Family Law FAQ’s

  1. What Does Joint Custody Mean?In Texas, there is a presumption in a divorce that the parents be appointed as “joint managing conservators.” However, this does not necessarily mean that the court divides custody equally with no support being paid. Usually, the court decides that one parent has “primary” possession of the child and has the right to establish the child’s residence while the other parent has visitation rights and is ordered to pay child support. Other parental decision making powers are allocated between both parents.
  2. How are visitation and child support handled in Texas?There are presumptive guidelines for visitation and support, which constitute general rules for the courts to follow. There is a visitation schedule known as the Standard Possession Order, which sets forth the presumptive minimum amount of time for a person named as a joint managing conservator. Likewise, there are somewhat standardized child support guidelines so that, generally, child support is presumed to be set as a percentage of the obligor’s net income. It is important to know, however, that there are certain instances where the “presumed” guidelines may not be applied. By agreement or court order, the actual visitation or support ordered can deviate from the guidelines. This is where having competent legal representation can be crucial. Call me for more information.
  3. How is property divided in a divorce?The judge in a divorce case has the discretion to divide the property in a manner that he or she deems “just and right.” This usually means that the Judge starts out with the presumption that the community estate will be divided equally. However, in certain cases, depending on certain factors such as fault in the break up of the marriage or disparity in earning capacity of the parties, the judge, in his or her discretion, may divide the property in a disproportionate manner.
  4. Do I need a Board Certified Family Law Specialist?Rarely, in our opinion. Under the rules of the State Bar, attorneys may choose whether they wish to limit his or her practice to a specific area of law with or without seeking “board certification.” We have chosen to limit our practice to family law, but have not sought board certification. Other attorneys choose certification. Does that make them better attorneys? Not necessarily. We handle a large number of family law cases and attend the same continuing legal education seminars as do board certified specialists. We are highly experienced and provide excellent representation. So do some certified attorneys.