Child Support Specialists Blog
Legal and Life-Planning Considerations for the Newly or Soon-to-Be Divorced
Regardless of whether your divorce was a welcomed relief or a sad moment in your life, finalizing the divorce doesn’t really mean you’re done. There are certain steps that you must take to ensure the financial and legal aspects of your life reflect your new status. It’s important to update your life planning and contingency plans following a divorce to avoid any unnecessary issues or extra steps if something were to happen to you or your ex-spouse.
The easiest and simplest change to make is to update all account passwords. This includes your email, social media, and financial account passwords. “When you choose a new password, make sure it has nothing to do with your life together,” warns Money Crashers. Do not use any family names, birthdays, pet names, etc.
If you change your name after the divorce, you’ll need to alert the social security office and all creditors. You’ll also need to update your bank account and driver’s license to reflect the change. The same institutions should be notified if your address changes during or after the divorce. Also, notify your auto insurers of any changes in automobile drivers, ownership, and addresses.
You should also remove your spouse’s name from credit cards and apply for credit in your own name. Open a new bank account in solely your name and make sure that your name has been removed from any debts or loans that are no longer your responsibility.
Taking Care of the Home
Although the divorce decree may name one spouse as the rightful recipient of the home, it doesn’t legally make it that individual’s property. The decree simply gives the individual the right to own it, but the title must be transferred into the individual’s name. The most common way to transfer the title is with a quitclaim deed, which will effectively transfer one spouse’s ownership interest in the property to the other spouse.
A quitclaim deed doesn’t guarantee that an interest in the property actually exists, so it’s ideal for situations in which one family member is transferring the property to another family member and in divorce situations. This is because the receiving individual likely knows the person deeding the title has an interest to transfer.
If you’re the party giving up interest in the property, do not sign a quitclaim deed until your name is removed from the joint mortgage. Otherwise, you’ll still have a legal obligation to make the mortgage payments. It’s best to sign the quitclaim deed at the same time the receiving spouse refinances the property and takes a new mortgage in his or her sole name. If you’re the receiving party and decide to sell your home, make sure to get an estimate on how much your home is worth. You’ll also need to change the titles to your vehicles to reflect any changes in ownership.
Beneficiaries and Your Will
Once you’re divorced, you should update any account that lists your spouse as a beneficiary. This can include your investment accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts, and your will. Procedures to change beneficiaries vary by account type and state law.
If you don’t update your will, including renaming your power of attorney, your ex-spouse could be considered your next-of-kin, meaning he or she could decide if and when to pull the plug. Your ex-spouse could also inherit your retirement savings, 401(k), valuables, personal effects, and life insurance. Updating your will during your divorce means your ex-spouse won’t be inheriting your assets; you’ll have a trustworthy person as your power of attorney and/or executor, and things will be easier for your heirs.
Invest in Your Future
Investing in your education is a great way to set yourself (and your family) up for continued success. Additionally, going back to school to earn the degree you’ve always wanted to earn will set a powerful example for your children. Consider sharpening your business skills to help you advance in your own career, or even branch out on your own. By enrolling in an MBA program, you can develop your knowledge of business, strategy, and management, and can learn about leadership, self-awareness, and self-assessment.
When making changes to your property titles, beneficiaries, wills, credit cards, and anything else major, it’s always best to speak to the appropriate professionals, whether it’s a creditor, an attorney, or a financial planner. You just want to be sure you have all of your ducks in a row so that the wrong person doesn’t benefit from your death or have a say in your death. You also don’t want to be harmed financially by any decisions that your ex-spouse makes. Take the necessary and final steps to really make your separation and divorce are final.
Having trouble collection child support? Child Support Specialists can help with this common post-divorce problem. Call us at (800) 380-5437.
Moving With Kids: How to Settle Into Your New Town
Moving comes with a lot of change — a new house, new school, new friends. All of that change can be tough on kids, especially if you’re relocating in the wake of a divorce or separation.
While there’s no magic button you can press to make moving easy on kids, there are things parents can do to ease the transition to a new community. Here’s what to know as you prepare to relocate with your family.
Choosing a family-friendly neighborhood
If you want your child to thrive in a new city, choose a neighborhood where they can blossom. Family-friendly neighborhoods have safe streets, good schools, and plenty of opportunities for recreation. Look for neighborhoods with green space and public resources like libraries, community centers, and youth sports.
Lots of neighborhoods in Texas are known for their family-friendliness. Families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area flock to Frisco and Southlake, while Houston families rave about The Woodlands and Sugar Land. In Austin, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills, and Brushy Creek rank among the best neighborhoods to raise a family.
