How to Maintain Long-Distance Bonds with Children After Divorce

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Child talking to her father on a laptop, holding hands with him on screen while the mother watches.
You can be a part of your child’s life no matter the distance between you.

The distance can be tough for divorced parents and their children. It might seem impossible to maintain strong long-distance bonds with children after divorce when you’re so many miles away. You have to make sure what precious little time you do have with your children is quality. Your time together should be mostly one-on-one, and try and keep the focus on your children, their lives, and feelings.

Even if a parent has a regular phone time scheduled, mom or dad can still call outside of those scheduled times. A non-custodial parent can also send postcards, emails, texts, and use social media to stay in contact with their children. Any contact with the children of a divorce should maintain a positive tone such as about specific events in a child’s life, like a test or a sporting event. These little gestures will remind a child that their parent loves them, and they’ll feel closer thanks to the communication.

Here are some tips to maintain long-distance bonds with children after a divorce when you live miles away from them.

Work With The Custodial Parent

It’s extremely important to work with the custodial parent to maintain strong bonds with your children, although you don’t enjoy communicating with each other. Both parents must agree on the importance of having their children maintain good relationships with both parents after the divorce. The last thing you want is one parent who isn’t committed to making it work.

If the other parent keeps you updated about medical appointments, competitions, important milestones for your kids and their day-to-day activities, you’ll be able to talk to your kids about it, helping you to stay connected to them even if you’re away from them.

It will also help if the other parent supports your children in planning activities with you, calling you outside of the planned calling time, and sharing the little things in their lives with you so you can strengthen your relationship.

Create A Long-Distance Parenting Plan

If you’re doing long-distance parenting after divorce, you often need to plan your children’s schedule and expenses in advance since they have to travel. The plan should cover:

  • Their transportation to and from your home
  • Who will travel with young children
  • How long and when they will stay with the long-distance parent
  • Who will pay for their travel expenses.

A long-distance parenting plan will also cover when and how the long-distance parent can contact the children to maintain their relationship.

However, keep in mind that long-distance parenting plans can change as your children grow up and their needs change. Older children can find the original co-parenting arrangements too restrictive. As a result, many parents often have to make a change to the original parenting plan. Make sure that your parenting plan is age-appropriate and can adapt to the needs of your kids at their age.

When you create a long-distance parenting plan with your co-parent, you need to be sure that you’ll still be able to maintain healthy and regular communication with your kids with reasonable visitation to your home.

Components Of A Long-Distance Parenting Plan

It should be clear on how long and how frequently your children will visit you. Provide for any special arrangements during vacations, special events, and holidays.

You may also want to include how frequently the custodial parent should contact you. Note any ground rules for respectful communication between the two of you in your co-parenting arrangement. Write down every key aspect of decision making you and your ex should make together as parents. Include current contact information between parents. This can foster strong family relationships between you and your children while maintaining open communication channels with your co-parent.

Parenting plans can also clearly state that the custodial parent should keep you updated on important details about the children and provide information about their activities, friends, teachers, and school performance.

The long-distance parenting plan is an important document that protects your rights to be a part of your kids’ lives. This is especially important since it’s harder to stay in touch when you live a distance away. This will define the rules of your co-parenting relationship so you get to see and talk to your children.

Provide Consistency

Schedule a regular time for a video chat or phone call with your children. Use Skype, Zoom, or Facetime Ask them what’s the best way they feel you can stay in touch with them. Having structure can help your kids get used to connecting with you. Both of you will know the next time when you can talk to each other. Stick to these scheduled calls and chats as much as possible. to provide that consistency to your children even when you are away from them.

If your ex finds a new partner after the divorce, that may make you feel unimportant or replaced. This can be more apparent if your children are close with the new partner. However, you should not give up and remain in regular contact with your child to maintain your family relationship. They can still feel close to you.

Get Creative

Don’t just rely on regular calls and video chats as a long-distance parent. You can surprise your kids with thoughtful gifts on special events or record videos for them to watch later. This reminds your kids that you’re always thinking about them even if you don’t see them every day, which will reassure them of your love.

You can agree to send each other one TikTok video about a new thing you’re doing every week. If you’re going on a road trip or traveling abroad, take photos or videos to send them. Ship a souvenir if it makes sense. You can make it a tradition to send them a T-shirt or souvenir with the name of the destination, or collect hotel shampoos and soaps for them to use during camps and sleepovers. Form new traditions with them as that can strengthen your relationships.

