Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

San Antonio Law Blog

Shared parenting recommended in child custody decisions

Going through a divorce in Texas or anywhere around the nation can be a trying process, particularly when there are children involved. Decisions about child custody can create a highly emotional atmosphere. While parents want what's best for their children, contentious divorce proceedings may affect the outcome.

An evaluation was conducted by the National Parents Organization that assigned each state a grade for how it encouraged shared parenting. The organization clearly supports the belief that a child benefits from having both parents actively involved in his or her upbringing. On an A through F grading scale, no state received an A rating. On the report card, only eight states received a B. While Texas was among the states receiving a C grade, 25 states received a grade of D or F.

Look for positive financial changes in a divorce

Now that the holiday season is over, many Texas residents and others around the country are settling back into their normal routines. Statistics show that January typically sees an uptick in the number of filings for divorce. So, life for those who have recently gotten a divorce or are considering a split may seem anything but normal. However, experts point to some possible financial benefits that can occur during the divorce process.

Some people may be eligible to receive Social Security spousal benefits when they reach age 62. This is possible if the individual is currently unmarried, was previously married for at least 10 years and the ex-spouse is over age 62. Even if someone is remarried, he or she can still receive this benefit after the current spouse files for benefits.

Estate plans and blended families

People usually use an estate plan to designate the distribution of their estate. When life-altering events occur, such as remarriage, it is important to ensure that the estate plan is still encompassing.

Whether estate holders are making new estate plans or updating old ones, it is important that they understand the various elements of the planning documents. There are a few important considerations in an estate plan for a blended family.

Prenuptial agreements can be helpful should divorce occur

Couples in Texas and throughout the United States don't often think about the need for a prenuptial agreement as they are making their wedding plans. They may believe that discussing such a document prior to their marriage signals the assumption that they will get a divorce one day. However, many experts contend that this is the ideal time for couples to share their feelings and expectations regarding a variety of issues surrounding their relationships.

Many hold to the belief that prenups are reserved for only wealthy or celebrity couples. Yet, prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for couples of any financial status. Couples with children from previous marriages would likely want to protect property or other assets that would be included in an inheritance. Other individuals with an established business or career may want to protect his or her interests in the marriage.

"Greys Anatomy" actor divorce finallized

It is not uncommon for the media to report marital issues of celebrity couples. Although they are famous, celebrity marriages may suffer from similar issues as any other married couple in Texas. One Hollywood couple has recently finalized their divorce and ended their 17-year marriage.

"Grey's Anatomy" actor Kevin McKidd is now officially divorced from his wife. Although their marriage survived many years, the couple has agreed to many terms, including the custody of their children. The couple shares two teenage children, and the youngest is 15. Both have agreed to joint custody, and McKidd's now-former wife will receive $22,440 a month in child support until the children have reached the age of 18. In addition to child support, McKidd has agreed to finance his children's school tuition and summer camps.

Protect finances during a divorce

The widespread assumption for quite some time is that about half the marriages in Texas and throughout the country don't last forever. However, reports show that this belief does not hold true any longer. According to recent data, the divorce rate for the nation has been decreasing over the past 30 years, after peaking in the early 1980s. While the overall rate is declining, there are still couples going through divorce proceedings. Experts stress that these individuals need to pay close attention to financial issues during the process.

Both parties involved need to carefully consider the financial implications of the impending divorce. It would be prudent to take time to review the finances before making property division decisions. There can be some highly emotional issues when a marriage ends, and making a rash decision could have long-term negative implications.

Divorce trends: Celebrity prenup stipulations

Prenuptial agreements are not often the first thing an engaged couple thinks about in Texas or anywhere else around the nation. While becoming increasingly popular and more mainstream, prenups are often associated with wealthy individuals or celebrities who want to protect their assets should they get a divorce. However, not all agreements deal exclusively with money. Recently, matrimonial experts shared examples of some of the more unusual prenups among the elite.

Nicole Kidman provides Keith Urban $600,000 each year they are married, provided he does not use drugs or drink excessively. Also, should they get a divorce, their children have to remain in the country where Kidman resides. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had addressed division property in their prenup. However, their issues stemmed from child custody issues. Tony Romo stipulated that Jessica Simpson would owe him $500,000 for every pound she weighed over 135, should they marry.

Advice for those over age 50 going through a divorce

When a Texas marriage ends, the ex-spouses are likely to experience a range of emotions while working through the details. Those feelings may be heightened for couples over the age of 50 who are going through the divorce process, since they had been married for a longer period of time. Some older individuals who have gone through a so-called "gray divorce" have offered some perspective on their major life events.

Some parents were surprised to learn that their divorce had a greater impact on the older children who were living on their own than on the children still at home. This could occur because the children at home get to see the parents moving on and coping in their individual lives, unlike the older siblings who have little opportunity to witness the new dynamics. Others feel that they are not adequately prepared to enter the workforce after being away from it for a while. It is important to make sure that spousal support, property division and other financial decisions are made to protect the spouse who may have just started to work again.

Key factors to know about changing a custody order

Even a well-formed, agreed upon custody order may need changes over time. As the child grows, so may a parent's desire to spend more quality time together.

If a parent seeks to modify a custody order, it is important to understand what the process entails. There are a few factors to know about adjusting an order.

Refinancing the home is a good option following divorce

A mortgage payment is generally the largest expense for couples in Texas or in other states in the country. The process to own and maintain a home is complex. When a couple decides to divorce, those complexities come into play as decisions about property division are made. Some financial experts recommend refinancing the marital home following a divorce.

Going through the process of refinancing can protect a person's credit. Even if someone's share of the home is bought out by the ex-spouse, he or she is still liable for a joint mortgage unless the loan is refinanced to reflect single ownership. Someone's credit could be damaged if the former spouse fails to keep payments up to date.

A TOP-RATED LAW FIRM

At Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC, we have received a variety of honors and awards for our family law services. Members of our team have been listed as Top Lawyers in San Antonio Scene magazine. We take pride in the number of positive reviews we have received from satisfied clients. On AVVO, a lawyer rating website, we have received an 8.9 rating overall and many positive ratings from clients and colleagues.

  1. Top 10 Attorneys | American Jurist Institute | 2017
  2. Avvo Rating | 8.9 | Excellent
  3. Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2015 | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham
  4. Reviews | Out of 12 reviews | Jamie Lynn Heggy Graham | Avvo
  5. BBB | A+ Rating
  6. San Antonio | Best S.A. | Lawyers | 2015
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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street
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San Antonio, TX 78205

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