Why Should I Hire a Family Law Attorney?


Many Texas residents have lawyers with whom they’ve worked for years, on issues such as drafting wills and other estate materials or dealing with business ventures. When a serious Texas family law issue arises, is it really that important to hire a family law attorney? In short, the answer is yes. A recent article in Texas Lawyer explained that, even though a lawyer can be great in his or her area of specialty, many non-family lawyers don’t always know how to handle a divorce case or a child support matter.
Indeed, when it comes to Texas family law and the Texas Family Code, a number of questions exist that non-family lawyers tend to “get wrong,” the article reported. Such matters underscore the necessity of contacting an experienced family law attorney when you have a question about family law in Texas.
If I’m in the Process of Divorcing My Spouse, Is My Current Income Separate Property?
Many divorcing spouses want to know if they’ll be able to retain all of the money they’ve earned after the divorce has been filed but before it’s finalized. In short, Texas law says that community property (or, in other words, property of the marriage) is categorized as such until a divorce decree is entered. To be sure, up until the very date that the divorce is finalized, any money you earn or property you acquire likely will be considered community property.
Will the Judge Divide Our Property in Half?
When spouses decide to divorce, many are under the assumption that the community property rules in Texas require a judge to divide property 50/50 between the spouses. While Texas is not an “equitable distribution” state (in which a judge will divide property based on what’s fair to each of the spouses), a Texas judge still has discretion when it comes to property division. Under Section 7.001 of the Texas Family Code, the court is supposed to order a division of the estate “in a manner that the court deems just and right.”
In other words, the court will take into account a number of different factors when dividing marital property—some of which can affect the quantity of distribution—including but not limited to:
Difference in the spouses’ earning ability;
Who has been granted conservatorship of the child; and
Fault in the breakup of the marriage.
Will the Court Always Award Alimony?
Under Texas law, “alimony” doesn’t exist in the same way that it does in other states. While Texas courts can award spousal maintenance, certain conditions must be met. Depending on the situation for which spousal maintenance was awarded, it can be for a finite period or an indefinite period.
First, a spouse must be legally eligible to receive support. What makes a person eligible? First, the spouse seeking maintenance must have insufficient assets and/or income to provide for her reasonable needs. In addition, that spouse must be able to show other elements concerning the marriage, including, for example: the length of the marriage, the spouse’s ability to provide for herself and her children, evidence of a physical or mental disability, and the paying spouse’s conviction of a domestic violence offense. These issues can be complicated, and it’s important to talk with an experienced Texas divorce lawyer who can take a close look at your particular situation.
When you’re going through a divorce, it’s essential that you have an experienced family law advocate on your side. Contact one of the dedicated attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing, and Anderson, LLP today.