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We’ve rounded up DivorcedMoms top 10 divorce articles from the year, with expert advice on narcissism, psychological abuse, divorce and teens, the family court system and more.
What kind of divorce resources are you interested in? If we’ve not covered it here, leave a comment and let us know.
DivorcedMoms Top 10 Divorce Articles From 2019
1. What can you expect from a narcissist during a relationship?
“While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in a relationship with a narcissist, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial.
“The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist you’ll recognize them all. If you’re presently in a relationship with a narcissist, buckle up because you’ll eventually experience them all.”
2. Teens often refuse to visit a father during visitation, what should you do?
There are many teens who have difficult relationships with a father. There are also teens who have friends, an active social life and better things to do than hang with parents. If you’re faced with a teen who doesn’t want to spend time with their father, what you do would be based on the situation.
“Michael and Jennifer have been amicably divorced for six years. They have three children ages 6-14. As outlined in their final decree of divorce they split custody of the children on a 60/40 basis. The children are with Jennifer 60% of the time, with Michael, 40% of the time.
“Until recently this arrangement worked well for both the parents and children. Jennifer worked weekends as a Registered Nurse and felt secure knowing her children were with their father and well cared for.
“Michael traveled with his job during the week and worried less about his children knowing they were safe and sound with their mother. The children benefited from the quantity and quality of time with both parents.
“Problems started when their oldest child became a teenager. Craig turned 14 and became less and less interested in spending Friday through Sunday night with his father.”
3. Family courts are ill equipped to protect women during and after a high conflict divorce.
Not only women but women’s children. Women deal with lawyers, judges, therapists, and court-appointed experts who are less than knowledgeable when it comes to the damage an ex with a personality disorder can cause.
“My divorce was tame compared to some. There were no domestic abuse issues, no custody battle issues; we went our separate ways with no physical harm done. I can’t say the same about emotional harm but, as I learned the Family Court System is ill-equipped to handle the conflict created when a man has a personality disorder or is hell-bent on using the system to punish their ex.
“As a matter of fact, it is my opinion the Family Court System is ill-equipped to protect anyone whose divorce is high conflict. Judges, Attorneys, Psychologists, and other court-appointed personnel EXPECT divorce to be one size fits all and when it isn’t lack the skills to support civility. What you get are platitudes and an attitude that if you are engaged with an ex who creates conflict you must be playing a role in the conflict also.”
4. If you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’ll want to get ready for the reality of co-parenting with a narcissist.
“Co-parenting with a narcissist is like being the tin man from the wizard of oz, having motion sickness, on the downward spiral of a roller coaster, with a loose harness, after eating ice cream and 5 corn dogs – doing the tango with a peg leg and an eye patch all the while sewing back together and re-stuffing down feathered pillows your dog chewed up and scattered throughout the back forty – it’s freaking difficult!!”
5. Fathers have a right to equal parenting time. The problem is most don’t follow through with their desire for equal parenting time.
We all hear about how the courts are biased against fathers when it comes to child custody. Men, especially hear such nonsense from men’s rights groups. When you go into court believing the deck is stacked against you, you’re less likely to fight for what you want.
“Before and during the divorce process each parent has the same legal right to custody of a child. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights.
“What does this mean? It is complicated! Even more complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. Bottom line, until you have signed a custody agreement or a judge has handed down a custody opinion, each parent has the same legal rights when it comes to where a child lives, who the child lives with and anything regarding the child.
“I’ve found that most fathers do not have a clear understanding of their legal divorce rights where the children are involved. “
6. What does more damage to relationships than codependency? Not much. Here’s our tongue-in-cheek look at codependency.
“According to Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More, “As professionals began to understand codependency better, more groups of people seem to have it. Adult children of alcoholics, people in relationships with emotionally disturbed people, people in relationships with irresponsible people and people in relationships with abusive people.”
“Basically, a codependent is a person who gives more in a relationship than they get and holds onto the hope that their partner will change. Codependents enable, make excuses and make the relationship problems worse due to their inability to care more for themselves than they do their relationship partner or, the relationship.”
7. Defiance of court orders by men; it happens often but what’s done about it?
My ex defied every aspect of our final divorce decree. EVERY ASPECT. It’s common practice for some men to be defiant and not believe orders handed down by the court apply to them. So, what happens to them? In my case, nothing. He got away with it over and over again.