Setting your child up for educational success
School choice is an important factor in your home search. When choosing a school district, parents should pay attention to metrics like student-to-teacher ratio, extracurriculars, and diversity in addition to test scores.
Parents should also make sure they’re set up for e-learning, which is growing increasingly common as COVID-19 closes schools. Look for homes that have space for a student desk and pay attention to your internet service provider options. If you’re both working and learning from home, it may be worth paying more for higher speeds. Verizon’s 5G Home Internet, now available in Houston, offers speeds up to 1 Gbps depending on location, making it one of the fastest options on the market.
Helping your child make new friends
Once you have the basics in order, it’s time to help your child feel at home in your new community. That’s easier said than done, especially if your child is shy or unhappy about the move. Here are some ways parents can help children make friends after a move:
- Get involved in extracurricular activities.
- Enroll in youth sports.
- Join an after-school program or day camp.
- Participate in kids’ activities at the library.
- Enroll in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.
- Join a local children’s theater.
- Meet the neighbors and create a playborhood.
Coping with moving-related change
Despite your best efforts, your child may struggle to adjust to your new home. This can lead to misbehavior, emotional outbursts, sleep disruptions, and other signs of stress.
It’s important to give kids space to process their emotions after moving, but don’t let them wallow in negativity. Instead, focus on the positives of your new home. By helping kids get to know the community and make friends, parents can make a new city seem a lot less scary. Parents should also encourage kids to maintain ties to their old home. If co-parenting with a parent in another city, stick to a schedule for phone calls and visits to create stability in your child’s life.
If your child’s stress doesn’t improve, it may be time to seek counseling. When worrisome behaviors last for months or cause major disruptions in school and family life, it often requires outside help to get to the root of the issue.
Moving may be a good choice for your family, but right now, it probably feels like a big unknown to your kids. Make sure you’re putting your children’s needs first as you relocate so your big move is a positive change for everyone.
5 High-Tech Tools for New Moms on the Go
With your diaper bag loaded with wipes, creams, burp cloths, and enough diapers to get you through a half-dozen blowouts, you’re ready to take on the world with your newborn in tow. Or are you? While these diaper bag basics will keep you on top of routine baby care, they won’t do much when it comes to the more nuanced aspects of baby care — like finding the closest bathroom with a baby changing table or remembering what the heck was on your grocery list (yes, mom brain is real!). If you want to be prepared for everything motherhood throws your way, these are the high-tech tools you need in your bag.
A Portable Phone Charger
Before we dive into the must-have apps for new moms, let’s talk about the one thing the folks at Kindred Bravely say you absolutely need when you’re on the go with your little one: a portable power bank. Whether you’re trying to use one of the awesome apps below or just find directions to your pediatrician’s office, there’s nothing more frustrating than pulling out your phone to realize it’s dead — and trust us, when you’re sleep-deprived and have a million other things on your mind, it’s guaranteed to happen.
A portable power bank is perfect because there’s no need to hunt for an outlet and camp out until your phone is charged. Instead, you can connect to a compact portable charger and power up on the go. A power bank won’t break the bank, either. With top-rated devices starting around $20, popping one of these in your diaper bag is a no-brainer.
The Baby Tracker App
Tracking is surprisingly important for newborns. From feeding and nap schedules to the contents of their diapers, tracking provides important insights into your newborn’s health and development. It also ensures you have an answer other than a blank stare when your pediatrician inevitably asks about these things. However, Excel spreadsheets aren’t exactly practical on the go, and even pen and paper are unwieldy when you’re holding a baby in one hand and writing with the other. Instead, download the Baby Tracker app so you can log your baby’s metrics with a tap of a button.
My Pregnancy and Baby Today App
Tracking your baby’s daily habits is great when things are going as planned, but what happens when your baby’s nap schedule goes haywire or a diaper change comes with an unexpected surprise? Rather than calling your pediatrician in a panic, pull up the My Pregnancy and Baby Today app. Developed by the pros at BabyCenter, this app offers expert advice on your newborn’s first year and connects you with other parents.
The Cozi Family Organizer App
Becoming a mom changes everything — well, almost. As much as your days revolve around your little one, there are still household chores to be done. Managing a household on top of a newborn is a lot for anyone, let alone an exhausted new mom. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to accomplish on your own, let the Cozi Family Organizer app manage the mental load for you. This handy app lets you share shopping and to-do lists, calendars, and more so everyone can see what’s on the agenda.
Sit or Squat App
Raising a newborn isn’t all nap routines and feeding schedules. Sometimes, it’s racing to find a bathroom that you’re not too grossed out to use — and doing it before time runs out. Luckily, the aptly-named Sit or Squat app is here to save the day. Developed by Charmin, this app rates public restrooms on cleanliness and lets you filter based on changing table availability.
