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How to Cope With Divorce

No matter who filed or what the situation is, coping with divorce is a challenge. It can bring up many different emotions as your life shifts from the way it was before to the way it is now.

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we often talk with our clients about how to cope with divorce. We make sure they have the tools and resources they need to stay strong and healthy during a difficult time. Here are some things you may want to consider when coping with your divorce.

Accept the Situation

Divorce can bring up many different emotions, good and bad. At times you may feel exhausted, worried, scared or even relieved. All of these emotions are okay, and there is no wrong way to feel. Just take a deep breath, acknowledge your emotions and accept how you feel.

Go easy on yourself and give yourself the freedom to function at less than an optimal level if you’re feeling poorly. It’s okay if you need to cut back on social activities, leave dirty dishes in the sink occasionally or watch an episode of your favorite TV show instead of folding the laundry. You don’t have to be perfect during your divorce, just be sure you’re taking care of yourself.

Take Care of Yourself Physically, Mentally and Emotionally

Take care of yourself physically by eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and getting routine medical care. Avoid using cigarettes or alcohol to cope. With everything going on, you’ll need to make sure that you are supporting your body in the right ways. Being in good health physically will help give you the strength to move forward with your life as you go through the divorce process.

It’s also important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. That might mean hiring a therapist, reconnecting with your church or prayer group, or just taking time to explore your interests. Sign up for a class or start volunteering for a cause you feel passionate about.

Get the Support You Need During Your Divorce

You don’t have to go through this alone. Share your feelings with friends, family members and trusted counselors. Hire a legal team to keep your case on track and reach out to them when you have questions about your divorce.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can represent you throughout the divorce process. We provide the support you need in the courtroom to help you and your family achieve the best possible results. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Sources:

https://www.mhanational.org/separation-and-divorce

What Do Judges Look for in Child Custody Cases?

In child custody matters, judges have a tough job. Experienced judges have heard thousands of child custody cases throughout their careers. This means:

  • They’re familiar with parents who didn’t tell the whole truth, who tried to manipulate the system or who turned to tricks to gain leverage in a divorce.
  • They’re often skeptical about what parents say.

This can make it challenging to convince them of your side of the story—especially in high-conflict cases when both parents are seeking sole custody.

It can be helpful to know what judges look for in child custody cases. Knowing how a judge looks at your case can help you give your attorney the information needed to represent you effectively in Texas courts.

The Best Interests of the Child

Generally, Texas courts use the “best interests of the child” standard when deciding child custody matters. This standard was outlined in a case called Holley v. Adams, and judges have said that it should apply in all child custody cases. The best interests of the child include the child’s basic needs, as well as emotional and mental health needs.

Are the Child’s Basic Needs Being Met?

The judge usually starts with an analysis of the child’s basic needs. The judge wants to see that the child lives in a safe home with enough food, clean clothes and regular care. They want to see proof that your child has a comfortable bed, as well as spaces for play, doing homework and eating meals.

Are the Child’s Emotional Needs Being Met?

Judges also look for a solid support network of family and friends. They’ll look for a network of extended family members who play an important role in your child’s life. They’ll also look for childhood friends and a school where your child is supported by knowledgeable professionals.

Are the Child’s Mental Health Needs Being Met?

Divorces and child custody disputes are mentally challenging—not just for parents, but for children too. You’ll want to share proof of your child’s well-being and appropriate mental-health support. This means setting appropriate boundaries without saying anything manipulative about the other parent or oversharing about the divorce.

If domestic violence has been a factor in the home, the child’s mental health needs are especially important to the judge’s decision.

Talk With Our Lawyers About Child Custody

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we work to protect your relationship with your child. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852. We can answer your questions about child custody and what a judge may consider in your unique case.

Sources:  

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm#:~:text=1%2C%201999.-,Sec.,and%20access%20to%20the%20child.

https://law.justia.com/cases/texas/supreme-court/1976/b-5880-0.html

3 Signs You Are Ready for a Divorce

Divorce is a big deal and deciding to get one will change everything. But sometimes you have to let go of something that isn’t working to move forward with the happy and fulfilled life you know is possible. What are the signs that the time is right? What are the signs that you are ready for a divorce?

