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Preparing for Mediation in Texas

Posted on in Mediation

Plano divorce mediation lawyerIt is far from uncommon for many divorce cases, especially those involving issues of child custody, to be referred by judges for mediation. The mediation process does not operate like a trial, so many people enter without clear expectations of what to expect.

Put simply, mediation allows two parties to reach compromises on several issues relating to a divorce so they can work out a settlement agreement that a court can turn into a binding order. You should go into mediation with an idea of being willing to give on certain issues to facilitate agreements, but you may also have certain topics you feel strongly about and may not be able to reach agreements through mediation.

How Mediation Works

You need to understand that the neutral third party overseeing your mediation session will be a mediator, and they are not a judge. They do not render any decisions or force any settlement agreements.

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Plano alimony lawyerThe terms alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance are often used interchangeably, but each actually has its own definition under the Texas Family Code. It is important to understand the differences because Texas actually imposes a very high standard to satisfy for any spouses seeking maintenance or support.

Many divorcing spouses are adamant about not wanting to pay their former partners any money when they are already paying them child support. People need to keep in mind the multiple factors a court will look to in determining whether spousal support will be appropriate.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance and Duration for Support

Texas Family Code § 8.001 defines the term maintenance as meaning an award of payments from the income of a spouse to support the other spouse in a suit for dissolution of a marriage. The term alimony is not used in the Texas Family Code, so the only time alimony may be applicable to a divorce case is when the spouses specifically agree to alimony payments as part of their final divorce decree.

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Plano divorce lawyerThe desire to move out of the home you share with your spouse once you have decided to get a divorce is completely natural. You may be eager to stop the fighting and get some privacy, especially if you are ready to start dating again. However, if your divorce is not final, talk to a Texas divorce attorney before you leave your marital home. 

Does Someone Have to Move Out During Divorce? 

Although many couples do have one spouse move out while a divorce is ongoing, nobody is required to move out during a divorce. Until the house is formally divided at the end of the divorce, both spouses retain ownership and have a right to live there. 

In any case, moving out may not even necessarily end the conflict between spouses and could have unintended effects. Although some relationships are toxic enough to warrant moving out, there are several important things to consider first: 

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Collin County gray divorce lawyerAlthough the average divorce rate in America has begun to decline, for one group in particular, the divorce rate has actually accelerated. Many couples over the age of 50 continue to get divorced at high rates, for many reasons; sometimes the stress of two careers plus family responsibilities wears away at a relationship, or perhaps a couple only stayed together until their youngest child moved out of the home. Whatever the reason, getting divorced later in life presents some unique challenges that divorcees should be aware of. 

The Financial Consequences May Be Significant

Getting divorced later in life means that a couple is dividing their hard-earned savings and retirement. Living by yourself is more expensive than living in a multiple-person household with two incomes, so you need to plan carefully. Make sure you know every asset you own together and separately and that your assets are fairly valuated so you can get a fair property division

Consider Downsizing

When a family has grown up in a house and lived there for many years or even decades, it can be hard to let a house go in a divorce. You may be tempted to keep the house, even if it means trading ownership in other assets. Experts warn against this; even if the sentimental value of the house is great, maintaining a house on your own can be very expensive. If money is a concern, sell the house and split the proceeds so you can get into a smaller, less expensive living space. 

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Plano complex divorce lawyerIf you could ask anyone who has been divorced for a few simple words that describe the divorce process, chances are most people will come up with the word “complicated.” And while all divorces are complicated in their own way, there are divorces involving certain types of assets that are substantially more complicated than others due to the complex nature of the assets. 

In complex divorces, it is essential to have legal representation from an attorney with the knowledge and skill to understand how complex assets are handled and to advocate for a fair asset division according to Texas law. If you have any of the following five complex assets, start working with an asset division attorney right away. 

Investment Accounts

Complex assets are so called because they involve more than one simple piece; for example, a savings account would not be a complex asset because the value is liquid and straightforward. Investment accounts, however, are often made up of a combination of publicly traded funds, mutual funds, and other kinds of holdings. Determining the value of an investment account can be difficult, especially because its value can vary from day to day. 

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