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Plano Family Law Blog

Using mediation to protect special needs kids from divorce

It is a natural parental instinct to want to shield children from the consequences of marital strife, including divorce. Unfortunately, traditional divorces can be very emotionally difficult for the children in the family. The more contentious and angry the divorce, the more difficult it can be for the kids.

An expectation to testify regarding their personal preferences can stress them about their parental relationships. Listening to their parents attack one another in arguments during custody exchanges, as well as in court, can also be painful.

How to explain your divorce to your special needs children

Talking with your children about an impending divorce is difficult in even the best of circumstances. Children are likely to catastrophize news of a divorce. They often have strong emotional reactions ranging from anger to guilt. Kids may also worry about losing their relationship with one or both of their parents, or fear that they are the root cause of the divorce.

That fear may be especially pronounced and harder to communicate for children with special needs. After all, there is a pervasive myth that children with special needs can be a contributing factor toward divorce in families. Many kids have heard this myth and may have internalized it.

Splitting business assets in divorce

The whole world is watching how Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos' divorce is playing out. It has all the right elements — alleged adultery, minor children, billion-dollar assets, divided businesses.

Certainly there will be few in that income strata to compare with the divorce and property split of the richest man in the world, but some commonalities remain that bear our attention.

Not all relationships are equal: Divorce factors

You have probably heard repeatedly that there is roughly a 50 percent divorce rate in the United States, meaning half of all marriages eventually end. This oft-cited statistic is debatable, and it gives you the idea that your odds of getting divorced are just that: numerical odds. It's a coin toss. You can't predict the outcome.

That's not actually how it works. If you put four people in a room, you can't just claim that two of them will get divorced. Not all relationships are equal. All four of these people could stay together or split up. It depends on a host of factors, such as:

  • Your age. Did you know that people who get married younger also tend to get divorced more often? Twenty-five years old seems to be an important milestone, as those who wait until they are at least 25 get divorced less than those who marry before reaching 25.
  • If your parents got divorced. Did you see your parents' relationship end while you were a child? If so, that makes it more likely that you will follow in their footsteps and get divorced yourself. If your parents stayed together, you and your partner are more likely to do the same.
  • How long you stayed in school. Getting a college degree helps make your marriage more stable. For instance, the divorce rate for people who had a degree was around 14.2 for every 1,000 people in one study. For those who did not graduate from college, it was more like 23 out of 1,000.
  • Your ethnicity. People with different racial backgrounds get divorced at very different rates. One study looked specifically at women and found that African-American women have the highest divorce rates. Women with an Asian heritage have the lowest divorce rates. In the middle are both Caucasian women and Hispanic women.
  • Having kids. Did you and your partner already have children? If so, your divorce odds are lower now than they were before. Many parents, it seems, really do decide to stay together for the kids.

Do you have a special needs child? The benefits of a trust

Planning for the future of a special needs child is difficult even in the best family circumstances. Two married parents will often struggle to create a robust estate plan that provides adequate support for a special needs child in the future.

Unlike most children, special needs children may remain dependent on their parents for their entire adult life. They may require extensive, ongoing medical care that can prove quite expensive. Additionally, they may not have the physical or mental capacity to live independently. That can make divorcing more complex.

Important medical care considerations in child custody

While you might focus on the parenting time schedule when you divorce your child's other parent, there is another consideration for you to think about - the child's medical care. All children will need at least preventative care during their lifetime.

For some parents, such as those who have medically fragile children or children with medically complex problems, the need to plan for such matters increases sharply. It is imperative that parents work together to come up with a plan for how the child will receive the necessary care.

Can your professional success impact custody in a Texas divorce?

People spend years or even decades establishing themselves in a profession. Unfortunately, success at work does not always translate to success in interpersonal relationships. Many people who are driven to great heights at work actually struggle to maintain healthy relationships at home.

All of the time spent focusing on a career can leave your spouse or even your children feeling like you don't have time for them. Some dedicated professionals may be anxious about divorce for a number of reasons. A common concern is whether the devotion to their jobs will have an impact on the outcome of custody proceedings.

Does having a special needs child impact Texas child support?

Getting divorced in Texas can be difficult for even the simplest family structure. If your family includes one or more children with special needs, that can have a direct impact on the decisions you make regarding your marriage and its end.

Specifically, concerns about the needs of your child could impact everything from your living arrangement during and after the divorce to how the courts handle both custody and child support. You want to reduce the strain on your special needs child as much as possible.

Higher asset divorces increase the risk of hidden assets

Although divorce has become more common in the last few decades, it has not become less contentious in many cases. Spouses may still battle tooth and nail over assets and child custody. Sometimes, the desire to win in a divorce can lead one or both spouses to do unethical or even illegal things prior to and during the divorce.

Hiding assets is a perfect example. Unfortunately, the more assets and income your family has, the greater the incentive for one spouse to attempt to hide some of that wealth from the other and even the courts. Understanding how hidden assets can impact the outcome of your divorce can help you make better decisions as you end your marriage.

Is your spouse going to divorce you for a new business?

When your spouse first mentioned starting a new business, you felt excited. They've always had a lot of success doing this in the past, and your family is very well off financially as a result. Most of those businesses started before you got married, but the wealth carried over.

As your spouse gets to work on this new venture, though, you notice some serious changes to your relationship. It seems to be quickly declining. Before long, you worry that your spouse may divorce you because of this new company. Are you being paranoid?

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