Becoming a mom for the first time is full of changes — some fun, some not so much. But no matter what you’re facing, there’s someone out there who’s dealt with it before you. Not only does that mean there’s an amazing network of new moms to connect with, but also clever apps to help you conquer every challenge new motherhood throws your way.
Back 2 School
Are they ready?
- Read to your kids during the summer.
- Feed them breakfast each morning.
- Encourage your child and stay positive.
- Provide the supplies they need. This is not always possible due to the expense. Look for deals and Back 2 School Expos. Many companies donate or help provide needed school supplies. Some provide free back packs or binders. Walmart normally cuts prices. CSS always has a yearly contest to help with school costs.
- Make sure you are getting support – child support. This is an expensive time of the year and you should receive support from the other parent. If not, contact us https://csskids.com/
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads. In child support, dads can get a bad name. We are seeing more dads raising the children now and dads wanting to be involved. CSS always tries to explain to a mom how important a father is for a child. Below is just some ways fathers impact child development.
- INCREASE INTELLECT – Studies show that children with fathers who were actively involved throughout the first year of their child’s life perform better on cognitive development assessments. Children raised with active dads tend to score higher on verbal and math tests and are less likely to drop out of school.
- BOOST CONFIDENCE – Children are more able to resist peer pressure.
- SOMEONE TO LOOK UP TO – Children tend to be more compassionate and generous.
- PROVIDE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE – Kids are full of questions. Fathers tend to approach those questions in different ways. This may be more valuable for the child.
Unfortunately, not all dads want to be involved or they are not a safe option for the child This leaves it all up to the mom to teach life lessons. If you have a father that wants to be involved then please try to encourage this. This is best for the children in most cases. Thank you to all the great dads. You are important!
Penalties for Parents Who Don’t Pay Child Support
Statistically, fewer than 50% of children who are owed child support money regularly receive full payments. Failure to pay child support is a federal offence in the U.S. A non-custodial parent who fails to pay child support in full and on time faces penalties.
- Having your driver’s license suspended
- Having your wages garnished
- Having taxes garnished
- Additional fines and penalties
- Being unable to obtain a passport
- Dismissal from military service
- Going to jail
Tax Season and Child Support
Tax day is April 15th 2019. Many moms and dads rely on tax returns to receive child support. Here is what you need to know…..
Which parent has the right to claim child on taxes?
The parent who the child spends the most time with may claim the dependent.
Can they take your federal income tax for child support?
If you are behind in child support and your state child support enforcement office collects your payments from you, the IRS will take your tax refund to cover the arrears . The IRS will then give the money to the appropriate child support agency.
Can non-custodial parent claim child on taxes if child does not live with him?
Although you may have provided financial support, you may only claim the child if they lived with you for at least six months of the tax year and if you provided more than half of their living expenses for the tax year.
Why didn’t I receive the absent parents tax return for child support?
The absent parent may of not had a return or your child support agency did not have your case set up to receive the return.
How do I make sure I receive the tax return for my child support this year?
File with an agency that gets results and file now. It may be too late to receive if you wait. Apply Now APPLICATION
Have you checked out our updated website yet? Visit us at https://csskids.com/
We have updated many features to better serve you. We have an easy to use payment portal now and much more. We have even made it easier to apply for child support. We know that child support is frustrating and we want to make it as easy for you as possible to get things done. Need your payment history? No problem. Just click on the Clients button.
Child Support Specialists, improving the way child support is done.
Originally posted on May 7, 2018
It’s almost summer and that means summer visitation for many parents. It’s important for a child to have time with each parent. Studies show a child that has both parents involved is typically happier and healthier. It’s not always possible due to any past abuse or other issues. Not all parents want to be involved. Use the opportunity for the child to have this relationship if the absent parent shows interest. Here is the Texas standard visitation
Thank You Letter to Dad
Originally posted on March 20, 2018
Thank you for all the weekends I did not see you.
Thank you for allowing me to go to school without lunch most days.
Thank you for leaving me alone during visitation nights.
Thank you for never calling.
Thank you for allowing me to be in a bad situation and doing nothing about it.
Thank you for not paying child support.
Thank you for all the times you took me fishing.
Thank you for taking me to AstroWorld (A Houston thing).
Thank you for coming to my graduation.
Thank you for showing me what kind of parent to be. I’m never mad. You made me a stronger person. I had to be. Thank you dad.
( I’ve been asked several times at work to write a Dear Dad letter. I’m the Director at Child Support Specialists. I’m normally a private person, but I’ve agreed today. This is why I do what I do.)