Family law deals with our most intimate relationships. Husband and wife. Mother and Father. Father and Child. Mother and Child. Siblings. Grandparents. Grandchildren. When these relationships break down we leave it up to a pile of laws and a stranger in a black robe to take something broken and try to make sense of it to create something stable for the future. The decisions made in family court can affect the rest of your life. It’s a strange, imperfect and often ugly and painful way to figure out incredibly important issues like who the kids will live with, the kind of relationship parents can have with their children and how to divide marital property. It’s important that you have an advocate on your side in dealing with this imperfect family judicial system who will stand up for your rights and guide you through this process.
My approach to practicing family law is to treat each case individually and manage each client’s resources efficiently. I know your situation is different from my other clients’ situations. We need to tailor our objectives and apply the law to your specific needs rather than treat your case with a cookie-cutter approach. If we can be reasonable and respectful in accomplishing your goals then that is what we will do. If we need to be more aggressive to protect your rights then that is what we will do. It is never my goal to create conflict for the purposes of running up a bill but sometimes that conflict is unavoidable to protect your rights. I help clients with a range of family law needs including those listed below.
Sometimes spouses can easily reach a fair agreement on how to deal with all the issues in the divorce. In these cases the divorce process is reasonably simple and the key issues are getting you through the court system and accurately preserving that fair agreement in the divorce decree. In these divorces I help clients on a flat fee basis to make the divorce straightforward and painless. Learn more about my uncontested divorce services by clicking here.
Often the issues in the divorce are not easily resolved and you need a divorce lawyer to fight to protect your rights and your property. The outcome of your divorce can have lifelong effects on your financial well-being, your relationship with your children and your future mental health. It’s important to consider the effects of your divorce and how protecting your rights today will provide long term value. Learn more about how I can help protect your rights in a divorce by clicking here.
Child Support Enforcement
An ongoing problem in Texas is unpaid child support. The Texas Family Code provides strong enforcement options for unpaid child support. The recipients of the expected child support payments can use these options to recover unpaid child support as well as interest on unpaid support, attorney’s fees and other remedies to help ensure child support is paid in the future. I help clients with these enforcement proceedings to get the support they deserve.Learn more about how I can help recover unpaid child support.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO)
QDROs are a special type of order used to divide many types of retirement plans as part of the property division in a divorce or to obtain payment of child support or spousal support ordered by a court. QDROs are complicated and the wrong language can cause a lot of problems. I have a decade of experience working in the employee benefits industry and have dealt with hundreds of QDROs. I draft QDROs on a flat fee basis. I also assist clients with litigating QDRO issues and defending against improperly drafted QDROs. To learn more about my QDRO services click here.
ModificationsSometimes the custody arrangement you have doesn’t work and you and the other parent cannot agree to a new workable arrangement. In these cases it is necessary to ask the court to modify the custody order to order a new possession schedule or set of rights. I help clients work through these modifications to either reach a new agreement or go to court and ask the judge to do what is right for the children involved. I also help clients modify child support orders when the current ordered support is too low or too high for the obligor’s income or the children have additional support needs that are not covered by the current order. Learn more about how I can help modify existing orders by clicking here.
A somewhat new approach to divorce is collaborative law in which both spouses agree to follow a specific negotiation process rather than going to court to fight over issues or asking the court to intervene over minor issues along the way. It is a good option when the spouses can set aside the emotional aspects of the divorce and negotiate but want professional assistance to evaluate the property and custody rights to ensure the agreement is fair. Click here to learn more about how I can help you with a collaborative law divorce.
Additional Areas of Family Law Services
Custody and Possession Rights
Conflicts over custody and possession issues are common in divorces and suits involving child support. These includes issues involving conservatorship, possession and visitation schedules, parental rights, grandparent access and related parent-child and co-parenting issues. These conflicts are often emotional and difficult to deal with for many reasons. These conflicts are resolved either by agreement between the parties or through the broad discretion of the judge so it is important that you work with an attorney who is capable at negotiating and knows the local judges.
Child Support Obligations
Child support will be ordered almost every time a court issues an order involving custodial rights. Child support is often a source of conflict between parents in a divorce or other suit involving custodial rights. Getting on the wrong side of a child support order can be financially dangerous whether it is because you receive too little child support for what you could receive under the Texas Family Code or because you are paying far more than what your income supports. Having an attorney on your side in a child support case can make a difference.
Mediation is typically required in most family law proceedings before you can appear in court for a trial or other contested hearing. Mediation is often desired as a better way to resolve the issues in a divorce or custody suit. You know more about your situation that the judge ever will which puts you in a better position to find a resolution that works for everybody involved. However, it is easy for mediation to result in a poor outcome when one or both parties do not understand their rights, the value of assets and debts involved in a divorce and the future likelihood of problems. This is where having an attorney on your side can add value to your mediation.
Property Division in Divorce
In a divorce the two main issues the parties will fight over are custody and property division. Property division is about more than who gets the kitchen appliances or the power tools. There are important financial issues that need to be considered such as liability for debts of the parties, how to fairly divide major assets like your house and cars, how retirement benefits and other financial assets should be divided, the tax liabilities involved with those assets and so forth. It is incredibly easy to agree to a property division that seems fair at the time and a few years down the road blows up in your face. Even a middle class marriage with a house, a couple cars and a little money in the bank can be divided into a financial disaster. A divorce attorney with expertise with property and financial assets can go a long way towards preventing a financial problem down the road.
The Texas Family Code severely limits the amount and duration of