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Divorce mediation can ease worries of divorcing moms

With May being the month in which mothers are celebrated in the U.S., it is important to remember that many mothers carry extra responsibilities these days. One such additional burden is divorce and all the issues that accompany the re-forming of a family unit. In Texas, however, moms seeking a fresh start have several options available, from a litigated divorce that goes to court to divorce mediation that limits court involvement.

Some of the most frequent concerns of divorcing mothers center on custody, spousal support, and child support. In Texas, child support is calculated using a basic formula that offers room for additional factors. For example, 1 child in Texas translates to 20 percent of post-tax dollars. However, an additional child does not double that figure; rather, it brings the amount up to 25 percent of net resources. If a parent is already paying child support for other children, however, these figures may be lower. Child support can be negotiated via mediation in Texas, provided both parents are committed to a win-win solution that both agree on.

When it comes to spousal maintenance, it is important to distinguish between that concept and spousal support. The latter is temporary, while the former continues after a divorce, though not indefinitely in most cases. Generally, the longer a couple was married, the more spousal support is considered as a way of compensating for one party's past commitment to pursuits other than paid work, such as being a stay-at-home parent. Spousal maintenance can also be agreed-upon during mediation.

Child custody is one of the most potentially-contentious areas of any divorce. However, spouses going through mediation can cooperate on this issue as well. Courts no longer automatically assume mothers are the better parent. In fact, Texas law focuses on joint managing conservatorship as being in the best interests of most children, unless demonstrated otherwise. For parents who already agree that joint custody is best for their own children, mediation can be a relatively smooth process towards that arrangement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Top three concerns of divorcing mothers," Natalie Gregg, April 26, 2013

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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