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Austin Texas Family Law Blog

Special concerns for divorcing parents with adopted children

Parental divorce can bring up all sorts of feelings of insecurity in children. They're losing the family structure they've always known. They often blame themselves for their parents' break-up -- particularly if they've been the subject of some of their parents' arguments in the past. Children's first instinct is to think about how any change will affect them. Therefore, it's not uncommon for a child to worry first and foremost about how a divorce will impact their life.

When divorcing parents have an adopted child, those insecurities can increase exponentially. Some adopted kids already have feelings of not completely "belonging" in their families. If an adopted child is of a different race or ethnicity than their adoptive parents, they may be constantly reminded by people they encounter in public that they don't look like their parents.

4 ways to battle divorce stress

Divorce is hard and complicated and usually very stressful for all parties involved. It can zap your energy and leave you feeling completely drained within the first few minutes of waking up every day. If your multifaceted life includes things like running your own business and taking care of the kids, divorce could be enough to cause a full break-down. Fortunately, there are some things you can do reduce the stress of divorce.

From eating right to getting regular exercise and opening up about your feelings, there are various activities that you should engage in to keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically. Here are a few things you can do to take care of yourself and limit the stress of ending your marriage.

Dealing with people in your co-parent's (and children's) lives

Even the most mature, amicable co-parenting relationships can be challenged when other people who are part of your children's lives are involved. You and your ex-spouse may have a healthy relationship that is focused on doing what's best for your kids. However, former in-laws and new significant others can threaten that relationship, often unwittingly, if you aren't prepared to deal with them.

Grandparents, aunts and uncles are a common source of conflict for co-parents. Perhaps you and your former mother-in-law never got along, for example. However, your kids love spending time with her. You have to look clearly at whether you object to that because you don't like her or on because she's a bad influence on the kids. A person can be a lousy in-law and a good grandparent. If, however, she's using her time with your children to criticize you, that's something you and your co-parent need to discuss and work to put an end to so that the kids can continue to have a relationship with her.

Former Texas lieutenant governor sued by ex for nonpayment

A former Texas lieutenant governor is facing a lawsuit by his ex-wife alleging that he has failed to repay her $6.7 million in personal and business loans she made to him during their marriage, as designated in their 2016 divorce agreement. She also says that he owes her millions in unpaid alimony.

David Dewhurst, who served from 2003 to 2015 as the state's lieutenant governor, married Tricia Bivins in 2012. The two divorced in 2016. Bivins was a lobbyist for Reliant Energy. She has also worked for a law firm. Dewhurst failed to win re-election (or even the Republican primary) to the number two executive position in the state in the 2014 election. He also failed in a 2012 U.S. Senate run, losing to Ted Cruz.

Tips from transitioning from spouses to co-parents amid divorce

As you go through your divorce, you and your spouse will transition from being wedded partners to a relationship that is focused on your roles as co-parents. You'll still be in each other's lives for many years -- even when your kids become adults.

This doesn't necessarily mean that your relationship will get significantly easier -- at least not at first. You'll still be the same people you were when you were married. If you had trouble communicating civilly, that's not likely to change overnight. Anger and resentment over each other's actions may continue for a while. However, you have to commit to putting the past behind you to focus on doing what's best for your children.

Protecting parent-child relationships during marriage separation

When married parents choose to separate, the effects on the children are similar to the effects of divorce, but even more complicated in some ways because divorce is not an inevitable outcome. For some parents, this can feel like being stuck in personal and legal limbo. The experience is often difficult to navigate fairly, even for parents who commit to their children's best interests.

Courts acknowledge that legal separation is a useful tool for many families, allowing spouses to take intentional time apart to evaluate their circumstances with a clear mind and determine how to move forward. Like divorce, legal separation typically involves one parent leaving the family home, bringing up many issues surrounding child custody.

Why you should consider an alcohol monitoring program

Children with parents who have alcohol abuse issues can suffer from behavioral problems, depression and anxiety. Alcoholic parents too often fail to care for their children properly. At worst, they can be neglectful or even abusive.

If you're a parent who's struggled with alcohol and are going through a divorce, your co-parent may be seeking to limit your custody and visitation rights. You may see this as vindictive, but they may truly be concerned for your children's well-being. Most courts would prefer that parents be able to have a relationship with their children even if they are dealing with addictions -- assuming that there hasn't been violence or abuse.

Could professional success impact custody in a Texas divorce?

Many adults in Texas have to do the difficult job of balancing their personal lives with their professional aspirations. Although some people are able to strike a balance and maintain a family and a successful career, other people find that it is very difficult to do both.

If you are gone for most of the day, or multiple days or weeks at a time because of travel for work, your children and your spouse may not feel like they get to spend enough time with you. The end result can be weakening of your family relationships and eventually divorce.

Navigating back-to-school time as divorced parents

Back-to-school time can be especially challenging for families where the parents are separated or divorced. If this is your first fall living apart, you're probably still figuring out how best to deal with your kids' school and extracurricular activities this upcoming school year.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help the year go as smoothly as possible for your children and for both of you:

  • Agree to communicate regularly about your kids' homework, projects, grades and activities. If a child is struggling in a particular area, work together to help them rather than placing the blame on your co-parent.
  • Commit to attend your children's school events together -- or at least to both be there. This means a lot to kids whose parents are no longer together.
  • Try to meet together with your kids' teachers. It's best when teachers can have one conversation with both parents rather than having to meet with each one separately. This also keeps you and your co-parent on the same page and helps you agree to work toward the same goals for your children.

Co-parenting with an uncooperative ex

You and your ex-spouse were able to work out a custody and visitation agreement and put a parenting plan in place. You envisioned that you two would be able to successfully co-parent your kids across your two households. However, your co-parent isn't cooperating in this new relationship. What are your options?

First, it depends on just how serious their lack of cooperation is. Are they abiding by the terms of your agreement, but perhaps engaging in passive-aggressive behavior? Maybe they don't make sure that your child has packed all of the toys, electronics and clothes they need to bring when they return to your home. Perhaps they always seem to "forget" to help them with their school projects or make sure they do their homework, so that burden always seems to fall on you.

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