Sometimes parents can feel like they have to shower kids with expensive gifts to compensate for the time away. Avoid doing so as your children may start to expect gifts each time you see them.

Keep Track Of The Details Of Your Children’s Lives

Write down what the other parent tells you about your children’s lives. This allows you to ask your kids about it or quickly get up to speed about what they’re sharing with you. This can show you’re more engaged, care about what’s happening in your children’s lives and love them even if you don’t have as much time with your children.

Stay Connected

Follow your child on social media. Be sure to sign up for email lists for their school, sports team, or clubs so you can consistently get new information updates.

Your child may be comfortable if you connect with them on the Find Friends app so you can see where they are. If they have concerts or events with a live stream broadcast, you can watch it on the day and send them messages about it immediately after, as if you were there.

You Don’t Have To Talk All The Time

Even if there isn’t anything to talk about, being on video chat with your kids and doing things together can be a good way to bond. You might not be able to casually sit next to your children at home or invite them out as a long-distance parent to stay close to them. A video chat can be an alternative.

Sometimes you may have something to talk about, sometimes you don’t, and a one-way conversation might be awkward. Knowing you’re spending time together can be enough to show you love them and maintain long-distance bonds with children after divorce.

Let Them Know You’re Available

Let your children know they can call you to chat when they’re bored or waitin. Make it a point to pick up their calls when you can. This can create an expectation that they can talk to you anytime both of you are free, although they don’t have a particular reason to want to talk to you at the moment. This can create stronger relationships and close family bonds between both of you.

Maintaining Long-Distance Bonds With Children After Divorce

Long-distance parents should find out what their children’s interests are and try to engage with them. They should also get to know their children’s school friends and friends’ parents. This is not just a way to be more involved in the children’s lives. It will also increase the likelihood that those friends would be allowed to accompany the children on outings with non-custodial parents. With these tips you can connect to your children although you had to move away from them or the other way round.

If parents have to go to court to have a judge make a decision about the schedule for child custody and visitation after the divorce, the judge will determine what would be in the best interests of the child. However, it is not always necessary to go to court. Parents who are negotiating a custody agreement can also use the child’s best interests as their criteria. Even if one parent does not move away, the child custody schedule may need modification over time as children get older and their needs change. You may need to contact an attorney to iron out the details and protect your interests during divorce.

If you need help, the award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch help you prepare your legal case to protect your rights to be a part of your children’s lives as a long-distance parent.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Talking To Your Children About Divorce

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Children can be greatly affected by their parents' divorce, which is why talking to them about it is important.
Children can be greatly affected by their parents’ divorce, which is why talking to them about it is important.

The emotional toll of a divorce is ten-fold for children, who crave consistency and constant emotional support. During a child’s formative years, when she is still forming an attachment with her parents, something as traumatic as a divorce can permanently alter the course of a child’s emotional development if the parents don’t take steps to support them. This can make talking to your children about divorce a difficult conversation.

Children want to know that both parents will still be there for them. In the best-case scenario, you and your ex can sit down with your children and have a conversation about the divorce, while reassuring them that they are your foremost priority. Just as the case was when you were married, it’s important to make parenting decisions with your ex and present a unified front. Don’t make unrealistic promises that will leave your children feeling let down if you can’t deliver. 

How To Talk To Your Kids About Divorce

Here are some tips on telling your kids about divorce.

Tell Your Kids When The Decision Is Final

Don’t tell your kids that you are considering a separation or divorce until you know for sure. Children need certainty about what their future holds. You may want to wait until 2 to 3 weeks before the divorce to tell them.

You also need to ensure that your parenting custody exchange plans are in place as quickly as possible so you can tell them immediately after breaking the news. This will provide stability during a time of constant and rapid change.

Choose a day when you can have family time together to tell your children, like the weekend. Don’t break the news on a holiday, a special event, before school or before their bedtime. You need to be near to your children because this is the time when they will need you the most. Reassure them and be there for them emotionally as they process the news.

Your children will likely have a lot of questions, and you need to let them ask.

They should also feel able to discuss their feelings with you. Whatever you do, don’t diminish or dismiss what they are feeling. Acknowledge their emotions, and encourage them to use “I feel” statements. They may have feelings of shock, anger, sadness, or even guilt if they think they caused the problems at home.

