Family Law Blog

Family law can be complicated.
This blog contains some of the most common questions that our family law attorneys receive. Search or click below to learn more about common family law issues regarding divorce, child custody, adoption, and CPS.

Can I be ordered to pay my spouse alimony (spousal maintenance)?

Texas courts can order a spouse to make support payments to the other spouse while the divorce is pending, and thereafter, in very limited circumstances when the case is over. The Texas word for “Alimony” is “Spousal Maintenance”. The Family Code provides very a series of very limited rules concerning post-divorce spousal support that requireContinue reading “Can I be ordered to pay my spouse alimony (spousal maintenance)?”

Is my premarital agreement enforceable?

If a Premarital Agreement is not executed correctly, it may not be enforceable at the time that it is needed most. Texas property laws are complicated, and so are the laws regarding the execution and enforceability of premarital agreements. In 1993, the Texas Legislature changed the law to say that there are now only twoContinue reading “Is my premarital agreement enforceable?”

What are “Initial Disclosures”?

Initial Disclosures were recently enacted by the Texas Legislature and are now required with almost all lawsuits filed after January 1, 2021. For family law matters, they require certain things to be disclosed, and certain documents to be produced, within 30 days after the opposing party filed an answer or makes a general appearance. Here’sContinue reading “What are “Initial Disclosures”?”

Who has more power over a CPS case: The judge or CPS?

Ultimately, the judge has greater authority to control a CPS lawsuit involving an allegation of abuse or neglect to a child. However, the judge’s authority is limited to only address requests and evidence that are present to the Court, so many decisions get made by CPS without the judge even knowing about it. In theContinue reading “Who has more power over a CPS case: The judge or CPS?”

What is Collaborative Family Law?

Collaborative Family Law is a process by which the decision making process in a divorce is taken away from the Court and put into the hands of a neutral third-party, the collaborative lawyer. This is a relatively new process–The Texas Legislature enacted laws that authorize this practice in 2011. Collaborative Family Law requires many things.Continue reading “What is Collaborative Family Law?”

Should my spouse and I use the same lawyer for our divorce?

Many spouses that are facing a divorce want to keep things as amicable as possible, and they often try to do this through using the same attorney. But having the same attorney is not an option. The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct prevent one attorney from representing opposing parties to the same lawsuit. AtContinue reading “Should my spouse and I use the same lawyer for our divorce?”

Can I demand a jury trial on a suit involving a child?

The right to a jury trial is not without limitations. The Texas Family Code provides limited circumstances in which a child custody battle can be decided by a jury. In suits involving children, a jury can determine the issues of: (1) appointing someone as sole managing conservator, joint managing conservator, possessory conservator; (2) determining whichContinue reading “Can I demand a jury trial on a suit involving a child?”

Can a foster parent intervene in a CPS case before twelve months?

Under certain circumstances, a foster parent may intervene in a CPS case before twelve months. The statutory and case law provisions that govern a foster parent’s ability to intervene in ongoing CPS litigation are complicated. There are many misconceptions about this based upon lawyers and non-lawyers alike oversimplifying the statutory provisions.  In some circumstances, theContinue reading “Can a foster parent intervene in a CPS case before twelve months?”

What are the important dates and events in a CPS case?

A CPS case has a twelve-month deadline with several important hearings and conferences along the way. There are adversarial hearings, status review hearings, permanency review hearings, family group conferences, and permanency conferences. Each hearing or conference has specific statutory requirements that must be met by CPS or the court. Ordinarily, the child must be returnedContinue reading “What are the important dates and events in a CPS case?”

Who all is involved in a CPS court hearing?

A CPS court hearing has many unique people involved, including: the Department of Family and Protective Services (“CPS” or “The Department”), their attorney (“District Attorney” or “County Attorney”), the Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”), the Attorney Ad Litem (“AAL”), the parents and their attorneys, and the foster parents. The Department of Family and Protective Services (“CPS”Continue reading “Who all is involved in a CPS court hearing?”

What is insupportability?

Insupportability is another name for what is commonly called a “no-fault divorce”. In Texas, you can get a divorce based simply upon not getting along with your spouse anymore. The typical language found in a divorce petition or divorce decree will state that the grounds for divorce are based on a “discord or conflict inContinue reading “What is insupportability?”

If my spouse and I live in different counties, where should we file for divorce?

If you and your spouse live in different counties, the county in which the divorce is filed is an important consideration. Some counties in Texas have Standing Orders that immediately become effective upon a party when they file for divorce or are served with divorce papers. Standing Orders govern the conduct of the parties whileContinue reading “If my spouse and I live in different counties, where should we file for divorce?”

What are standing orders?

A Standing Order typically governs the conduct of parties in a divorce or a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR). Standing Orders are usually orders by county, and many counties in Texas do not have standing Orders. If the county in which the lawsuit is filed has Standing Orders, the become effective on theContinue reading “What are standing orders?”

What are the rights and duties of a conservator?

The Texas Family Code provides a list of twenty-seven rights and duties that a person may have to a child. Of those, most child custody disputes focus on only four of these rights: The right to establish the primary residence of the child; The right to consent to non-emergency medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological and surgicalContinue reading “What are the rights and duties of a conservator?”