“Over the years, I’ve spoken to many women whose ex-husbands were defying divorce court orders to pay child support. What most of them have learned when they take their ex back to court for contempt is that judges rarely throw a deadbeat in jail. They threaten to do so, but in my opinion, it isn’t often that a judge will follow through on a threat.
“Not enforcing a court order undermines a woman’s ability to care for her children. For some reason though, a judge seems more concerned with how being jailed will negatively affect a deadbeat father. It isn’t only child support orders that aren’t enforced — in the Family Court System, it’s any order.”
8. Narcissists are emotional and psychologically abusive. If married and divorced one, you’ll spend time wondering why.
“If we’ve been hurt by someone we love it’s only natural to want to find understanding in what happened. We believe that if we can only understand our pain will lessen.
“So, whether you’re a therapist, researcher or victim, there is an interest in knowing why the narcissist emotionally and psychologically abuses.
“There are many theories. Probably as many theories about why the narcissist is narcissistic as there are people wondering why.”
9. Psychologically abusive relationships rob you of your ability to trust in yourself to make proper choices and have faith in yourself.
Gaslighting, belittling, demeaning, undermining are just a few tactics used by a psychological abuser. When you’ve been on the receiving end of those tactics for years it only makes sense that you’ll lose faith in your ability to make choices that are in your best interest.
“Many assume it is simply the idea of breaking up a family that keeps us in the cycle of abuse. But I am here to say … no… that is not what made me stay.
“Forgive me as my ability to express myself in writing has never been my strong suit… but here goes.
“We stay because we have been controlled and manipulated to believe that we have no other viable options. There are often elements of financial control among a lot of other seemingly simple reasons that keep us in “it”. But they are not simple…not simple at all.
“I can only speak on my own behalf here, but I suspect that others will be able to relate on some level.”
10. Everyone’s story is different but when dealing with a narcissist, you can bet they all include damage done to children.
Narcissistic fathers discount the damage they do to their children during and after divorce. They view their children, not as an extension of themselves but as pawns to be used in their fight for control over a woman they feel stands in their way of having total control. If you’ve divorced a narcissist, you’re familiar with the damage they do to children.
“There is nothing more heart wrenching than having no recourse against someone who is doing grave emotional harm to your children. If a stranger had done what their father did, I would have had recourse. But, since it was their father, the family court system turned a blind eye to his behavior.
“It started from the beginning, the very beginning before I even knew there would be a divorce.
“I’m sharing this information in bullet points in order to keep my thoughts straight and not running together. We’ve been divorced for nearly 2 decades, there is no way I can share the entire story but, these are issues I remember as being the most damaging.”
Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.
Once you have hired a licensed real estate appraiser, real estate agent or done a comparable home search on the county appraisal website to determine a likely value for your home, you have done most of the work that is related to value your house for the purpose of selling it. The next thing you to do is consider whether or not you need to remove “incidental” costs associated with the sale of the home from that appraised value.
Incidental costs are things like closing costs and realtor fees. From my experience, these costs are way too speculative to include in the value of the house. Closing costs vary across properties and title companies. There are no specific cases that I am aware of in Texas that say one way or the other how this subject is to be treated. However, I would be willing to argue based on the previous couple points I made that they should not be deducted from the appraised value of the home.
Fair market value is what you are going after when looking for the value of your family home
Anyone of us who took high school economics is likely familiar with the term “fair market value.” This term can be defined as the amount that would be paid in cash by a willing buyer who desires to buy but is not required to buy, to a willing seller who desires to sell but is no under no necessity of selling. That definition is one that is pulled from something called the Texas Pattern Jury Charge. There is no mention of realtor charges or closing costs in that definition. Closing costs vary from transaction to transaction. Realtor costs may not even come into being if a realtor is not used or if the house is never actually sold.
Reimbursement claims and the family home
This is a subject that is near and dear to the heart of almost every person who goes through a divorce. Reimbursement claims can be a difficult subject to explain to clients because it is a concept that tugs at concepts of “fairness” and “equity.” If you contributed income to the separate property of your spouse, in a divorce you have a right to be reimbursed for those monies. However, it can be very difficult to calculate those kinds of claims.
There is nothing in the Texas Family Code that instructs a family court judge on how to calculate to proceed on a reimbursement claim made in conjunction with a divorce case. The judge has full discretion on determining how much reimbursement to award to a petitioning spouse or even whether or not to acknowledge the claim.