Tell Your Children Together

You and your spouse should tell your children together even if you often disagree. This will avoid confusion for your children and show that it was a decision that both of you made together.

If you get upset and angry around your spouse, ask a mediator or counselor to help facilitate the conversation with everyone in the room including both parents.

Make sure to avoid blaming each other in front of your child. Otherwise, your children may feel they have to side with one parent against the other or that the divorce was their fault. If your child feels that they caused the divorce, they may think that there is a chance that their parents can get back together.

Use simple terms that your children will understand and that are appropriate for their age. Be as straightforward as you can. If you have children of different ages, talk to them together. However, you may want to have a separate conversation with the older children later. The last thing you want is for your kids to hear the news from a sibling.

Your children will look to you to see how to responsibly and constructively cope with stressful changes. Try to remain calm when they are around. This models for them how to be able to do the same. For this reason, you should save discussions about contentious matters for times when you and your ex are alone instead of attempting to have them when the kids are around.

Handling An Emotional Conversation

Telling your kids that you and your spouse are making the decision to get a divorce can be a very emotional and difficult conversation. If parents cry, acknowledge that it is a sad thing. Tell your kids all of you love each other and will help to support each other.

You and your spouse need to make sure to work as a team as much as possible. If one parent starts to become angry or upset the children, the other parent should help to mitigate the situation. Let your child know that Dad or Mom is upset, call for a break, and agree to talk again later. Let your kids know that things will get easier with time and empathize with their feelings about the upcoming changes.

Tell Them The Plan

Your child will have questions about how things will change after you talk to your children about divorce. This includes where they will live, where they will go to school, who will take care of them and who will be moving out, and how often they will get to see the parent who moves out.

Be prepared with the answers. Tell your child any custody and visitation schedule you have already planned with your spouse. Tell them if Dad or Mom will leave the home and who will live with them. This will help your child prepare for the changes especially if they have to go back and forth between two houses. Be honest if there are things that you don’t know.

Keep reassuring your child that your decision to get a divorce has nothing to do with them. Your child can still love both Mom and Dad equally without feeling like they are betraying one parent. Be patient with them about the different feelings they might experience that includes sadness, worry, and anger. Let them know that you and your spouse will always be their Mom and Dad who loves them even though all of you may not be living together.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t promise your kids that you won’t have to move if you are not certain about it yet. Instead, focus on things you know will remain the same, like going to their current school and still being able to hang out with their friends.

Avoid Blaming Each Other

Keep any details about financial issues or extramarital affairs to yourself. Don’t blame your spouse or say that the divorce is someone’s fault. Your children may feel conflicted about being caught between both parents and seeing parents fight can be damaging for kids. Use “we” to show that you and your spouse made the decision together. You can say, “We tried to work out our differences but we could not.”

It’s ideal to keep to regular family routines, including treating the other parent respectfully. Your children are going through the difficult process of trying to understand how things will change after the divorce. If you can help them see that some things remain the same, they can adapt and adjust better to their parents living apart over time.

Don’t Tell Your Kids The Details

You do not need to let them know the details about why you want to get a divorce, or even the specifics of the divorce process no matter their age. Do not leave divorce papers around where kids can find them or talk about legal issues where kids can overhear.

Your kids might still ask you more questions about why you are going to get a divorce. Have a general explanation, like “We are not getting along very well and are tired of fighting”, or “We each want different things and have decided to separate for the next phase of our lives”. Emphasize the important point that you want to remain a part of your kids’ lives. They need to know you love them very much because you are their parents, even though both you and your spouse are happier apart.

Maintain Consistent Routines

Try to provide as much structure as you can for your kids during this time. This can help them feel more comfortable and familiar and cope better with the change. Don’t stop your children from spending time with the other parent as one-on-one time is important. Try to accommodate your ex as much as you can. Your kids also need to see that you and your spouse are committed to them as parents and all of you are still part of the same family.

Watch For Unusual Behavior Changes

After talking to your children about divorce, your children might start to exhibit anger, defiance, or clinginess. They may start to sleep poorly or feel sad. Sometimes they can say they don’t feel anything about the divorce. However, kids may just not know how to express their emotions. Their moods may change frequently but do not take it personally. Your school-age kids may also try to escape by going out with their friends more often and spend less time at home.

