New Braunfels Attorney for Contested Divorce Involving Children
Contested Divorces with Children in Comal, Guadalupe, and Hays Counties
Divorce nearly always involves complicated legal issues and emotional reactions. When minor children are involved, these issues and feelings are even more intense. Texas law does set up standardized orders for child custody and child support, but they are not appropriate for all families in all circumstances. In a somewhat similar vein, there are a number of possible grounds for divorce if a no-fault marriage dissolution is not the best option, for whatever reason.
Open and effective communication is one of the cornerstones of our family law practice at The Bettersworth Law Firm. During the initial intake, we take the time to listen to you in order to determine not only the facts of the case but also your legal and financial goals in a given matter. As the case proceeds, we promptly respond to your phone calls and emails. Furthermore, we proactively keep you informed as to ongoing developments in your case, so you are never in the dark.
Grounds for Divorce According to the Texas Family Code
The vast majority of Texas divorces are based on "insupportibility" due to "discord or conflict of personalities" and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. After a no-fault petition is filed, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period.
Many times, however, a person files an evidence-based divorce for legitimate religious or personal reasons. Other spouses have financial reasons for such an action because Texas is one of the few states that makes fault in the breakup of the marriage relevant in property division and enforcement matters. The recognized faults are:
- Adultery, which is narrowly defined to include only sexual activity,
- Emotional or physical cruelty "of a nature that renders further living together insupportable,"
- Felony conviction and incarceration,
- Abandonment of at least one year,
- Physical separation of at least three years, and
- Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years.
Texas law also sharply limits the available common-law defenses to these grounds, particularly as to adultery.
Child Support and Child Custody
Texas is a percentage-of-income state that determines the presumptive amount of child support based on a percentage of the obligor parent's income. The scale begins at 20 percent for one child and ends at 40 percent for five or more children. In some circumstances, the judge has the discretion to deviate from the child support guidelines and base the amount on a number of factors, including:
- Any step-children in the family,
- The ages and needs of the children, and
- "Any other reason consistent with the best interest of the child."
In addition to financial support, most obligors must make arrangements for health insurance. If the obligor dies, the child support obligation continues, so some judges require an obligor to have a life insurance policy.
As far as visitation and custody are concerned, most non-custodial parents have possession of the children on one night during the week (typically Thursday night), every other weekend, every other holiday, and most of the summer. The Standard Possession Order is also subject to modification, primarily based on any agreement between the parents.
Contested divorces with children involve significant legal and financial questions. For prompt assistance in this area, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404.