be intense. Evidence and witnesses will be examined by a judge and/or jury to determine what would be in the best interest of the child or children. Nothing is held back. The court may appoint personnel to assist the court in ensuring that the case is properly mediated beforehand and the children have their own attorney to look out for their interests. This may become costly and time consuming. Therefore, a key battle is usually getting temporary orders established that designate custody, access and possession.

Interference with Child Custody

A parent may not deny access and possession of a child with the intent to deprive or violate a court order under Texas Penal Code, 25.03. If a parent does so, and does not return the child within three days of the commission, the person perpetrating the crime may be found guilty of a State Jail Felony.

Motion for Enforcement and/or Contempt

A parent may request the court make additional orders to make up periods of possession that were denied, provide monetary compensation for causing one part to expend time and money to follow court orders, and to impose jail time or probation periods for failure to follow court orders.

Call The Barrera Law Firm, PC, at 956 428 2822 to get a free consultation, in order to inform you of what your rights are and how to get started with taking action so that you are definitely an undeniable part of your child’s life.

Protecting Your Businesses From Divorce in Texas

Divorces in Texas can sometimes put businesses in jeopardy.   Community Property is any property that was acquired during the marriage, except for gifts and inheritances, or property designated through prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to be separate property.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement between prospective spouses, that designates property, including certain income from that property to be separate property in certain circumstances.  A Postnuptial Agreement, also called a Partition and Exchange Agreement , is an agreement between two married spouses that creates a similar effect as the Prenuptial Agreement.   They each will be enforced so long as they are not unconscionable, were executed voluntarily, and each spouse provided complete disclosure of his or her assets or signed a waiver of disclosure or had adequate knowledge of the other spouse’s property and debts.

A divorce does not automatically ensure that separate property will be recognized or that community property will be divided 50/50 because all property owned at the time of divorce is presumed to be community property unless proven not to be through clear and convincing evidence and tracing of assets. Also, the court in Texas makes what is called a just and right division of the community property. That means the court can make a disproportionate division of the community estate, depending on factors concerning fault in the break-up of the marriage.

LLCs, Corporations, and Partnerships

The way you have your business set up also factors into how a business may be affected in a Texas divorce.  A CPA or other asset protection professional should be consulted regarding how assets are held under different models of business organizations in Texas.

For example, The Texas Business Organizations Code is composed of laws relating to how assets are held and how other owners and shareholders come into play relating to the division or distribution of assets.  Also, when one has the correct legal structure for a business, a competitive but reasonable salary may be considered the community income, as opposed to the entire business and its assets, in some circumstances that are appropriately planned for. A company vehicle that is leased by the business, equipment owned by the business, and collections for a business may be protected from divorce distribution if appropriately planned for in some circumstances.

Division of Business Community Assets in a Texas Divorce

If a business was started or acquired during a marriage and no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was made, one’s share or ownership interest in that business may be divided by the court or a settlement agreement may be made so that other property may be sacrificed in order to keep the business from being damaged. Should one not be able to resolve these issues, a divorced former spouse may be able to make decisions and or sell off business assets, which can cripple the earning power and cause a long fall in which recovery may be difficult.

Uncontested Divorce in Texas

Returning wedding ringSome individuals simply agree not to be together anymore. They agree to end their marriage in a civil manner, without the need of a judge or jury to make decisions about what will happen to their children and property.

The two main rules in Texas divorce law are:

1) The Court acts in the best interest of the child or children.
2) Where there is no agreement, the Court will decide the outcome.

An uncontested divorce means that both parties are in agreement as to arrangements for access and possession of the children, child support and medical coverage for the children as well as the division of property that was acquired during the marriage but was not a gift or part of an inheritance.

Waiver of Service
A Waiver of Service is often used in an uncontested divorce because it satisfies several requirements. One, that the other party has been notified of the law suit and received a copy of it. Two, that they have supplied their correct contact information. Three, it generally sets out what level or participation they would like to have in the divorce i.e waives the necessity of being there at all. The waiver is required to be signed and notarized. It is then filed with the court and must be on file for 10 days prior to the final hearing.

Final Decree of Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, the Final Decree of Divorce contains all the agreements both parties made in reference to the access and possession of the children, child support and medical coverage for the children, and the division of property. It will also specify whether a name change is being granted as well as many other things. This document has a blank where the judge signs so it immediately becomes a court order that has the force of law, should the judge
approve the agreement and sign it.

It is important that a skilled attorney be employed in order to ensure that the uncontested divorce be performed legally and in the best interest of the child or children.

Divorce Law in Texas and Fair Division or Protection of Retirement

Under Texas Law, each legally married spouse, has a one-half interest in any community property from the marriage. Community property is money or assets that were acquired during the marriage that were not gifts or inheritances.

However, a Texas court is not required to give each side half. Texas law requires the court to make a just and right division of the property. In doing so, the court looks at whether there is evidence of “fault” in the divorce, whether there is evidence of wasting the community property by either party, and whether money is owed for reimbursement to either party as well as many other reasons.

Retirement accounts are very delicate areas because they have different methods or ways you get paid and different types of penalties you take for making a marital division. A qualified domestic relations order is carefully drafted by a competent and skilled attorney and is signed by a judge where a company is then commanded to distribute funds according to that order.

A skilled attorney must carefully evaluate all the settlement options for the client because sometimes an alternative settlement agreement is appropriate when there are other assets to divide and where there will be a major financial losses on both sides by dipping into the retirement.

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