For instance, if your spouse has a separate property home with a mortgage on it that has been paid during the course of your marriage then you are in a position where you will need to prove how much of the principal of that mortgage has been reduced during the course of your marriage in order to proceed with a reimbursement claim. Mortgage statements pulled from the internet or requested directly from your lender are a means to do so. Many websites have amortization schedules that show how much of each mortgage payment goes towards principal, interest and escrow funds. Tax returns that show mortgage payments as well.
Finally, another relatively common reimbursement claim that we see in divorce cases is when community money is used to make improvements on a separate property home. An example could be if your spouse and you used your combined incomes to make an improvement on a home that you owned before you two got married. The value of your reimbursement claim would be how much the value of the home increased due to the improvements that were made.
As you could probably guess based on the time we devoted in yesterday and today’s blog posts to determining how to value your family home, this can be quite a difficult job. It is not readily apparent how much a new kitchen, pool, updated bathroom or solar panels on the roof actually added value to the home. A real estate agent can serve as an expert witness in this capacity if it were an issue brought up at trial.
How can your family home be divided in your divorce?
There are many options available to a judge when it comes to dividing up your family home in a divorce. Keep in mind that these options are only available to a judge if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own when it comes to valuing the home and then either dividing it in a sale or allowing one of you to remain in the home while the other has their community property interest bought out.
Option number one is the clearest cut and simple for a judge: he or she would simply determine that the home is the separate property of either you or your spouse. No muss, no fuss. Next, the house could be awarded to either you or your spouse. Along with this option, the judge could award you the house but allow your spouse to reside in the home for a specific period of time after the divorce. This option could be chosen in the event that your spouse showed that it would be difficult to locate suitable housing quickly after the divorce.
For those of you who reside in rural areas, your real estate could be partitioned by the judge. For instance, consider that if you were awarded the home, your spouse could be awarded the majority of the land surrounding the home to compensate him for the loss he would take in his community property interest in that residence.
Finally, your house could be ordered to be sold and the equity (after closing costs and realtor fees) would be split between you and your spouse based on a percentage.
What happens with the mortgage on your home after a divorce?
This is a very relevant subject to discuss in conjunction with a divorce case. Most of us reading this blog post live in a suburban/urban environment in a single family home. Whether or not you would consider your immediate surroundings to be a neighborhood or not, it is likely that you and your spouse own a home in a neighborhood-type environment where the mortgage on that home bears both your name and that of your spouse. What many attorneys fail to do in connection with a divorce is properly explain what can happen with the mortgage once your divorce is over with. I will seek to provide you with some clarification on this subject so you enter your own divorce with a bit more knowledge.
Let’s say, for example, that your spouse is awarded the family home in your divorce case. He is also ordered to pay the mortgage going forward- a mortgage that has both of your names on it. Here is what I would tell you if you were represented by our office. First, the divorce decree is a legal document that is binding upon you and your spouse but it does not affect your personal obligation under the mortgage contract. If you’re soon to be ex-spouse fails to make payments on time for the mortgage then your credit score gets dinged.
Next, if you do well in the financial portions of your divorce and have a down payment ready to go for your next house you may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage. The reason for this is that your name is already on a mortgage to your former home. Your debt to income ratio will be skewed as a result of your technically owing money on another home. It is theoretically possible to not be able to qualify for a mortgage on your new house if your spouse is not current on payments on the “old” mortgage.
How can you get your name off the joint mortgage to your old house?
That discussion should lead you to ask the question of how, then, can you go about removing your name from the old mortgage to your former home?
One option that I have seen implemented in a final decree of divorce (the final orders for a divorce case in Texas) would be to order your spouse to refinance the home within X number of days from the date the divorce becomes final. No refinance is possible until the divorce is finalized since ownership of the home before that time is still in both your name and his. It is possible that your spouse, while able to be awarded the home in your divorce, does not qualify financially to be able to refinance the mortgage into their own name. A low income, low credit score, bad debt to income ratio or a combination of all of those factors could play into the reason why this is the case.
Another option to pursue could be that your spouse can sign documents that cause him to assume complete responsibility for the mortgage moving forward. The availability of this option depends on your lender. Your spouse should contact the mortgage lender as soon as he becomes aware that he is going to get the house in your divorce to see if this is an option that he can pursue. Again, however, your spouse needs to show that he can qualify for the process of assuming sole responsibility on the mortgage.
