Family Law in Texas, Harris County, Houston, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Galveston County

Family Law Overview

ARE YOU LOOKING TO RESOLVE A FAMILY LAW ISSUE?

In many large Texas Counties like Harris and Fort Bend, particular courts are assigned the task of determining family law issues like divorce and parentage. These courts pay particular attention to family law cases because the outcome of a case will affect family members for many years, and this has an effect on the community in which these families live. The area of family law covers not only the dissolution of marriage, but also a far range of matters like adoptions, protective orders, parentage or paternity suits, child support, visitation and more.

When children are involved in a family matter, the Texas Family Code requires the court to place the best interests of the children before all other considerations and issues. Even agreements involving child custody, visitation and child support are carefully considered by a family law judge before it will be approved. Always seek the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney in all areas of family law before you venture into a family law court.

AREAS OF PRACTICE: FAMILY LAW AND DIVORCE

At our firm, we are fully dedicated to ensuring that our clients have the reliable legal assistance they deserve. If you have further questions or would like to learn more about how a member of our family law firm can help you, pick up the phone and contact us today at 713-222-9141. You can also learn more about the different areas of family law that we are available to help with by clicking on any of the links below:

Asset Division
Asset division is always part of a divorce, whether the parties have accumulated great wealth or have very little new worth. Parties must pay particular attention to the equalization of debt when it is attached to an asset.

Child Abuse
Approximately 13,700 children are abused and neglected every day in the United States. If you have reason to believe that your child has been abused or if you are being wrongfully accused of child abuse, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side to guarantee a just result.

Child Custody
Child custody is often the most highly contested part of a divorce. Under Texas law, a parent with  “custody” is a “conservator” with the right to determine the residence of a child. In many cases, the Courts will rule that both parents are “joint conservators”, who share in the parental duties and responsibilities of raising the children. Only one, however, will determine where the child lives. This is often the most contentious issue.

Child Support
In Texas, child support is presumptively based on a percentage of the “net resources” of the parent obligated to pay. If you are being asked to pay excessive child support or if you are not receiving sufficient financial assistance from the other spouse,  you deserve to have an experienced family law advocate on your side who can take the matter up in court.

Debt Division
Assets and property constitutes only part of the community estate that will be divided during a divorce. Debts must be identified, characterized and fairly divided as well. This is sometimes the most important issue in a divorce where the estate is burdened by tremendous debt. Many times assets are connected to some debt, and this must be equalized.

Divorce
The dissolution of a marriage is a heart wrenching and painful process. It is never simple but when handled with the experience of a knowledgeable lawyer, it can be resolved with as little drama as necessary. Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, allowing a husband or wife to obtain a divorce without having to prove that the other party has caused the breakup of the marriage through violence or adultery. Simply not getting along is sufficient for the courts.

Domestic Violence
There are many legal Issues that relate to domestic abuse. Family violence is a factor strongly considered by the courts when determining conservatorship, spousal maintenance and property division. As well, a protective order may need to be applied for. If you have been a victim or if you have been wrongfully accused, we can help work with you to ensure that your rights are fully protected.

Enforcement of Court Orders
If you are having issues with an ex-spouse or parent failing to comply with court orders, you need help from an experienced family law attorney. In particular, if an obligated parent is not paying his child support,  you may be struggling to make ends meet financially. An ex-spouse may not be following the terms of your divorce settlement. There are steps that can be taken under Texas Family Law to regain what you are rightfully owed under the law, and our firm can help you through this complex process.

Fathers’ Rights
Despite the history of Texas courts, Texas law is clear that one sex is not granted preferential status when determining who should have “custody” of a child. The only consideration is the “best interest of the child”.  Courts in Texas are granting fathers custody more often and are giving them the rights to have contact with their children. It this is your desire, you need a strong legal family law advocate on your behalf.

Grandparents’ Rights
In today’s world, many children are being raised by their grandparents. A grandparent may be able to sue for managing conservatorship of a grand child if she has had care and control over the child for an extended period of time. in addition, grandparents can request the court for access and visitation of a grandchild. We are here to help ensure that the court does not deny these rights when they are in the best interest of the grandchild.

High Net Worth Divorce
In divorces where one or both parties have considerable assets to their name, it is extremely important that immediate steps are taken to ensure that all finances are accounted for and divided equally. At our firm, we know that offshore accounts, a wholly owned business and retirement accounts can make up the greatest portion of a community estate. We know how to locate and value them.

Legal Separations
In some cases, a couple may wait to divorce and opt for a legal separation.. While “legal separation” is not recognized by the state of Texas, you are allowed to create a separation agreement. This agreement allows a couple to remain legally married and still keep some of their financial affairs separate.

Military Divorce
Couples who have one or both parties in the military are faced with unique challenges in comparison to civilian parties. The divorce will be complicated by military retirement, jurisdiction and Federal Law.

Modification of Child Custody
Many divorce decrees contain a provision limiting the counties where children may live. In cases where you have to relocate for a job or marriage, you may find you need a modification of your original custody agreement. Similar to the process for modifications of child support and modifications of spousal maintenance, you are allowed to seek a change in your court order to suit your current circumstances. In addition, the spouse who does not have “custody” may decide that this must be changed in order to suit the best interest of the children. This process always requires the help of experienced family law counsel.

