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FAQ's

Divorce is not always the solution and there are ways to save your marriage.  These are a few pointers:

  • First step is to accept that all marriages have problems. The Hollywood glamorized style of marriage is only in the movies, and not in real life. There is no perfect marriage and even couples who have been married for a long time, encounter problems in their marriage.

  • Second step is to accept that as time passes, people change.  Thus, you need to respect each other as both of you grow as individuals.  Third step is to spend time together, as much as possible. Try to find as many activities that make both of you happy, and do them together as much as possible.

  • Third, be considerate, and do not blame each other.  At one point in your relationship, you loved your spouse so much that made fell in love with him or her, and got married.  Do not blame each other. This is a common mistake of married couples, pointing fingers and blaming each other will not solve difficulties in your marriage.

  • Finally, get some counseling.  Talk to a marriage counselor.  A professional counselor can identify the problems that you have in your marriage and help you work through them.

Texas laws do not recognize a legal separation; albeit, that during the divorce proceeding, the court might order the parties to live separately from each other.

In Texas, once a divorce petition is filed, and one of the parties decides to go through with it, you cannot stop the proceedings.  The only thing that can be done is to change your spouse’s mind in regard to the divorce.  An experienced marriage counselor might be the key to helping you and your spouse work through the difficulties of marriage.

Uncontested divorce is the dissolution of a marriage when both parties are able to come to an agreement about the property, children, and support issues, if any.

In a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to come to an agreement on issues such as child custody, division of assets, support, and/or other such issues. When spouses cannot agree, they go before the court and the court will make the final decision on all issues they were not able to negotiate. In such situations, the parties hire lawyers to guide them through the process and protect their interest. In contested matters, the litigation process could take longer to conclude, depending upon issues at controversy.

Consult with a family law attorney.  Your attorney will explain the process, Texas law, and what you could expect during the proceedings.

No. Although an attorney can draft the documents for both parties, the attorney cannot legally advise more than one of you during the divorce proceeding.

Texas Family Code requires that either party to a divorce must have been a resident of Texas for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a divorce action.  Furthermore, one of the parties to a divorce action must be a resident in the county where the divorce petition is filed, for at least 90 days.  These requirements must be met before a Texas court is able to have jurisdiction over a divorce matter.

A Texas court cannot grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the divorce petition was filed. If you are getting an uncontested divorce, typically, you can be ready to complete the process within 60 days, depending on the court’s docket. However, if your divorce is contested, this process could be a lot longer, depending on many factors such as: division of property, custody, child support, spousal support (maintenance), inventory appraisement, social study, and other such related matters.

Unfortunately, contested divorce proceedings can become very expensive depending upon the issues between the parties. Our office is here to help. Of course, every situation is different, and as a result, we work with our clients on an individual basis. Give us a call and see if we can help you with your own customized payment plan.

Until a Texas court rules on this matter, each spouse has an equal right to remain in the marital residence. However, a Texas court may, at a hearing, rule and give the exclusive use of the house to one party until the divorce is finalized. There are many factors that a Texas court will consider in making an exclusive use decision, and you should consult with an attorney before any such hearings.

In Texas, when dealing with custody, it is referred to as conservatorship.  The three terms that is often used is joint managing conservatorship, sole managing conservatorship, and possessory conservatorship.

In Texas, child Custody and visitation are based on “what is in the best interest of the child;” specifically, Texas Family Code Section 153.002 states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”  As a result of this, the default rule is a joint managing conservatorship because the Texas courts have decided that the child’s interest is best served by having both parents involved in the child’s life.

In Texas, joint managing conservatorship means “sharing of the rights and duties of a parent by two parties, ordinarily the parents, even if the exclusive right to make certain decisions is awarded to one party.”  In Texas, as stated earlier, there is a presumption that the joint managing conservator relationship is in the best interest of the children.  However, joint managing conservatorship is a rebuttable presumption, when there is a finding of family violence.  In the joint managing conservator relationship, one of the parents will have the primary possession of the child.  This simply means where the child will reside for most of the time.

When joint managing conservator relationship is rebutted by one of the parents, a Texas court will appoint a sole managing conservator.  The sole managing conservator will have decision making powers that the other conservator will not, for example, the power to authorize invasive procedure, or power to send the child to a specific summer camp. 

The other parent in a sole managing conservator relationship is called a possessory conservator when appointed by a Texas court.  This parent will have visitation rights in accordance with the Texas court order, and more importantly, the child will not live with this parent.

