At Wigington & Dankesreiter, L.L.P., we understand that family law matters are among the most difficult and emotionally charged legal issues ever encountered by our clients. Decisions you make during this process can have long-lasting impact on your family, your assets and finances, and your legal rights. Our experienced and highly qualified attorneys work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that all agreements, property divisions, and custody arrangements are fair to you. We assist our clients with a variety of family law issues, including the following:
A nuptial agreement dictates the distribution of property, assets and debt at the time of a divorce. There are two types of nuptial agreements:
- A pre-nuptial agreement is drafted before a marriage.
- A post-nuptial agreement is formed any time after a divorce.
A party must file a petition with the court to initiate divorce proceedings. After a divorce petition is filed, Texas has a 60 day statutory waiting period before a party can finalize a divorce. Even if the parties reach an agreement out of court, a court must approve a divorce for it to be official. In the event that spouses have reached an agreement, in order for the agreement to be valid, it must be in writing. In addition, an agreement must have the signature of both parties and the judge.
If a divorce leaves an ex-spouse with little income, and the other ex-spouse has the ability to contribute to that ex-spouse, a court may order spousal maintenance. Texas courts often allow for spousal maintenance under some of the following conditions, which are further outlined in Texas Family Code Section 8.051:
- During the trial, a spouse might be required to provide temporary spousal maintenance until the divorce decree.
- If the marriage lasted at least ten years, the court will allow spousal maintenance for up to three years, if the spouse seeking support does not have sufficient property to provide for his or her own minimum needs.
- An exception exists if the spouse from whom maintenance is requested has been convicted of a crime that constitutes family violence within the past two years of when the suit for dissolution was filed, or while the suit for dissolution is ongoing.
After a divorce, property division often becomes a difficult issue. Texas is a community property state. Generally, all property acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the spouses. This is subject to exceptions, including the allowance that property acquired by a spouse by gift or devise is separate, not community, property.
Child Custody and Support
Texas has specific rules regarding child custody and child support. Texas courts prefer to name divorcing parents as joint managing conservators, as a solution to the thorny issue of child custody. Under this arrangement, one parent is awarded primary physical custody. The other parent is then often required to pay child support. Both parents then share certain rights, such as the ability to consult with school officials regarding the child's education and doctors regarding the child's medical care.
In Texas, child support is a percentage of the non-custodial parent's net resources, and follows the following formula: 20% of net resources for one child, 25% for two children, 30% for three children, 35% for four children, 40% for five children, and no less than 40% for six or more children (not to exceed certain maximum limits).
Seek Experienced Legal Advice
If you are seeking experienced legal representation regarding a family law matter, contact Wigington & Dankesreiter, L.L.P. to schedule a consultation.