COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open to serve you, with in office visits, remotely via teleconference, & video conference. Call Today!

Received Divorce Papers? Here’s What to Do Next

Received Divorce Papers? Here’s What to Do Next

Have you been served with divorce papers? A divorce can be a bewildering experience—especially if you weren’t expecting it. If you’ve been served, here’s what to do.

Don’t Ignore the Divorce Petition

Depending on your personality and the way you cope with stress, it can be tempting to tuck the papers away and ignore them. Don’t do this. Ignoring legal documents never makes the problem go away.

Instead, it can make things worse because you may be caught unaware, miss important deadlines, or fail to give your attorney enough time to work effectively on your behalf.

Review the Divorce Papers and Check Important Dates

Take a careful look at the divorce papers that you’ve been served. The papers likely tell you important information, like the deadline you have for responding. Usually, this is 30 days in a Texas divorce. You’ll need to work with your attorney to respond by that date.

If you fail to respond to legal papers on time, your ex can take certain actions. You may have waived your right to make certain claims or your ex may be able to obtain a default judgment against you.

Stay Calm

You may be tempted to go crazy—posting about the life-changing event on social media or calling up your closest friends and relatives to tell them what just happened. Before you act, take a moment to collect yourself and process what just happened.

Stay calm and try to make rational decisions during this difficult time. The things you post to social media never truly go away and the things you say to the people you love may sound regrettable tomorrow.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Texas Divorce Attorney

You’ll want to get help from an experienced divorce lawyer as quickly as possible. Of course, we recommend the attorneys at the Schneider Law Firm as the best choice. However, you’ll want to do your research and find a reputable law firm with in-depth knowledge of Texas family law. Arrange a consultation and bring the divorce papers with you for the attorney to review.

Contact the Schneider Law Firm, P.C.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about the divorce process and what steps to take next. Call 817-755-1852 or send us a message to talk with us about your situation. We often hear from people who were surprised and upended by divorce papers, and we can be there to guide you and protect your interests during this difficult time.

Child Custody for Military Parents

Child Custody for Military Parents

With the strong presence of the U.S. military in the Fort Worth area, we’ve become familiar with just how child custody issues affect military families. We have handled numerous military divorce cases, as well as child custody disputes that happen outside of marriage or years after a divorce has occurred. Here are some key things that military parents should know about child custody.

Determining Child Custody During Deployment

Child custody can be tricky for military parents because relocations and deployment can interfere with parenting time. The process of determining child custody and a parenting plan may be especially complicated if one parent is deployed overseas.

When a parent is on active duty, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects them. If a parent attempts to change the child custody status while the other parent is deployed, the deployed parent can invoke their rights under the SCRA to postpone the hearing.

When the primary parent is deployed, courts can’t permanently change child custody. However, they can change it temporarily. Courts can order that temporary child custody is with someone else while the primary parent is deployed.

The law states that the first choice for custody should be the other parent unless other circumstances keep the arrangement from being in the child’s best interest. If the other parent isn’t given custody, the law says the second choice must be someone of the primary parent’s choosing.

Interstate and International Custody Disputes

For military families, child custody disputes can often reach across Texas borders—and sometimes even international borders. When a child custody dispute spans multiple states, state law determines the child custody dispute. It takes an experienced lawyer to make sure that the parent-child relationship is properly protected.

When a child custody dispute spans multiple countries, international law comes into play. The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction aims to protect children from the harmful effects of parental abduction.

The convention provides a process for a parent to get a child back when the other parent has taken the child out of the country. Countries that have signed on to the convention promise to cooperate to make sure a child is returned to the custodial parent. This law interacts with other important laws, like the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA) and the UCCJEA to protect the parent-child relationship.

Contact Us for Help With Military Child Custody Matters

If you need help with child custody matters, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information. For a confidential consultation, call our Fort Worth office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message. At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience helping military families in matters affecting their children.

Reasons to Modify a Child Custody Order

Reasons to Modify a Child Custody Order

Putting a divorce behind you can feel liberating. Instead of being tied up in the emotions that came with your divorce, you begin to focus on moving forward. This can be complicated—especially when child custody is involved. Your children have changing needs and schedules that may make it necessary to return to court to modify an existing court order.

Relocation: Changing Child Custody When Moving Somewhere Else

Relocation is a common reason for modification of child custody. When one parent moves, a child custody and visitation schedule that used to meet the family’s needs may no longer work. Parents and courts can amend the schedule to be a better fit.

It’s important to know that a law called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) protects non-custodial spouses in Texas. The law says that custodial parents can’t move more than 100 miles away without getting prior approval from the court. If you’re considering moving with your child, you will want to get the court’s permission before you make the change.

Remarriage: Child Custody After a Parent Remarries

New marriages often mean changes to existing child custody agreements. That’s because they often come with changes in living arrangements and schools, new siblings and financial changes that can all affect the time parents can spend with their children. They also affect the decisions that need to be made for them. We often hear from parents who need to modify an existing agreement after remarriage.

Change in a Work Schedule That Affects Child Custody

When there’s been a significant change in circumstances, like long-term changes to a parent’s work schedule, it’s possible to ask the court to change the child custody and visitation agreement. You’ll probably need to provide the court with evidence of the change. Official documents that list your new work schedule are usually sufficient evidence.

Change in Ability to Provide Childcare

Significant, long-term changes in one parent’s ability to provide childcare can also be the reason for child custody order modifications. Often, parents create a plan that takes their schedules and finances into account. But changes to those schedules and finances can mean they need to make different childcare plans.

Change in the Child’s Needs or Health

Courts aim to consider the best interests of the child in parenting matters. When a child’s needs change significantly, this can impact the court’s assessments. A medical diagnosis—like a learning disability or a chronic illness—or an accident that requires rehabilitation can be reasons to modify an existing court order.

Get Help With Child Custody Modification. Contact an Attorney.

Matters of child custody can be stressful because they affect the people who are most important to you. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side.

If you need legal help with modifying a child custody order, get started by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Our Texas child custody lawyers are here to support you.

Your Divorce and Your Ex’s Pension: What You Should Know

Your Divorce and Your Ex’s Pension: What You Should Know

When you’re married, the financial decisions that you and your spouse make affect both of you. The money you put towards retirement becomes your plan for the future, and a pension becomes a crucial part of that plan. So, when you divorce, it’s important to consider your pension.

Division of Pensions in Texas Divorces

Texas is one of nine states that are community property jurisdictions. Divorcing in a community property jurisdiction means that property you and your spouse acquire during the marriage is considered to be equally owned by both of you (with a few exceptions). It’s then divided between you.

Courts consider a pension that you or your spouse earned during the marriage to be community property. In a divorce, the pension is subject to division—either by a judge in court or an agreement between you and your spouse in mediation.

The pension should be included in the divorce agreement as property to be divided. However, a separate order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will allow you to gain control of the pension funds. The QDRO lists the specific details, including when the payments should be paid out and whom they should go to.

Enforcing a Court Order and Getting Access to a Pension

If your divorce agreement outlined pension division but you never got a QDRO, it’s probably not too late. Texas law allows you to go back in time and get one.

Sometimes, years after the divorce, a former spouse refuses to retire or to give you access to the pension funds you are supposed to receive. If that is the case, you can reach out to our legal team for help in getting the court to enforce the court order. When one spouse is acting in bad faith to prevent you from gaining access to a pension that is rightfully yours, the court can step in and protect your interests.

Talk With an Attorney About Your Rights to a Pension

The law is complex, and the outcome of a case often depends on very particular facts—especially when you have a pension. The only way to get answers that apply to your situation is to talk with a lawyer.

Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.