Category Archives: Family Law

The Effects of Divorce on Children

In the past, we’ve written about how child development is affected when Texas couples divorce. A study, which included 8,000 people, found that divorce can have a substantial impact on a child’s ability to form relationships later in life. But, how does divorce affect children during childhood? And what can parents do to minimize the impact?

Research Shows the Biggest Impact Is in the First Few Years

While some children may feel a lifelong impact from their parents’ divorce, research shows that most children feel the biggest impact in the first year or two after a divorce. A study published in the journal Family Law Quarterly concluded that children commonly feel stress, anxiety, anger and other strong feelings immediately after the divorce. But, most of the time, they are naturally resilient and bounce back quickly.

Effects of Divorce Are Different at Different Ages and Stages

Not all divorces affect children in the same ways. All families are different, but children can be impacted differently depending on their developmental stages. For example:

  • Very young children may struggle to understand why the divorce is happening or why their home lives are different.
  • School-age children may blame themselves for the divorce or spend time wondering if things could be their fault.
  • Tweens and teens may become angry, blaming one parent or resenting necessary lifestyle changes. Research has also associated divorce and adolescent adjustment problems, like getting bad grades in school or disruptive behaviors.

The way you address these impacts also depends on your child’s developmental stage. No matter what, it’s important to pay attention to how your child is affected and to take steps to work through matters with them. If you are looking for warning signs—like anxiety or anger—you’ll be better prepared to help minimize the impact of your divorce on your children.

The Effects of Divorce on Children | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Research shows that most children feel the biggest impact in the first year or two after a divorce, and the effects of divorce are different at different ages and stages.

How to Minimize the Impact of a Divorce on Your Children

There are many ways to minimize the impact of a divorce on your children. One of the most important is to avoid putting your child in the middle of family conflict. That means not talking badly about your ex to your children, not forcing children to choose between parents, and avoiding oversharing of sensitive or emotional information.

You can also try to help keep as many routines as possible in place. Continue attending events you always attended with your children and stick to family routines. Of course, things will be different, but comfort and consistency can help support your child through the challenging first year after a divorce.

Divorcing With Kids? Contact an Attorney.

If you need legal help protecting the best interests of your children during your Texas divorce, call the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you and your family.

Sources:

Paternity: What It Is and Why Establishing Paternity Is Important

Paternity is a legal term used to talk about the identity of a child’s father. When paternity is established, a child’s genetic father becomes the child’s legal father as well. The father then has all the legal rights and responsibilities that come with fatherhood.

There are a few ways that paternity can be established. If both parents are married, Texas courts presume that the husband is the father of the child. Paternity can also be established by filing a document called an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” or by a court order.

Why Paternity Is Important

Having a legal father can be important to a child’s life. It establishes the link between father and child and also helps to ensure that the child will be financially supported throughout his or her life. Things like veterans’ benefits, social security benefits and inheritance do not pass to the child unless paternity has been established. Paternity must also be established before child support can be ordered.

Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP)

The document called the “Acknowledgement of Paternity” can establish paternity when a child’s parents are not married. Dads are often asked to sign AOPs in the hospital when they are there for the birth of their children. To complete and file an AOP at another time, parents must work with an AOP-certified entity. Your lawyer or the Texas Attorney General’s Office can help you find one.

It’s important to know that just signing an AOP does not give you full rights to child custody and does not establish a parenting plan. If you are the biological father of a child born outside of marriage, you might want to talk with a lawyer about how to protect your legal rights to spend time with your child.

Paternity in Texas | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-1162519347
817-799-7125 – Paternity is a legal term used to talk about the identity of a child’s father. When paternity is established, a child’s genetic father becomes the child’s legal father as well.

Denial of Paternity (DOP)

Sometimes, family situations mean that parents need to complete and file a “Denial of Paternity” document. DOPs are legal forms that state that the presumed father—for example, the husband—is not the biological father of the child. For a DOP to be valid, the child’s mother and biological father must also file an AOP. Both the DOP and AOP must be filed with the Vital Statistics Unit.

Talk With an Attorney About Paternity

Texas paternity laws can be complicated, especially when relationships get complex. The best way to get answers is to talk with a lawyer at the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Sources:

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays

Birthdays and holidays can be challenging enough when parents live together. When they live separately and co-parent, however, child custody can become especially complicated. 

