If you are facing a divorce in Texas, it may strike you as being overly complicated. After all, you and your soon-to-be-ex are merely parting ways. The fact is, however, that divorce is the dissolution of a legal contract, and the outcome will directly affect your parental and financial rights moving forward. Better understanding what divorce is all about prior to embarking on this often complicated and emotionally fraught journey can help you make the right decisions for yourself.
If Your Finances Are Unequal
If you and your divorcing spouse’s finances will be lopsided upon divorce, it can leave you at a distinct financial disadvantage (if you are the spouse facing a significant financial decline). In such instances, the court sometimes orders alimony, which is intended as a bridge to help you obtain the education, experience, or skill necessary to achieve financial independence. Without this financial leg up, it can be extremely difficult to get ahead post-divorce.
Dividing Your Marital Property
A critical component of nearly every divorce is the equitable division of marital property. Equitable means fairly given the circumstances and does not necessarily mean that your assets will be split directly down the middle. Marital property refers to all those assets that you and your spouse acquired during the duration of your marriage, and this division can play a significant role in your financial future.
Your Child Custody Arrangements
If your divorce involves children, your child custody arrangements are another primary concern. Child custody (called conservatorship in Texas) is divided into both physical custody (called possession) and legal custody. Legal custody can be either sole or joint, and it relates to who will be making the big-picture decisions on behalf of your shared children, including questions about the following:
Their religious upbringing
Their health care
Physical custody refers to the schedule by which your children split their time between the two of you. Even if one parent becomes the primary custodial parent with whom the children spend the majority of their time, it is rare for the courts to deny the other parent some form of visitation. When it comes to matters that affect the children, the court always bases its decisions on their best interests. It is presumed that children are better off having both parents in their lives (barring a compelling reason for believing otherwise).
Child support is the payment system that helps to ensure that both parents continue to support their children financially. Because child support is calculated in accordance with each parent’s financial ability to pay, the higher earner typically pays child support to the other (even if both split their time evenly with the children).