If neither of these two options is available then the home will likely be ordered to be sold by the judge. Most judges will not put you or your spouse in a position to fall behind in the mortgage payment and put both of you in a bad financial position. As a result, if no suitable arrangement can be made it is very likely that a sale of your home will commence.
Pulling equity out of your family home in a Texas divorce
Selling the home is by far the easiest method of pulling equity out of your home during a divorce. The equity can then be split between you and your spouse without much fuss, according to the terms of the judge’s orders or your mediated settlement agreement. Usually, if your spouse is awarded the home in your divorce then the equity can be pulled out in the following manners.
If your spouse gets the house, then you will be awarded a community property asset that equals the share of equity that would ordinarily be yours had the house been sold. Or, if there is insufficient community property to divide you may be able to get some portion of your spouse’s community property share as well as a separate property bank account of your spouse’s.
We will discuss the additional ways to cash out the equity stake in a family home in tomorrow’s blog post. We hope that you have enjoyed today’s blog and we will return tomorrow to finish up where we left off by talking more about cashing out equity in the family home.
Questions about divorce and dividing up the family home? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan stand ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you have regarding your Texas family law case. Our attorneys have represented clients in every family court in southeast Texas and we do so with a great deal of pride.
To learn more about your case, our office or family law, in general, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions and receive feedback about your specific circumstances. Thank you for spending time with us today in reading our blog post.
And remember- the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is On Your Side!
If you are going through a divorce, a primary concern is often your children and your child custody arrangements. It’s difficult for any parent to contemplate not having their children living with them all of the time, but it can be even more difficult for mothers who have a close bond with their children.
If you and your husband cannot come to custody terms that you both can sign off on, the court will need to decide the matter for you. While many people think that mothers have a natural advantage in such disputes, the truth is far more complicated. Understanding the basics related to child custody can help you navigate the process while standing up for your own parental rights.
Custody is divided into two major concerns that include physical custody (related to with whom the children reside at any given time) and legal custody. It’s important to recognize that in the vast majority of divorces, both parents share legal custody, which refers to a parent’s rights to make important decisions on behalf of their children. These decisions include:
- Matters related to your children’s health and well-being, such as medical care
- Matters related to your children’s education
- Matters related to your children’s religious upbringing
These are fundamental issues that shape your children’s lives, and it’s very likely that you and your divorced spouse will continue to make these important decisions together, although one parent is sometimes given tie-breaking authority.
Physical custody relates to with whom your children reside primarily and to their visitation schedule with the other parent. While many people believe that mothers have an advantage when it comes to physical custody, this really isn’t an accurate assessment in many cases.
Do Mothers Have an Advantage in Custody Disputes?
The Court’s Stance
If you and your divorcing spouse cannot come to mutually acceptable terms regarding your children’s custody arrangements, the court will intervene and make a determination of how you will split custody rights.
The court will always favor what is in the best interest of your children, but this is obviously open to interpretation, and it’s important to remember that the court has considerable discretion in the matter. You obviously know your children in a way that the judge never can, and you know what’s best for them.
Courts often favor the status quo when making child custody decisions. In other words, if the mother has been the primary caregiver and she and the children are living in the family home while the case is pending, the judge may be hesitant to upset the balance and may be more inclined to award the mother primary custody.
This is generally more a function of how things are commonly arranged than it is a function of favoring the mother or of the mother having an advantage in the matter.
The Considerations at Hand
In determining child custody arrangements, the court is guided by the children’s best interests, but in the process, it takes a wide range of variables into consideration, including:
- The emotional connections between each parent and the children
- Each parent’s ability to provide the children with a loving home and a healthy life
- Any criminal history
- Any history of domestic abuse – either physical, emotional, or sexual
- Any substance abuse issues
- Any pertinent parental considerations that could affect the decision, such as age or disability
- The location of each parent’s residence (who lives closer to the children’s school, for example)
None of these issues are gender-specific and, as such, the court’s decision cannot favor the mother. Many mothers, however, are already providing primary custodial care, and courts are not fond of dramatically disrupting children’s lives when they’re already going through the emotional challenge of divorce. After all, divorce is hard on everyone, but children are especially vulnerable.
Your Children’s Voices
Many parents wonder if their children’s preferences will guide – or should guide – the court’s custody decisions. The fact is that many judges will speak to your children privately (especially older children) and will take their preferences into careful consideration, but the decision is simply not up to your children.