In Texas, divorce agreements can accommodate many different parenting plans. In the absence of another agreement, Texas law offers some standard visitation guidelines.

General Visitation Guidelines in Texas

If you’re wondering if you and your child will spend a birthday or a holiday together, your divorce decree or child custody order is the first place to look. If you have questions about your custody order, calling your lawyer is a good idea. If the legal document does not outline specific dates, Texas’ standard visitation guidelines may apply.

Child Custody for Holidays and Birthdays | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Child custody can get complicated when it comes to birthdays, holidays and special events. Our attorneys can help.

Those guidelines can be complicated, but generally, when distance isn’t an issue:

  • Mother’s Day: If the mother isn’t in possession of the child on Mother’s Day, she’s entitled to spend Mother’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Mother’s Day.
  • Father’s Day: If the father isn’t in possession of the child on Father’s Day, he’s entitled to spend Father’s Day weekend with the child, from 6 p.m. on Friday through 6 p.m. on Father’s Day.
  • Birthdays: If a parent isn’t in possession of the child on the child’s birthday, they are entitled to pick the child up for two hours between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. so they have some time to celebrate together.
  • Christmas: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on even-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. Possession begins at 6 p.m. the day the child is dismissed from school for Christmas vacation. It ends at noon on December 28th.
  • Thanksgiving: The parent the child lives with has possession of the child on odd-numbered years. The other parent has possession of the child on even-numbered years. That way, a parent who spends Thanksgiving with the child will not spend Christmas with the child and vice versa.

How to Make Holidays and Birthdays Easier

Figuring out co-parenting can make a stressful event even more difficult. But, for all the heightened tensions parents feel, they should not forget that their words and actions can make a holiday stressful for the child, too. It’s important for them to take a step back and figure out the logistics calmly as adults. There are many other things you can do to make holidays easier for children, too, including asking kids what would make them happy that day and keeping the focus on them.

When Child Custody Gets Complicated, Get Legal Help

There are many child custody matters that a blog post can’t answer. When things are confusing and child custody arrangements get tense, it’s best to talk with a lawyer. At the Ft. Worth office of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about child custody during birthdays and holidays. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

 Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

Your Temporary Orders Hearing: What to Expect

Ideally, a divorce will reach a resolution as quickly as possible. But that’s not always the case. Because divorces can take some time and life goes on, Texas courts often issue temporary orders that stay in place through the duration of the divorce. The temporary orders can protect your interests during the divorce process. Those orders are issued after a temporary orders hearing; here’s what to expect from them and the process.

The Temporary Orders Hearing Process

You may request a temporary orders hearing by having your lawyer file a “Petition for Temporary Orders” at the same time they file your other divorce documents with the court. The petition should outline the orders you are seeking, as well as the date and time of the hearing (your lawyer’s office will arrange this).

For most people, the temporary orders hearing is the first time they appear before the judge in the divorce process. It’s important to make a good impression at this hearing. 

Follow your attorney’s directions and allow them to do most of the speaking for you. The judge will likely ask questions of both parties’ lawyers so that he or she can come to a decision on the orders you’re seeking.

You probably won’t hear from the judge exactly what the temporary orders are at the hearing. Usually, the judge hears both parties’ sides. After the hearing, they deliberate on the best solution before issuing the order.

Your Temporary Orders Hearing | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-755-1852 – Here’s what to expect at your temporary orders hearing in Texas, including what orders the court may make.

Issues the Court May Decide Upon During This Process

There are many different issues that can come before a judge during a temporary orders hearing, including:

  • Temporary child custody, including possession and access
  • Child support
  • Possession of an item in dispute, like the family cars
  • Health insurance

Temporary Orders Can Lead to Permanent Ones

While these orders aren’t permanent, it’s important to note that they can have a huge impact on the final outcome of the divorce. In many cases, temporary orders become the arrangement that the family grows accustomed to. During the finalization of the divorce, it makes the most sense for the court to issue a final order that is similar to the temporary one. That’s why your attorney will take the temporary orders hearing seriously. 

Contact Us for Help With Your Divorce

If you’d like more information about temporary orders during a Texas divorce, you might also be interested in our Q&As about temporary orders. And if you’re considering a divorce, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information about things like temporary orders. For a confidential consultation, call our Ft. Worth office at 817-755-1852 .

