Texas Family Law Attorneys

Family law disputes in Texas can be complex, emotional and expensive. Whether facing a divorce, child custody dispute, or trying to add to your family through an adoption, you need an advocate on your side that you can trust to understand your situation, protect your rights and advise you how to protect your family’s best interests. Empathy is an important part of a family law attorney’s job. You need an attorney who understands how difficult these situations can be on your family.

Divorces, child custody cases and other family law matters can last months. Family law attorneys know that the longer the case goes on, the more stress and emotional damage can be inflicted upon you and your family. Balancing the desire to move on to a new chapter in your life with the stress of an ongoing family law case is tough. Your family law attorney must effectively and efficiently represent you to help resolve the case to its best possible result.

Your family law attorney can only be an effective and empathetic advocate if your attorney is willing to listen to you and understand your needs but also be honest and give you the best legal analysis–even if it is tough to hear. Ultimately your family law attorney works for you. If your  attorney does not understand your situation and your goals, then it will be tough for your attorney to effectively represent you.

The first step to start your divorce or family law case is to schedule a consultation. During the consultation the family law attorney will gather information from you and begin developing a plan for how to pursue your case and educate you on the legal issues involved. Learn more about what Texas family law attorneys can do to help you.

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Family law practice areas

Dissolve a marriage while protecting your assets and relationship with your children

Agreed divorces are simplified and low cost options to conclude a marriage

Protect your assets and divorce a common law marriage in Texas

Establish custodial rights for the children including visitation and parental rights

Navigate the legal process to adopt a child into your family

Financial support for children as a result of a divorce or child custody case

Ask the court to modify existing child custody and child support orders

Enforce child custody and child support orders

Assert a father’s rights by proving paternity over a child to establish a relationship

Pre-marital agreements addressing property issues during marriage and divorce

Avoid conflicts over reproductive agreements

Change your name due to family changes, adoption, transition

Do I need to hire a family law attorney?

A Texas family law attorney can benefit you in many of these domestic relations situations. Texas family law statutes are complex and family courts are a unique legal experience. It pays to have experienced representation on your side familiar with the Texas Family Code and the family court system. Family law attorneys know how to interpret the law and apply it to your case. Even a simple proceeding can quickly turn complex based upon a few facts or disagreement between the parties. The more disagreement or special circumstances involved in your case, the more an attorney will benefit you and your family. 

Family law situations, especially divorces, involve many complex issues. These issues include:

  • Real estate transactions;
  • Dividing financial assets like investment accounts;
  • Dividing retirement assets such as 401k accounts and pension benefits;
  • Arranging visitation and support agreements for children;
  • Balancing the interests and rights of parents as part of that agreement;
  • Disagreements over fundamental issues of parenting.
Family law attorneys understand the family court system is about more than just a legal process to decide divorces and child custody cases. These domestic relations issues often require complicated financial and child welfare evaluations. Attempting to navigate all of these issues without an attorney places you at a severe disadvantage.

What to expect from Texas family law attorneys

Although many family law cases share similar issues, they are rarely the same. Families have different issues, different assets and parties have different goals for their families. Your attorney should spend time getting to know you and your family issues and craft a strategy that speaks to your situation. Your attorney should also spend time discussing the legal issues in your case and how the law will affect the outcome of your case. Sometimes your goals and Texas law are at odds. Sometimes the facts do not support the outcome you want or the cost to reach a desired outcome make the outcome impractical. Your family law attorney’s job is not to tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear.

When you contact a family law firm in Texas about your case your first interaction with an attorney will typically occur during an initial consultation. You may first speak with a paralegal to obtain information so the attorney doesn’t have to spend time getting basic details before considering the legal issues in your case. Some family law firms in Texas offer free consultations but typically these are brief screening meetings to see if the firm might want to take on your case. Generally Texas family law attorneys charge for a consultation and intend to provide legal advice as part of the consultation.

What does the Texas Family Code cover?