1. You’re Ready To Be Honest With Yourself About Your Marriage

Everyone’s marriage is different, and there are many different ways to get honest with yourself about it. That might mean admitting to yourself that things aren’t as perfect as you would have liked or that you are unhappy enough to end the marriage—that you’re ready to stop pretending that things are working.

That might also mean getting honest about your role in your marriage. You can only change your actions. So, if you continue with your marriage, how would you need to change to make things work? Are you willing to make those changes? If you’re not, you may be ready for a divorce.

2. You’re Thinking About Divorce Even When Things Are Going Well in Your Marriage

It’s normal for people to think about divorce after a major fight. A person might have a fleeting thought about ending things, and then take some time to cool down before realizing just how great the marriage is. After all, marriage is hard work and things don’t always go smoothly. But in a working marriage, the good times outweigh the bad.

In a marriage that’s not working anymore, a person might think about divorce even when things are going smoothly. If it’s family movie night and you just made popcorn and the family is laughing, and you’re still thinking about divorce, it may be a sign that you are ready.

3. You’re Willing to Take Responsibility in Your Life

If you’ve realized that you don’t need your spouse to be happy, if you are confident that your children will be okay, if you are willing to put in the work to gain financial independence, you may be ready for a divorce.

Think You May Be Ready for a Divorce? Contact an Attorney.

Deciding to divorce can be a difficult step. Call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 to talk with us about your situation. Our Texas lawyers are here to support you and your family during the divorce process, helping you take the next step and move forward with your life.

Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Never Married?

When a child is born to unmarried parents, Texas law says that the mother automatically has legal and physical custody of the child. That means that she has the authority to make legal decisions about the child’s life like the healthcare the child will receive, the child’s education and religion. It also means that the child will live with her. This holds true even if the father’s name is on the birth certificate.

What Can a Father Do To Gain Child Custody?

In Texas, fathers must establish paternity if they wish to have parental rights, including legal and physical custody. There are two ways to establish paternity in Texas:

  1. Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). An AOP is a legal document that allows parents who aren’t married to establish legal paternity. To get started, you can call the Attorney General’s AOP Hotline at 866-255-2006 or find an AOP certified entity online.
  2. Get a DNA test. Fathers can also file a special paternity lawsuit—or Suit to Adjudicate Parentage—in court. The lawsuit will require the father to take a DNA test, and the mother and child may also be required to file one. If the mother doesn’t consent, the father may need to ask the court to order her to submit to the DNA test.

After paternity is established, child custody isn’t automatic. The court will still need to issue an Order that gives the father child custody rights. This generally also includes an Order for the father to pay child support.

Like in other child custody cases, courts consider the best interests of the child when considering child custody in a paternity lawsuit. Courts weigh things like:

  • The desires of the child
  • The emotional needs of the child
  • The parental ability of the parent seeking custody
  • Programs available to assist the parent and the children.

The court’s analysis is different depending on the age of the child and that child’s unique needs.

Talk With a Lawyer About Protecting Your Parental Rights

If you are worried about protecting your relationship with your child in Texas, it’s a good idea to talk with the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., as soon as possible. We focus on protecting the best interests of the child by keeping parents and children together.

Call our Arlington law firm at 817-799-7125 to get started. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential. We’ll talk with you about your options and help you understand the best course of action.

Sources:

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/child-support/paternity/acknowledgement-paternity-aop

What Is an Ad Litem?

When child custody matters become complex, the court sometimes appoints a professional called an ad litem to protect the interests of that child. Although they’re most commonly appointed in cases involving children, ad litems also represent adults who cannot represent themselves due to physical, mental or behavioral health issues.

Ad litems can also be appointed to represent missing or unknown parties who should have representation in a legal matter where they cannot be physically present. If your case involves complex matters—such as allegations of child abuse or neglect—here’s what you should know.