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

Co-Parenting Babies and Toddlers

Every family is different. Parents must learn to co-parent together outside of marriage when their child is still very young. In those cases, it’s a good idea to talk with your lawyer about what’s best for your family. Babies and toddlers have needs and abilities different from those of an older child. 

Co-Parenting When a Child Is Under Three Years Old

In most cases involving children and divorce, courts believe that something called a Standard Possession Order is in the best interests of a child. A Standard Possession Order is intended to protect the best interests of children when determining how the non-custodial parent (the parent the children don’t live with) spends time with them. It generally lists what weekdays, weekends and holidays both parents can have with their children.

Texas law, however, says that Standard Possession Orders are not meant for children less than three years old. Instead, Texas courts consider a series of factors, including things like:

  • The physical, medical, behavioral and developmental needs of the child
  • The effect on the child of separation from either parent
  • The caregiving provided to the child before the current custody lawsuit
  • The child’s need for routine
  • The age of the child

Things to Consider When Co-Parenting a Very Young Child

When you and your ex break up or divorce while your child is very young, the child will never remember that you were ever together. What they will remember is that you and the other parent worked together to give your child the best life possible–that you loved him or her and treated each other with respect.

Respectful co-parenting means choosing to work together, even when you disagree. It means communicating about your baby’s needs or toddler’s needs and making sure to involve both parents as those needs change. This is especially important when caring for a young child who can’t effectively communicate their needs and who is growing quickly.

To make successful co-parenting happen, many experts recommend arranging short and frequent visits with the non-custodial parent. For young children, they’re less stressful than long, overnight visits. A schedule for a young child might plan for a few hours a few times a week. Time can and should be extended as the child grows older.

Co-Parenting Babies and Toddlers | Schneider Law Firm, P.C. | iStock-619735158
817-799-7125 – When a child is under three, courts do not necessarily order visitation as they do for older children. Here are some things to consider when co-parenting a very young child.

Get Help With Child Custody. Contact an Attorney.

Of course, every family’s needs are different. It’s best to talk with a lawyer about yours. If you need legal help with co-parenting a baby or toddler, you can start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125. Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you.

Source:

http://www.txaccess.org/informal-out-court-agreements-children-birth-3-years-old

What Is Considered Abandonment in a Texas Divorce?

Marriage can be hard. And, when things get hard, some spouses walk away. When a spouse leaves the relationship, it can be confusing for the remaining spouse to know what to do. Texas law offers guidance, and the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., can help protect your interests.

Abandonment as Grounds for Divorce

Abandonment is one of seven different “grounds for divorce” listed under Texas law. Abandonment can be grounds for divorce if your case meets two different requirements:

  1. Your spouse left with the intention to abandon you
  2. Your spouse stayed away for at least a year

This can be challenging to prove. To use abandonment as grounds for divorce, you must show the court that your ex-spouse left with the intention to never come back. Just leaving is not enough. The intent to leave you permanently must also be there.

Further, the spouse must have been gone for at least a year. Logistically, this can be a problem for the spouse left at home, as they struggle to pay the bills and take care of the children. It’s hard to make ends meet as a single parent before a divorce is filed and a child support order is issued.

Abandonment in a Texas Divorce | Texas Divorce
817-755-1852 – When a spouse leaves the relationship, it can be hard for the remaining spouse to know what to do. The lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., can help.

Emotional Abandonment 

Physical abandonment is most-often considered when discussing abandonment as grounds for divorce, but emotional abandonment can be a factor in a divorce, too. Emotional abandonment happens in situations where one spouse has given up all interest in the other spouse. For example, when one spouse has become so addicted to drugs that they cannot be emotionally present for their spouse, they may be seen to have emotionally abandoned the marriage. Talk with your attorney about your options if you feel that your spouse has emotionally abandoned you and your family.

Abandonment: What Courts Can Do

If a judge finds that your spouse has abandoned you, he or she might divide your community property accordingly. Judges have the power to divide property in relation to fault in a marriage. You may be entitled to receive a greater share of community property if your spouse has left the marriage and is not coming back.

When a Spouse Has Left, Get Legal Help

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about abandonment by a spouse. We can help you understand the divorce process and what next steps to take. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

What Are the Grounds for Filing for a Divorce in Texas?