Sometimes they may ask you plenty of questions and sometimes they don’t seem to hear you at all. You may need to reassure your child who asks questions repeatedly. They are often asking more questions to test if their parents really care. Be patient with them.

Encourage your child who does not say anything about how they are feeling to express how they feel at any time, even if they seem to be pushing you away. Take a walk or read stories together so you can be there for them. Hugs and pats on the shoulder can reassure your children that you love them.

Talk to your kids about how they are doing or feeling once every few days. However, avoid pestering them about their feelings. You might ask them if they spoke to anyone and what they think they can do if they’re feeling sad or thinking about the change taking place in the family.

When your kids have had some time to process the news and they seem to be feeling more stable about it, talk to your kids about what they already know about divorce. They may have heard some things from friends or other people they know whose Mommy and Daddy are divorced. This is an opportunity to reassure them about unrealistic worries they may have about divorce while learning what they’re hearing about divorce from other kids.

Take Care Of Yourself

You may be under a lot of stress due to the divorce process which can involve discussions about custody and property division. Keep yourself healthy physically and mentally so that you can support your kids. You may also have your own anger and sadness about the separation from your spouse to process. Join a support group or talk to trusted friends and family about what you are feeling.

Older kids may want to provide you emotional support, but they should not be your main source of support and they should not have to take care of you.

Sometimes you may need to enlist the help of a mental health professional to vent to and process your emotions. You may also need to get professional help if your kids are not coping well.

Let Trusted Adults Know About The Divorce

Let the adults around the children like their teachers or school counselors know that you are getting a divorce. They need to know this information so that they can keep a lookout and be prepared if your children exhibit a change in behavior. However, make sure they do not talk to the children about divorce unless your kids mention it themselves.

What Do You Say To Your Child When You Are Getting A Divorce?

If you are talking to your kids about divorce, do it together with your spouse. Tell them, “We have decided that we do not want to continue being married to each other and we can’t live together anymore”. Emphasize that this is an adult decision by both parents and does not have anything to do with the children. Tell them that both parents will always love them as their Mom and Dad even if you and your spouse have decided to live apart.

It’s important to tell them what changes to expect, who will take care of them, and how frequently they can expect to see the other parent. Don’t make a promise about something that you aren’t sure of yet. However, telling them what won’t change can provide them with some certainty.

It can be difficult to talk to your children about divorce and help them cope with the changes to the family now that Dad and Mom are not living together. The award-winning Family Law experts at Sean Lynch can help to advise you on how to maintain the best interests of your children.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Prepare Your Finances For Divorce In Three Steps

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Tax implications of divorce
Divorce can affect your finances in more ways you might be aware.

Amid the emotional drain of a divorce, it’s easy to succumb to the urge of just getting it over with and move on, while overlooking important details. However, the financial impact of a divorce can have long-lasting –– even devastating –– effects. Though it may be painful to do so, keeping a close eye on your money and preparing your finances for divorce is crucial.

Dividing assets can often be one of the most contentious parts of a split. The more you prepare your finances for a divorce in advance, the less painful the process will be. Careful preparation will help protect your legal rights, avoid costly and time-consuming complications, and you’re less likely to overlook the finer points.

Here are the key steps you should take when preparing your finances for divorce.

Gather All Financial Records

This varies from person to person. At a minimum, your personal information should include your bank statements, retirement account statements, pay stubs, investment account statements, credit card statements, loan ledgers, and tax returns.

The ideal situation is to have at least three to five years of financial documents. Make copies of all your documents. Keep them in a place outside your home such as a safe deposit box or with another family member. This will facilitate divorce discussions and protect you if any record goes missing.

Your spouse might get confrontational and resist your attempts to gather your records after you have filed for divorce. You may want to start gathering information before you file. Sometimes having your spouse’s pay stubs (with their permission) can make things easier when the judge needs to evaluate both of your financial situations during the property division process. However, note that institutions do not need to hide your attempts to gather financial records from your spouse. Even if your spouse refuses to hand over documents, your attorney may be able to get a court order but this will require time.

The process of getting your financial records and personal information can be time-consuming so you may want to start early.

List Your Assets And Debts

A property division checklist can help you establish a clear idea of your negotiating topics during your divorce. Be sure to make a note of which assets are jointly owned and which ones you solely own. A list of debts is also critical, as those will be divided similarly.