The Types of Ad Litems

There are three different types of ad litems. The ad litem’s duties depend on the type of ad litem and the role they are playing in your case. These include:

  • Attorney ad litems: Attorney ad litems are required to be attorneys.
  • Attorney/guardian ad litem (dual role): This person is appointed to act as both an attorney ad litem and a guardian ad litem.
  • Guardian ad litem: Guardian ad litems do not need to be attorneys, but they often are. Courts appoint them to represent the best interests of the child.
  • Amicus attorney: “Amicus” means “friend of the court”. An amicus attorney is appointed by the court to help the judge make decisions about a child’s best interests. The judge appoints the amicus attorney to help the judge be more effective. The amicus attorney does not provide legal services directly to a child.

What Are an Ad Litem’s Duties?

The Texas Family Code sets forth 27 specific duties of an ad litem. The first duty of an ad litem is to investigate to determine the best interests of the child. This can mean different things, depending on the case.

Your ad litem will likely conduct interviews with each parent. They may also interview relevant parties, including your child’s teacher and therapist.  They may also obtain copies of your child’s relevant medical records, psychological records and school records. If your child is four years old or older, the ad litem will also interview the child in a developmentally appropriate way.

The ad litem will then attend mediation related to the child and may attend relevant hearings and trials. The ad litem can testify to represent the child’s best interests effectively.

To get a full understanding of the role the ad litem is playing in your case, you’ll want to talk with an attorney.

If You Need Help With Child Custody Matters, Call an Attorney.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about the role of an ad litem and help protect your children no matter what challenges you are experiencing. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.107.htm

2019-2020 Houston Family Law Handbook

Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we find that our clients are often nervous about one critical point in the divorce process: serving their spouse with divorce papers. Of course, each situation is different. But “getting served” has long been emphasized in the media and popular culture. For many, it represents the moment in the divorce proceedings when the relationship changes forever.

Legally, serving your spouse with divorce papers is called “notification”. In a divorce, the spouse filing for divorce is required by the law to take proper steps to notify their spouse of the divorce case. If you fail to notify them, it can delay your case. In some cases, it may even lead to dismissal of your divorce.

How to Notify Your Spouse of the Divorce

Texas courts recognize several different ways to notify your spouse about the divorce. You and your lawyer will choose the one that works best for you, depending on your situation. Your options include:

  • A court-approved private process server, sheriff or constable may serve the divorce papers after you pay the required legal fees.
  • Your spouse may receive notice through the mail by a certified mailing from the district clerk’s office.
  • If you and your spouse agree, after you have filed the petition for divorce, your spouse may sign a document called a “Waiver of Citation.” This tells the courts that your spouse is accepting the service of the lawsuit.
  • If you do not know where your spouse is, you may be able to give notice by publication. The notice of the divorce proceeding is published in a court-approved newspaper or another approved publication. Usually, the notice must appear in the paper for a certain amount of time before the court considers the notice served.

After Notice Is Given to Your Spouse

Once you officially notify your spouse, they must respond to the divorce petition. The court sets a deadline for doing this. If the deadline isn’t met and your spouse does not respond, you may be able to obtain a divorce by default.

In a divorce by default, property division must be just and right, and child custody must be in the child’s “best interests.” However, the final decision may be made with considerably less disagreement and expense.

Questions About Serving Your Spouse? Talk With Our Lawyers.

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we work to protect your interests during a divorce. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852. We can answer your questions about the divorce process, including serving your spouse with divorce papers.

Medical Decisions, Medical and Dental Support for Children

Most parents would do anything to keep their kids happy and healthy. So, when a child’s medical or dental care is affected, it can bring up co-parenting challenges that are difficult to resolve. At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we support our clients in working with their co-parents during the divorce process and afterward. Our focus is on making sure you stay healthy and financially secure.

