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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 there is 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 find yourself fighting 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. Property division can involve complex issues and a number of factors can be considered, so it is important to have the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. Attorney Mark Roles has been successfully representing clients in divorce cases for over 15 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. Spousal maintenance will not be applicable to every divorce. Generally, 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 or where a spouse is disabled and unable to work), 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 $350 per hour for full scope representation in family law cases. He also provides “limited scope” services at the rate of $250 per hour. Retainers for full scope cases will vary depending upon the anticipated complexity of the case. The retainer for limited scope service is typically $750.00. 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?

Typical retainers for a full scope uncontested divorce range from $1,500 for a simple case to $3,500 for an average case, and up from there for a complicated case. Two of the biggest factors in determining the appropriate retainer is whether the parties have truly discussed and agreed to all issues or not, and, if so, the complexity involved in implementing that agreement. It is common for people going through a divorce to be unsure, at the outset, whether it will be uncontested or not. In fact, the divorce process is designed to help determine what, if any, issues will need to be worked on in order to get the divorce concluded.

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. Most child custody orders will contain a requirement that the parents abide by the Children’s Bill of Rights.

Call (512) 219-0500 to speak with a dedicated Austin divorce & family law attorney at The Law Offices of Mark C. Roles, P.C.

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