Fort Worth Divorce Lawyers
Texas Family Lawyers Serving Clients in Colleyville and Fort Worth
Our Fort Worth divorce lawyers can assist you with all family law matters. When you are thinking about filing for divorce in Fort Worth or need help with a child custody case, it is extremely important to have an experienced Fort Worth, Texas family lawyer on your side. Family law matters are often extremely contentious, given that they frequently involve the distribution of assets that a married couple has accumulated over a lifetime together or complicated inquiries concerning child custody. Indeed, matters involving parental rights and minor children can become particularly difficult. We are one of the law firms in Fort Worth committed to helping families with a variety of legal matters and can begin working with you on your case today.
Do You Need to Work with a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer?
You do not need to work with a divorce lawyer in Fort Worth. However, divorce will turn your entire world upside down and it is an emotional process, even when the divorce is amicable. People going through a divorce often do not understand the procedural rules and one small mistake could affect you for years to come. It is also not uncommon for people to start the divorce process on their own, and then hire an attorney once they realize the complexities of the system.
A Fort Worth divorce lawyer will help you understand the legal issues in your case, inform you of your rights, and help you secure the fairest settlement possible. A lawyer will also inform you of your options and help you determine which type of divorce is right for you.
Contested and Uncontested Divorces
When many people hear the word ‘divorce,’ they automatically envision a long and bitter battle in the courtroom. Fortunately, not all divorce cases require litigation. It is true that some divorce cases proceed to trial, which is why it is important to work with a Fort Worth divorce lawyer that has the necessary trial experience. Still, most cases settle out of court and it is possible to agree to all terms of the divorce with your spouse. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on your own, you can get an uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce. It is still important to work with a Fort Worth divorce lawyer when obtaining an uncontested divorce. You must put the agreement in writing and it must be fair to each party. Additionally, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on all terms, the divorce then becomes contested, and the process will take much longer.
Uncontested divorces also give you back control of the process because you, not a judge, will make the final decisions. It can also allow a more peaceful relationship with your spouse post-divorce, which is particularly beneficial if you will have to co-parent with them afterward.
Mediation is often ordered by the courts in Fort Worth, but divorcing couples can enter into it voluntarily, as well. Mediation does bring many of the same benefits as uncontested divorces, but couples use this form of dispute resolution during contested divorces. Mediation is less costly than litigation, allows you to retain control over the process, and is a less stressful and hurtful process. The difference between mediation and an uncontested divorce is that during the former, a trained mediator will help you and your spouse reach an agreement instead of reaching one on your own.
Mediators do not provide legal advice, so it is still important that you and your spouse retain your own legal counsel. However, a mediator will help you and your spouse communicate and they can also foster compromise. If an agreement is reached during mediation, the mediator will send it to the judge for final approval.
Child Custody in Fort Worth, Texas
Child custody law in Texas uses language that is quite different from other states. Accordingly, if you have a friend or family member who got divorced in another state, it is important to know that you will need to learn specifics about child custody and child visitation in Fort Worth. At Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP, we routinely assist families with child custody cases and can speak with you today about conservatorships and possession in Texas.
What is a conservatorship and what is possession under Texas law? If you are seeking legal or physical custody of your kids, or you want the ability to make important decisions about your kids’ upbringing and to have significant parenting time, then you need to seek conservatorship and possession. While you should always have a Fort Worth visitation lawyer on your side when you are fighting for custody, you can learn more about these terms ahead of time. A managing conservatorship is like legal custody—the ability to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing and well-being. The court can appoint either a sole managing conservator (one parent) or joint managing conservators (both parents). Either way, both parents can be eligible to be appointed as possessory conservators, which is like physical custody or parenting time.
Community Property in Fort Worth, TX
Another major issue that comes in most divorce cases in Fort Worth is property division. Under Texas law, asset division is conducted according to community property law. What do you need to know about the types of property division in Fort Worth?
As a community property state, Texas views nearly all property acquired by the spouses after the date of their marriage to be community property (or property of the marriage). There are some exceptions. For example, if a spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage, or if a spouse receives a gift during the marriage, that property can be classified as separate property.
Spousal Maintenance in Fort Worth, TX
Spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as alimony, is not awarded in every Fort Worth divorce case, but it is possible, depending on the circumstances. Spousal maintenance is one or multiple payments made from one spouse to another during or after the divorce. The intention of spousal maintenance is to allow the recipient to support themselves throughout the process and once the divorce is over. Spousal maintenance is one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce case, but you can pursue it if any of the following scenarios apply:
- You are disabled and cannot support yourself
- You have custody of a disabled child and cannot work because you care for them
- You and your spouse were married for at least ten years and you cannot earn an income to support yourself
When presenting these arguments to the court, you will need evidence to prove your case. You are also still required to try to earn an income and support yourself. If you do not, the court may determine that your spouse is no longer responsible for the financial obligation.
If you can prove that you need spousal support, the court will consider certain factors when determining the amount you will receive. These include:
- The ability of each party to pay support
- The skill and education level of you and your spouse
- Whether you supported your spouse as they continued their education
- Whether you contributed property or domestic services to the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- Your health, age, and ability to earn an income to support yourself
- Wrongful acts committed by either you or your spouse
Whether you need to fight for your right to spousal maintenance or defend against unreasonable requests for it, our Fort Worth divorce lawyers will advise you on how to do it.
It is never easy to end a marriage, but you may still feel a great sense of relief when your divorce case is finalized. Still, change is the one constant in life and you may need to modify your divorce decree in the future. There are three ways the final orders in your case may be changed, and they are as follows:
- Mutual consent: Just as you and your spouse can agree to the final terms of your divorce, you can also agree to a modification. To do this, you must file a petition with the court that can legally change the original terms and conditions.
- Material and substantial changes: Texas law recognizes that situations change and when they do, one spouse can petition the court for a modification. For example, if one spouse was paying alimony and lost their job, they may petition the court to terminate or change the original order.
- Change in guidelines: There are instances in which the two parties may not ask for a post-divorce modification, but changes are made anyway. This typically happens in child support cases that have not been reviewed or modified for several years. If three years have passed and the amount of child support being paid differs by $100 or 20 percent than what would be ordered under today’s guidelines, the court may require a modification.
Just as it is important to work with a divorce lawyer in Fort Worth when going through your case initially, it is just as important to work with an attorney when seeking a modification.
Seek Advice From A Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer
Divorce and other family law matters in Texas can be extremely complicated. You should never have to handle a complex divorce or child custody case on your own. In addition to divorces and child custody matters, our firm also assists clients with child support, enforcement actions, premarital and postnuptial agreements, family violence issues, and mediation and arbitration. An experienced Fort Worth family law attorney at our firm can help. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP for more information.