Blog on Divorce and Family Law
Learning some basic information about divorce and family law can help prepare you for the legal issues you face. Our attorneys believe that honest advice, straight talk and some basic legal knowledge can make a big difference. A legal issue is a two-sided coin ─ your side versus the other side. Our job is to apply our knowledge, skills and experience to help you get the results you want. However, that doesn’t mean there is no participation on your part. You have important decisions to make that affect your future. The better you understand, the better you are at making smart decisions.
We hope you find our blog useful. Of course, forming a client-attorney relationship is the only way to receive legal advice, and these posts are not intended as legal advice nor the establishment of a client-attorney relationship.
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Child custody issues are usually complicated and never easy. Visitation is often a main concern of parents going through a divorce.
In Texas, visitation is called possession of and access to a child. A parent can get possession and access, unless the judge determines it is not in the best interest of the child and will endanger the physical and emotional well-being of the child. During the divorce proceedings, joint or sole custody is determined by the court according to the best interest of the child. The court also decides upon the terms and conditions of the rights of the parent with visitation.
Parental Visitation in Texas
In most cases, custody orders include a standard possession order (SPO) that sets the schedule for each parent’s time with the child. However, parents with an SPO can agree to any visitation schedule that works for them both. If they cannot agree, then they must follow the terms of the SPO. In each case, the type of visitation schedule is determined by the judge presiding over your separation or divorce.
Reasonable Visitation. This mean that it is left to the parents of the children to come up with a plan and schedule for parental visitation. This is preferred by the courts.
Fixed Visitation. In general, this means the parents follow a fixed visitation schedule that the judge orders the specific times, and sometimes the places, where the non-custodial parent is to have parental visitation. When there is clear conflict between the parents or when the parents are not willing to cooperate with each other, the courts are more inclined to place parents on fixed visitation.
Visitation for Grandparents
Every state has some sort of grandparent visitation law. In Texas, a court can authorize grandparent visitation of a grandchild if visitation is in the child’s best interest, and one of the following circumstances exists:
- The parents divorced
- The parent abused or neglected the child
- The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died
- A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months
Also, a grandparent may not request visitation if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than the child’s step-parent. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for their children. If a grandparent has custody, the parents will be required to pay it to the grandparent.
Do You Have Questions About Your Visitation?
It is important to discuss your situation with an experienced divorce lawyer, especially when you believe you do not receive a fair amount of time with your child. If you have questions about divorce, our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates are glad to explain your rights and what legal recourse is available to you.
Making an adult decision is sometimes the most difficult because sooner rather than later, you will have to face reality.
Divorce is a grown-up (adult) decision, and parents should take responsibility for their own choices. You need to own your decision to stay together (or not). If you’re thinking about getting a divorce and want to know what happens next, there are a few things to consider. A divorce is really three lawsuits involving the divorce, property and debts, and children. If you have made up your mind and decide to divorce, it’s best to have a plan before you start the divorce process.
Step 1: Prepare an assessment of your overall situation – income, expenses, housing, children
In the beginning you will have more questions than answers. In a lot of ways, marriage is a business partnership, but with much more at stake. A marriage often involves other family law issues such as children. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement dividing up assets and depts, divorce can be expensive and convoluted. And then there is the children.
Should you stay together for the children’s sake? This is a huge question that most parents who are considering a separation ask themselves — and each other. Research on staying together for the children suggests that children do better after separation from a high-conflict marriage. If you have older children, consider talking with them in advance of making big changes. Keeping your “children first” policy both in your own parenting and in working with your children’s other parent is very important to the divorce process. Remember, at the end of the day, your chief role is to be the parent.
Step 2: Ask a divorce attorney about the details
Before your initial consultation with an attorney, you should have some ideas of what the process will be like in your specific case and have a basic understanding of the different kinds of divorce – uncontested divorce vs. contested divorce. It’s important to understand that you will be actively involved in the divorce process. This is not a situation where you can drop off your paperwork and then never think about it again.
It’s your life that is being transformed and you will be involved in every step of your divorce case. Therefore, it is important that you be totally honest with the attorney from the start and respond timely with requests for documents and information. Being truthful with your lawyer will help you avoid problems and ultimately save time and money.
Your Best Resource
The attorney-client privilege applies to the first consultation and beyond, so you can feel safe sharing your concerns from the start. Never assume that an asset is protected or that you do not need to disclose information to your attorney. Share everything and your attorney will advise you on the best steps to take. After the consultation, you should have a good idea about the issues in your divorce case, what the divorce process involves, and a general idea what it will cost in your case.
No matter if you are ready to file for divorce today or if you are not sure, you can take your time and talk to an attorney and get a game plan in place that works best for you and your situation.
GET LEGAL HELP WITH YOUR DIVORCE
Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can help you make important decisions about divorce and child custody as well as help with negotiating a fair settlement. Call for an appointment today.
A bill pending before the Texas Legislature right now could change divorce in Texas.
Fathers in the Lone Star State are rallying in support of a new law to be passed that would change the child custody law. Texas House Bill 453, authored by State Rep. James White, R-Woodville, would create a presumption of equality between mothers and fathers in spending parenting time with their children after they separate.
How It Works in Texas Family Court
In a Texas divorce, child custody is referred to as a “conservatorship”, which is the word used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. Texas courts name a child’s custodian parent as a “conservator.” The most important concern for the court in deciding on a conservatorship plan is what is in best interest of the child.
Texas Child Custody
A family law judge will decide the terms of a “conservatorship” unless both parents reach a custody agreement prior to arriving in a family court. In that case, the court would just need to approve it. According to House Bill 453, the courts must enter a possession schedule that divides the time equally.
Texas Child Conservatorships
- Joint managing conservatorship (JMC) In a joint managing conservatorship both parties share the rights and duties of a parent. Even in this situation, the exclusive right to make certain decisions may be awarded to one parent only. Remember, the court uses the legal standard of “what is in the best interests of the child. The challenge of a JMC is that when a judge makes both parents JMCs it may not mean that both parents are going to have equal possession and access to the child. Custody and visitation are decided in a separate visitation schedule known as a standard possession order (SPO). When both parents are made conservators, the judge will specify the responsibilities each parent has separately and jointly.
- Sole managing conservatorship (SMC) Sole managing conservatorship (SMC) means the court grants only one parent the legal right to make certain decisions concerning the child. There are several reasons why a court could grant one parent an SMC. Perhaps one parent doesn’t want joint managing conservatorship (custody) responsibilities.
Child Support and Visitation Schedule
The judge will create a visitation schedule, called a standard possession order, using certain guidelines. Visitation is called possession of and access to a child. A parent can get possession and access, unless the judge determines it is not in the best interests of the child and will endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child. Parents can either agree on a visitation schedule or the judge will order a schedule he or she thinks is in the best interest of the child. When a Texas court judge makes a decision about child custody, the orders almost always include child support to be paid by the parent that the child doesn’t live with, the “non-custodial parent”.
Texas child support laws can sometimes get complicated. It is a smart decision to consult an experienced Texas family law attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
GET LEGAL HELP WITH CHILD CUSTODY ARRANGEMENTS
Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates can help you make important decisions about child custody and also help with negotiating a fair settlement.
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