Family Law – Frequently Asked Questions
When two people can no longer work together as a married couple, the results can be traumatic for everyone involved; especially children. The end of a marriage not only signals the end of the relationship between two people, but it can also include everything from financial difficulties to child custody battles.
The experienced family law attorney and staff at The Flowers Law Firm understand that these trying times require a combination of legal skill and deep compassion to assist our clients. With this in mind, we’ve included the answers to some frequently asked questions to help you through the process.
Q1: Why do I need a divorce lawyer? Can’t I just file the paperwork on my own?
A1: While you could file for divorce without the help of an attorney, doing so would leave you vulnerable to your ex-spouse’s desires for your assets, your living situation, and custody arrangements for your children. And although there are forms available, most of those forms create more problems than they are worth. These forms are very basic and use a “one size fits all” approach that is often insufficient. The best way to protect yourself is to work with a divorce lawyer in Tyler, Texas, who will look out for your rights.
Q2: Do I need a specific cause to file for divorce?
A2: Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that you do not need a specific cause, such as adultery, abuse, or neglect, to file for divorce. Your divorce attorney in Tyler, Texas, can guide you through the process.
Q3: How will our property be divided between me and my ex-spouse?
A3: Texas is a “community property” state, which means that any assets accumulated during the marriage are split up evenly between the ex-spouses, with a few exceptions. A skilled divorce lawyer in Tyler, Texas, can show you these exceptions and how they can affect your financial status after your divorce.
Q4: What is a “common law” marriage? Do I need to file for divorce to dissolve a common law marriage?
A4: In Texas, a common law marriage is one in which a couple are recognized as married, but without a formal marriage certificate or ceremony. The requirements for a common law marriage include:
- Mutual consent to be together as a married couple
- Living together as a married couple
- Presenting yourselves in public as a married couple
- Mental capacity to consent to a marriage (including minimum age requirements)
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the common law marriage (assets, children, etc.), you may need to file a formal divorce petition to dissolve the marriage. A seasoned divorce attorney in Tyler, Texas, can show you how to dissolve a common law marriage.
Q5: How does the law address child custody issues? Does the mother always get custody of the children after a divorce?
A5: Texas law requires that custody decisions be made with “the best interests of the children” in mind. The circumstances surrounding both parents will often determine how the judge rules in a custody case. The best way to ensure that you get a favorable custody arrangement is to work with a child custody lawyer in Tyler, Texas, on your case.
Q6: I’m a grandparent and I want to gain custody of my grandchildren. Do I have a case?
A6: Family law courts usually work under a “parental presumption”, which means that the children belong with their parents. However, a grandparent can fight for custody if they can show that the child would be harmed by staying with either parent. The most effective way to determine if you can gain custody of your grandchild is to call the child custody attorney at The Flowers Law Firm and discuss your case.
Q7: If I gain custody of my children, how much can I expect in child support from my ex-spouse?
A7: Family law judges take into account numerous factors when calculating child support payments, including:
- The non-custodial spouse’s income
- The number of children from the marriage
- The ages of all children
- The standard of living prior to the divorce
- Special needs (e.g. physical therapy, mental health counseling, etc.)
Your child support lawyer in Tyler, Texas, can help you figure out how much you could potentially receive in a child support arrangement.
Q8: My ex-spouse is not making their child support payments. What can I do?
A8: If your ex-spouse is not fulfilling their obligations to make their child support payments, they can be held in contempt of court. Your child support attorney in Tyler, Texas, can inform the court about the issue and work to get you the payments you are owed.
Q9: How can I get my marriage annulled?
A9: An annulment is a legal ruling that a true marriage never occurred. The legal hurdles for the annulment of a marriage are higher than those for a divorce. An annulment includes many of the same issues as a divorce, such as child custody and separation of property. An experienced family law attorney in Tyler, Texas, can help you find out if your marriage qualifies for an annulment.
Q10: My spouse has accused me of domestic violence during our divorce proceedings, even though I have never physically assaulted them. What are my options?
A10: First off, Texas law incorporates verbal and emotional abuse under its “domestic violence” umbrella, so the lack of physical abuse does not automatically exempt you from the allegations. If you have not engaged in other types of abuse toward your spouse, the family law attorney at The Flowers Law Firm can help you repudiate any false allegations.
If you or someone you love has a family law issue, let The Flowers Law Firm help. Contact us today at 903-965-2000. Our friendly staff will ask you a few questions about your case and connect you to an attorney who can help you with your family law case.