Divorce And Family Law FAQ

The most common reason for filing for divorce in the state of Texas is called insupportability, which essentially means that one or both spouses no longer wish to remain married to each other and that there exists no reasonable expectation the relationship can be reconciled. Since it does not require proof that a spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage, insupportability is a no-fault ground for divorce. Texas does, however, recognize certain fault-based grounds for divorce, which are as follows:

  • Adultery
  • Cruel treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Living apart for at least three years
  • Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years

Proving fault can sometimes result in the wronged party receiving a disproportionate share of the community estate. It also can affect the outcome of child custody proceedings. If you believe you can prove a fault-based ground for divorce in Texas, be sure to let your attorney know and be prepared to gather and preserve evidence to prove that ground.

How do I change the custody or visitation rights contained in the previous order?

To modify a previous court order pertaining to the children, a parent must file a suit to modify. For example, a request can be made to change the parent with whom the children primarily resides or adjust the visitation or possession time of a parent. A suit to modify can also increase or decrease child support and/or change other aspects of the previous order pertaining to the children. Modifications can involve complex legal and factual issues, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney if you believe there are grounds to modify the prior order, or if you simply must defend against a request to modify. Attorney Mark C. Roles has successfully represented numerous clients in a wide variety of modification suits.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is calculated by taking a percentage of the noncustodial parent's net resources. While the actual amount of support will vary depending upon several factors, the net resource percentage per child is roughly:

  • 20% for one child
  • 25% for two children
  • 30% for three children
  • 35% for four children
  • 40% for five children
  • At least 40% for six or more children

For additional information concerning child support, please visit the Child Support Division of the Attorney General of Texas.

How is marital property divided?

Texas is a community property state, where all income earned and property acquired during the marriage is presumed to belong to the community estate. Texas law directs the Court to divide the community estate between divorcing spouses in a manner that is "just and right." Suffice it to say that the division does not necessarily have to be 50 - 50 in order to be just and right. Separate property-assets that can be proven to have been acquired prior to marriage and property inherited during marriage, for example - is not community property and cannot be subject to division in a Texas divorce. Attorney Mark Roles has been successfully representing clients in divorce cases for over ten years.

How do I get alimony/spousal maintenance in a Texas divorce?

Alimony ("spousal maintenance" in Texas) constitutes monetary payments made by one spouse to or on behalf of another spouse, arising either by the terms of a final divorce decree or temporary orders in a pending divorce case. Spousal maintenance can arise via an agreement between the spouses and/or by an order of the Court. Not all spouses will be entitled to spousal maintenance. In order to qualify, the spouse seeking maintenance must show that the parties have been married for 10 years or longer (except in cases involving family violence), AND that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient income to provide for the spouse's "minimum reasonable needs."

How much does a lawyer cost/what do you charge?

Mr. Roles currently charges a rate of $275 per hour for representation in family law and most civil litigation cases. For some non-family law civil cases, such as legal malpractice and personal injury, Mr. Roles will negotiate a contingency fee with you prior to the representation. A contingency fee generally means that you will not incur any fees for the representation unless money is recovered from one or more defendants at the conclusion of your case. The specific terms of any contingency fee will be agreed to, in writing, prior to the representation. Naturally, for hourly rate cases, the total cost of representation will depend upon the complexity of the case and the total amount of time required by the case. There are several factors that will help determine the complexity of your case, and those will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Mr. Roles is dedicated to maximizing value for all his clients by providing excellent, cost-efficient legal services and representation.

I anticipate that my divorce will be uncontested. How much will it cost to have an attorney handle an uncontested divorce?

If a divorce-or any other proceeding for that matter-is truly uncontested, this can greatly reduce the total amount of time an attorney must devote to your case and, hence, the total cost of the representation. An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse have agreed on all major issues in your case, including conservatorship, custody, possession and access, and child support, as well as the complete division of all community assets and debts. If one or more issues cannot be resolved by agreement, then the case is no longer uncontested. In Mr. Roles' experience, an uncontested divorce typically takes between five and ten hours of attorney time, plus expenditures. However, this range is only a rough estimate, as the extent of negotiations required, the amount of ancillary documents necessary to the case, the number of court appearances required, the extent and complexity of the community assets and debts, unforeseen circumstances, and other issues can substantially increase the amount of time required in even an uncontested divorce. Mr. Roles strives to be as efficient as possible in caring for your case.

My former spouse/current parent of the child has violated the divorce decree/order of the court. What can be done to compel compliance?

If you can prove that another party has failed to comply with an order, you might be able to utilize the Court to compel compliance. This is called a motion or petition for enforcement, and the addressed violations can range from a party's failure to pay court-ordered child support or spousal maintenance, to a failure to provide the children to the other parent for visitation, to a failure to perform some other act mandated by the order.

I'm getting divorced and my spouse has asked me to move out of the marital residence. What should I do?

As a general rule, you should NOT move out just because your spouse has asked you to. This is especially true if minor children are involved: if you move out of the residence and leave the children primarily residing with your spouse, this could negatively affect your ability to later fight for primary custody. Even if no children are involved, you have the equal right to occupy the residence and should carefully consider your options and rights before deciding to voluntarily move out.

What is the Children's Bill of Rights?

The Children's Bill of Rights contains reasonable standards of conduct governing divorced or separated parents in their dealings with each other and their children. Some, but not all, judges will order the parents to comply with the Children's Bill of Rights, either in a final divorce decree or final custody order. Even if you have not been ordered to abide by the Children's Bill of Rights, all divorced or separated parents should abide by these terms. Not only is it in the best interests of the children, but conduct that violates the Bill of Rights is likely to anger the judge and potentially harm your case.

Call (512) 219-0500 to speak with a dedicated Austin divorce & family law attorney at The Law Offices of Mark C. Roles, P.C. Taking the first step toward resolving your legal problem(s) is as simple as a phone call.