At Bolton Law, we boast many years of experience in all areas of family law. Our team of specialist lawyers handles all facets of family law including divorce & separation, custody & visitation rights, and domestic violence cases. We also represent clients’ interests in child support, alimony, and adoption.
We treat all cases seriously and with a lot of sensitivity. We are keen to listen to your desires and aim to secure them. Our attorneys will provide legal services that best suit your budget and needs.
When dealing with family law, we believe in supporting the involved parties and ensuring they feel safe & comfortable. Our family law attorneys are professionals who maintain respect and professional objectivity. We also handle issues in a non-confrontational manner. Above all, we prioritize the best interest of the children.
We can help you find a workable solution for your family disputes. If you would like to get in touch with a family law attorney in Tomball, Texas, contact us today at 281-351-7897. Whatever your issue is, Bolton Law has the experience to assist.
What Qualifies as a Family Law Case?
Family law cases are a form of civil case, though they generally involve issues concerning parents, spouses, and children. Family courts handle a great variety of domestic matters. The most common issues handled at the family courts include:
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
When spouses disagree significantly on aspects relating to child support, child custody, alimony, and property division, the divorce is contested as the case will end up in court. Uncontested divorces, on the other hand, occur where the spouses can resolve their differences without going to court, even if they may disagree on various aspects.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, you should work with an experienced divorce attorney who can review your cases, the paperwork, and any agreements made with your spouse to protect your rights and ensure that all issues are addressed effectively.
Parental Rights, Child Custody, and Child Support
The court has to address child custody, paternity, child support, visitation, and other child-related issues whenever parents file a court case. If the parents are married, these cases are handled as part of a divorce, annulment, or separation. If they are not married, they are handled as part of a paternity or custody case.
A family law attorney in Tomball can help you navigate complicated issues such as modifications to child support or custody order or enforcement of a court order if your ex is refusing to comply with their obligations.
Spousal Support and Alimony Agreements
When getting a divorce, the court may award spousal support or alimony to one of the former spouses, either by the decision of the court itself or as a result of an agreement between the couple. This is different from the division of marital property and will be decided on a case-to-case basis.
For legal help in determining whether you or your spouse may be eligible to receive or pay alimony or spousal support following the divorce, reach out to Bolton Law for guidance through the process. We can also help you calculate what the amounts will be, and for how long they will be paid.
Legal Name Changes in Texas
You are a member of your family and may require a name change for a variety of reasons. This may include adoption or following the end of a marriage. The process can get a bit complicated and will require filing extensive paperwork with the courts. An experienced family lawyer can help prepare and file the paperwork on your behalf, and even represent you in court if necessary.
If a member of your family has been abused or you fear that you will be abused, we can help you legally file for the right order of protection, or get you a restraining order to help you navigate the process more comfortably. Our ultimate goal is to help you stay safe.
We can help you get a restraining order for domestic abuse. Reach out to us if you want to stop specific acts, have a person move out of your house, or keep a person at a distance.
Few things are as heartbreaking as having your child or children taken away from you, especially if you feel that you’ve been wrongly accused of child neglect or abuse. If you have forcibly lost custody of your child or children, the best thing you can do is to contact a family law attorney who has experience with the Texas Department of Social Services to protect your parental rights.
We also help families adopt children.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Texas recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Most couples usually file for divorce based on no-fault grounds, where they don’t accuse their spouse of having done anything wrong to cause the end of their marriage.
Here are the 7 main grounds for divorce in Texas:
Insupportability or Irreconcilable Differences
This is one of the main reasons why couples get divorced. Since neither party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, it’s a no-fault ground for divorce. Couples choose to file under insupportability when they no longer wish to stay married and there’s simply no hope for reconciliation.
When a couple lives apart for three years or more, they can file a divorce under the living apart grounds. The court will see this as a mutual agreement as both parties have lived apart for so long.
Confinement in a Mental Hospital
If a spouse suffers a mental illness that makes them mentally incompetent, their partner can file for a divorce, especially if they are confined to a psych ward or mental hospital for at least 3 years. The court will check to see that recovery or improvement is unlikely due to the severity of the condition.
Cruel treatment of a spouse is grounds for divorce in Texas. In the eyes of the law, cruel behavior is persistent with inflicting suffering, such as through emotional or physical abuse.
You can also file a divorce under the grounds of adultery if you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your spouse committed adultery.
