Nearly all our relationships are affected by family law. Whether it’s having children, adoption, marriage, living together, determining child custody, or child support, there are many legal considerations to keep in mind. It’s crucial to have support from a top family law attorney in Kingwood.
At Bolton Law, we understand that intimate relationships and family can significantly impact our finances and, more importantly, our happiness. Our family law attorneys know how meaningful family relationships are, and we understand that when changes happen – such as divorce – navigating the Texas legal landscape can be overwhelming.
Our experienced Kingwood family law attorneys bring their legal expertise, compassion, and tenacity to each case. Our legal team is here to alleviate the stress of complex and emotionally draining family legal matters and help you move forward.
What Qualifies as a Family Law Case?
Family law cases refer to cases that involve family relationships. According to the laws that govern family law in Texas, several scenarios qualify as family law cases. These include:
Contested & Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce in Texas refers to a case where you and your partner have agreed on all involved aspects before beginning the divorce procedure.
A contested divorce in Texas refers to a situation where the partners disagree on terms of the divorce which sometimes may include the reason for divorce, and needs the assistance of a third party to do so during the divorce process.
Parental Rights, Child Support, and Child Custody
Spending time with your children is a critical part of parental rights. However, during most divorce cases, both parties want more time with their children. Many factors determine which parent gets child custody. Sometimes, parents may be needed to take care of their children in turns. You can only get to understand the laws on parenting, child custody, and child support using the help of a family lawyer.
Alimony Agreements and Spousal Support
Alimony or spousal maintenance/support refers to a sum of money that one partner is supposed to pay their partner to sustain them following a divorce. In Texas, spousal maintenance is only given in a limited number of circumstances.
This matter can be very tricky, especially determining the amount an ex-spouse deserves. Getting an experienced family law attorney near you is vital to help you decide whether you qualify for spousal support/alimony and what amount you qualify.
Legal Name Changes in Texas
Legal name changes become necessary due to situations such as marriage, remarriage, divorce, adoption, or the blending of families. It means you are either leaving a family you were part of or joining two families. If you need to change your name, consult an attorney to help you with the procedures to ensure you have an easier time.
In Texas, an individual can get served with a restraining order if their actions are a potential threat to another party. A restraining order will be of great help to you if you are a victim of domestic violence.
Do you need a restraining order? Or maybe a spouse has had you served with one? Whichever the case, the experienced Bolton Law family law attorneys in Kingwood can fight to fight for your rights.
DSS Cases and Adoption
DSS cases refer to situations where the social services departments feel a need to deny you child custody by taking a child from you. There are several reasons why the social services department may deny you child custody.
A family law attorney in Kingwood will help you understand a DSS case and advise you on how to guard your parental rights. Our attorneys also help families with adoption cases.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Sadly, it is not uncommon for marriages to fail, and when that happens, spouses feel a need to file for divorce. However, Texas law does not allow you to get a divorce for any reason. Here are some grounds for divorce in Texas:
- Living Apart: In Texas, a couple may qualify for a divorce if they have lived apart for at least three years.
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital: It is possible to get a divorce if your spouse has a critical mental condition that has been persistent for at least three years and does not show any signs of getting better.
- In-Supportability: It is a common ground for divorce on no-fault grounds. It is used to terminate the marriage as intolerable, insufferable, and no longer endurable.
- Uncommon grounds: A divorce can also be given where individuals have uncommon grounds such as sexuality, impotence, substance use, and religious differences.
- Abandonment: A court can grant you a divorce where your partner leaves with the intention of abandonment. However, your spouse must have stayed away for at least one year and does not intend to return.
- Adultery: Adultery is when an individual has had sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse. The court will, however, demand evidence of the infidelity.
- Cruelty: According to the laws that govern family law in Texas, cruelty is the act of willfully causing suffering or pain to a partner. For the court to accept cruelty as a basis of divorce, you must prove that the actions were persistent, willful, and caused unnecessary suffering.
- Felony Criminal Conviction: A Texas court can grant you a divorce in cases where a partner was involved in criminal acts during the marriage. They include committing and getting convicted for a felony, being imprisoned for more than a year, or has not received a pardon.
How Do You Start the Divorce Process?
Many spouses who want a divorce wonder what the process entails. A family law attorney in Kingwood can help you navigate the process. Here are the six main steps of the Texas divorce process:
Define Your Grounds for the Divorce
Ground refers to the reason or reasons you are seeking a divorce. For the court to accept the dissolution of your marriage, you must present at least one acceptable reason according to Texas law. If you are unsure if your reason is valid, consult a family law attorney.