Making Medical and Dental Decisions for Your Child

When Texas courts make child custody decisions, they decide on something called “legal custody.” Legal custody gives a parent the legal authority to make critical decisions for their child. These decisions can include what doctor your child will see or what type of medical care they will get for a serious health condition.

Legal custody can be given to one parent (sole) or both parents (joint) and is most commonly shared between the parents. That means you and your co-parent will need to communicate regarding important medical decisions affecting your child.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree on medical issues for your child, you have several options. You may be able to have a neutral third party make the decision for you. Sometimes, divorcing parents stipulate this neutral third party in the divorce decree.

You may also pursue mediation to help you arrive at an agreement that works for both parents and is in the child’s best interests.

Medical Support and Dental Support

Texas courts usually order medical support and dental support in addition to child support. This support makes sure that medical and dental costs are covered so that your child can receive the care he or she needs.

  • Medical support: Courts generally order medical support that requires a parent to pay the “reasonable cost” of the child’s health insurance, as well as other medical expenses for a child (like co-pays and deductibles). A judge may order you to provide health insurance coverage for your child, to reimburse the other parent for the cost of health insurance coverage, or to pay cash medical support if your child receives Medicaid.
  • Dental support: Since 2018, Texas courts have ordered that dental insurance must be provided for children in a divorce. Dental support is similar to medical support in that it covers the reasonable cost of dental insurance, as well as other dental expenses for a child (like co-pays and deductibles).

Questions About Your Kids’ Medical and Dental Needs? Contact an Attorney.

Call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 to talk with us about your child’s medical or dental needs during a divorce or afterward. Our Texas lawyers are here to support you and your family.

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.154.htm#154.064

 https://texaslawhelp.org/article/child-support-medical-support-and-dental-support#toc-4

How Is Debt Divided in a Texas Divorce?

According to a 2018 study, the average American has more than $38,000 worth of debt. With the recent pandemic and economic challenges our country faces, experts estimate that the number has increased significantly in 2020. So, what does that mean for divorcing couples in Texas? How is debt divided, and what should you do if you and your spouse are considering divorce with debt?

How Texas Courts Divide Debt

If you and your spouse agree on how to split your debt, the judge will likely approve your agreement. However, if you can’t agree, the court will decide how to divide the debt. In Texas, courts divide property and debt using the community property method. This means that the property acquired—and the debt that accrued—during your marriage belongs to both you and your spouse.

For debt that’s considered community property, Texas law requires the court to divide the debt fairly and equitably. The only property or debt not eligible for division is separate property—property or debt that you or your spouse had before the marriage or that meets certain criteria.

Your Divorce Decree Doesn’t Affect a Creditor’s Right to Collect

You should know, however, that your Final Decree of Divorce does not affect a creditor’s right to collect a debt from you. Even if the judge orders your spouse to pay a debt that is in both your names, the creditor may still come after you for the debt if your spouse does not pay.

For example, if your car loan is in both of your names and your spouse keeps the family car, they must refinance the car loan to get your name off the debt. If your spouse is unable or unwilling to refinance the loan, and then they stop paying, you will be responsible for the debt—even though you no longer drive the car. Talk with your lawyer about how to prevent this from happening to you.

Types of Debt to Consider

Be sure to consider all of your debt when making financial decisions about your divorce. These decisions can have a serious impact on your future, so it’s important to review all the details carefully.

Most Americans have some combination of these forms of debt:

  • Credit cards
  • Student loans
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans
  • Personal loans

Dividing Debt: Paying Off Debts From Your Marriage

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dividing debt in a Texas divorce. Depending on your situation, you and your spouse may choose to sell the family home and vehicles in order to be free of the debts associated with them.

If you don’t, you could be responsible for debt that you cannot pay—especially as the income that supported one household must be stretched to support two. After your divorce, be sure to check your credit report and note any discrepancies. Talk to your attorney about anything that concerns you.

If You’re Worried About Marital Debt, Talk With a Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce and have debt, it’s a good idea to talk with the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., as soon as possible. Talking with us early in the divorce process can help protect your interests and keep your options open.

