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Divorce is a life-changing decision that often impacts more people than simply the two divorcing spouses. Especially when children are involved, the outcome of divorce seems to carry even more weight. When considering the divorce process, some of the most common concerns that many people will face include division of property, child custody, spousal support, and child support. Finding an attorney who has both experience and compassion when handling these sensitive issues can make all of the difference for those who are dealing with the stress around the divorce process.
At the Jackson Law Firm, our Cedar Park divorce attorneys have helped many people navigate the legal process of ending their marriages. This process can be stressful, and it is natural to be unsure of your legal rights under Texas divorce laws. However, with the help of our trusted legal team, you can emerge from your divorce in the best possible position. Contact our law office directly for a consultation today.
Facing everything that is unknown can be one of the most daunting aspects of a divorce, and understanding the support that your attorney can provide during this time can help alleviate this stress. At Jackson Law Firm, we offer a wide variety of services for our clients who are facing a divorce. These services include:
Working with an experienced attorney can help you feel confident and informed as you face the divorce process. When you work with the Jackson Law Firm, we will put together a plan to address the following issues as they apply to your case.
When children are involved, the situation becomes even more sensitive and delicate. Custody cases are often emotional, and it can be challenging to find a resolution that works for all parties involved while keeping the children’s best interests in mind. While many cases involve joint custody agreements, the judge is required to make decisions based on what they deem to be in the best interest of the child. In some cases, this might result in sole custody of one parent, or primary custody with visitation rights for the other parent. In Texas, custody and visitation are referred to as possession and access.
There will also be the important issue of supporting the child. In many cases, one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other parent to contribute to the financial needs of the child. Child support is calculated based on a set formula, and exceptions to the formula are reserved for special situations. However, you want an attorney reviewing your child support orders to ensure the amount is fair given your income and other circumstances.
Texas is a “community property” state, meaning that when it comes to dividing property in a divorce, the courts will look to see what property was accumulated before and after the marriage in determining the division. In the state of Texas, “community” property is considered property that you and your spouse accumulated after you were married. All of the property that you acquired after your marriage, even if this property was assumed to be yours, is typically considered community property when the courts start to look at dividing assets. Separate property, which refers to property that you or your spouse had acquired before you were legally married, is usually not considered in the community division of property. Understanding what property each spouse came into the marriage with will help to establish community property versus separate property with the goal of an equitable split.
In Texas, dividing community property means that a judge is legally required to divide property in a way that is “just and right.” This might sound vague, but it is meant to indicate that the division of property takes each spouses’ individual circumstance into consideration when determining a fair division of property.
Spouses in Texas will share the household responsibility in different ways. In some situations, both spouses work full-time and contribute relatively evenly to the financial needs of the house. In other marriages, one spouse might be the primary earner, while the other works part-time, volunteers, or stays home to care for children and the household.
If one spouse has the ability to properly support themselves and the other does not, it might be appropriate for the court to issue a spousal maintenance order, also called alimony or spousal support. This support is intended to allow the non-earning spouse to gain the education, training, or skill needed to obtain gainful employment. Spousal support orders are based on one spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay, and this is often a hotly contested matter in a divorce case.
The right divorce lawyer can help you resolve the above issues and finalize your divorce in an efficient manner, while still ensuring that your rights and interests are fully protected.
Going through a divorce can be challenging and confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the legal process. For this reason, if you are thinking about a divorce or have decided this is the right choice for you and your spouse, it is advisable to speak with a Cedar Park divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
At the Jackson Law Firm, we have the experience needed to guide you through the divorce process in Cedar Park, Texas. We understand the challenges that accompany a divorce and are dedicated to helping our clients through this difficult time. Call us today at 281-475-4145 or contact us online to learn more about our services and to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your specific situation and the best next steps.
Mr. Jackson was selected for inclusion in the 2012, 2014 and 2015 “Rising Star” by Superlawyers, a Thomson Reuters service.
Justin M. Jackson is a native Texan, spending his early childhood in Edinburg, Texas and later graduating from Round Rock High School. Mr. Jackson received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and obtained his law degree from St. Mary’s Law School, graduating magna cum laude (top 3% of his class).
While in law school, Mr. Jackson interned for Judge Emilio M. Garza with the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and participated on the St. Mary’s Law Journal as a Staff Writer. Following graduation, Mr. Jackson worked for a respected law firm in San Antonio. In 2008, he opened the Jackson Law Firm.
