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Austin Texas Family Law Blog

Therapy during and after a divorce can make you a better parent

Divorce can be a difficult, even emotionally devastating time for the spouses going through the split and the children in their family. Whether you were the one who filed for divorce or your spouse took that initiative, you will have a lot to process regarding the end of your marriage.

Especially because you have children depending on you to make reasonable decisions and to put their needs first, it is of the utmost importance that you commit to taking adequate care of yourself throughout these trying times. Specifically, you may find that seeing a therapist or counselor can help you handle the emotions your divorce creates and make it easier for you to move on and focus on parenting.

Dealing with a child's sleep issues as co-parents

Children can experience sleep problems for any number of reasons. Anxiety and changes in their routine are two of those. If their parents have separated and are divorcing or considering divorce, they're likely experiencing both of those things.

Sleep problems -- either not being able to fall or stay asleep or sleeping too much -- are not uncommon for children whose parents are no longer together. They may also regress to behavior that parents thought they'd outgrown, like bed-wetting, being afraid of monsters under the bed or sucking their thumbs.

Should your child have a say in your custody agreement?

When parents are battling over how custody of a child will be shared, one or both of them may want their child to have a say in the matter -- especially if they think their child will "choose" them to be their primary caregiver. Some judges want to hear from kids who are old enough and mature enough to have their opinion heard when their parents can't reach an agreement.

However, placing a child (even a teenager) in that position can have long-term negative ramifications. Studies of adults whose parents divorced when they were children often found that those who were asked to choose wish they hadn't been. Many say they never wanted that responsibility.

Understanding the alimony tax changes that took effect this year

Most of the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) took effect in Tax Year 2018. One of the most reported-on changes, however, doesn't impact taxpayers until they file their 2019 taxes. That's the removal of the tax implications of alimony payments.

There's been a lot of confusion about this change, so let's take a look at who is impacted. If your divorce or separation agreement was finalized any time after Dec. 31, 2018, alimony (also known as spousal support) or separation maintenance payments cannot be deducted by the payer. The recipients also don't report the payments as income.

Do custody plans allow children to leave the state?

Parents who are planning to divorce or recently divorced are probably in the process of figuring out how they can best accommodate their children's needs. Child custody planning can get especially tricky for people who travel a lot for work. Most parents decide to plan a custody schedule that aligns with their schedules.

Custody plans are an excellent way for children to stay connected and continue building their relationship with both of their parents. But the main question soon-to-be-divorced couples might have is whether they can take their kids out of state or out of the country.

Some benefits of a mediated divorce you may not have considered

Texas law requires that divorcing couples at least attempt mediation. However, many couples choose to continue the mediation process through to the end to divide their assets and debts and determine custody and support issues. If you and your spouse can work together to settle these matters, mediation is less expensive and time-consuming than a litigated divorce. There are other -- possibly even more important -- benefits. Let's look at a few of them.

If you have children, it's best if you and your spouse can work out how you will co-parent together, without having to turn to a judge to settle matters for you. You know your kids and your family better than any judge.

How to minimize holiday stress with a blended family

If you're a divorced parent, it's likely that eventually you'll become part of a blended family. Your new spouse may have children. Your co-parent may have a new spouse and stepchildren. There could be a host of grandparents, aunts and uncles and other relatives in your children's lives.

If this is your first holiday season dealing with a blended family, you're probably feeling more stress than usual. You may have to navigate not only your own custody schedule, but your current spouse's schedule with their children. Even if you're a single parent, you may be impacted by the fact that your co-parent is trying to make time for their stepkids along with your own kids.

When you need a restraining order with your divorce

Sometimes, you just need a divorce. Other times, you may need a restraining order to go along with it. How can you tell whether you should seek a restraining order with your divorce?

You should know that you don't have to be a battered spouse to seek this type of protection. But these orders can have serious repercussions for the person they are taken out against, so they should not be sought without good reason. Below are some suggestions for determining whether you actually need a restraining order against the spouse you're divorcing.

What should you do if your kids don't like your new partner?

You've been divorced for a while. You've met someone you've come to really care about, and you introduce them to your children. You start slowly with short outings or a pizza-and-movie night at home. However, it soon becomes clear that your kids don't like your new partner. Maybe your daughter ignores them, and your son is openly hostile.

What should you do? You don't want to end the relationship (or have your partner end it). If you think the relationship could lead to cohabitation or marriage, you need for them to get along.

Catch your breath before rushing to date after divorce

Going through a divorce can make you feel like you just went a few rounds with Mike Tyson. It can knock the stuffing out of even emotionally hardy individuals. If the divorce was initiated by your ex and unwanted by you, the grief you feel is very much like what you'd feel if a loved one had died.

Still, it is human nature for people to couple. If you loved the intimacy and companionship of marriage, you may be longing to experience it again with another partner. Below is some advice for the newly divorced who want to dip a toe back into the dating pool once again.

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