The Jackson Law Firm is proud to provide personal service coupled with integrity and respect. From valuing family businesses in divorce to adopting a new child, we are here to provide the experienced and effective representation you need.
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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
Spousal maintenance, often called “alimony,” is not always ordered in Texas divorce cases and will only be ordered if certain criteria are shown. In general, according to the Texas Family Code, available here, spousal maintenance may be ordered if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property to meet their reasonable minimum needs following the divorce.
In addition, the following other criteria must also be shown:
1.- The paying spouse was convicted of a criminal offense of family violence during the marriage within two years of the divorce filing; or 2.- The spouse seeking maintenance either
a) cannot earn sufficient income to provide for their reasonable needs due to a physical or mental disability;
b) was married to the spouse for at least 10 years and lacks sufficient income; or
c) has custody of a child born during the marriage who requires substantial care and supervision due to a disability.
According to Section 8.052 of the Family Code, there are a variety of factors that a court may consider in determining whether spousal support should be ordered. These includes:
1.- The duration of the marriage
2.- Financial resources available to the spouse
4.- Physical and mental health
5.- Work history and earning capacity
6.- Contributions made to the marriage
7.- Fault of the party (e.g., adultery, abuse, etc)
While this is the law in Texas, other states have different requirements. If you have questions about spousal support in another state, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in that state.
If you have questions about spousal support and live near Cedar Park, Texas, contact a Cedar Park spousal support attorney for legal advice. Call to schedule an appointment with an experienced Cedar Park spousal support attorney from the Jackson law firm.
Divorce is a difficult time in anyone’s life. It is never an easy decision to end a marriage because it impacts the entire family. However, there are ways to make the entire process easier for everyone. Below are the steps you need to take to obtain a divorce in Austin, Texas.
Texas law requires people wanting a divorce to file a lawsuit in the county in which they reside. In order to file for a divorce in Austin, you must have lived in Texas for 6 months prior to filing. When you file the petition for divorce, you must pay the appropriate fee. The total cost of filing depends on a variety of factors such as whether you have real estate to divide or children together. While you can file a petition for divorce on your own, it can be a difficult process. An experienced Austin divorce attorney can assist you in this matter if necessary.
Once the petition for divorce is filed with the court, you must wait for 60 days before a divorce will be finalized. This is a mandatory waiting period for everyone and is often used to settle disputes over possessions and custody of children. Once the 60 day period has passed, you can proceed with finalizing the divorce. Once the documents are approved and signed by the court, you must wait 30 days before it becomes final. During this time, you cannot remarry unless you obtain permission from the court.
While divorce is never easy, it can be made easier with proper representation. If you need help filing your petition for divorce, contact an Austin divorce attorney for help. An experienced divorce attorney can make the entire process as smooth as possible for you and your family.
One of the most important documents you can have drafted is a living will. This is something completely different than a traditional will that simply leaves property to certain people after your death. It is a document that allows you to dictate your wishes for end of life medical care in the event that you are ever unable to communicate your decisions after a life changing event such as an illness or accident.
If you need a living will created, even if you are not dealing with a serious medical issue at the moment, a Round Rock wills and trusts attorney can assist you within the Austin, TX area and surrounding regions.
In many cases, you may want to have assistance in creating a living will in addition to estate planning. It allows your family members and medical professionals to know exactly what your wishes are in regard to your medical care. For instance, you can have a clause about DNR, or do not resuscitate, added into your living will in the event that you would otherwise be left in a vegetative state or if you are so ill that there is no hope for recovery.
Many states have forms that allow you to state your wishes in as much or as little detail as you want. For a living will to be considered valid, it must meet the requirements of notarization or witnesses within your state. You are also free to revoke a living will any time you like. It can take effect upon the moment of signing a living will or once the individual is no longer able to communicate their wishes for treatment.
Typically, when you have a living will, you deem someone close to you as power of attorney regarding your health care. That person is usually a close family member, such as a child or spouse, and they have the ability to oversee that your health care wishes are overseen and will make decisions for you regarding your care.
If you are interested in having a living will drafted and reside in the Austin, TX area, you need the assistance of a skilled Round Rock wills and trusts attorney at your disposal. Be sure to contact the Jackson Law Firm if you are within the Austin area.
Those who have or are undergoing a divorce in the State of Texas may be faced with concerns as to how to manage custodial arrangements and decisions for their child’s upcoming life post-divorce. A child custody attorney can help to navigate some of the challenging aspects that arise in such a scenario. Generally speaking, child custody is defined as the parent or parents who are the legal guardians responsible for that child’s daily activities, life and welfare, and that parent or parents are also responsible for determining where the child shall reside. Within the state of Texas, custody is usually presented by way of joint custody. However, joint custody may be overturned if a case can be presented showing evidence of scenarios such as domestic violence within the home, or if a parent has shown conduct which potentially can endanger a child. In those instances, the state or a judge may rule for sole conservatorship or custody of the child by one parent only.
An additional difficulty may arise if parents are sharing joint custody of a child and one of the parents has decided to relocate and move from the area. Since a custodial parent is also in charge of determining where a child will reside, in cases of joint custody the parents would need to agree on a child’s area of residency so that it would be convenient for parents to see the child on a consistent basis. However, if a parent is leaving the area, this situation can pose further challenges since it would revise or completely oppose a set visiting schedule. Hence, a parent who is seeking to relocate with a child after a divorce would need to petition to the judge and the court for permission to do so to remain in compliance with the terms of the divorce and custody agreements. At the court hearing for this proposal, the relocating parent would need to provide information to the judge to demonstrate why such a move is necessary (perhaps due to employment reasons, for example) and show that the move is not simply to “get back” at the other parent for the divorce. Again, a child custody attorney can assist in navigating the complex legal landscape and nuances of these situations and is instrumental for a successful outcome. Jackson Law Firm is a strong and effective group that stands ready to assist in this cases, and with a proven track record of success in custody mediation, let Jackson Law Firm help today in your divorce and relocation case!
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.
Yes. There are two possibilities for spouses desiring to avoid making any appearance in court. First, the Texas Family Code provides divorcing spouses the option of utilizing collaborative law, where both parties and their attorneys agree in writing that they will use their “best efforts” and make a “good faith” attempt to resolve the divorce on an agreed basis. The parties and attorneys are given an incentive to reach settlement because in the event settlement is not reached, the attorneys must withdraw and new counsel must be obtained. Collaborative law is not advisable when there is significant distrust and/or animosity amongst the spouses. Our firm does not recommend collaborative law due to the strict collaborative law rule which requires withdraw of the attorney if settlement is not reached. If our firm were to withdraw, it would cost you significant additional expense to bring on a new attorney. More importantly, it is always and invariably our strategy to pursue settlement if it is beneficial to you. We do not need additional incentive to do what you hired us to do in the first place which is to work out an acceptable and positive result.
Second, if collaborative law is not the chosen course, divorcing spouses and their lawyers may reach agreement on all issues, including custody, child support, and the division of property through mediation or informal settlement processes. If agreement is reached, one of the spouses and their attorney will appear at the courthouse to “prove up” the divorce, a brief questioning of that spouse by his or her attorney to enter the divorce before the judge. This second route is our preferred route and we are proud that more than 75% of our cases are settled outside of court.
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.