Mr. Jackson was selected for inclusion in the 2012, 2014 and 2015 “Rising Star” by Superlawyers, a Thomson Reuters service. Their selection process is outlined here. No more than 2.5% of the total lawyers in Texas are listed as “Rising Stars.
Many thanks to Cara Surell for her expertise and professionalism in handling my immigration case. She did a great job. The case has been resolved in my favor. I am absolutely pleased with the outcome.
Having recently moved to the North Austin/Cedar Park area, I more or less rolled the dice on selecting a law firm to do some estate trust work for me. I couldn’t have chosen better! The Jackson Law Firm and lawyer Cara Surell handled my needs quickly and professionally. I truly felt that there was a genuine interest in my situation and a sincere desire to accomplish what I wanted and needed done.
Thank you to Cara and Lisa for making our Estate Planning process run as smoothly as possible. I’ll be recommending your firm to friends and family!
I had a family trust put together by Cara Surell, one of the Lawyers in the Jackson Law Firm. I must say, I was very impressed and satisfied with the knowledge, speed and professionalism exhibited during this process. I am very satisfied with the results and would highly recommend this law group.
The Jackson Law firm was very supportive in my time in need in my initial divorce. He turned the tables around on the opposing council. I was denied my visitation but the Jackson Law Firm helped me get my visitation. Justin Jackson was very informative in the rules of family law and in the end he helped me get my rights to my kids. Thank you Jackson Law Firm in every thing you did for me it was much appreciated.
Justin, I want to thank you for believing in me. On the very first day you made it clear that “truth will triumph in the end” – I had serious misgivings about it since I felt those ideologies only exist in an Utopian world. During the entire process the opposing counsel tried so hard to wear us down, spewed venomous invective but you never pandered to them. You always chose the righteous path – that made me angry at times to question our stand. TRUTH TRIUMPHED!!! We won! YOU ARE A GREAT CHESS PLAYER MY FRIEND – You had them completely fooled with your boyish charm, fledged approach…underneath that camouflage there is a highly astute & insightful mind – they failed to see it. You are a good man with strong character & ethics. I salute you!
Consult our attorneys for custody disputes and more. Arrange an initial consultation with our divorce and estate planning lawyers by calling our offices at (512) 528-1900, or send us an email. We respond to all messages promptly. Credit cards are accepted, and after-hours appointments are available by request.view all questions
This is not an uncommon question from new clients. In an effort to save money, expedite the process, and maintain transparency, spouses may attempt to hire one attorney to initiate and finalize their divorce. According to the ethical rules governing lawyers, this is not permissible. A lawyers cannot give legal advice to both sides. In these situations, we recommend that one spouse hires a lawyer to prepare all of the divorce paperwork, from the petition for divorce to the final decree of divorce, with the input of the other spouse. Then, prior to signing the final decree of divorce, the other spouse may hire an attorney to review that documentation to ensure that it complies with their agreement. This is usually done at a significantly reduced fee since most of the work has already been done. Or, should that not be necessary, the other spouse may choose not to hire an attorney and instead, may feel that he/she sufficiently understands the wording in the documentation and forego additional legal fees altogether.
No. Until you and your spouse are formally divorced, you are still considered married. There is no “legal separation” in Texas. Dating tends to complicate the divorce by angering the other spouse and adding unnecessary resistance to potential agreements. Furthermore, it is very confusing for the children for you to start dating shortly after separating.
This question requires a lengthy response. In short, the court is required to make a “just and right” division of the “community property.” Emphasis should be placed on community property. As any property outside of this classification is not subject to division whatsoever. “Community property” is all property possessed by the spouses and accumulated during the marriage, except what is “separate property”-that which was obtained by one of the spouses through gift, inheritance, or prior to the marriage. All property possessed by the spouses is presumed to be community property unless a spouse proves by clear and convincing evidence that the property is actually separate property. It is possible to meet this burden of proof, but it requires substantial documentation and evidence. The court is also guided by other factors in determining the “just and right” division, including but not limited to whether there was fault in the breakup of the marriage, the relative earning capacities of the spouses, and the needs of the children.
