Facing family law cases in court can involve a long and exhausting process. Divorce, spousal support (formerly alimony), child custody, prenuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements: the list goes on and leads to increasingly problematic issues. In order to handle the ever mounting issues of Houston, TX family law, legal help may be necessary for you. With the proper legal guidance, you will have a much easier time addressing your needs during your legal proceedings.
Facing an uncontested divorce case in court is easy; it is when arguments crop up that things become much more complicated. A divorce is capable of becoming a sordid affair with both sides clamoring to build up their case against the other. Even before divorce is considered, it is wise to speak to a lawyer to ensure that all of your options are in order. By having a strategy laid out beforehand, there will be much less hassle in facing any divorce issues that may occur in the future.
You may feel like speaking to a divorce lawyer will make the prospect of divorce that much stronger. In fact, the opposite is true: by speaking to a legal professional, you will be preparing for or even preventing any negative eventualities, not cementing them. Positive communication is always helpful.
When you speak to a lawyer, you will be able to discuss your marriage in an unbiased, professional environment. If your marriage ever does come to a divorce, it is better to be prepared and equipped to handle the scenario instead of incapable of dealing the situation as it happens.
Divorces tend to devolve into spiteful affairs quickly. The benefits of being in contact with a family law lawyer become clear when the topic of marital assets becomes hotly contested early on. Divorces become even more complex with the inclusion of children, finances, and assets that all need to be accounted for. Issues may become further inflamed if there are criminal aspects of a case to consider.
Having any instances of domestic violence on file will ensure that divorce becomes more complicated. When considering all the factors of a divorce case, the court can take domestic violence into account when coming to a division. The court will especially pay attention to any histories of violence when children and finances are involved. If any progress is to be made untangling the mess past abuse causes in divorce cases, a legal professional must be able to help sort through the matters with professional, proficient ability.
When in a family law court, the questions and lifestyle aspects scrutinized are generally kept consistent no matter the case. You will need to discuss these issues with your lawyer and prepare for them to be brought up in court to suitably prepare for your case.
What is Your Income?
Income plays a large part in allowing a court to determine how much aid a party requires to live comfortably. In alimony cases, the income of both sides factors into the calculations of how much will need to be paid to the receiving side. In child custody cases, income is gauged to see which party will be able to more adequately take care of a child. Income is among the first factors courts check before any family law cases.
Are There Any Outstanding Debts That Should Be Brought Up?
When you are married, you share your income with your partner. Debts are shared as well. When in the process of divorce, you may have to determine to whom a debt may ultimately belong to. The money owed to a college for one partner’s tuition is clearer cut than knowing who should pay the mortgage for a mutually shared home. Debts will need to be reviewed and considered by the court when determining alimony and child custody.
What Are the Ages of The Parties Involved?
Age is a factor in family law that mainly ties into a court’s view of other factors. The older you are, the less likely you will be able to bring in income, hindering any chances to pay off debts or contribute funds to the other party. Courts consider the ages of all those involved in a family law case, children included. You will need to account for those under your care and affected by your family law case to prepare for the issue to be brought up in court later.
Do You Have Any Medical Needs?
Along with age, your medical needs have a direct impact on a court’s decision regarding family law. This question also ties into the other factors as well, as medical debts and time spent in professional care will color a court’s view the alimony you receive and your ability to provide for children. If you have medical needs and require financial support to continue them then this needs to be addressed and discussed with your family law attorney.
What is Your Educational Status?
Your educational status is directly correlated with your ability to bring in income and provide for your family. The lower someone’s educational level, the more difficult it will be to provide alimony or child support. Courts aim to ensure that alimony provides recipients with the funds they need to survive, which is directly altered depending on their ability to provide for themselves.
What Kinds of Contributions Did You Bring to The Marriage?
As court considers the reasoning behind a divorce, they also take into account what you brought to the marriage. Was yours the primary source of income? Did you spend your time raising and nurturing your children? How much of the marital assets being contested over did you purchase? Knowing how much of a stake you have in a family law case is a definite point that courts will work to discern thoroughly.
What is the Tax Status of Either Party?
Determining your tax status is another way for courts to better understand the financial situation of both you and the other party. You will need to account for the tax status you are filed under: single, marital joint, marital single, head of household, or widow(er) with a dependent child. This question has the potential to make a family law case simpler or much more complicated.
Was There Any Marital Misconduct?