Mothers’ Rights
Texas child custody laws are gender neutral, and mothers are not automatically granted rights to custody of their children. If you are looking to protect your rights as a mother, you should not hesitate to get  an experienced lawyer involved. He can help you with issues pertaining to custody, visitation and child support payments.

Orders of Protection
In situations involving domestic violence and abuse, an Application for Protective Order may be filed. The recipient of this order will find that it becomes public record and can affect many aspects of his life and decisions in his divorce.  If you are seeking the protection of this document or if you have been wrongfully accused of family violence, our family law firm can help.

Parental Alienation
Children usually do not want to be the focus of a divorce, but they can be easily manipulated. Parental alienation can occur when one parent maliciously and willfully attacks the other parent in front of a child with the intent to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent. This is never in the best interest of the child and must be stopped through legal measures.

Paternity
You may be struggling to prove that you are the rightful father of a child or you may want to identify the father. We can help you with the ordering of a paternity test. We understand that this is a sensitive subject and are dedicated to ensuring that you have reliable and discrete assistance as you move through the process.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
In Texas, parties can contractually agree to the split of assets owned by the estate. Prenuptial agreements are signed by both parties prior to entering into marriage, and these agreements can dictate the rights and obligations of each party in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements are signed by spouses during a marriage in order to divide all or part of the property and debts of the spouses. Either one will be enforced by the court if certain prerequisites are met.

Property Division
In the state of Texas, property is split depending on its classification as separate vs. community property. Separate property is property acquired by a spouse prior to marriage, or by gift or devise.  Community property is property obtained by either party during the course of a marriage. During a divorce, all the property will need to be carefully characterized as either separate or community.

Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees
We know that for some people, the cost of hiring an attorney out-of-pocket can be an impossibility. In some marriages, only one party controls the couples finances.  In these circumstances, the court may require that the more financially stable spouse pay the attorneys’ fees of the other spouse. We can help petition for this if you are in a situation that meets the court’s criteria.

Relocation
If you are looking to relocate after a divorce, and the divorce decree provides that the children can only live in certain counties,  you must go back to court to seek a modification.  Judges and juries have the discretion and freedom to allow for this change. However, the courts have a strong desire to maintain the relationship between the children and both spouses. As a result, the request for relocation is often a battle.

Spousal Abuse
Spousal abuse encompasses domestic violence, but it is by no means limited to physical violence. One spouse may be abusing the other emotionally or financially. If you are suffering from abuse at the hands of your spouse, you need legal protection to ensure that you are protected. Even in those situations where a protective order cannot be sought, measures can be taken by restraining order that will protect the abused spouse.  On the other hand, if you are facing a wrongful accusation, then you need a knowledgeable attorney who will help you fight against a false impression.

Spousal Maintenance/Alimony
If you have a lesser earning capacity than your spouse or will not be able to provide for yourself after divorce, then you may be able to petition for the payment of spousal maintenance,  referred to as alimony in other states. Spousal maintenance may be temporary during the divorce process, or made a part of the final divorce decree. It is limited in Texas, so you need an experienced family lawyer to walk you through the process.

Temporary Orders
The goal of temporary orders is to maintain the status quo during the pendency of the divorce. Issues involving finances and children must be addressed early on. One of the first actions you should take upon filing for divorce is to request temporary orders to govern the relationship between you and your spouse. Temporary orders can “freeze” your assets so that your spouse cannot transfer items out of the marital estate and provide for matters of conservatorship and support for the children.

Uncontested Divorce
In cases where you and your ex-spouse are able to agree on all matters in the divorce, you may be able to move forward without litigation. In these cases, both parties can save considerable money, time and energy. However, what may seem like an agreement to one party may be contested by the other party as the process continues. it is important to have good legal representation even in those divorces that seem amicable.

Visitation
If you are not given custody of your children, it is still important that you be allowed to maintain your relationship with your children. This is normally done by allowing possession or “visitation” with your children. Texas law recognizes a standard visitation schedule as presumptively fair. However, your work responsibilities or residence may not make this fair at all. Our firm recognizes the importance of having consistent contact with your children and we will work to ensure that you are given a schedule that allows you constant interaction on a regular basis.

CONTACT A HOUSTON DIVORCE LAWYER FROM OUR FIRM TODAY!

If you are currently struggling with an issue pertaining to family law, we encourage you to get the involvement of a lawyer from our firm as soon as possible. At Chernoff Law, we are compassionate to the needs of our clients and will always go above and beyond in our efforts to provide high-quality assistance when it matters most.

Our professional attorneys and legal staff members can assist clients through a difficult divorce, modification of a prior divorce, or in a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship. Effective and competent legal counsel in dealing with the court system is essential to ensure a favorable outcome. Make an appointment today for a consultation with one of our skilled and qualified divorce attorneys. The quicker we can get involved, the faster we will be able to provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.