Sanchez & Flores
Attorneys At Law
Family law firm located in Austin, Texas that handles divorce, custody suits, child support suits, modifications, enforcement, adoptions, wills in Travis County, Bastrop County, Williamson County, Bexar County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Montogomery County.
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The length of a divorce varies from case to case depending on factors such as whether the parties are in agreement on all issues and whether the case involves complex property issues. However, there is a standard 60-day waiting period in all cases from the date the divorce is filed with the county clerk.
A married couple might decide to pursue an agreed divorce when they can agree on every aspect of the settlement, including property division and a visitation schedule, if there are kids involved. The parties decide all these issues on their own and then hire an attorney to draft the agreed-upon divorce decree. The divorce decree is signed by both parties and presented to the court.
Child support is determined by the Texas legislature guidelines. Generally, if you have one child for whom you are paying support, you will have to pay 20 percent of your net resources (that is gross income less some deductions for taxes and for union dues or health insurance costs for the children) for child support.
The legislature has established what is called the “Standard Possession Order.” It is set forth in the Texas Family Code, and provides for the person who does not have the children living with him or her to have possession of the children on the first, third and fifth weekends of each month, plus Thursday evenings during the school year, alternating holidays and a month in the summer. The extended possession adds pickup at school when school gets out before the weekend, and an overnight on Sunday and Thursday nights during the school year. A couple can also agree to a different schedule such as every other weekend.
In Texas, property accumulated during the marriage is considered community (marital) property, except in very specific cases such as a family inheritance and portions of a personal injury settlement. You will help your attorney prepare an inventory of all marital assets including values so the judge understands what you and your spouse own and if it is considered your separate property. An equitable distribution doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split of everything. There will be negotiations to determine how certain property is to be divided, including who keeps the house or whether the house is sold.
There are various factors the court will consider when deciding about marital property division. Yes, fault for the divorce may be one of those factors, but it will likely not be the sole factor.
Under Texas law, both parents will be given an opportunity to participate in raising their child and will be granted parenting time unless there are circumstances that make it unsafe for the child. In some circumstances when you or your spouse are not acting in the children’s best interest in terms of their safety, the division of possession time of the children may be affected.
No. Under Texas law, remaining current on child support payments does not eliminate your parenting time.
As children get older, they often have opinions regarding where they live. Often the child wants some say about what happens to them. Although the court will not let the child determine custody and visitation, the court may hear a child’s preference after the age of 12. The court will rely on input from child welfare specialists and other professionals to make the final decision.
To modify an existing child custody order in Texas, one must file a modification case. If the child’s interests are no longer being served by the child custody arrangement, or if circumstances have changed, a modification may be granted.
The fastest way to obtain a modified child custody order is to reach an agreement on the matter and submit that agreement to the court. However, if the parties cannot agree on the terms of a new custody arrangement, the court must decide them on behalf of the parties.
Common reasons for requesting a modification include:
- Job relocation
- Health conditions
- Either parent is suspected of abusing or neglecting the children
- Marital status changes
- A parent has a substance abuse problem or criminal proceedings
The judge will maintain a stable and safe environment for the kids. Typically, counties have a standing order that will prohibit the parties from taking the children out of state, or your attorney can help you get a Temporary Restraining Order that will prevent one parent from moving out of state.
If you already have orders in your case regarding possession and access to your children, you can still file a Temporary Restraining Order to keep your wife from moving the children from the state. It is possible to limit the children’s residence to the state of Texas, the current county and/or contiguous counties.
Many couples come into marriage with a child from a previous marriage or relationship. The biological parent continues to hold all legal rights regarding the health and welfare of the child. A stepparent does not automatically assume those same rights. That means the stepparent may not make decisions about the child’s health care, or even have the right to visit the child in the hospital, in the event of injury or illness. Sometimes the step-parent has a closer relationship to the child than the biological parent. Adopting the stepchild ensures that the parent-child relationship that forms between a step-parent and a child is formalized into a permanent legal bond.
A temporary emergency protective order may be issued in an emergency and is designed to protect the complaining spouse or family member from domestic violence. The temporary emergency protective order may force the other spouse from the home without a hearing under certain circumstances.
A final hearing is needed to determine if a protective order should be issued for a longer time period. At the final hearing on the protective order, the court must find whether family violence has occurred or is likely to occur in the future. Once a protective order is issued, if it is violated, the police can be called, and they may enforce the order by arresting the offender.
Generally, a protective order will last two years and may also include provisions for the person found to have committed violence to complete a battering intervention and prevention program, attend counseling, and perform other acts.