The Ultimate Divorce Toolkit: 18 Helpful Tools to Survive and Thrive After a Split

Since founding Connatser Family Law in 2014, prominent Dallas divorce attorney Aubrey Connatser and her associates, family law attorneys Abby Gregory, Christine Powers Leatherberry and Alissa Castro have shared insight and advice on the firm’s blog and in television, radio and newspaper interviews. After years of experience representing clients in the Texas family court, we understand that going through a divorce can be overwhelming. So we created a comprehensive Divorce Toolkit with 10 categories and 18 helpful tools to help ease stress and streamline the divorce process. Use this handy Divorce Toolkit to learn: How to hire a divorce attorney. If you are contemplating divorce or are ready to file for divorce, seek out an experienced divorce attorney who is a good fit for YOU and your circumstances. Check out this handy infographic Essential 9-Step Guide to Hiring a Divorce Attorney to learn more. How to get a handle on divorce basics. Wondering what common questions people ask about divorce? What questions they don’t ask but should? Our post, The Top 12 Things You Need to Know About Divorce in Texas, covers most of the bases. (If you don’t live in Texas, consult an attorney in the state where you reside.) How much alimony you can expect to receive or pay. Alimony isn’t a given in a Texas divorce. In fact, the courts typically expect both parties to eventually support themselves following divorce. We cover 11 things you need to know about alimony in Texas in this past post. (Again, contact an attorney in your state if you don’t reside in Texas.) Tips on how to avoid tax and financial woes during divorce. We asked our colleague Todd Amacher, J.D., MBA, CPA, CFP,® CDFA (TM), to share tax and financial insight in this helpful post, Divorce and Taxes: 5 Essential Tips for Avoiding Future Financial Woes. How to manage emotional duress during divorce. We know, going through a divorce can be trying. This is true for the divorcing parties and their children as well. We’ve covered mental health issues on several occasions and encourage you to check out these insightful posts: Emotions Run Sky High During Divorce: 5 Ways to Stay Grounded 7 Sanity Saving Tips for Working Moms (and Dads) 5 Valuable Resources to Help Kids Cope When Parents Split The best ways to co-parent in a peaceful and supportive fashion. At Connatser Family Law, we always say, “Kids come first.” We encourage parents to put their differences aside and focus on the best interests of their children. Co-parenting is another topic we cover regularly in our blog. A few helpful posts include: 10 Essential Tips for Successful Co-Parenting Following Divorce 12 Back-to-School Tips for Newly Divorced Parents Recently Divorced? 6 Tips to Make the Season Bright for Your Kids During the Holidays Steps to take to survive contentious custody battles. Unfortunately, divorcing couples don’t always play nice during divorce and custody battles. In the following two posts, we interviewed two clients who survived and thrived contentious custody disputes. Read their inspiring stories for insight: 5 Crucial Steps Dads Should Take to Get Custody in Texas You Don’t Need to Be Rosie O’Donnell to End Up in a Nasty Same-Sex Custody Fight How you can maintain privacy during high-profile divorce and child custody disputes. If you’re getting divorced in Texas, you’ll be happy to learn that Texas family courts value privacy, especially when children are involved. It’s often easier to seal divorce records here than in other states. Learn how a divorce attorney can help you keep divorce records private in this post we wrote about Blake Shelton...

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Moving in Together? Be Sure to Check This Essential Task Off Your To-Do List

Execute a cohabitation agreement. Whether you enter into a living arrangement with a romantic partner or a college roommate, a cohabitation agreement can help both parties avoid financial and emotional woes. As a family law attorney, Aubrey Connatser regularly recommends cohabitation agreements to couples who want to live together but are not ready to walk down the aisle (today or in the future). Unsure whether a cohab makes sense for you? According to Aubrey, “First and foremost, it’s important to understand the purpose of a cohabitation agreement and how they differ from premarital agreements. A cohab is a contractual agreement people sign for three main reasons: It can give you an affirmative finding and statement that says you and your partner are not common law married or legally married. It can establish how finances will be handled during the relationship. It can set the rules for disengagement should you decide to part ways.” 7 Key Provisions to Include in a Cohabitation Agreement Along with affirming your status as a non-married couple to help avoid common law marriage claims, Aubrey recommends couples consider including the following seven provisions when preparing a cohabitation agreement. 1.Who will pay for what and when? Think about it. You live in a house together, have utilities to pay, bought furniture together, paid for other property together and both names are on various bills. A cohabitation agreement can spell out who pays which bills (and when) both during the relationship and following a split. 2.How will assets be split if you break up? It’s a good idea to spell out what property belongs to whom before the relationship and before the agreement is signed. This provision can serve as a validation and confirmation of who owned what property before the relationship and clarify what each party takes with him or her should they part ways. You should also delineate how jointly purchased assets should be divided. For example, if you bought a house together, will you sell the house and split any profits equally or will one party have the option to buy out the other and for how much? You can also establish who will retain custody of any pets in your cohabitation agreement. 3.Who is responsible for debts incurred during the relationship? When it comes to debt, each party is typically responsible for all debts they personally incur. However, in relationships where one party doesn’t work, the other party might provide him or her with credit cards and a spending allowance. A cohab can clarify the size of the spending allowance and who is going to be liable for credit card and other debt and when. 4.Who pays insurance premiums and for how long? You can also include provisions regarding who will pay for home, auto and health insurance coverage during the relationship and once you disengage, as well as the amount of time after a break up those premiums will be paid and by whom. 5.How will joint financial accounts be handled? Many couples establish joint bank accounts to handle household bills during the relationship. A cohab can include a provision covering who contributes how much to financial accounts during the relationship and what will happen to those accounts after dissolution of the relationship. Will monies be split in half or will the party who funded the accounts keep the remaining balance? 6.Who is going to have to move out of the shared residence and when? You can save yourself a huge headache by including a provision regarding what sort of notice either party would be given to vacate the home upon dissolution...

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