The issues leading up to a divorce play heavily into how a court will see a case. If the other party is guilty of undermining the marriage in any way, that may be an important aspect of the case for you to emphasize. Misconduct extends beyond adultery and includes abusive behavior, addictions, or financial strains as well.
Does Either Party Have Any Issues with The Law?
It has been stated that during marriage both parties share much, including the blame in dealings with the law. The courts must know if your partner committed criminal acts without your knowledge or help. If you were powerless to stop any crimes from being committed, then this works with the other factors such as misconduct. Do not be blamed for what the other party has done; build your case up to avoid unnecessary blame.
After a thorough examination with all these questions in mind, your family law attorney will be sure to weave them into your defense. The reasoning behind this kind of questioning is to ensure that your case is as strong as possible. Any slip-ups in information or unresolved issues have the tendency of coming back up in court and altering the flow of the proceedings. Depending on the answers to the questions, a family law case will see very different outcomes.
Alimony cases are much more complicated than a simple payment every month. The courts in Texas make sure to look over multiple aspects of any given case to ensure that both parties of a divorce are financially supported. A family law attorney will focus on guiding the court proceedings to one of the possible alimony types.
Depending on the court's decision, an alimony case's outcome will result in different types of alimony to pay. Alimony may become a permanent budgetary fixture, requiring payment until certain conditions are met or one of the parties dies. Alimony may also be a temporary requirement, fitting within a certain time frame before ending. An even more specific type of alimony is rehabilitative, where alimony is paid until the receiving party is able to support themselves.
Custody is a court debate that easily becomes a long, drawn out affair that can drain both sides. At the core of the custody debate is the court's power over what will ultimately be best for the children involved. The primary conflict of child custody comes from each party's disagreement about the other side's ability to provide and nurture. The court will decide the route the proceedings will follow based on how the involved parties are represented.
In dictating how child proceedings will commence, the court has different options to choose from. The preferred choice of custody for a court is usually joint, where both parents take part in raising a child in equal measure. If joint custody is not possible or deemed unsuitable for the case, then sole custody is also an option. Under sole custody, one parent becomes the primary guardian of a child. The other has visitation rights, but lacks authority to make certain decisions for the child.
In deciding custody, the court will ask a standard series of questions to the parties involved. The primary focus of these questions during child custody hearings is to determine the competence and ability of each party. Income, debts, location, and criminal records are just some of the factors that dictate a court's custody decision. Legal problems or mistakes in presentation will have severe consequences regarding the results of a child custody conflict.
Legally, child support is the court mandated right of a child. The primary purpose of child support is to ensure that a child is raised in a suitable environment regardless of which parent they are staying with. The finances of both parents are weighed, and depending on the court's decision regarding custody, child support is decided accordingly. For joint custody situations, the finances are split evenly. In a sole custody situation, the primary guardian will receive the necessary funds.
Creating a prenuptial agreement is a steadfast way to protect children, assets, and property in the event of a divorce. By drafting up a solid prenup, you may be able to avoid the messy affair that characterizes divorce court arguments. All the legal proceedings related to deciding who receives what during a divorce will have already been hashed out and put on paper before any divorce discussions begin. Prenuptial agreements must be fully detailed and reviewed in order to prevent any future issues from occurring.
The problems a prenup solves extend to general issues involving marital assets. Issues concerning property, spousal support, wills, trusts, personal rights, and obligations are all settled and agreed upon ahead of time. More and more couples are creating prenups in order to make sure that their income and assets are not threatened regardless of their marital status in the future. Ensuring you draft a prenup with the the help of qualified legal counsel is important because any murky areas may leave it open to being declared invalid by the court.
Family law is a field that becomes complicated extremely fast. In order to successfully make your way through court cases involving family law, you will need the help of individuals working in the field. The Law Office of Scott D. Reiner, PLLC works to deliver focused, professional service you require to work towards success in your family law cases. Call now for a consultation on your case today.
Harris County has 11 District Courts exclusively dedicated to family law: 245th District Court, 246th District Court, 247th District Court, 257th District Court, 280th District Court, 308th District Court, 309th District Court, 310th District Court, 311th District Court, 312th District Court, and 507th District Court.
The 280th District Court is a specialized Court within those that hears only applications for protective orders due to family violence. Harris County also has three District Courts that specialize in juvenile and child protection (e.g. CPS) cases: 313th District Court, 314th District Court, 315th District Court.