Divorce & Child Issues
Many delicate issues to consider
Many delicate issues to consider
Keep emotions in balance
Ending a marriage involves complicated and often delicate matters. You need a respectful, honorable, professional and skilled family law attorney at your side to balance the emotions of the divorce and your concern with receiving an equitable and fair resolution.
A Texas divorce can involve one or more of the following:
- Dissolution of the marriage
- A lawsuit affecting the parent-child relationship (also called a SAPCR)
- Property division
- Spousal maintenance (or alimony)
- Inter-spousal or third party tort (such as claims for assault and battery, personal injury, property damages) or contract actions
When children are in the picture
When children under 18 are involved, custody, possession, support and medical coverage must be evaluated and addressed. These issues require a compassionate but firm advocate for the parent and minor children. When considering the “best interests” of the children, it is important to set aside spousal conflict and differences and create a workable, respectful, dignified parenting plan.
Changes in Texas law concerning child support, spousal support, real and personal property, community property vs. separate property and other issues require a detailed and careful analysis by experienced legal counsel. We want to provide that counsel to you.
When spouses agree on a majority of issues and can discuss them openly and amicably during the marriage dissolution process, Collaborative Divorce is an ideal alternative. Collaborative divorce is an efficient, cost-effective and less defensive option to traditional, adversarial divorce. Courtroom battles and many legal fees and expenses are avoided. Spouses who can compromise and cooperate with each find the process quicker, easier and less expensive.
When spouses agree to use a collaborative divorce model, they create their own terms and are free to work out the details in a mutually agreeable fashion. Shared guidance may be obtained from child psychologists, financial advisors, tax professionals, accountants, property appraisers as well as other professionals who can contribute to issues relating to the entire perspective of the divorce.
Collaborative divorce is not for everyone. It is based on a mutual understanding that each spouse will stay committed to making the tough decisions with input from both parties. The one serious caveat is this: if the collaborative model fails, the lawyers assisting the parties are prevented from further representation and new legal counsel must be obtained by both parties.
What is your question about divorce?
Temporary and Restraining Orders
Sometimes required when a case is pending
We can help you determine what is necessary
When spouses decide to divorce or unmarried parents decide to adjudicate parental rights, there may be uncertainty about any one or more of the following matters while the case is pending:
- Who will preserve and manage the parties’ assets and who will pay ongoing debts?
- Will the sale or transfer of assets be restricted?
- Will a non-working spouse receive spousal support while the lawsuit is pending?
- Who will pay the attorney’s fees and expenses?
- Who will gather and provide information needed to properly divide or apportion assets and debts?
- Will assets be appraised and how will they be valued?
- Who will be the temporary conservator(s) for any children?
- Who will provide temporary child support and how much will that support be?
- What is acceptable/unacceptable conduct concerning the children and what lawsuit-related communications are prohibited or allowed?
- Will there be travel restrictions and will the parents be able to remove the children beyond an identified geographical area?
If one spouse was the primary financial manager, oftentimes the non-managing spouse goes from being comfortable one day to being in the dark the next concerning family finances and debts.
By the same token, if one spouse was the primary caregiver for the children, the other spouse may not be aware of the many daily responsibilities or requirements of child rearing.
To protect spouses and children while a divorce is pending or to protect parents while parental rights are adjudicated, courts will enter Temporary Restraining Orders and/or Temporary Orders which outline the status quo concerning many of these matters.
What’s the difference?
Some counties (such as Travis County) provide Standing Temporary Orders that apply to ALL family law cases filed in their county. If a county does not issue Standing Temporary Orders or there are matters not covered by the Standing Orders, a hearing may be required to address the above-mentioned matters, if the parties are unable to agree on them while the case is pending.
Do you need a restraining order?
The Texas Family Code accommodates spousal support
Also known as “Alimony” or “Spousal Maintenance”
In Texas, certain conditions must apply before a court can order spousal support (or maintenance). The Texas Family Code outlines the factors that must be evaluated before spousal support is ordered, such as, the duration of the marriage, the criminal acts of one spouse, the earning capacity of a spouse and the ability to support himself or herself, physical or mental disabilities of a spouse as well as other factors. It is important to have your situation evaluated by an experienced attorney to determine if spousal support is warranted or whether one spouse is seeking support and the other spouse should oppose the request.
What is your alimony question?
Child Support and Custody
As well as medical support and insurance issues
Complex child-support scenarios require an experienced attorney
When minor children are involved in a divorce or separation, Texas courts are required to ensure that child support obligations and arrangements are made and financial issues resolved. It is very important to have an experienced attorney to negotiate the child support (and medical support) amount, who will be paying it, how payments will be made, whether retroactive child support is warranted, whether support for a disabled child is an issue, and other matters.
Child support amounts are set by state law and are based off of the net incomes of the parties. Determining the net income is very important. For W-2 wage earners with no other sources of income, determining net income can be relatively easy. Calculating net income for the unemployed, underemployed, business owners, investors, or other non-recurring income earners can be challenging. The final figures can dramatically affect child support obligations. The more complicated your financial situation, the more important it is to have an experienced attorney assisting you. We are here to help.
In addition to child support, parents may also be obligated to share in other expenses, including childcare, education, sports and other activities, health care, travel, and other expenses that may be unique to a particular child.
Child Support Enforcement
Either the parent receiving child support payments or the State of Texas can enforce the child support obligation. We handle child support enforcement and contempt actions and will negotiate and litigate on your behalf for retroactive support payments as well as defending against such claims.
Many combinations for Child Custody (Conservatorship)
Different custody arrangements can be created by the parents or awarded by the court depending on the circumstances and factors in a case. Both parents can share custody, or one parent can be the primary and the other secondary custodian, or there can be other combinations of conservatorship. A parent that is not awarded custody or has noncustodial rights over a child may have supervised visits or visitation depending on what is in the best interests of the children.