Domestic relations cases in Texas primarily rely upon the Texas Family Code for substantive law. In addition to the Texas Family Code, your case will also involve civil court procedure like the Civil Practice & Remedies Code, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Texas Rules of Evidence. Your case may also involve other Texas law such as the Texas Property Code. 

The Texas Family Code governs family relationships in the state and juvenile justice criminal law. (Although the state charges juveniles under the Texas Penal Code, there are separate juvenile criminal procedures found under the Texas Family Code.) Texas family law attorneys generally represent clients in the non-juvenile justice titles under the code. This primarily includes:

  • Marriage
  • Limitations on the rights of children
  • Protective orders
  • Parent-child relationships

Clients sometimes feel like their family law attorneys pull the law out of a secret book of spells. Although the language of the code can be confusing at times, it is publicly available law. 

Marriage, Community Property and Divorce

Title 1 of the Texas Family Code addresses marriage, community property rules and divorce. Generally Title 1 covers most of the substance of a divorce other than issues involving your children. This is where we find issues involving common law marriage, prenuptial agreements, property division in a divorce and annulment. The chapters in Title 1 of the Texas Family Code include:

Child in Relation to the Family

Title 2 of the Texas Family Code addresses various issues with the limited rights and liabilities of children. It also includes the statutory right to change your name under Texas law. This Title is not as commonly involved in family law cases; however, they include important provisions about the rights of children that sometimes become issues in divorces and child custody cases. These include:

Protective Orders

Title 4 of the Texas Family Code addresses protective orders and family violence. (Title 3 addresses juvenile justice.) Protective orders under Title 4 specifically involve domestic violence. These orders are enforceable by law enforcement agencies and can carry serious consequences. This does not include temporary orders or temporary restraining orders in a divorce or child custody case. Those temporary orders obtained by your family law attorney are civil orders generally enforced by contempt of court. Title 4 protective orders are what most people think of as a restraining order. Title 4 chapters address:

Parent-Child Relationships, Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, Child Custody and Child Support

Title 5 of the Texas Family Code covers all of the child custody law, procedure and government agencies involved in child welfare. This includes everything from private child custody cases to CPS/DFPS cases, adoptions, guardian ad litems and attorneys ad litems, child support and terminating parental rights. Title 5 includes:

Putting together the related sections of the Texas Family Code with other related statutes, regulations and procedural rules is no easy task. Experienced family law attorneys understand this complex task and can help navigate your case through this complexity so you can focus on yourself and your family.

uncontested divorce lawyer Adam Kielich helps clients in Dallas and Fort Worth

Frequently asked questions about family law

In Texas you can represent yourself in family law cases. Some people choose that path because they don’t or can’t afford to hire an attorney. It is disadvantageous, especially if other parties have attorneys. The judge and other attorneys cannot give you advice. 

In Texas you are not entitled to court appointment legal counsel in family law cases except for CPS child removal cases. In other cases the court may appoint an amicus attorney or attorney ad litem but these do not represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney for a divorce, then in some cases the court will order your spouse to pay for your attorney.

In Texas there is no online divorce. You must file for divorce with the appropriate court. 

Law firms charge different fee rates and ask for varying retainers based upon the firm and the complexity of your case. Often family law attorneys in Texas charge between $250-400 per hour and ask for $5,000-10,000 in a retainer for a divorce or child custody case. Some firms work on flat fee arrangements.

Yes. If there is disagreement between the parties, then there will still need to be proceedings to present evidence to the judge or otherwise bring your case to a resolution. If you do not have an attorney, then you may not present a case that supports your desired outcome. 

There is often no easy answer to this question. Legal aid organizations assist people who have very little income or assets but most people will not qualify for legal aid. If you do not qualify, then you will have to decide if you can find a way to afford an attorney. You may need to take a loan or try to work out a payment plan with the law firm. 

Start your case with a Texas family law attorney

Scheduling a consultation with a family law firm is the first step in reaching a resolution to your situation. The sooner you contact law firms in your area the sooner you and your attorney can start working towards solving your problems. Not sure how to find an attorney? Visit the find an attorney page

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