List each item you solely own and jointly and write down their value. Take photos of your items, especially when it comes to your valuables, and ensure that they have date stamps. Items may go missing during the divorce process which is why you want to have detailed information of what you own.

Texas does not divide separate property between spouses, which includes inheritances, gifts, or anything you owned before your marriage. Gather any evidence that shows that your items are separate property.

This can include house deeds, property tax information, mortgage loan statements, and insurance policies for houses. Gather receipts for personal items or household items. Find your registration title for your vehicles, insurance policies, and car loan statements. Pets are considered property in Texas. Yyou will need to gather records such as receipts for pet supplies and veterinarian records.

Gather documentation of your life and health insurance policies, your will, and powers of attorney to prove your personal information. If you or your spouse own a business, gather registration information, receipts, tax returns, and information on the payroll.

Make the effort to retrieve as much paperwork as you can even if you can’t find everything.

Avoid Major Changes

Avoid making major changes such as changing your life insurance beneficiaries, Social Security beneficiaries, your will, or retirement account beneficiaries before the divorce is finalized. The court could charge you for contempt for violating temporary orders or award more assets to your spouse. Ask your attorney before you decide to make changes to your assets.

Open Individual Accounts

Once you close joint accounts, turn your attention to opening individual accounts like a bank account, retirement accounts, and investment accounts in your own name and redirect your paychecks. You can also do this once you know divorce is inevitable. This will give you a jump-start on your financial future. You may also want a credit card for future spending and which can build up your credit history.

Consider using a different bank to protect your confidentiality. Change your email address and change passwords. If your spouse had access to your details, they can use it to retrieve your passwords and other sensitive information. You might even want to get a P.O. box so you can receive mail separately.

If your divorce is pending or you are preparing to file for divorce, do not withdraw money from your joint account without the knowledge of your spouse. Do not quietly terminate your spouse’s credit cards. This can cause issues in court if there was a temporary order in place.

It is a valid concern if you need to protect your financial assets from a malicious spouse who can do serious damage. You may consider consulting your attorney before you take steps to safeguard your money.

If you get the family home, ensure that you get the bills in your name only. Ensure you take care of the issue of debt that your name is on even if your spouse has been ordered by the court to pay the debt. The creditor can still go after you if your spouse misses payments and your name is on the debt.

Make A Monthly Budget

Start keeping track of your current household expenses and income. You can use your bank statements to determine what you spend on. Make sure you include one-time expenses such as replacing your appliances, holidays, and new big-ticket purchases. Account for future expenses like childcare, school fees, and college funds if you have children.

Your attorney and the judge can use this information to determine the appropriate division of financial assets and loans, and any spousal maintenance or child support to award. This current household budget can also help you to plan your budget for your new life after the end of your marriage.

Build Up Your Individual Finances

A divorce can cause you to take a severe hit financially, but it can also be an opportunity for both men and women to take full control of your money. Make a list of financial goals you aim to hit and write a monthly budget that will help you reach your goals. The budget can be helpful to ensure you set healthy spending limits that will keep you afloat during and immediately after the divorce.

You might also need to project new expenses that will come with your new life and cut down on unnecessary expenses. A financial advisor may be able to help you get your finances in order.

Build Up An Emergency Fund

One of the first things to do is to build up an emergency fund that can help you manage any unexpected expenses. Have at least 6 to 12 months of cash stored away as soon as you can.

Increase Your Income 

You might have to pay spousal maintenance and child support as part of your divorce. In other cases, you may have lost the income from your spouse especially if your spouse was earning more. Increasing your income would be one of your priorities and sometimes this means taking on extra jobs, starting a side hustle, or transitioning into a new career that pays more. This is often temporary until you become more financially stable.

Manage New Household Expenses

You might be living in the family home post-divorce and now have to shoulder all the expenses on your own. Alternatively, you might have to find a new place to stay after moving out.

If the costs of the mortgage loan or maintenance expenses are too expensive for you even if you receive support payments from your ex, you may need to consider selling the house and moving. If you’re finding a new place, make sure the new house is affordable for you. You can often still rent or buy a house even if you do not have a credit score as long as you have proof of income.

Monitor Your Credit Report

Pay attention to any outstanding personal loans and debts on your personal credit report. The termination of your credit cards and changing debt obligations can all have an impact on your personal credit score. Ensure that you monitor your credit report for any unpaid loans that should be paid by your spouse or other mistakes.