If your spouse is convicted of a felony offense and has spent a year or more in prison, and has not yet been pardoned for the felony, it’s enough grounds for a divorce in Texas. However, the court may not grant a divorce in cases where the spouse’s testimony was used to convict their partner.
Abandonment is grounds for a divorce so long as you can prove it. The spouse must have left voluntarily intending to abandon, and you must have lived apart for a year or more.
Proving grounds for divorce can be a complex process, and it’s always recommended that you seed guidance from an experienced divorce attorney.
How Do You Start the Divorce Process?
An experienced family law attorney in Tomball will guide you at every stage of the divorce process.
To be eligible to file a divorce in Texas, you have to meet certain state and county residency requirements. Texas law requires that the person filing the divorce reside in the state for a minimum of six months prior. They must also establish residency in the county in which they plan to file for at least 90 days before filing the divorce.
File Your Petition for Divorce
You should ideally retain a lawyer at this stage, as he/she will guide you through the entire divorce process and help you prepare the necessary paperwork to file a divorce petition correctly. You will then have to submit the paperwork to the local county courthouse and pay a fee (usually $300 or more).
Provide Your Spouse With a Notice
This requires that you notify your spouse that the filing has occurred. The easiest way to do this is through a waiver, where your partner (respondent) waives their right to be formally served with divorce papers.
Finalizing the Divorce
Following the standard 60-day waiting period, the divorce can be finalized after any contested matters have been resolved. Once you and your partner agree to the settlement terms, you will only need to sign the final decree of divorce and appear before a judge. The process is finalized when the judge signs the decree of divorce.
How Does the Division of Property Work in Texas?
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement about how you’d like your property to be split, the court will take up the task of splitting it up between the two of you. Texas family court classifies marital property as either community property or separate property.
Community property is the property that was acquired during the marriage by either spouse, including incomes, debts, insurance, and retirement accounts. Separate property is that which was received either before the marriage or as an inheritance or as a gift from friends and family.
The court still has the final say in determining whether the division of property is fair and just. To make sure the division of property is equitable, the judge will consider factors such as:
- The primary caregiver of the children
- The earning potential of both spouses
- The amount of separate property every party owns
How Is Child Custody Decided?
In Texas, the court will generally decide child custody matters by prioritizing the best interests of the child or children. The court may decide to give one parent sole custody, or joint legal and physical custody to both partners after taking into account several factors related to the best interests of the child.
The following is a list of the factors the judge may take into consideration:
- The child’s wishes (usually applies to children of age 12 or older)
- The physical and emotional needs of the child
- The physical and emotional danger to the child (presently and in the future)
- The parenting abilities and capacities of the individuals seeking custody
- The plans the individual seeking custody has for the children
- The programs available to help the individual in promoting the best interests of the child
- The stability of the proposed home or placement
- The relationship between the children and each parent
- Any history of violence from either parent
This list is not exhaustive, but the factors outlined will weigh heavily on the judge or jury. It’s therefore important to work with a lawyer who has experience dealing with child custody issues and is comfortable representing you in court to convince the judge who should have the primary custody of the children.
What Is Alimony and How Is It Decided?
You may be eligible to receive spousal support (alimony) if you meet certain requirements as outlined by the Texas Family Code. These include:
- If you can’t earn enough income to meet your minimum needs as a result of a disability
- If you have been married for 10 or more years and you no longer have the ability to earn enough income
- If you have primary custody of a child of the marriage who requires substantial supervision and/or care
- If your spouse was convicted of a family violence offense during the marriage
The Texas Family Code also lists several factors that could be used to determine support. These include:
- Ability to independently provide for own minimal needs
- The length of the marriage
- Education levels and the skills of employment
- Physical and emotional condition of the person
- Age, history of employment, and earning capacity
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage and family
- Impact of providing for personal needs plus child support
- Property that the spouse brought into the marriage
Get in Touch With a Top Family Law Attorney in Tomball!
Finding a peaceful resolution to family matters is rarely easy. But each decision you make has the potential to have lasting effects on the future of your family. It’s always wise to proceed with care and caution.
At Bolton Law, we have a team of knowledgeable family law attorneys in Tomball, Texas, who provide compassionate and zealous legal guidance and counsel to families and individuals throughout Texas. Reach out to us today at 281-351-7897 to schedule a consultation with a member of our team and learn more about your legal options and how we can serve you. We are available 24/7.