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Couples seek divorces for a variety of reasons, such as conflict, adultery, and abuse. On the outside, a divorce may look much like the dissolution of any other serious relationship, but Texas courts take the process very seriously. In the state of Texas, the reason for a divorce plays a major role in court rulings, and the grounds for divorce must be proven for the petition to be granted. There are two grounds for divorce in the state: fault-based and no-fault.
As the name implies, a no-fault divorce doesn’t require the documentation of wrongdoing on either spouse’s part. There are several no-fault grounds for divorce, with supportability being the most common. To get a divorce on these grounds, a divorce attorney must prove that:
1. The marriage can’t be supported due to personality conflicts
2. The conflict has ruined all aspects of the relationship
3. There is no chance of reconciliation
Living apart is another no-fault ground for divorce. Here, the petitioner must show that they haven’t lived with the other spouse for a minimum of three years. Finally, institutionalization is another no-fault reason for divorce. If filing on these grounds, the petitioner and his or her lawyer must prove that the other person has been in a mental hospital for three years and that the condition cannot be cured.
This category is self-explanatory. Here, a petitioner must show that the other party handles the breakdown of the marriage. However, for the divorce to be granted, fault must be proven. Cruelty is one of the most common fault-based grounds, where it must be proven that the other spouse’s cruel behavior created an insupportable condition.
Adultery is another fault-based reason for divorce. If a petition is filed on the grounds of adultery, the other spouse’s infidelity must be documented. These claims cannot be taken lightly, as the accused spouse may experience denial, shame, and anger. A petition can be filed if a spouse has been convicted of a felony, incarcerated for a year, and hasn’t been pardoned. Lastly, abandonment is a fault-based ground for divorce. To prevail, a petitioner or divorce attorney must show that the other spouse intentionally abandoned them and has not returned for one year.
The court’s decision to grant a divorce on fault-based grounds is crucial in the division of marital assets. If a petitioner provides sufficient proof of abandonment, felony convictions, adultery, or cruelty, the court may give the wronged spouse a larger share of the marital estate. Texas’ Family Code doesn’t guarantee a 50/50 split; rather, it guarantees a fair division based on the grounds described above. The courts have substantial leeway in making property awards, and most of the time they do so based on whether the petition was filed as fault-based or no-fault. A lawyer will help clients understand how the state’s laws apply to their situation.
Divorces are complicated even under the best of circumstances, but they don’t have to be life-altering.
With help from an experienced divorce attorney, a client can dissolve his or her marriage and move on with life. Request a consultation online or call the Jackson Law firm for more information about your divorce situation.
Child custody, child support, alimony, and divorce cases are difficult even under the best of circumstances. The emotional toll is enough to make most people feel defeated before the case even starts. While legal representation isn’t always necessary, consider the benefits of hiring a family lawyer.
How realistic are the other party’s claims, and can they get what they’re striving for? Local family law attorneys know Texas law, as well as past case results, and they use that knowledge to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Lawyers know what judges are looking for and they will present your case in ways that make the judge see your side of the story. Finally, an attorney knows how to anticipate potential problems and understands what you can reasonably expect to receive.
While hiring a Round Rock Divorce attorney is an investment, not having legal counsel may be more expensive in the long term. An attorney will ensure that you don’t pay too much in child or spousal support. If you are entitled to such payments, your lawyer will help you get everything you deserve. Additionally, having a lawyer on your side will help you avoid expensive and time-consuming errors, and it will ensure the fair division of the marital estate.
In divorce cases, it’s quite common to hear threats such as “You won’t get a dime from me!” or “You’ll never see the kids again.” Without legal representation, it’s hard to tell whether these threats are real, and it’s tempting to give into the other person’s demands. A Round Rock Divorce lawyer will hold the other person accountable and prevent you from being bullied into an unfair arrangement.
Proper Filing of Important Documents
Do you know the timeframe in which documents must be filed? Do you know which documents the court needs? Most people know nothing about these documents, their service, and their filing. If any mistakes are made, the judge may disallow these documents. However, a Round Rock family lawyer will help avoid these types of mistakes.
Looking at the Big Picture
When involved in a child custody or divorce case, your family and friends will undoubtedly have plenty of opinions and advice. While such advice is often useful, in some cases, it won’t apply to your situation. Every case is unique, and that’s why it’s so important to hire a family attorney who can take an objective look at your situation.
Family law cases are often stressful. Your emotions may lead the way, and you probably have other people to consider. When you’ve hired an attorney, you’re free to spend your emotional energy on healing and moving on with life.
Do You Need a Legal Representation?
The Round Rock attorneys of the Jackson Law Firm are experienced, dedicated professionals who will fight aggressively to help you achieve a fair divorce outcome. Visit them online for more information or call today to request an initial no-obligation consultation.
Call our Law Firm’s Round Rock office at (512) 528-1900 to arrange an appointment. We do not accept mail at this location. This location is strictly by appointment only.
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 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 Round Rock 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.