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College Station Family & Estate Law Blog

What may lead to a gray divorce?

If you are a married person in Texas in your fifities, sixties or older and find that you may be thinking about pursuing a divorce, you are far from alone. Despite what many people might think, being married at this age does not guarantee that you are out of the woods and your marriage is trouble-free for the rest of your life.

In fact, according to statistics provided by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, in 2010 the chances of a person over the age of 49 getting divorced was two times what it had been a mere two decades before. In that same year, people in their fifties and older represented 25 percent of all of the divorces in the United States. This trend has led to be called what some refer to as gray divorce given that many people in this age range have graying hair.

Congress passes new elder abuse bill

Texas residents who have elderly loved ones who may be i need of assistance to manage their affairs may often be worried about how they can find the right person for the job. This can be especially difficult when adult children or grandchildren do not live geographically near their relatives and they must consider hiring someone or appointing a guardian.

These concerns are not unfounded. In recent years, too many horror stories have been told about guardians who have essentially stolen from the very people they were intended to protect. These even include guardians appointed by and supposedly monitored by courts. Finally it seems that the federal government may be about to take steps to make investigating and even prosecuting these cases more possible.

Lack of clarity about man's estate plans

Most any Texas resident can benefit from a well-crafted estate plan regardless of their wealth or the size of their estate. That said, even when people have developed a will or a trust there may be questions left that family members and other heirs raise once a person has died. When a famous person dies, some of these questions may even become very public due to media coverage.

Such is the case today after the recent death of a magazine tycoon with an estate reported to be worth about $43 million. Initially and for several days after the man's death, word on the street indicated that his widow would receive literally nothing from his estate. Now, however, new reports have been made public indicating that the woman could get as much as $5 million due to a clause in the couple's prenuptial agreement. The pair were married five years ago.

The difficult decision of choosing a guardian for your child

Parents have many things on their minds, and most days they probably spend their time focused on the needs of their children. Making sure the kids have everything they need and get to the places they need to go can be exhausting, and devoted parents may even take pride in the thought that their children couldn't do without them.

So what happens to your children if they must suddenly go on without you? This is likely a question you would rather not consider, yet you probably know families that experienced just this type of tragedy. If an accident or illness leaves your children without their parents, is there a plan in place for their care and protection?

Managing conservatorships in Texas

Despite the vision that many people hold of the ideal nuclear family, the fact remains that many children in Texas are not able to be raised by their parents. The reasons for this run the gamut and include everything from parental deaths to criminal sentences that send parents to jail or prison. In some situations, parents may experience physical or mental health problems that prevent them from being able to appropriately raise their children.

Family members may be able to step in and legally obtain the right to raise children when parents are not able to do the job. The Texas Guardianship Association explains that the state refers to child custody as managing conservatorship. If a grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt or other family member wishes to seek a managing conservatorship, they will need to fill a legal suit affecting the parent-child relationship. There are guidelines around who can file for this and when such a filing is able to be made.

Upfront conversations may help estate planning

If you are like many people in Texas, the thought of discussing the contents of your will or trust with your beneficiaries may not be something you want to do. This can be especially tricky if you believe that one or more of your heirs may feel slighted in some way by your wishes. However, before you give in to the temptation to remain silent while you are still alive and let everything be handled after your death, think again.

Forbes indicates that having these conversations, no matter how difficult they may seem, can go a long way toward preventing a potential contest to your will or trust after you die. For starters, talking with your heirs gives them the chance to hear directly from you not just what decisions you have made but the reasons for which you have made those decisions. Understanding the rationale can go a long way toward calming emotions.

What is a social media prenup?

Like most people in Texas, you have probably heard about prenuptial agreements before but have you heard about one of the newest trends in the world of marital contracts referred to as the social media prenup? As the name implies it is a special type of prenuptial agreement focuses on the role of social media in a marriage or divorce. It may even be a provision of a larger prenup that includes other topics as well.

As explained by Business 2 Community, a social media prenup may well encourage couples to appropriately discuss their use of social media in ways that may actually benefit their relationships. Partners could include provisions about not only what may be posted about themselves or each other but also what may be posted about any children they may eventually have together. There may be parameters set around these for the time when a couple is married. There may also be provisions about the use of social media if a couple eventually separates or gets divorced.

Divorce and bankruptcy at the same time

It is no secret to most people in Texas that financial hardship can place a serious strain on a marriage. Love, communication and companionship may be important parts of a relationship but the fact that marriage is very much a financial union as well as an emotional one cannot be avoided, especially when financial problems arise.

If you and your spouse are facing not only the end of your marriage but levels of debt that you do not know how to deal with, you will want to proceed carefully. Filing for bankruptcy may provide you with the debt relief you need but you should look at the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy before or after your divorce. As My Horizon Today explains, one of the biggest factors here will be how well you believe you and your spouse could work together in making a bankuptcy filing.

Your prenup may be invalid

If you signed a prenuptial agreement before your Texas wedding, you are likely under the impression that you will be protected if you and your spouse ever decide to divorce. The truth is that some prenups were not created under legal circumstances and will not be upheld when brought before a court of law. We at the Law Office of Randy Michel can help you determine if your agreement was valid and help you protect your rights if your marriage ends in divorce. 

According to Forbes.com, a prenup may be invalid if it was not properly filed when it was first created. If your attorney made errors or the wording is unclear, you may be unable to enforce the agreement. This includes whether or not you each had separate attorneys when you signed the documents. Neglecting to do this may make it impossible to prove validity.

Is this your first teaching semester since your divorce?

College campuses in Texas are gearing up for a new school year. As a teacher, you probably have mixed emotions about that idea. Although you may look forward to getting back in the classroom, meeting new students (or reconnecting with some who are returning) and doing what you do best: teaching — you might also be a little sad that your vacation is coming to an end. If your summer included settling a divorce, your emotions may still be a bit raw as well.

You might have convinced yourself that for professionals like you divorce should be no big deal, that is, until you actually went through the process. Most people who divorce agree that it is one of the most stressful things they have ever done. If you're worried about getting a hold on your emotions so you can go to school, do your job and move on with your life, there are several things you can do to cope with your losses and set the tone for a successful future.

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