Call us at 817-799-7125 to get started. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential. We’ll talk with you about your options and help you understand what steps to take to manage debt and divorce.

Am I Eligible for an Uncontested Divorce?

Many couples know they wish to end their marriage yet fear the emotional pain of fighting in court. For those couples who wish to finish proceedings quickly and with cost in mind, there’s the option of uncontested divorce.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?

An uncontested divorce is the simplest form of divorce. There is no “contest” which means both you and your spouse agree on all terms. Uncontested divorces are often resolved faster than contested divorces. It’s also common for these divorces to be less expensive due to reduced court costs.

Who Is Eligible for an Uncontested Divorce?

Those who wish to move forward with an uncontested divorce must meet specific requirements. First, you and your spouse must agree on all aspects of your divorce, including the grounds or reason for the divorce. Other aspects include:

  • Property division: You and your spouse must have a property settlement that fairly divides all of your marital assets and debts. This includes bank accounts, mortgages, vehicles, property, personal items and more.
  • Spousal maintenance: If you or your spouse will receive maintenance or alimony, you must have a plan that explains the amount of the maintenance and how long you or your spouse plans to pay.
  • Child custody and visitation: You must know who will have custody of your children and whether it’s joint or sole custody. You must also agree how much visitation each of you will have and when visitation will occur.
  • Child support: You must agree on the amount of child support you or your spouse will receive and when.

Divorce Mediation

Do you and your spouse disagree on the aspects of divorce? If so, your divorce is considered to be contested. Yet, you do have the option to try mediation. If you and your spouse are able to work together amicably, an attorney can help you negotiate and reach an agreement outside of court. Like uncontested divorce, mediation can also save you time and money in court costs.

Reach Out to Schneider Law Firm Today

Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, we recommend reaching out to an attorney. We’re here to support you. To learn more about divorce or to discuss your options, give our Fort Worth office a call at

Military divorce requires a unique approach. The experienced military divorce lawyers at Schneider Law Firm are here to support you. To learn more about your divorce, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-799-1852 or send us a message.

Military Divorce Requires a Unique Approach

Members of the United States Armed Forces often face unique challenges when compared to civilians. Perhaps one of the hardest challenges is the military divorce process. If you’re currently serving our country, know the attorneys at Schneider Law Firm are here to support you each step of the way.

The Unique Challenges Involved in a Military Divorce

Military divorce requires a different approach than a civilian divorce. There are several unique challenges you may face as you move forward with divorce, including:

  • Child custody: When one parent is deployed overseas, determining a child custody and parenting plan can be complicated. Even after determining custody, many military members must relocate often, resulting in the need for custody modifications.
  • Child support: Child support is critical to the health and wellbeing of your children. Calculating sufficient child support can be complex if you or your spouse is deployed overseas due to tax concerns. Plus, child support payments are calculated using the servicemember’s income, which is often difficult to calculate. Factors such as housing allowance and pay differentials per assignment can change the amount of compensation a military member earns.
  • Property division: State and federal laws protect both spouses’ access to military retirement benefits in the event of a divorce. This means Texas courts can treat retirement benefits as community or marital property. There are many factors involved in the division such as the length of active-duty service.
Military Divorce Requires a Unique Approach | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1154360209
817-799-1852 – Military divorce comes with its unique challenges. To learn more about military divorce, visit us today.

Military Members & Divorce Proceedings While Deployed

It’s important to know that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects servicemembers from the strain of divorce while deployed. Under the SCRA, military members have access to an extended “stay” or postponement of civil court. You can request a 90-day postponement of any proceedings, which can help you better prepare for your case.

Whether you’re currently deployed or serving at home, a professional military attorney can help you through your divorce.

Call the Military Divorce Lawyers at Schneider Law Firm

Military divorce requires a unique approach. The experienced military divorce lawyers at Schneider Law Firm are here to support you. To learn more about your divorce, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-799-1852 or send us a message.