Talk To A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

A certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) specializes in helping people prepare financially for a divorce and get their finances in order in the long term. Divorce is a legal proceeding that involves an attorney, but you often need to enlist the help of a financial advisor to help you sort out the complex financial issues that occur for both men and women. The CDFA can provide you advice on whether divorce makes sense for you financially even before you decide to file.

It’s important to get advice from experts like your legal or financial advisors. Divorce laws are different between states and your specific financial situation can be very different from someone else you know who has gone through a divorce. Always ask a professional to verify the advice that you read online or hear from other people.

You can secure your financial life if you prepare your finances for a divorce well. Let the experienced family law experts at Sean Lynch give you advice on your legal case.

Contact us today for a no-cost case review.

Understanding How Divorce Affects Finances

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Man sitting at a desk, using a calculator and counting money.
The financial effects of a divorce can be significant.

How to Deal with the Financial Impact of a Divorce

One of the most devastating costs of a divorce for many people is the impact it can have on your long-term financial situation. It’s important to understand how divorce can affect your finances.

Your financial health permeates every part of your life. Going through a divorce may force you to have to make some drastic changes to avoid financial ruin. Your credit score may also take a hit in the short-term as your wealth drops. Studies have shown that women tend to suffer a larger negative financial impact from a divorce as they often get custody of the children and have to support their family on less income.

At Sean Lynch in Fort Worth, we know that you may be emotionally volatile during your divorce. We are committed to being a sensitive voice that protects your rights.

How Are Finances Divided In A Divorce?

There are a number of financial issues in a divorce which include dividing family assets, income, debts and retirement savings accumulated during the marriage. These issues can have an impact on your financial situation and standard of living.

Dividing Financial Assets

In Texas, community property includes any property owned or accumulated during the marriage. Community property will be divided in a 50/50 split or in a way that the judge deems equitable. This includes the family home, income earned by each spouse from their job or business, or income from their assets during the marriage even if the assets are in the name of one spouse only. Separate bank accounts will also be split among the couple unless you can prove the money is separate property, so the divorce can affect your finances.

Only separate property will not be divided among the spouses. Separate property includes inheritances, gifts, personal injury damage awards except those awarded for loss of earning capacity, and income or appreciation from any assets owned that occurred before the marriage.

Income from separate property that was accumulated during the marriage can be considered community property. The court will divide it among the divorced spouses.

Dividing Retirement Assets

Divorce can also mean that your retirement accounts like 401(k) accounts and IRAs will be divided. Given that retirement savings can form a significant part of your wealth, divorce can severely affect your finances for the future.

Sometimes the court divides the retirement assets for child support. This is applicable for families where the men or women did not work and have no retirement savings because they were heavily reliant on their spouse’s employment for income. There will be tax implications to consider when withdrawing money from a retirement account.

Divorced men and women may also be able to claim their spouse’s Social Security benefits with a few conditions. Their spouse must be at least 62 years of age and they must have been married for at least 10 years. Often, a married spouse has to wait for their spouse to claim benefits before they can start receiving payments for Social Security benefits. Again, there may be tax implications for receiving these payments.

Dividing Debts

When community property or the separate property of one spouse has been used to finance the debts belonging to another spouse, the court can order the spouse to claim reimbursement from the other spouse.

Another issue to consider is about who will need to be responsible for the debt after divorce. Credit card companies and other creditors can only pursue the people named on the debt to pay the loan. If you and your spouse are both named on the debt, the credit card company or home loan provider can ask you to pay up if your former spouse did not pay on time. This applies even if the divorce decree says that one spouse should pay the debt.

Insurance Considerations

If you relied on your divorced spouse’s health insurance for coverage, COBRA rules allow you to remain on their insurance for up to 36 months after the divorce. However, you will have to pay premiums without any employer contribution which can be a heavy burden financially. Many divorced women and men opt to switch to a new health insurance policy which is more affordable.

Texas law indicates that a divorced spouse cannot claim the life insurance payout of another spouse. There are a few exceptions, such as if the court has ordered it as part of the divorce decree or the divorced spouse was added as a beneficiary after the divorce.

Post-Divorce Obligations

Divorce could create important financial obligations for you like child support and alimony to your divorced spouse.