No. Texas law does not provide for alimony in cases of divorce. Instead, it is termed “spousal maintenance,” and consists of court-awarded periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse after the divorce. Spousal maintenance is not awarded very often and relies on a list of factors. The Texas Family Code places a cap on spousal maintenance at the lesser of either 20% of the paying spouse’s gross monthly income or $5,000.00. The Texas Family Code also limits the duration of spousal maintenance to: 1. 5 years for marriages lasting between 10 and 20 years, 2. 7 years for marriages lasting between 20 and 30 years, and 3. 10 years for marriages lasting more than 30 years.
Yes. There is no marriage requirement to obtain child support. A case where one parent seeks child support from the other parent is termed a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship and/or a Suit to Adjudicate Parentage.
It is our experience that sometimes, the parent paying child support may resist making such payments (to the extent such is even possible) due to the fact that they lack assurance as to how such payments are utilized. Nonetheless, child support may be used for any purpose and there is no requirement that the recipient provide any accounting as to how it is spent.
No. Child support will not automatically increase or decrease; it only changes when a court modifies the order. This is accomplished by filing a motion to modify with the court. The modification will be granted only under two scenarios: 1. if the new income amount is proven, the increased income would result in an increase in child support by at least $100 or 20% over the prior child support amount, and 3. it has been at least 3 years from the date of the prior child support order, OR 2. there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the date of the prior order.
The court is always guided by what is in the “best interests of the child.” To that end, the court is guided by a formula in the Texas Family Code which considers the monthly gross income of the person paying child support; deducts for federal income tax, social security, and health insurance for the child; and multiplies the result (“net resources”) by a percentage dictated by the number of children born in the marriage. For example, “net resources” are multiplied by 20% for one child, 25% for two children, 30% for three children, and 35% for four children. This calculation ultimately generates the child support payment. The formula applies to the first $7,500.00 in “net resources;” thereafter, the court may order additional amounts depending on the parties and the proven needs of the child. Courts also take into account whether the child is disabled or has special needs. As an additional factor, if the paying parent has a duty to support other children (from another relationship, for example), the percentages noted above are slightly reduced, depending on the number of other children.
In Texas, “custody” is not a term which appears in the Family Code- at least in the way people typically mean when they discuss “custody.” From our experience, clients initially assume that custody consists of the terms of visitation regarding a child. However, in Texas, the concept of custody is better analyzed as two distinct components: 1. conservatorship and 2. possession and access. As for conservatorship, the Texas Family Code identifies two schemes of conservatorship- Joint Managing Conservatorship and Sole Managing Conservatorship. Conservatorship deals with how major and day-to-day decisions are made concerning the child. In a Joint Managing Conservatorship, all major decisions are made jointly. In a Sole Managing Conservatorship, one parent has the exclusive right to make such major decisions. Most often, spouses agree to be designated Joint Managing Conservators because it shares many of the most important rights and responsibilities. The Texas Family Code provides that Joint Managing Conservatorship is presumed to be in the best interests of the children.
As for possession and access- that is the phrase which describes visitation. What is termed a “Standard Possession Order” is also presumed to be in the best interests of children. It outlines the days, weekends, and holidays each spouse is permitted to possess the children and splits time roughly in a 60/40 manner. However, the Standard Possession Order is not a firm rule and the spouses and their attorneys are free to arrive at a custom solution. Our lawyers are experienced in negotiating creative solutions to conservatorship and possession and access to suit your unique situation.
At minimum, there is a statutory sixty-day waiting period from the date the suit for divorce is filed until a court will grant the divorce. Typically, it takes longer to obtain a divorce, especially when the parties are not in agreement on all issues. In these instances, the attorneys for both spouses will often conduct “discovery,” an ordered process where the spouses are required to answer questions and produce documents at the request of the other attorney. Discovery is designed to provide a degree of disclosure to the other side and additional peace of mind in negotiating and finalizing a divorce settlement.
Texas is a “no fault” state, which means that a person seeking a divorce is not required to prove that his or her spouse is at fault in the marriage. A “no fault” divorce is the most common variety of divorce, stating that “the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities between you that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage.” The Texas Family Code does, however, provide several “fault” divorce grounds, including adultery, cruelty, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital. There are also possibilities to void the marriage in extremely unique circumstances. At least 80% of our cases are pursued on no-fault grounds as it tends to reduced hostilities between the parties.