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Researchers examine leading reasons for divorce

Texas couples who get a divorce might be more likely to do so because they have lost respect for one another or their communication has broken down than because of a behavioral issue like infidelity. This was one of the findings of a study that appeared in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.

The study identified emotional fulfillment as being a key factor in marriage satisfaction, and researchers suggested that expectations of marriage had shifted so that people were more willing to leave a relationship that did not provide that fulfillment. Almost half of the 2,371 study participants said they divorced because there was no love in the marriage. Communication problems were also a significant factor, with 44% citing this as a major reason their marriage ended.

Advocates ask prosecutors to exclude racist police testimony

Criminal justice reform advocates in Texas and across the country are calling on district attorneys and prosecutors' offices to exclude more police from giving testimony in criminal cases. While juries and judges often give great weight to evidence presented by the police, there have been multiple cases of wrongful convictions involving false, inaccurate or deliberately misleading police testimony. In an effort to prevent further wrongful convictions, advocates have written letters to officials across the country urging them to expand the lists that they use to exclude police testimony that may be biased, corrupt or based on lies.

These lists typically involve police with a record of corruption or other misconduct, including those who have been caught lying on the stand or involved in corruption probes in the past. These police may have their testimony impeached by criminal defense attorneys on the basis of their previous lies or corrupt behavior. However, the letters are asking that these lists be expanded to include police with a record of racist or violent rhetoric in public that may point to bias or prejudice.

Social media cautions during divorce

When people in Texas are going through a divorce, they may want to take care with their social media usage. It can be tempting to many individuals to share or even overshare online, but people may find that their path to divorce is eased by protecting their privacy. Social media is a major part of modern life, but it can have a range of effects on a marriage or divorce. Indeed, some people even blame Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for their decision to divorce. While most conflicts over social media reflect other underlying issues, studies show that an increase in social media usage is correlated with an increase in marital dissatisfaction.

Most divorces do not involve a finding of fault. Still, it is important for people who want to get through their divorce negotiation process to ease the path. One way to do this is to tighten social media privacy settings, unfriend the spouse and get more distance from family and friends. Removing or hiding negative posts about one's spouse can help prevent further conflict. This may be particularly important if children are involved because public social media posts can be brought into court.

It's probably not a good idea to engage in field sobriety tests

When a police officer pulls you over, he or she may suspect you of drunk driving. Perhaps you had a drink on your way home and your breath smells like alcohol. Maybe you were weaving or forgot to use a turn signal. Regardless of the reason why the officer pulled you over, you now face a decision -- should you participate in field sobriety tests.

First, you need to know that you are not legally obligated to participate since the tests do not fall under the implied consent law. More than likely, it wouldn't be in your best interest to do so. Most departments use the same tests, and if you look at what officers look for, you can see why it may not be a good idea to participate in them.

Reformers fighting court fines and fees that criminalize poverty

Coming into contact with the Texas criminal justice system could lead to long-term financial difficulty. Court fees and fines often impose burdensome debts that result in incarceration, probation and job loss. A group formed in 2016 called the Civil Rights Corps calls the practice of fining poor defendants for minor crimes or infractions "user-funded justice."

Many municipalities across the nation have turned to generating revenue through their courts instead of raising taxes. In some situations, courts turn defendants' debts for fines and jailing or probation fees over to third-party for-profit companies that add their services charges onto debts that the people already cannot pay. Failure to pay court fines often sends offenders to jail, which adds to their debts and typically causes them to lose their jobs.

Considering a prenup when remarrying

Many people in Texas choose to marry for a second or third time after a divorce. Of course, financial issues are a significant contributor to marital problems and even separations. People may want to learn from their earlier mistakes when planning for a second marriage. At the same time, people want to form new romantic relationships: 40% of marriages involve people who have been married at least once in the past. In many cases, these are older couples who have also accumulated significant assets of their own over the years.

One Pew Research Study indicated that of previously married people aged 55 to 64, 66% have remarried. This marks a significant spike from approximately 50% in that category 50 years in the past. People in this category particularly may benefit from planning for their financial future before tying the knot. Many of these people are coming to their remarriages with larger assets as well as children from their previous relationships. Many experts advise remarrying couples in this situation to consider a prenuptial agreement. Prenups may be considered unromantic, but people who have already gone through a marriage before may be more open to those steps to help them plan for the future.

Risk assessment tools may be inherently flawed

Texas residents who have been taken into custody may find that their fates are determined by risk assessment tools. These tools are used by judges to determine if a person should be released on bail or held until further notice. A person's risk score is determined partially the crime that he or she is charged with and partially by demographic information. However, the process used to determine that score has been called racist by some.

An analysis by the Center for Court Innovation found that this process is full of implicit biases. This is because the data itself is taken from a system that has a number of biases itself. In a study by ProPublica, it was determined that black defendants were more likely to be incorrectly labeled as high risk. The study looked at risk scores given to individuals who were charged with crimes in Florida's Broward County.

Preparation can make a divorce easier to get through

The summer months are traditional spent enjoy the sun, grilling food and spending time with family. However, for Texas residents and others, the summer can also be a time during which they are more likely to get divorced. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Washington, August is one of the top months for couples to get divorced. Others say that September is also another busy month for couples looking to end their marriages.

Those who feel as if a divorce could be in their future should talk with an attorney. This can be a good idea whether they or their spouses are the ones most likely to initiate divorce proceedings. It can also be a good idea to take inventory of marital assets such as money in a bank or brokerage account. Individuals can also find out how much joint debt that they may be responsible for by reviewing credit card and other statements.

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