We offer services for both contested divorces and uncontested matters. For those with children, there are really two parts to a divorce: property division and child custody. Texas is a community property state. This means any property acquired during the marriage is characterized as community, regardless of whose name the property is in. We will help provide guidance on how to classify property and help maximize your division to benefit your unique needs. We can help walk you through each step of the process. Even if you have already filed a divorce on your own, we can help.
Not all cases end up in the courtroom. Mediation programs can be very beneficial to people who are divorcing as well as custody disputes that arise post-divorce relationship. Mediation involves the use of a neutral their-party who can help the parties reach an agreement and avoid going to court. Mediation is often far cheaper than a bench trial and it promotes positive dispute resolution rather than adversarial procedures. Mediation is well worth the time and cost it can save parties in the litigation process.
Mediation is particularly useful in situations involving children, since it is in the interests of the children that their parents “get along” even if they will no longer live together as husband and wife. In Texas, almost all cases that involve contested custody or visitation matters are referred to mandatory mediation, provided the parties are represented by an attorney and there is no allegation of domestic abuse.
Once an agreement is reached, the parties will sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement. This document is binding on all parties and enforceable. Our team is well versed in leading our clients through mediation. Marci Martinez is also a Qualified Mediator in Texas and she has served as a mediator for over sixty cases in Denton County.
Raising children is not cheap. In Texas, child support is set under guidelines under the Texas Family Code. The primary custodial parent is usually awarded child support in most cases. There are several factors the courts can consider as “resources” for determining a party’s income for divorce. Sometimes, child support needs to be enforced if a party stops paying. Someone may have filed an enforcement on you.
Income and job circumstances may change. If so, you may be entitled to a modification to reduce your child support. If you are under a court order, you simply should not stop paying on your own. You could be held in contempt. We can help counsel you on the amount of child support and/or the enforcement of child support.
Once a divorce or Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship is finalized, a Divorce Decree may need to be changed down the road regarding the children. Anything can be modified from conservatorship, possession, rights and duties and/or child support.
To modify a prior order, a “maternal and substantial change” must be the determining factor for a court to consider. However, there are some cases in which emergency modifications are granted if the children are in danger. If you feel you need an emergency modification, you should not try to handle this alone given time is of the essence and a certain burden must be met to get an emergency order. Call to speak to us today so we can help you.
A premarital, or prenuptial, agreement is a contract entered into prior to marriage that the parties will be bound by upon a divorce filing. These agreements can predetermine the characterization of property and even change the characterization (separate vs. community), despite how the law characterizes the property, and can allow the parties control over their financial future and status. The divorce decree will mirror the terms of this agreement. This simple process can save parties a lot of time and money in a future divorce proceeding.
We have been drafting these agreements for over a decade. We would be happy to answer your questions on how this process can benefit you before you say, “I do.”