Hire an Experienced North Texas Divorce Attorney
Getting a divorce is never fun, and hiring a family law attorney is not either, but it is necessary. There are many aspects of divorce that can go wrong if you do not have a Experienced Divorce Attorney to protect your rights. A Modification can sometimes be necessary to have an enforceable order. We have handled many situations where one party believes the Order stated one thing, when in actuality it did not. It is also important to hire a Experienced Divorce Attorney to ensure the Order is enforceable. When a Court’s Order is ambiguous, you cannot hold the other party accountable under the terms of the Order. This makes it very difficult when faced with filing an Enforcement Action.
Child custody is typically addressed within the divorce. However, there are times when the parents were never married. Under these circumstances, the parents may want court ordered visitation and child support so there is never a question in the future regarding their parental rights. This requires a SAPCR, or a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship. A SAPCR will establish child custody, possession and access/visitation, and child support, including health insurance and dental insurance as required starting September 1, 2018. In most cases, the Texas Family Code sets forth a standard possession and visitation schedule which is appropriate.
There may also be situations where standard possession and visitation is not appropriate, and you may seek supervised visitation or nonstandard possessory periods. The Court will determine what is in the best interest of the child, so it is important to have concrete evidence as to why the visitation and possession is NOT in the best interest of the child. Absent proof, most Courts are reluctant to stray from the standards set forth in the Family Code.
Sometimes Court orders are in place and one party still restricts the other from exercising their visitation. The most common situation is when one parent is behind on child support payments and the other parent feels justified in withholding visitation. ONE DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE OTHER. Let me reiterate that point. Regardless of whether one parent is current on child support or not, that parent still has the right to see his or her children.
No matter the circumstances, it may be necessary to seek court intervention to enforce your visitation or there may be extenuating circumstances where visitation is no longer in the child’s best interest and a modification is necessary. Ronda Haynes is an Experienced North Texas Divorce Attorney that can assist you in either situation.
Our firm also handles grandparent visitation. In Texas, grandparents do not have an automatic right to visit their grandchildren. As difficult and heartbreaking as the situation may be, if the grandparent(s) did not already have a relationship with the grandchild, and certain circumstances do not apply, then the Court will most likely not award visitation and access for a grandparent. Unfortunately, there is a presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of their child so restricting grandparent access is usually upheld.
Other areas our firm can assist with are adoptions and establishing paternity.
Regardless of the type of Family Law matter you are facing, it is important that you have an attorney that can handle these matters efficiently and effectively. Every Court case has the potential to be an emotional and financial nightmare. Having an Experienced Divorce Attorney that can handle every situation is a necessity. So contact an Experiened North Texas Divorce Attorney today to protect not only your rights, but the rights of your children.
Types of Divorce
There are several types of divorce proceedings depending on the couple and their specific circumstances.
CONTESTED DIVORCE – A contested divorce arises when you and your spouse cannot agree on any of the issues involved. This process can be very lengthy, costly, and messy. Before deciding on this type of case, you should consider the emotional and financial impact of a long court battle not only on yourself, but also on the children.
UNCONTESTED DIVORCE – This type of divorce is typically the easiest and less expensive proceeding. Both parties are amicable and agree to all issues in the case. Sometimes it is advisable to have one attorney prepare the documents as agreed and present the agreement to the Court.
COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE – This type of divorce falls between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce. Collaborative divorces are when the parties can agree on some of the issues. The attorneys for each party work together with the parties to come to a resolution in a private setting. This process is more expensive than an uncontested divorce, but much easier on the parties and their children.
MEDIATED DIVORCE – This type of divorce allows the parties to work through the issues with a neutral third party. A mediator is trained to assist the parties in brainstorming to resolve the issues. Once the parties mediate their differences, they can have an uncontested divorce filed to obtain a Court order if they desire.
Texas is a community property state which means the law presumes that all property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses. With some exceptions, the Texas Family Code states that separate property consists of: 1) property owned prior to the marriage, 2) property acquired by inheritance, 3) property acquired by gift, and 4) certain recoveries related to personal injury claims. All other items are classified as community property. In order to prove property is separate property, it is necessary to be able to trace the origin of the funds.
The rules on community and separate property are important. A family court can only divide community property. Having an asset in one spouse’s name alone does not make it separate property. There are various factors that may change the characterization of property, but that is the basic concept.
People often assume the court is required to divide the marital property equally between the spouses. That is not the case. The judge in a divorce case must consider all the facts to devise a “just and right” division of the marital assets and debts. Needless to say, what a party views as a “fair” allocation of the property may not correspond with the judge’s perspective or that of the other party. Many times the parties can agree to the division of property and debts. The court usually approves these agreements. Keep in mind, however, that if the agreement is grossly unjust, the court has a right to revise and change it.
Other Issues in Divorce
Other issues often addressed in a divorce proceeding is child custody and visitation, and child support. When minor children are involved in a divorce proceeding, it is necessary to have custody and visitation orders in place.
There are different types of custody arrangements, depending on the specific facts of each case.
SOLE MANAGING CONSERVATOR – This is the parent who is awarded primary custody.
POSSESSORY CONSERVATOR – This is the parent that has visitation rights.
JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATOR – This is when the parents are awarded joint custody.
The court may appoint joint managing conservators if the appointment is in the best interest of the child, even if the parties have not agreed to the arrangement. This does not mean and does not require equal, or nearly equal time with the child, nor does it stop a parent from having to pay child support.
If a parent is awarded sole managing conservator, that does not mean the other parent does not have visitation. The Sole Managing Conservator will have the right to make all or most of the decisions regarding the child. They can also exclude the other parent from the decision making process. The Possessory Conservator is typically the other parent.
A divorce proceeding can also address child support issues. Texas law mandates child support. The Court must approve any alternate agreements in the child support. A Judge may or may not approve the agreement. Child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time.
In addition to child support, a Judge may order a party to provide medical support. Medical support can be provided by health insurance coverage or a cash payment to the custodial parent. The purpose of medical support is to help defray the cost of health insurance. Contact If you haven’t received child support for any reason, contact Divorce Attorney Ronda Haynes for immediate assistance.
New for 2018 is also the requirement to provide dental support. Effective September 1, 2018, a Court may require a possessory parent to provide dental insurance or a dental supplement payment in addition to other support. These issues are not unique to marriage and divorce. Many couples are choosing not to marry and have children and property together. When those relationships end, it is still necessary to address child support and child custody and visitation.