What is a fault-based divorce?

Texas law provides several fault-based grounds for granting a divorce. This means that one of the spouses is directly at fault for the break-up of the marriage. These include: cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital. Cruelty and adultery are the most commonly used fault-based grounds forContinue reading “What is a fault-based divorce?”

Can I get reimbursed for paying off my spouses student loans?

No. The Texas Family Code explicitly provides that a few things cannot become a reimbursable claims upon divorce. Student loans are one of those items. This is a matter of “public policy” that the Texas Legislature simply believes should not be something that spouses argue over upon divorce. If you paid off your spouses studentsContinue reading “Can I get reimbursed for paying off my spouses student loans?”

Do I have to live in Texas to get divorced in Texas?

Texas Law requires that one of the spouses must be a resident of the State of Texas for six months in order to get divorced in Texas. Additionally, Texas Law requires that you be a resident of the county that you are filing the divorce in for at least ninety days before filing for divorce.Continue reading “Do I have to live in Texas to get divorced in Texas?”

Can I get reimbursement for my separate property that I invested in our house?

It is possible for one spouse to have a claim for reimbursement for separate property that was invested into the community estate. Typically, this takes the form of one spouse using their inheritance or pre-marriage assets to purchase a home during marriage. It also often occurs where one spouses uses their inheritance or pre-marriage assetsContinue reading “Can I get reimbursement for my separate property that I invested in our house?”

Can my spouse get part of my retirement, 401k, or pension in a divorce?

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during marriage and on hand at the time of divorce is community property belonging to both spouses equally. This is true for retirement, 401k, and pension plans too. Federal law and Texas law combine to provide a non-employed spouse with certain protections ofContinue reading “Can my spouse get part of my retirement, 401k, or pension in a divorce?”

How will a divorce affect my trust?

Trust asset may or may not be affected by a divorce. Trusts take on many different forms, with different provisions regarding the purpose of the trust and they type of distributions to the trust beneficiaries that the trustee may, or must, make. The words in the trust document will be critical in determining how theContinue reading “How will a divorce affect my trust?”

What is community property and separate property?

Characterizing property as “community” or “separate” can be one of the most critical aspects of the divorce process. Texas law defines separate property as property that was acquired before marriage, property that was acquired by gift or inheritance, or property that was required for personal injuries sustained by one spouse during the marriage. All otherContinue reading “What is community property and separate property?”

What does “managing conservator” or “possessory conservator” mean?

Texas uses the term “conservator” to broadly include anyone with a court-ordered relationship with a child. You may hear the term “joint managing conservator”, “sole managing conservator”, “possessory conservator”, or “non-parent conservator” – or any combination of these terms (e.g., “non-parent sole managing conservator”). A conservator may be a parent, a relative, a family friend,Continue reading “What does “managing conservator” or “possessory conservator” mean?”

Can Relatives or Foster Parents Intervene in a CPS case?

Intervening in CPS lawsuits is complicated. There are many scenarios and situations in which a relative or a foster parent may intervene in a CPS lawsuit—regardless of whether or not you have possession of the child. Interventions are extremely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of a particular case. This is because of the complexContinue reading “Can Relatives or Foster Parents Intervene in a CPS case?”

How do I get documents or other evidence from the other party?

Discovery is the formal process by which documents or other evidence can be obtained from the other party in a lawsuit. The most common forms of discovery are: Interrogatories – a set of questions direct to the other party about any matter that is relevant to your case. Request for Production of Documents – aContinue reading “How do I get documents or other evidence from the other party?”

How will a divorce affect my business?

Business interests will likely be affected, in one way or another, by a divorce. Texas’ community property laws are complicated, and it is not always clear whether a business interest should be classified as the separate property of one spouse, or the community property of both spouses. If the business is part of the communityContinue reading “How will a divorce affect my business?”

If I adopt the child, can the parents ever get the child back?

No, the previous parents cannot get a child back after an adoption is complete. Adoption is a legal process by which the parent-child relationship is permanently formed. Before a child is eligible to be adopted, the parental rights of the former parent must be terminated, or the former parent must be deceased. The adoptive parentContinue reading “If I adopt the child, can the parents ever get the child back?”

What is the Standard Possession Order?

The Standard Possession Order “SPO” is outlined in the Texas Family Code as the terms of possession and access between conservators and their children that are presumed to be in the best interest of the children. A court will typically order the SPO unless: (1) the conservators agree to something different; (2) the SPO isContinue reading “What is the Standard Possession Order?”

What does “best interest” of a child mean?

If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute in Texas, you will hear the term “best interest”. These two words have a lot of meaning. The Texas Family Code states that “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship andContinue reading “What does “best interest” of a child mean?”

How long does it take to get a divorce?

A divorce cannot be finalized any sooner than 60 days from the date the divorce petition is filed. This is because Texas law requires parties to have a “cooling off” period between when a divorce is filed and when a divorce is finalized. Typically, these 60 days are needed for the parties to come toContinue reading “How long does it take to get a divorce?”

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

The blog is for general information only and it is not intended to be legal advice. This information does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship with people who view it. An attorney-client relationship is only formed after signing a formal, written agreement with our law firm.

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