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San Antonio Divorce Law Blog

You don't have to give up your marital home

Life gets complicated when you go through a divorce. From figuring out finances to dealing with child custody, you probably feel overwhelmed. One of the last things you may feel like doing is moving, so staying in the marital home is important to you. Like a lot of mothers, you might also be thinking about providing a sense of stability for your children. The good news is that keeping your house is probably easier than you think.

Compared to the last decade or so, Texas real estate prices are fairly reasonable. This makes it much easier to do things like paying the mortgage and keeping up with the cost of maintenance on a single income. However, there are some important steps you will need to take first.

Texas divorce: Protect your financial interests

When you married your spouse in a church or Texas courthouse, you no doubt expected your union to last a lifetime. Perhaps, 10 or more years have passed since that day and things have changed. You've changed. Your spouse has changed. Maybe you're one of many other spouses in this state who have decided they'd rather divorce than stay in an unhappy relationship. Especially if you've been working from home or out of the workforce altogether during marriage, divorce can have serious financial implications.

If you have children, your top priority is to make sure you have what you need to provide for their care. Many people divorce, then find themselves struggling to keep food on the table because they didn't understand how to protect their financial interests during proceedings. You can avoid similar problems by keeping several things in mind. For instance, it's a good idea to review state property division laws before heading to court.

Avoiding divorce because of money? Here's what you should do

Are you putting off divorce because you are worried about money? If so, you are not alone. Women all across Texas struggle with this decision, especially when their spouses are the primary earners. While it is true that divorce has the potential to negatively affect finances, being as prepared as possible can protect your financial security.

For some women, part of that preparation means stepping into unfamiliar and even uncomfortable territory. This is partly because it is not uncommon for a household's breadwinner to manage most of the money. Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting ready to file for divorce.

What does the 'best interests of the child' mean to the court?

Like most other parents here in San Antonio and elsewhere, you make a concerted effort to make sure you do what is in the best interests of your children. You make decisions every day that affect their lives, and you do so because you believe it will serve them not only today but also into the future. Then, you and your spouse end up divorcing.

Now, even if you work with your future former spouse to create a custody agreement and parenting plan, you will need to convince the court it serves your children's best interests. It can be quite disconcerting to know that the standards of someone you have never met and who doesn't know your children and your family will determine what is best for your children. Understanding how judges reach that decision may help you through this challenge.

Could your family benefit from a parallel parenting plan?

Perhaps right now, the only two things you and your spouse agree on is a divorce and that the divorce should have as little impact on the children as possible. While you may not see anything positive in the situation right now, it's at least a start.

Agreeing to insulate the children from your personal relationship as much as possible does provide a way forward. If you think this means attempting to co-parent when you can't even stand to look at each other, your anxiety level probably just went through the roof. Fortunately, you do not have to co-parent in order to give your children what you want.

The issue of spousal support and your financial future

When you go through a divorce, you are probably thinking about what this will mean for your financial future. Will you be able to maintain your lifestyle? Will you have to move or sell your family home? What's going to happen to your property and assets? These are only a few of the many questions you may have regarding your financial health and future prospects. 

In many divorces, one spouse may have to pay spousal support. Whether a spouse will be eligible for these benefits depends on many factors and the details of the individual financial situation. If you think you may have to pay this type of support or you think you have grounds to seek these payments, you will find it beneficial to start with understanding how and why a court makes alimony-related decisions.

Should you have a prenuptial agreement if you aren't wealthy?

Engagement is an exciting time, and you may be excitedly looking forward to the future. Before you walk down the aisle, however, you may want to think about ways you can protect your future. This includes even thinking about what will happen if you someday file for divorce, even if that seems unlikely or unromantic during this time. 

Thinking about divorce is not pleasant, but it may be prudent to do so. No one enters a marriage assuming that it will end in divorce, but the reality is that many marriages do end, and it's smart to know ahead of time that your financial interests are secure. You can do this by drafting a prenuptial agreement. This is not something that is only necessary for the wealthy, but it can be a smart step for couples of all income levels.

Narcissism: A problematic issue that often leads to divorce

When you and your spouse got married in a Texas church or courthouse, you likely promised to love and care for each other. It's logical to assume that you believed your union would last a lifetime. If you're one of many spouses who grew frustrated and concerned when you started to suspect that your spouse was a narcissist, you may also be among those who have decided to file for divorce.

Narcissism is a personality trait wherein a person solely focuses on himself or herself. He or she generally lacks compassion or empathy toward others. In fact, a narcissist typically views relationships with others in a self-serving light. If narcissism has caused problems in your marriage, you may be interested in learning about coping skills that have helped other spouses in similar situations. It's also good to know where to seek additional support as necessary.

The value of keeping a custody journal during divorce

Court decisions about custody usually take time, especially when divorcing parents don’t agree on what should happen. The sadly familiar phrase “long drawn out custody battle” doesn’t have to apply, but it often does.

Many smart and focused parents looking for the best attainable outcome from custody proceedings establish and carefully maintain a “custody journal” or “parenting journal.”

Something like legal separation is possible in Texas

Each couple needing to separate, and both members of each couple, have their own reasons for making a change. It can be hard for marriage laws to anticipate all of those complicated needs and goals, and states have different ways of trying to tackle the problem.

Unlike many other states, Texas has no law specifically allowing for what other states call a “legal separation.” Such arrangements have some advantages of an informal “trial separation,” some advantages of a full-fledged divorce, and often the disadvantages of both.

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