The court is making determinations related to your children’s custody exactly because they are children who need custodial care. When your children are adults, they’ll make their own important decisions, but for now, those decisions must be made for them. Your children’s voices, nevertheless, may help guide the court’s ruling.
Reaching a Resolution
If you’re going through a divorce, emotions are inevitably running high. The stress and heartache of divorce leave many couples unable to reach mutually agreeable terms on many important issues. Both of you, however, naturally put your children first, and if you can find a way to hammer out custody arrangements that you can both live with, the court and its considerable discretion won’t need to be involved in the process.
Reaching a compromise with your children’s father can come in many forms. If you aren’t able to work together personally (which isn’t uncommon), your attorneys can attempt to negotiate an arrangement, and you can also address the issue via mediation – with the legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys.
Infidelity is a common cause of divorce throughout North America. However, the effect that an affair might have on the outcome of your divorce case will vary depending on your jurisdiction. Different laws set out different standards for how infidelity impacts a divorce, and the following is some information about adultery and some examples of how your divorce outcome might be swayed if your spouse was unfaithful.
Adultery as Grounds for Divorce
For a long time, a spouse had to state “traditional” grounds for divorce that were based on marital misconduct, such as adultery. While all jurisdictions in North America now allow no-fault divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, some jurisdictions still allow spouses to claim fault-based grounds for divorce. In many cases, fault-based grounds can eliminate the need to be separated for a period of time before obtaining a divorce.
If you allege infidelity as grounds for a divorce, your spouse will have the opportunity to contest your allegations. If your spouse does contest, you will need to sufficiently prove the adultery occurred to obtain your divorce. This does not mean that you need to catch your spouse in the actual adulterous act, though you do need to present credible evidence that infers they were engaged in extramarital sexual conduct. Such evidence may include:
- Statements from friends, family members, or other witnesses who knew about the affair
- Credit card charges for gifts, hotel rooms, romantic meals, trips, or other expenses related to the affair
- Emails or text messages
- Not coming home often or another departure from normal routines without explanation
- Seeing your spouse with another person
If you are unable to present evidence to support your claims of infidelity, the court can deny your petition for a divorce based on those grounds. You might need to file for no-fault divorce, which might require a period of separation before the case can get underway.
Adultery in a No-Fault Divorce
Many people file for no-fault divorce because it seems simpler or because their jurisdiction does not allow fault-based grounds. In this situation, infidelity may or may not play a role in the divorce process. While you can end your marriage without the court considering infidelity, your spouse’s conduct could still come into play when deciding certain issues in your divorce.
In some cases, your spouse might have wasted marital assets on an affair. If you have records showing your spouse racked up credit card debt or otherwise spent money on gifts, meals, vacations, or other expenses related to their infidelity, you can claim your spouse wrongfully wasted assets that were rightfully half yours. In this type of situation, the court can decide to award you a larger property award to make up for the funds your spouse wasted for extramarital purposes.
Spousal Support Awards
Whether infidelity affects spousal support (or alimony) awards will depend on the law and policies in your jurisdiction. The laws can vary significantly, including the following:
- Some jurisdictions prohibit judges from considering infidelity when it comes to spousal support, as the focus should be on the financial need of the recipient spouse
- Some jurisdictions prevent a spouse from receiving alimony if they were unfaithful
- Some jurisdictions entitle a spouse to a higher spousal support award if their spouse was unfaithful
It truly depends on where the divorce is occurring, and a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction can advise you how infidelity might affect your alimony award.
Some spouses might think their children should not be around a parent who sets an immoral example by having affairs. However, a spouse’s infidelity does not make them automatically unfit to parent under the eyes of the law. Instead, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. Some factors the court might consider include:
- Is the adulterous spouse engaged in affairs with numerous people at the same time?
- Does your spouse expose your child to inappropriate situations as a result of his affairs?
- Is the adulterous behavior accompanied by substance abuse, being gone for long hours, or other behavior that puts the child at risk of harm or neglect?
If the court believes that your spouse’s parenting abilities are impacted by the circumstances accompanying the infidelity, it might impact the custody determination.
Resolving Your Divorce Case
Even if you are rightfully angry and hurt by your spouse’s infidelity, this should not be the driving force leading to a certain outcome of your divorce. Family courts encourage divorcing spouses to focus on resolution instead of blame and fault, as this often makes it easier to compromise and reach out-of-court agreements. In some cases, raising the issue of infidelity can improve your divorce outcome while, in others, it might simply distract from the important issues and not impact the outcome at all.
