Articles Tagged with divorce

What is the Maximum Amount of Child Support I Can Be Ordered to Pay in Texas?

 
            It would be really easy to answer the question of what the maximum amount of child support possible is if the Texas Legislature had decided to put an absolute cap in the family code on the amount of child support, but unfortunately or fortunately depending on where you may be situated in a family law case, there is not absolute cap on child support in Texas. This issue was taken up before the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas on March 9, 2017 in the case In the Interest of V.J.A.O., A Child, where the court re-affirmed that the statutory guidelines allow for courts to consider relevant factors when setting child support and that trial courts have discretion to set child support amounts above what is presumed to be in the best interest of the child under the family code.

What are the Statutory Guidelines?

Why is everyone talking about fault and no-fault divorce lately?

Fault divorces have been in the news lately in Texas because Representative Matt Krause from Fort Worth authored a bill that would get rid of so-called “no-fault” divorces in Texas. Right now, all fifty states allow for a no-fault divorce. Currently under the Texas Family Code a Judge can grant a divorce based on either “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. This fault or no-fault option is something that only 17 states and the District of Columbia currently allow. “No-fault” is known by family law attorneys as insupportability, basically there is no proof required to obtain a divorce based on the ground of insupportability. Section 6.001 of the family code simply states, “[o]n the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Most family law attorneys say the majority of divorces that they file are based on insupportability because it speeds up the process and reduces the stress related to divorce for many parties.

According to Representative Krause, the bill in its current draft would not actually get rid of all no-fault divorces. The bill in its current form would only apply to divorces with children or “unilateral” divorces. Basically, if there are no children of the parties seeking the divorce and both parties agree that they want to get divorced this bill would not apply and the ground of insupportability would still be available to obtain a divorce. The idea behind this according to proponents of the bill is to promote stability for children and prevent quick acting divorces. Opponents of the bill worry that this bill would increase the cost of divorce and lead to an increase in domestic violence as a result of parties being unable to easily obtain a divorce.

Aren’t half of marriages going to end in divorce no matter what?

Sort of. It is true that about 40 to 50 percent of marriages in America end in divorce. With numbers that high, some might assume that divorce is almost inevitable in most marriages. But research indicates that there are certain things that successful couples are doing to keep their marriages successful while there are things that couples who end up divorcing are doing that make divorce almost certain. Understandably, most of our clients are past the point of looking for ways to save their marriage, but hopefully some of the people who are seeking out this divorce blog may be able to use the research to make positive changes in their marriages and avoid the costly and stressful process that is divorce.

What does the research show about divorce?

Can I appeal my divorce while still accepting benefits from the parts of the judgment that work in my favor?

As with most questions asked about the law, the answer to whether you can appeal a part of your divorce while accepting benefits from the parts of the divorce you do like is, it depends.  More accurately, the answer is, probably not. This is because of a legal concept called estoppel.

What is estoppel?

Family Law Discovery Issues:

If there is one aspect of practicing law that a consensus of attorneys will agree is a mental beat-down, it would be the discovery process. Since discovery is a necessary evil, discovery is a tool that attorneys must effectively wield in order to adequately represent their client.

Very often, we have men and women who are attempting to battle through a divorce on their own, and once they are served with discovery requests they come looking for help. That is the smart move. An experienced family law attorney will know exactly what needs to be done and will get your case on track.

“I have to move, but my ex-spouse still lives here. Can I take my kids?”

This is a question that we hear fairly often here at Guest and Gray. Many people find themselves having to relocate for work or the need to be closer to family. However, for divorced parents, this problem is exacerbated by geographic restrictions that say where there children must live. These are known as “Geographic Restrictions”

Geographic restrictions most often place restrictions on the county in which you may live, or the maximum distance from the other parent that you may live. These restrictions are either negotiated by the parties or provided by court order. This means that if you want to relocate out of your geographic area, you have to go to court again and explain the reasons for your relocation.

Most married couples go through the formalities associated with marriage. They get a marriage license, they have a ceremony, and the person who officiates the ceremony signs the license, which then makes the marriage official. But other people choose not to go through that process, and it’s not necessary to go through that process to be considered married in Texas. Texas also recognizes informal marriages which are more commonly known as common law marriages. As a guy who has been dating a woman for a year and a half, I would certainly like to go the common law route and avoid the the cost associated with all the formalities. But I doubt I’ll be so lucky.

The problem with common law marriages is that it is often difficult to prove their existence. With formal marriages there is paper trail, and there are witnesses from the ceremony. There’s never a doubt about whether a marriage occurred in those instances. But for those who are informally married, it can be difficult to prove there was actually a marriage. Why does it matter that you be able to prove a common law marriage? Unless you can do so, you can’t get a divorce. This can be a problem for people who are in a relationship that they consider to be a marriage because in the event that the relationship ends, the parties are not entitled to half of the marital estate unless they can actually prove that there was a marital estate. This can result in parties losing out on assets that they would be entitled to in a divorce action such as home equity, retirement accounts and more.

Texas law has three requirements for proving a common law marriage.

Filing for a divorce can be a scary task because not many people know the law, or they’ve heard several things about what could happen, but aren’t sure if it’s true. It’s an unknown territory and can be difficult to maneuver on your own. This is why it’s important to have a concise explanation about each step in the process, to ensure that you’re informed and can be prepared.

• Step One: Filing

You’ve hired your attorney at Guest & Gray, P.C. to handle your divorce. The first step is to file what is called the Original Petition of Divorce which lays out all of the information on your divorce such as the dates of your marriage and separation, the grounds for your divorce (insupportability is standard but there can be other reasons such as adultery), whether there are any children of the marriage, and division of the community property.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “in 2009, 14 states had divorce rates for men that were significantly above the U.S. average, ranging from 10.0 to 13.5 per 1,000” which included Texas.

Divorce is present throughout our state and it is a difficult and emotional process. But, it’s even more difficult when there are children involved. All parents worry about the choices they make and how those choices will effect their children. Divorce is no exception. And, parents have every right to worry–research indicates that the manner in which parents handle divorce can have a direct effect on children’s adjustments.

But, parents, don’t fret because there are healthy and helpful ways to deal with these effects and the divorce process. In fact, many family clients of attorneys are not only urged but also required to take parenting classes that focus on these issues–how is the divorce effecting your child, how can you talk to your child about the effects of divorce, how to manage the divorce process without placing the child in the middle of the parents, how to maintain the relationship you have with your children despite the changes in your lives, etc. One such class is called “For Kids’ Sake” and it is taught by a psychologist trained and educated in these particular fields.

Temporary Orders arise in several situations. In divorce cases, either you’ve recently filed for divorce or been served with a petition for divorce. In suits affecting the parent-child relationship, temporary orders can arise in the initial proceeding and in cases where you or your ex are seeking to modify the court’s final order because you’re seeking to get expanded visitation, change conservatorship, etc.

In order for temporary orders to be entered by a court, a party must first file a petition or motion for temporary orders and there must be a hearing. In family law, often this is the first hearing that the parties will attend in front of a judge and it might even be the last one if the final order is agreed upon and all that is necessary is a judge’s signature.

Temporary orders are an important stepping stone in family law cases because they serve several purposes while the case is actually pending such as specifying conservatorship, visitation with the children, ordering a party to make payments of child or spousal support as well as debts and interim attorney’s fees. The court can also order who has possession of what property while the case is pending and where the parties are to live. Also, the court can forecast what is to come in the case and set deadlines for the parties to meet. Often times, the final orders are contingent upon these deadlines.