 “Grounds for divorce” is a phrase that comes up a great deal when a person is thinking of ending a marriage. You might have heard it on TV or in conversations with your friends. But, what does it mean? And how do Texas courts view grounds for divorce?

The Law on Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Under Texas law, there are seven grounds for divorce:

  • Insupportability: Courts may grant a marriage without assigning fault if they find that the marriage has become insupportable. That means that the spouses are experiencing so much discord and conflict of personalities that the marriage cannot be saved. Insupportability is the most common grounds for divorce because it doesn’t assign blame to either spouse. In that way, it can be compared with “no-fault divorces” in other states and is listed as the reason when both spouses want the divorce.
  • Cruelty: Courts may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is so cruel that the marriage has become insupportable. Cruelty can take many forms. Physical violence can be cruelty. So can be belittling the other spouse, continuous rage and anger.
  • Adultery: Courts may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other has committed adultery. 
  • Conviction of a felony: Conviction of a felony or imprisonment for at least one year can be grounds for a divorce.
  • Abandonment: Abandonment can be grounds for divorce is a spouse left with the intention to abandon the other and stayed away for at least a year.
  • Living apart: Living apart can be grounds for divorce if the spouses have lived apart for at least three years without living together at any point.
  • Confinement in a mental hospital: Confinement in a mental hospital can be grounds for divorce when a spouse is in a mental hospital and their condition is such that, even if they do come home again, relapse is probable.
What Are the Grounds for a Texas Divorce? | Texas Divorce
817-755-1852 – Under Texas law, there are seven grounds for divorce. These include insupportability, adultery, abandonment and cruelty.

How Do Grounds for Divorce Impact Dissolution of Marriage?

While grounds for divorce often has little impact on whether the judge will grant a divorce, it can affect the way a Texas judge divides community property, assigns child custody or orders child support. It is possible for a wronged spouse to receive a greater share of the community property in a divorce or more time with the children.

When a spouse has had an affair, committed a felony or been especially cruel and abusive, judges can consider the situation when issuing the final order. For that reason, it’s important to talk about the grounds for divorce with your lawyer and choose the approach that best matches your situation.

Contact Us for Help With Your Divorce

If you’re considering a divorce, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information about the grounds for divorce. For a confidential consultation, call our Arlington office at 1-817-755-1852 .

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

How Can I Enforce Court-Ordered Property Division?

Sometimes dissolution of marriage continues much longer and is more stressful than anticipated because one spouse refuses to follow the rules. In cases where an ex refuses to follow court-ordered property division, there are things you can do to help make sure the order gets enforced.

Enforcing Property Division in a Divorce

If your ex-spouse isn’t following the property division orders set out by the court, you’ll need to go back to the same court to have the order enforced. You’ll file a lawsuit asking the court to enforce the order. The lawsuit won’t ask the court to change the original order or your divorce decree in any way; it will just ask the court to specify how the property should be divided. 

As with other legal actions, the other party must receive notice. Then, they’ll need to respond or risk getting a default judgment made against them.

How Can I Enforce Property Division? | Texas Divorce
817-799-7125 – In cases where an ex refuses to follow court-ordered property division in Texas, you can take legal action, asking the court to enforce the order.

Timeline: When Can I Ask the Court to Enforce a Property Division Order?

You’ll need to wait at least 30 days after the court-ordered property division before asking the court to enforce it. But, don’t wait too long. There is a two-year statute of limitations on these claims. That means that you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date that the court issued the original order. (Of course, talk with a lawyer about your situation, even if you worry that the statute of limitations has passed. It’s better to be safe than sorry!)

Remedies: What Can the Court Do?

Perhaps the ex-spouse isn’t following the property division order because the order is unclear, so asking the court to clarify the order is a good starting point. If the motion to clarify does not result in the desired outcome, you can file a motion for the delivery of property.

If your ex-spouse still refuses to comply with the property division order, your lawyer can file a motion for contempt. Courts can order money damages and even have your ex-spouse sent to jail if they are found to be in contempt of court. The court can also force your ex-spouse to pay your court costs and attorney’s fees.

Get Help With Property Division Enforcement. Contact an Attorney.

Divorce is stressful enough, even when both spouses play by the rules. It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side. If you need legal help with enforcing a property division order, you can start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Our Texas divorce lawyers are here to support you.

