Family Law FAQs 

C.Y. Lee Legal Group
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Whether you're dealing with the intricacies of marriage, the challenges of divorce, the joys and responsibilities of adoption, or the dynamics of child custody, understanding the foundational principles of family law is crucial.  

Our goal with this article is to provide clear, concise answers to frequently asked questions, offering a guiding hand through the legal landscape of family relationships.  This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and approach legal processes with a greater sense of confidence and clarity.

What is the process for filing a divorce in Texas? 

In Texas, either spouse may file for divorce. The person seeking the divorce must have resided in Texas for at least six months prior to filing. Once the divorce petition is filed and served to the other spouse, there's a 60-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. During this time, the couple must resolve issues such as property division, child custody, and support. 

Is Texas a fault divorce state? 

Yes. But also no. Texas is considered both a fault and a no-fault state for divorce. This means you can file for divorce citing either "fault" or "no-fault" grounds. In a "fault" divorce, one spouse alleges that the other's misconduct led to the breakdown of the marriage.  

Grounds for a "fault" divorce in Texas include cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart for at least three years, or confinement in a mental hospital.  

On the other hand, a "no-fault" divorce does not require blaming one party for the dissolution of the marriage. The most common ground for a "no-fault" divorce in Texas is "insupportability," which means the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. 

How is child custody determined?

Child custody, known legally as conservatorship in Texas, is determined based on the best interest of the child. The court considers various factors to ensure the child's physical and emotional needs are met.

These factors include but are not limited to: the child's own wishes (depending on their age and maturity level), any history of family violence or substance abuse, and the stability of each parent's home environment.  

It's also vital that the custodial arrangement supports the child's education, as well as their physical and emotional development. 

There are two types of conservatorship in Texas: joint managing conservatorship (JMC) and sole managing conservatorship (SMC).  

In a JMC, both parents share the rights and duties of parenting, although not necessarily on an equal basis. An SMC, on the other hand, is when one parent has most of the child's rights and responsibilities.  

The specific terms of either arrangement are mapped out in a parenting plan, which covers decision-making authority, the child's residence, visitation schedules, and financial support. Judges typically favor JMC to allow the child to maintain a relationship with both parents unless there's a clear reason that one parent should have sole custody. 

How is child support calculated?

Child support in Texas is typically calculated as a percentage of the noncustodial parent's income, taking into account the number of children.  

At C.Y. Lee Legal Group, we understand that child support can be a complex and sensitive issue. It's not just about money; it's about providing for your children's needs and ensuring their well-being. Here's a more detailed look at how child support works in Texas. 

In Texas, child support is calculated based on the noncustodial parent's net resources. The state has set guideline percentages to determine how much of these net resources should go to child support. The percentages vary depending on the number of children involved: 

  • 20% for one child 

  • 25% for two children 

  • 30% for three children 

  • 35% for four children 

  • 40% for five children 

  • Not less than 40% for six or more children 

It's important to note that these percentages are guidelines. The court has the discretion to order amounts that deviate from these guidelines if it's in the best interest of the child or children. 

Net resources include all types of income and assets, such as wages, commissions, overtime pay, rental income, dividends, retirement benefits, and even unemployment benefits.  

After determining the net resources, the appropriate percentage is applied to calculate the child support amount. 

Additionally, child support orders can be modified if there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances. This could include a significant increase or decrease in either parent's income, a change in the child's medical insurance, or a change in the custody arrangement. 

Can spousal support be modified after a divorce?

Yes. Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be modified or terminated if there's a significant change in circumstances. This might include a job loss, remarriage, or cohabitation with a new partner. 

What is mediation in a divorce context?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the divorcing couple reach agreements on issues such as property division, child custody, and support. It's often less adversarial and less expensive than court litigation. 

Other benefits of mediation include: 

  • Confidentiality: Mediation is a private process, unlike court hearings which are typically open to the public. 

  • Control: The couple has more control over the outcome of their divorce instead of leaving it up to a judge. 

  • Flexibility: Mediation can be scheduled at a time and place that's convenient for both parties. 

Can a prenuptial agreement be contested or invalidated?

Yes, under certain conditions.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage. It typically outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. 

If a prenuptial agreement was signed under duress or without full disclosure of assets, it might be contested in court. 

How can a family law attorney help?

Remember, this is just a brief overview, and every situation is unique. If you have more questions or need legal advice, don't hesitate to reach out to the C.Y. Lee Legal Group in Houston, Texas. 

Our experienced family law attorneys have the knowledge and compassion to guide you through these complex matters.  We can help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights and interests, and work towards a fair resolution for all parties involved.  

Don't face these challenges alone; let us support you through every step of the way.