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New Braunfels, TX Family Law Attorney

Helping Families Through Family Law Matters in New Braunfels, TX

A generation or two ago, divorce and other family law issues were quietly swept under the rug. and there were few, if any, legal tools available to assist those dealing with issues like custody and support disagreements. Today, these problems are out in the open, and for the most part, Texas courts are ready to help resolve a number of different family law dilemmas. When these matters go to court, it is very important to have an attorney who will stand up for your legal and financial rights.

At The Bettersworth Law Firm, our aggressive legal team is ready to speak up for you in both the courtroom and at the negotiating table. However, our assertiveness is always grounded with compassion. This balance is especially important when disputes involve minor children, because while it is important not to back down in key areas, it is also essential to work towards compromise and show the judge or jury that you would be a good co-parent. Not many legal professionals can walk this tightrope, but we do it every day.

Representing Families in New Braunfels, Seguin, Boerne, and South Central Texas

Just like the sleekest and fastest airplane is useless without a trained pilot, family courts mean little without an experienced attorney. At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we routinely handle a diverse array of cases, including:

  • Uncontested divorce: A spouse may request a no-fault divorce if the person has lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where they currently reside for at least 90 days. There is a minimum 60-day waiting period after the filing; if the respondent does not answer the petition, these divorces are usually concluded rather quickly.
  • Contested divorce: Most divorces are contested, at least to some extent. Although the respondent typically does not oppose the divorce, there may be major disagreement as to property division, spousal support, and other issues.
  • Contested divorce with children: The Family Code sets out standard provisions for child visitation and child support. Nevertheless, both these issues, in addition to child custody, are often intensely disputed.
  • Modification: Divorce and family law orders can be legally updated when necessary. Typical reasons for modification include a change in income or a change in residence.
  • Custody disputes: All good parents agree that the best interests of their children are paramount, but they often disagree as to how this vision is best carried out.
  • Enforcement: If a parent refuses to obey court orders regarding visitation, support, or any other matter, there are a number of legal tools, to deal with the situation, including contempt of court.
  • Domestic violence: The law provides broad protection for alleged victims and stiff penalties for alleged violators.
  • Paternity: In most cases, only a legal father has a duty to support children or the right to demand visitation and custody. For unmarried parents, it may be necessary to establish legal parentage to ensure that these issues can be addressed correctly.

Uncontested Vs. Contested Divorce

An uncontested divorce involves a couple who can reach a mutual agreement regarding the terms of their divorce. These matters require legal representation to avoid unforeseen legal issues, make you aware of all options, and transition cases efficiently through court. Petitioners must live in Texas for six months and serve 60-day waiting periods, and female spouses must not be pregnant. The grounds for an uncontested divorce 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 to 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 parties who encourage open communication on the issues of contention. Mediators do not impose settlement arrangements, but they facilitate the discussion of constructive solutions.

Property Division

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, inheritances, or injury settlements. Considerations may include:

  • The parties' relative age, education, and health
  • Assignments of marital faults
  • Noneconomic homemaker contributions
  • Minor child custody
  • Length of marriage

Spousal Maintenance

Maintenance awards require a spouse to make financial support payments to their former partner. Courts determine payment amount and duration while considering:

  • The parties' incomes and earning potential based on education or training
  • Length of marriage
  • The parties' age and health
  • Any activity in concealing or failing to preserve community property
  • The parties' separate property
  • Homemaker contributions
  • Acts of marital misconduct

Child Custody and Child Support

Courts approach child-related concerns while focusing 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 custody assigns one parent the 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 on a regular, ongoing basis.

Unwed parents may formally establish the father's paternity in order to assist with child support. Shortly after birth, a father may voluntarily sign a document known as an acknowledgment of paternity, or a family court judge may order a paternity test to verify the genetic link between the child and the father. Both parents are responsible for supporting children, and if living separately, regular child support payments will typically be implemented and enforced. Payments are typically calculated as a percentage of the obligor parent's income.

Contact a New Braunfels Family Law Attorney

At The Bettersworth Law Firm, we can help you resolve issues related to divorce, child custody, and child support. We also provide assistance in other areas, like a name change, adoption, grandparent access, termination of parental rights, and annulment. To take full advantage of the legal resources available to you and your family, contact us today at 830-606-0404.

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