Source:

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/enforcing-property-division-divorce#toc-1

After How Many Years of Marriage May Courts Order Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples?

“How many years do you need to be married before courts will order alimony in a divorce?” 

It’s a common question that many people ask, especially when they face the end of a long-term marriage. The truth is that when a marriage ends, the assets that formerly supported one household must now be divided to support two. This can leave many divorcees worried that things might not add up. 

Questions about alimony—otherwise known as spousal support or spousal maintenance—often arise as a way to address apparent inequities.

Texas Spousal Maintenance Law

In Texas, courts can order spousal maintenance during the dissolution of marriage or in a separate legal proceeding specifically seeking maintenance. Courts may order spousal maintenance when two requirements are met. The first is that the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property after the divorce to meet that spouse’s “minimum reasonable needs.”

The second requirement can be one of a few different things (like domestic violence in specific situations, or that the receiving spouse takes care of the couple’s child with a physical or mental disability). The second requirement can also be that the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longerand lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.

So, generally and without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

Spousal Support for Divorcing Couples | Texas Alimony | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-799-7125 – Without other important circumstances involved, a person must be married 10 years or longer before courts will order spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce.

A Longer Marriage Can Mean That Payments Continue for a Longer Time

What’s more, the length of the marriage is a factor that courts consider when they decide how much spousal maintenance to order and how long the payments should continue. The law specifically outlines that, unless the spouse’s ability to earn an income is otherwise limited:

  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was shorter than 10 years
  • Payments cannot continue for more than five years if the marriage was between 10 and 20
  • Payments cannot continue for more than seven years if the marriage was between 20 and 30
  • Payments cannot continue for more than 10 years if the marriage was 30 years or more

Talk With an Attorney About Spousal Support

Of course, the law is very detailed, and a blog post can’t tell you everything you need to know in your case. The only way to get answers that apply specifically to your situation is to talk with a lawyer. If you’d like help sorting out legal issues related to spousal support and divorce, start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 . Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.

Is There Ever a Right Time to Get a Divorce?

At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Fort Worth, we often hear from people who waited years before they divorced. They knew that the marriage wasn’t working a long time ago, but they tried to make it work. Sometimes, it was for the kids. Other times, it was due to financial insecurity or fear of what their families or friends might think.

While there is no right time to file for divorce, we can tell you this: Divorce is a personal decision. We have handled divorces between young couples who were married for only a short time. We have also handled gray divorces between couples who spent years and raised children together.

You’ll have to look for the signs and listen to your gut in order to decide what’s right for you. Sometimes, talking with a professional—like a lawyer or a therapist—can help you sort out your concerns. A professional can answer your legal questions, help you sort out your financial concerns and the emotions involved.

Is There Ever a Right Time to Get a Divorce? | Schneider Law Firm, P.C.
817-755-1852 – At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., in Fort Worth, we often hear from people who waited years before they divorced. We can tell you this: There’s never a right time.

Look for the Signs That It Might Be Time to Divorce

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to leave your spouse, it’s a good idea to look for some telltale signs, including:

  • You’ve already started to make divorce plans. You might not be ready to admit it to yourself yet, but when you’re arranging things so that it would be easier to divorce, it’s a clear sign that you may be ready. Separating your financial lives, interviewing for a new job and doing research on the Internet are all things that people do when they know in their hearts the marriage isn’t working.
  • You’re feeling fearful. When you live in fear of your spouse’s temper, or when your spouse takes abusive actions, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to go. Many spouses live in fear for months or even years before they decide to leave a marriage. It can start to seem like things that would otherwise be unheard of are normal.
  • You always argue, or you never do. Arguing all the time can be a sign that it’s time to divorce, especially when you find yourself doing things to provoke your spouse. But, not arguing at all can also be a sign that a marriage isn’t working. Sometimes, when spouses stonewall each other, it can be more detrimental to the marriage than yelling.

Need Advice About Your Divorce Decision? Ask a Lawyer.

If you aren’t sure whether you want a divorce, talking with an attorney can help bring you clarity. The consultation is confidential, so your spouse will never know you had the conversation. And there’s no pressure to act unless and until you’re ready.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions and help you understand what the process and future might look like if you moved forward with a divorce. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

Source:

https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a26040141/should-i-get-a-divorce/