New Braunfels Divorce Lawyer
Experienced Divorce Attorney in San Marcos, Seguin, and Throughout South Central Texas
A recent study by the National Center for Family & Marriage indicated the 2015 divorce rate was 16.9 per 1000 people. Since 1980, the rate decreased 25 percent from the 22.6 level. Divorces are difficult and emotional issues involving new living arrangements, financial concerns, and are usually hard on children. For nearly 20 years, The Bettersworth Law Firm has provided legal assistance for those in the divorce process, emphasizing open and effective communication.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce involves couples choosing to separate who can reach mutual agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. These matters require legal representation to avoid unforeseen liabilities, make you aware of all options, and transition cases efficiently through court. Petitioners must live in Texas for six months, serve 60-day waiting periods, and female spouses must not be pregnant. The grounds for such are usually "insupportability', with no at-fault party, citing unresolvable discord or personality conflicts.
Grounds for contested divorce include cruelty, adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, mental illness, or having lived separately for a three-year period. During this process, a party may request a motion for a temporary injunction requiring all property be preserved during the pendency of the case. Courts may order couples to attend counseling with a designated party to determine if reconciliation is feasible. If both parties consent, or upon court request, mediation is an option. Mediators are independent third-party's who encourage open communication on the issues of contention. Mediators do not impose settlement arrangements, but rather facilitate the discussion of constructive solutions.
All marital assets and debts, known as community property are subject to division. The law allows courts to exercise discretion to divide in a "just and right" manner, considering the best interests of any minor children involved. Separate property is excluded from division and includes property owned before marriage, gifts acquired, or from a descendant or injury settlement. Courts considerations include:
- Their relative age, education, and health;
- Assignments of marital faults;
- Noneconomic homemaker contributions;
- Minor child custody; and
- Length of marriage.
Maintenance awards require a spouse to make financial support payments to another. Courts determine payment amount and duration while considering:
- Their incomes and earning potential based on education or training;
- Length of marriage;
- Their age and health;
- Any activity in concealing or failing to preserve community property;
- Their separate property;
- Homemaker contributions; and
- Acts of marital misconduct.
Child Custody and Child Support
Courts approach child-related concerns on what they deem is in the child's best interest, often seeking third-party opinions. Child custody, or conservatorship, may be sole or joint. Sole assigns one parent responsibility for providing the child's home and key medical and educational decisions. Joint conservatorships assign dual responsibility for key decisions. Children may reside primarily with one parent, while the other receives visitation schedules for parenting time, or variations upon court discretion.
Unwed parents may formally establish the father's paternity in order to assist with child support. Shortly after birth, fathers may sign an acknowledgment of paternity voluntarily, or courts may order submission to a paternity test to verify. Both parents are responsible for supporting children, and if living separately, regular child support payments are implemented and enforced. Payments are typically calculated as a percentage of the parent's income.
Skilled New Braunfels Divorce Attorney
Since 1998, The Bettersworth Law Firm has provided legal assistance for those in the divorce process. We were voted a "Clients Choice" on Avvo, with a rating of "10" and an A+ BBB rating. Contact our office for a free consultation at 830-606-0404.