If a Texas court orders child support, the non-custodial parent must pay the child support.  If a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, he or she is subject to enforcement measures that have been set up by Texas laws, such as:

  • The court may require employers to deduct child support from the paying parent’s paycheck through wage withholding.

  • Liens may be filed against his or her property or other assets.

  • Driver’s, professional, and hunting and fishing licenses may be suspended.

  • A lawsuit against the non-custodial parent asking the court to enforce its order.

  • A judge may sentence a nonpaying parent to jail and enter a judgment for past due child support.

A parenting plan is a Texas court order concerning children’s issues, such as, parents’ rights and duties, visitation, child support, health insurance, payment of medical expenses not covered by insurance, and other such matters.

A parent of a child has the following rights and duties:

  • The right to have physical possession, to direct the moral and religious training, and to designate the residence of the child

  • The duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child

  • The duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education

  • The duty, except when a guardian of the child’s estate has been appointed, to manage the estate of the child, including the right as an agent of the child to act in relation to the child’s estate if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government.

  • Except as provided by Section 264.0111, the right to the services and earnings of the child.

  • The right to consent to the child’s marriage, enlistment in the armed forces of the United States, medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and surgical treatment.

  • The right to represent the child in legal action and to make other decisions of substantial legal significance concerning the child.

  • The right to receive and give receipt for payments for the support of the child and to hold or disburse funds for the benefit of the child.

  • The right to inherit from and through the child.

  • The right to make decisions concerning the child’s education.

  • Any other right or duty existing between a parent and child by virtue of law.

The duty of a parent to support his or her child exists while the child is an unemancipated minor and continues as long as the child is fully enrolled in a secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma and complies with attendance requirements described by Section 154.002(a)(2).

A parent who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to a person who provides necessaries to those to whom support is owed.

The rights and duties of a parent are subject to:

  • A court order affecting the rights and duties.

  • An affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights.

  • An affidavit by the parent designating another person or agency to act as managing conservator.

Only the following persons may use corporal punishment for the reasonable discipline of a child:

  • A parent or grandparent of the child.

  • A stepparent of the child who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child.

  • An individual who is a guardian of the child and who has the duty of control and reasonable discipline of the child.

Unlike some other states, there is no alimony in Texas.  Texas, however, does allow for spousal support or better known as spousal maintenance.  In considering whether to allow spousal support (spousal maintenance), a Texas court could consider many factors, such as the earning capacity of the spouse, the responsibility of the spouse for the children, health and age of parties, ability to work, the duration of the marriage, and the financial resources and liabilities of the spouse.

Generally, in order to receive support after the divorce, the parties must have been married for a period exceeding ten (10) years, and if a Texas court decides, a party may be qualified to receive up to $2,500.00 a month for a maximum of three (3) years.

Typically, discovery is conducted during the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can request documents and other evidence from other parties or can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena or through other discovery devices, such as disclosures, request for production, request for admissions, interrogatories, and depositions.  Texas law has different discovery control plans and each case is governed in accordance with the discovery control plan.

You should not date until the divorce is final.  Your legal status as a married person does not change until your divorce is granted by a Texas court; thus, if you date during the divorce proceeding, it can be argued that you are committing adultery.  However, times have changed, and some judges are lenient regarding dating while a divorce is pending.  Nevertheless, you should be cautious about dating during the divorce proceeding because dating can impact a child custody dispute, asset division, and other such matters.

Texas law allows you to tape record a conversation, if and only if, you are a party to the conversation. Therefore, you may record a conversation between yourself and another person.

No.  You cannot legally record a conversation to which you are not a party.  Violation of this Texas law is a felony.

Texas is a community property state.  Community property state means that all properties (whether real estate or personal) and any debt acquired during the marriage will be divided based on equitable basis.  Most of the time equitable basis is reviewed as equal basis; the Texas courts, however, could make extra allowances or division to one of the spouses if there are specific circumstances or issues that would make it necessary for justice to prevail.  This is called the just and right division of community property.

No.  In Texas, community property is split in a manner that the court deems just and right, and the court can look at projected future earnings of the parties, reason for divorce, family violence, and other such issues in order to award more property to one party.

Name changes are commonly done by women who want to restore their maiden names.  If a name change is needed, it is best to do it during a divorce proceeding.  If not done during the divorce proceeding, then another petition must be filed with the court requesting the name change.  Please note that as a separate petition, the requirements are much stricter.

 






















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