Going through a divorce is difficult for everyone, especially when children are involved. Whether you are pursuing an uncontested or contested divorce, knowing what you should ask for in your Texas divorce settlement is important. Your divorce settlement will address many issues, so understanding your non-negotiable positions and issues you are willing to negotiate can help you as you move forward.
Knowing What to Ask for in a Divorce
Just getting started in the divorce process can be overwhelming. You may not know how to begin thinking about which assets you would like to ask for in your divorce. Understanding the divorce process can help you start thinking about the assets that are important to you. Divorcing spouse can negotiate a settlement agreement out of court. As long as the agreement is reasonable and legally enforceable, a judge will finalize it.
When a couple cannot agree on their divorce settlement, the divorce will go to trial, and a judge will make the final decision. If you are considering filing for divorce, it is usually better to pursue an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all of the major aspects of the divorce. When you begin thinking about what to ask for in your divorce, make a list of the assets that are most important to you. You may want to list property in the following columns: most important, willing to negotiate, and not important.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and support issues can be some of the most stressful for parents. Determining the outcome of who will have primary custody of your child can be stressful. Thankfully, courts are now attempting to allow both parents to be actively involved in raising their children. Both parents are encouraged to share physical and legal custody unless there is a significant safety issue or another serious issue. The final divorce settlement agreement will state which parent has physical custody, with whom the child lives, and which parent has legal custody. Legal custody refers to who gets to make crucial decisions about the child’s upbringing.
The divorce agreement will also cover visitation rights and child support payment amounts. Regarding child custody, parents should ask for an arrangement that they feel is fair, safe, and beneficial for their child. If a significant safety issue, drug abuse problem, or another challenge would make the child’s environment unsafe, apparently want to pursue full custody. If not, it is worth approaching the issue with an open mind to develop a parenting plan that works for both spouses.
In Texas, a spouse can pursue alimony, also called spousal support. Spousal support involves payments made by the spouse who earns more money to the spouse who earns less money. Courts are more willing to award spousal support when the couple has been married for a long time and one spouse stayed at home to raise children.
Child support aims to help the spouse who earns less money receive the job training and skills necessary to find gainful employment. If you have earned less money than your spouse, you must consider how much spousal support you would like to request. During the negotiation stage, you and your attorney should carefully consider how much spousal support you will need. You may come up with a figure that you will be willing to accept but a goal amount you would like to pursue during negotiations. You may consider which asset or assets you may be willing to forfeit in exchange for a more significant spousal support award.
Division of Property and Debt
In addition to child custody matters, property division is also an issue that can become contentious during the divorce process. If you have been married for a long time and have significant assets, the first step to understanding how much property you should ask for involves listing and valuing all of your property. Sometimes a financial expert helps get an accurate understanding of the value of your real estate and personal property. Make sure you consider everything you and your spouse own, including your real estate properties, vehicles, investments, businesses, antiques, pensions, jewelry, and more.
Many people have certain personal property items that mean a lot to them. It may be the special furniture you purchase after getting married. You may want to keep the family home in which your children grew up. If that is a non-negotiable issue, you may want to discuss with your attorney what other assets you would be willing to give up in exchange for your family home. You will also need to divide the marital debt that you or your spouse incurred during your marriage.
An experienced attorney can help you develop creative solutions for dividing your assets into debt. For example, suppose you would like to keep the family home, but you are a stay-at-home mother and do not have as much earning potential as your spouse. You may be able to forgo spousal support payments to keep the family home outright.
In some cases, there will be a dispute regarding whether an asset is considered marital or separate property. You can work with your attorney and a financial expert to list all of your debts that you hold jointly and independently. If you have any reason to believe certain debts should not be shared but should be allocated exclusively to your spouse, make sure to inform your attorney about those reasons.
Interested in Pursuing an Affordable Uncontested Divorce? We Can Help
More couples are choosing to try to work together to agree on their divorce settlement and negotiate a divorce settlement that addresses marital debt and assets. Divorce Concierge in McKinney, Texas, provides affordable flat rate uncontested divorce options for our clients. We can help you negotiate a divorce settlement that protects you. Contact Divorce Concierge today to schedule your free case evaluation.