If you are filing for divorce because your husband was unfaithful, it is important to examine all of your options and strategies with an experienced divorce lawyer. This way, you can take the best approach to ensure the best possible outcome of your case.
The post Will Infidelity Affect the Outcome of Your Divorce? appeared first on Divorced Moms.
There are several concerns in divorce cases, depending on your circumstances. These can include child custody arrangements, child support, the division of your marital property, and spousal maintenance – also known as alimony.
While a spousal maintenance award is never a given and the issue doesn’t come into play in every case, there are divorces in which maintenance plays an important role.
Whether your husband can seek spousal support or not will depend on a variety of variables. Understanding the basics as they relate to spousal maintenance can help you make decisions that protect your rights throughout the divorce process.
Can Your Husband Seek Spousal Support?
Spousal maintenance is generally predicated on financial disparity. If, for example, you are the primary breadwinner and your husband was the primary caregiver for your children throughout your marriage, he might be able to successfully seek alimony until he is able to begin working and supporting himself. There are, however, a number of considerations to take into account. Generally, the longer you were married and the greater the difference in earning ability and assets between the two of you, the greater the chance that your husband will be eligible to seek spousal support.
Will Your Husband Be Awarded Alimony?
Every divorce comes with its own highly specific financial circumstances, but the general rule is that if your husband lacks the means to provide for himself and is incapable of attaining appropriate employment right away, he might be awarded maintenance.
This means that if your spouse is unemployed or simply doesn’t earn enough, if his portion of the marital assets aren’t sufficient to make up the difference, and if he doesn’t have the education, skills, or experience to obtain a job that would provide him with the necessary means to support himself – the court might look to you to help him move forward post-divorce with financial support.
It’s important to recognize, however, that alimony is very rarely a permanent proposition. Instead, alimony is a stopgap measure that will be used to help your ex find his financial footing after the divorce. Generally, the longer your marriage and the greater the financial disparity, the longer the alimony period.
Determining Spousal Maintenance
Every determination regarding alimony is specific to the individual situation, but there are some basics that almost universally apply. The court will take a variety of factors into careful consideration in determining whether alimony is appropriate and, if so, what its duration should be. These factors can include:
- The duration of your marriage (having been married for ten years or more can play an important role)
- The age and health status of both you and your husband
- How your marital property was divided (each of your post-divorce assets)
- The level of education each of you has (including your level of education now as compared to your level of education when you married)
- Your earning capacity in relation to your husband’s earning capacity
- The tax consequences related to your divorce
- The contents of any premarital or postmarital contractual agreements (a prenup, for example)
- The amount of time it will likely be necessary for your husband to become self-supporting at a level that’s comparable to the one you maintained as a married couple
- Any contribution that your husband made to your education or to further your career during the course of your marriage
- Any other circumstances that the court deems relevant
if the court determines that your husband is entitled to maintenance, it will then go about calculating the appropriate amount and duration, which will be predicated on your ability to pay while still satisfactorily supporting yourself.
What Does Maintenance Cover?
Maintenance can be a mechanism for making property division more equitable, a means of short-term support to help your ex-husband become financially self-sufficient, or a permanent support strategy for a spouse who has a limited ability to earn that cannot be rectified or who is outright unemployable (because of a disability, for example). Permanent maintenance is far less common than temporary maintenance.
When it comes to the division of marital property, there are instances when maintenance can help make the distribution more equitable. For example, if you own and manage a business that supported your family throughout your marriage, it can be very difficult to value and/or divide the business for divorce purposes.
If you keep the business, the court may award your ex-husband maintenance to help smooth out any disparity in the property division. Further, if your husband didn’t work or was underemployed during the course of your marriage, the court may award him temporary maintenance while he finds his way back into the work world and begins earning a sufficient salary.
In most situations, there simply is no guarantee of maintenance. If the judge finds, for example, that your ex was taking advantage of your generosity by not working throughout the marriage, he or she could deny maintenance.
Further, if your husband’s marital misconduct – such as overly lavish spending or an extramarital affair – brought about the dissolution of your marriage, the judge can take that into consideration in determining whether maintenance is appropriate or not.
Perhaps more than any other divorce issues, the question of maintenance is highly specific to the situation at hand and often hotly contested. If you have maintenance concerns, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney on your side.
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- A Texas Fight Over Competing Leases