Alimony

If the divorce will significantly impact the income of your husband or wife, the court is likely to ask you to pay alimony to your spouse. This often happens if your spouse took care of the children while you worked. The objective is to help your spouse recover financially after the divorce, work their way out of dire straits and build their wealth.

If you get alimony after a divorce, it is often only for a limited period of time. You may need to budget wisely to maximize the alimony you get and find a job to support yourself and your children if you get custody. You may need to be very financially prudent during this time to build up your credit. This will prepare you to become financially independent and recover after the divorce has affected your finances.

Child Support

Child support is a significant impact of divorce for both men and women. Parents often need to manage the costs of child support obligations in addition to custody requirements even as children spend less time with their parents after divorce. You typically pay child support until children reach the age of 18 or graduate from high school, whichever is later. If children are emancipated, the child support obligation ceases.

Texas courts calculate child support based on a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent. Child support calculations do not consider the income of the custodial parent.

The court will determine the income and benefits received by the non-custodial parent. The parent must pay 20% of their income after tax for one child, 25% for two children, and so on up to a maximum of 50%. The court may require additional child support from parents to cover the healthcare and educational costs of the children.

You can likely get the child support orders altered if the parenting plan has changed, the income of the non-custodial parent has changed significantly, the children’s medical needs have changed or the non-custodial parent is now financially responsible for more children.

In some cases, men and women receive less than the full payment required by child support orders. They may need to turn to public assistance programs to support their children and family as divorce can negatively affect finances.

Protecting What Is Rightfully Yours

It’s easy to overlook critical financial matters during this devastating time. Many people fail to sufficiently prepare and plan for their divorce, do not read the fine print, or make decisions based on emotions or sentimentality. This could be calamitous for them and their families in the months and years following the divorce.

You will almost always benefit from sound, levelheaded legal advice. Our attorneys have years of experience in divorce and family law to help you navigate some common pitfalls, such as:

  • Obtaining a fair property division according to Texas law
  • Deciding if fighting to keep the home is to your advantage
  • Helping you win a fair division of marital debts
  • Fighting for your rights regarding spousal maintenance

Our attorneys can also take time to help you unpack the important consequences of dividing pensions, retirement funds, and other family assets that can have effects on your life, including a small family business that you or your spouse owns. We help you to form a strategic plan that protects your interests and wealth while making the divorce less expensive for you.

Is Finances The Leading Cause Of Divorce?

Finances often rank in the top 5 reasons for divorce. A 2018 Ramsey Solutions survey found that money was the number 1 reason for marital fights. Issues like the lack of communication over money and debt is likely to lead to stress and anxiety among married couples.

Common marital financial issues include:

  • Opposing attitudes towards money
  • Debt on credit cards
  • Mismatched financial priorities
  • Overextending budgets and incurring debt
  • Financial infidelity which can include a secret bank account or debt
  • Impulse buys of big-ticket items without telling the spouse
  • Combining assets or a shared bank account
  • Not compromising on spending habits
  • Unexpected big expenses that one spouse didn’t agree to
  • Spending too much money on the wedding

Is Divorce Considered A Financial Hardship?

The rules of your 401(k) account would determine if divorce is considered a financial hardship, even if the facts remain that divorce has significantly affected your finances. However, if your divorce decree says you have to make payments to your spouse, you are likely to qualify for a hardship withdrawal from your 401(k) to meet an “immediate and heavy financial need”. The condition here is that you do not have any other assets you can draw on or have insurance that can cover your need or divorce obligation. The amount you withdraw should also be sufficient to fulfil the entire divorce obligation.

You will only be able to withdraw from your 401(k) without penalty if there is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that requires a 401(k) withdrawal. Otherwise, you may have to pay a 10% penalty if you’re under 59.5 years old. You will have to pay income tax on the money withdrawn.

It’s important to take some time to consult your financial planner and consider your options. A financial planner will commonly advise you against withdrawing tax deferred money. However, they can help you come up with a plan to make the option less costly for you.

Start With A No-Cost Case Review

Sean Lynch knows you are concerned about your financial situation in your new post-divorce circumstances, and our fixed cost fees are based on the services we provide. We do not charge you by the hour or bill you if you call us with a question.

Contact us through email or call our offices at 817-668-5879. There is no charge for your first 30-minute consultation.