Filing a Petition
When filing a petition, your lawyer will help you file a petition for dissolution. The law of Texas allows you to file for a divorce petition when you and/or your spouse have:
- Lived in Texas for at least six months before filing the divorce
- Have lived in the county where you are filing the petition for at least 90 days.
Provide Your Spouse With a Notice
Make sure to serve your ex-spouse with a notice beyond letting them know that you filed for a divorce. You can do this by hiring a process server, making a publication or posting, or providing a waiver.
Spouse’s Response and Counter Petition
From the date you serve your soon-to-be ex-spouse with a petition, they have twenty days to respond. After their response, they are expected to avail themselves of court hearings. Counter petitions allow the respondent to state their reason for filing for a divorce if it is different from the petitioner’s.
Texas has a waiting period for divorce cases. The court can only grant a divorce petition after 60 days.
If the parties involved do not get a way to reach specific agreements outside the court, the issue is taken up by the judge for a hearing. The divorce decree states child custody rules, debt, dividing property, alimony, and child support.
How Does the Division of Marital Property Work in Texas?
In Texas, the court orders for marital property division in a way they deem lawful and justifiable. Any community property is divided justifiably while the separate property remains with the owner. Separate property can never be subject to division whatsoever.
Assets acquired during the marriage are generally classified as community property, with some exceptions. Property owned before marriage is separate property.
If the court detects that there has been fraud in the community property, the court has the right to share the property in a way that makes up for the wronged party. The decision is made according to the aspects involved in a specific matter.
A final decree is given to show how and when the property transfer should occur. If the property ownership transfer does not occur within the set deadline, in that case, you have the right to return to the court concerning the same.
You need the help of an experienced family law attorney in Kingwood to help you know what property you are entitled to and help you get it. The attorney will also go further to help you with the transfer of documents and ownership titles. In some instances, you might need to fill out new documents that may require you to approach certain government offices to officiate transfers.
How Is Child Custody Decided?
Child custody is one of the decisions that trigger strong emotions among parents and could cause a lot of strife if not well handled. In Texas, child custody is decided by considering the child’s best interest. Due to the unique situation of every family and child, several factors are considered before the final decision is made.
These factors are:
- Physical and Emotional Safety – The court can only grant child custody after confirming that the child will live in a home free of mental or physical trauma.
- Future Plans for the Child – The court expects the parents to present their plans for their child’s life. These plans must touch all dimensions of a child’s life until they can be considered adults.
- Stability of Potential Homes – The court must ensure that the child goes to a consistent and stable home that is considered suitable for the child’s growth.
- Parent-Child Relationship – The court requires the parent given custody to have a healthy relationship with their child. If any parent feels they have been wrongfully accused of omission or any other act that could deny them custody, they are given room to explain their side of the story.
- Programs – For a parent to be granted custody of a child, they must have access to programs that ensure the child lives in a stable and safe environment.
- Parenting Ability – Courts will always be wary of parents with inconsistent earnings, mental conditions, or who are involved in substance abuse.
- The Child’s Wish – The judge may consider the child’s wishes if the child is old/mature enough.
- The Child’s Needs and Development – The custodial parent must be aware of their child’s needs and explain how they intend to support their development socially, physically, and emotionally.
What Is Alimony, and How Is It Decided?
Alimony refers to the court-ordered payment of specific amounts awarded to one spouse during and/or after divorce. It is one of the most contested issues during a divorce! The object of spousal support is to preserve/continue financial stability or the quality of life as it was before the divorce. Alimony is set up to allow the spouse who has no income (or makes a lower income) to remain financially stable.
The party seeking alimony must prove at least one of the following:
- A child born into the marriage is suffering a mental or physical disability that prevents the requesting spouse from earning enough income.
- The other party has committed family violence.
- The requesting party is unable to earn enough income due to a mental or physical disability.
- The marriage lasted for ten years or more, and the requesting spouse lacks the ability to earn sufficient income.
Note that spouses cannot request alimony if they lost their job or got incapacitated after the divorce. Call Bolton Law at 281-351-7897 to learn more about spousal support in your particular case.
Call a Trusted Family Law Attorney in Kingwood to Help You Protect What Matters Most!
Going through a divorce? Needing assistance with child custody? Questions about parental rights or alimony? We can help. At Bolton Law, we specialize in all aspects of family law. We can address your unique concerns while simultaneously acting as skilled negotiators on your behalf and working towards a favorable resolution.
We understand that some family issues, such as divorce and child custody, can be nerve-wracking since emotions, as well as complex laws and procedures, are involved. But it doesn’t have to be! Talk to our Texas family law attorneys at 281-351-7897 to learn more.