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Is the seller responsible for revealing building defects?

You’re selling the home you’ve lived in for 30 years. It’s not a new home but you’ve kept it up to date. The buyer will likely make any offer on the house contingent on a building inspection.

Given this situation, what is your responsibility to disclose any building defects?

Even students may benefit from a prenup

When people in Texas think about prenuptial agreements, they may consider them to be matters for celebrities or the ultra-wealthy. However, prenups have benefits for many couples, even those who are just starting out in life. Many people think of prenuptial agreements as documents that benefit only the wealthier, more powerful party, but a properly constructed prenup can include provisions that provide important protections for both spouses, not only one at the expense of the other.

For example, students who choose to marry while completing college or university may be good candidates for a prenuptial agreement. These agreements address how assets will be divided and separated in case of a later divorce or even the death of one spouse. When students marry, they may have few assets but substantial debt due to student loans. They may not have lucrative jobs. In short, they may be the opposite of the traditional image of someone pursuing a prenup. However, it may be an easier, more productive process to negotiate a prenuptial agreement between students because both parties are making decisions about future rather than existing assets.

Financial planning for post-divorce life

When spouses get divorced in Texas, it might take them a while to grasp the property division process. Some wealthier couples may already have planners who have helped them with family financial issues in the past. However, it's generally wiser for a soon-to-be ex to get their own financial advising team.

After all, each party needs a team of professionals looking out for their interests. If the couple's financial team had already built up a relationship with one spouse, it just makes sense to complete the break and find new advisers. In this case, it's better to avoid the original instinct of keeping as many things as routine as possible during the time of radical upheaval.

Divorce risk higher when couples are physically mismatched

Some Texas men prefer to pursue relationships with women more physically attractive than themselves. While there is nothing wrong with this particular preference, research suggests couples in physically mismatched marriages may be more likely to call it quits. This is the primary takeaway from various studies on relationships involving notable differences in physical appearance between spouses, especially when it's the man who is marrying a more attractive partner.

Most people do actually pair with partners on par with their physical attributes, although online dating data shows both men and women sometimes pursue romantic interests more attractive than themselves. If such relationships result in marriage, however, there is an increased risk of divorce. As for why this is so, some studies say it's because more attractive spouses tend to flirt more with other individuals. Other research suggests jealously on the part of the less attractive spouse may be a factor.

Joint custody produces improved outcomes for kids

For many years, Texas fathers may have had good reason to be concerned that going through with their divorce would leave them estranged from their children. After all, one of the most important aspects to building a positive parent-child relationship is active presence and involvement, which can be difficult to do when parents only see their children a few times every month. In the past, many experts advised that mothers retain sole custody, especially for infants and toddlers, and even said that overnight parenting time with their fathers could be harmful. However, joint custody is now a preferred choice for family courts and child development experts across the country.

Child psychologists and other experts emphasize the beneficial effects of joint child custody. In most cases, children will move back and forth between their parents' homes on an approximately weekly basis. Joint custody can be particularly ideal for very young children as school schedules and extracurricular activities have not yet begun to interfere with the children's custody schedule. This type of 50/50 shared parenting schedule may not fit all families' needs, but in general, some form of shared physical custody is the best option to support children's needs.

What to do about a business in a divorce

When a Texas business owner gets a divorce, the other spouse may be able to claim an interest in half of the company. Most of the property that either person acquires during the marriage will be considered shared marital property; although, that does not necessarily mean a business will be split 50/50 between divorcing spouses. If the business was started before the marriage, the amount it has increased in value is usually the portion that's considered marital property.

The first step is to get the business appraised. This should be done by an experienced professional, and it involves far more than simply a look at the company's official books. In addition to equipment and other assets owned by the business, there are intangibles to be considered, such as the reputation as the company, as well as whether there are handshake loans or other informal deals conducted that affect the company's worth. In some cases, a business owner could take steps to inflate or hide the company's true value.

Getting back on your feet after a divorce

Going through a divorce is complicated, but life after divorce might not be a walk in the park either. A divorce will prompt many changes in your life and they can be difficult to deal with.

However, life after divorce does not have to be dismal. There are many ways you can get back on your feet and start fresh. Starting a new life can be exciting and fun. Here are a few different tips you can use to begin the next chapter in your life.

Parental alienation claims may cover for abuse

When couples in Texas decide to divorce or separate, it's almost always better if they are able to work together to reach a fair agreement on parenting issues, including child custody and support. However, in some cases, parents' vindictive behavior towards one another could cause severe emotional harm to the children involved. In other instances, abusive former spouses may attempt to manipulate the situation to perpetuate further abuse even after the divorce is finalized. Indeed, abuse may be a factor when divorcing parents are unable to reach an agreement to divide parenting time.

Some advocates are concerned that abusive former spouses are using claims of parental alienation in order to further perpetuate control over their families and former partners. Parental alienation syndrome was first coined in the 1980s to describe the effects of bitter divorces on children whose parents kept them away from their other parent or lied to them in order to sour the relationship. However, it can be difficult to prove or disprove claims of parental alienation and for judges to differentiate those claims from the actions of an abusive parent.

How a parent lives matters in child custody

Issues regarding child custody and visitation are of great importance to Texas family court judges, but applying the fundamental standard of formulating final orders based on the best interests of the child means different things to different judges. Not every parent has an ideal situation as two separate households are established post-divorce. It is important for the parent to explain to the court that the child's welfare is of the utmost importance and how they plan to support this goal.

Legal experts explain that judges do not expect the child's life to remain exactly as it was before the parents split up. However, the less disruptive the changes are, the better for the child. If one parent can offer a living arrangement that resembles what the child has become accustomed to better than the other parent can, the judge may lean more toward that parent in awarding primary custody. However, the court will weigh many factors in arriving at its ultimate decision.

Holidays can still be fun after divorce

Texas parents facing their first holiday season after a breakup are probably concerned about the logistics of getting through the season without causing their children any harm. Although every family dynamic is unique, there are some general guidelines that have proven effective for others who have traveled the same path. When parents work together, they can honor old family traditions and start new ones in a healthy and positive way for everyone involved.

The first rule of holidays after separation or divorce is to remember that the main objective is to take care of the children. When parents put kids first and set aside their personal animosities and hurt feelings, it is possible to not just survive but for children to prosper and grow throughout the holidays. A corollary to the first rule is for parents to resist the urge to compete regarding gifts and other holiday experiences. If possible, parents should coordinate gift giving to make sure the bases are covered without a level of extravagance that exceeds historical family practices.

Law Office of B. Diane Heindel, P.C.
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Tyler, TX 75701

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Law Office of B. Diane Heindel, P.C.