The attorneys at Price & Price are proud to offer our clients knowledgeable, professional and courteous representation in a wide range of family law matters including divorces, modifications, child custody disputes, child support, maintenance, and complex property division issues. Firm partner Jimmie P. Price is Board Certified as a Family Law Specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. A contested family law case can be challenging and life-altering for the family affected. We are committed to providing sound legal advice which will allow you to make the best possible decision for your family and your future.
After gathering information on your own, the next step is to contact a reputable lawyer to schedule a consultation. At the initial consultation, our attorneys will take the time to answer your questions, analyze your long-term goals, and explain the process and strategy involved in moving forward with your case. Regardless of the intricacies of the case or the complexities of the emotions involved, we are committed to representing our clients efficiently and effectively. Contact Price & Price for a consultation regarding a divorce or other family law matter.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
- Child Support
- Common Law Marriage
- Child Custody
- Division of Property
- Family Violence
- Name Change - Adult
- Name Change - Child
- Property Agreements
- Property Division
Overview of Common Family Law Terms and Requirements
Texas law provides for divorce (dissolution of marriage) on various fault-based grounds, such as cruelty, adultery or abandonment, among others, as well as the no-fault ground of insupportability. A no-fault divorce may be granted if it is shown that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict between the parties that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage and that there is not any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
In order to file suit for divorce, one of the spouses must have been domiciled in the state for the past six months and be a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the past ninety days prior. The earliest that a divorce can be granted is at least sixty days after the suit is filed. However, when a case involves complex property division and/or contested custody or support issues, the process can take much longer. In most instances, neither spouse may re-marry until after thirty days following the date of divorce.
There are two types of custody that are set forth in a final order in a case involving children: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the rights and duties allocated to each parent with regards to making decisions about the child's upbringing, such as educational, medical, and religious decisions. In Texas, legal custody is known as managing conservatorship, and in most cases the parties will be appointed joint managing conservators because that is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. However, in some extreme cases, one party will be named a sole managing conservator and the other party will be named a possessory conservator.
Actual physical custody, known in Texas as possession and access, typically follows a standard possession order. The parent who has the primary right to determine the residence of the child usually has more time with the child; however, the standard possession order provides for mid-week, weekend, holiday, summer, spring-break and Father's Day and Mother's Day visitation for both parents.
The parent who does not have the right to determine the primary residence of the child in most instances will be ordered to pay support to the parent with primary possession. The amount of child support is calculated according to guidelines which are based on the paying parent's income and the number of children to be supported. Under these guidelines, the support amount can range from 20% to 50% of the payor's net income. The paying party's net monthly resources are capped at a certain amount per month; however, the court can consider the circumstances of the child and the parties as well as any special needs of the child in determining whether to go outside of the guideline child support in a case.
Texas is a community property state and in general all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property subject to division between the parties. Texas courts must divide property between the parties in a just and right manner, taking into account the rights of the spouses and any children of the marriage. It is very important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can argue aggressively and persuasively for a division which adequately protects the rights and wishes of the client. Characterizing whether a particular asset is community or separate property and determining the disposition of certain assets such as insurance policies, pensions plans, stock options, and other retirement and employment benefits can be quite complicated and complex. Therefore it is imperative for an individual with these types of assets to hire an experienced lawyer to properly allocate this property between the parties.
Maintenance, also referred to as spousal support, may be ordered to be paid from one spouse to the other on a temporary basis while the case is pending and in some cases on a final basis after the divorce is granted. Factors considered by the court include the financial need of the requesting spouse and the financial ability of the other spouse, the earning capacity of both spouses, the duration of the marriage, the age and health of the spouses, and other factors. In most cases, a maintenance award will not exceed three years (or sooner if the receiving spouse remarries). The court determines the monthly amount of maintenance ordered to be paid, up to the lesser of $2,500.00 or 20% of the spouse's average monthly gross income. If spousal maintenance is ordered, the amount and duration is determined with consideration given to the goal that the receiving spouse should become self-supporting as soon as possible.
Marital Property Agreements
Texas is a community property state and in most instances all of the property accumulated during the marriage will be subject to division between the spouses upon divorce; however, there are premarital and postmarital agreements that can be created between spouses or prospective spouses which alter the marital-property rights without the necessity of judicial action. Premarital agreements allow parties about to enter into a marital relationship the opportunity to define their rights and obligations during the marriage in order to preserve family funds for a variety of reasons including to support children from a previous relationship, to eliminate or set alimony obligations, to keep a spouse's income separate and/or to clarify how taxes will be handled during the marriage. There are two types of postmarital agreements: partition/exchange agreements and conversion agreements. A partition/exchange agreement allows a spouse to convert his/her community property interest into separate property and can be drafted to eliminate community property from the marriage. A conversion agreement is used to convert a spouse's separate property into community property.