Is Child Support Mandatory in Texas?

Child support can be a delicate subject, to say the least. While some people get distracted by sending payments to their former spouse or co-parent, it is important to remember that child support is put in place to help ensure that both parents are providing financial support to their child. After all, both parents have a legal responsibility to provide such support to a child that is their own. While child support is often ordered in situations where parents are not married or are no longer married, you may be wondering whether or not child support is mandatory in Texas.

Is Child Support Mandatory in Texas?

Child support is not mandatory to be ordered in all cases, but a child support order is often put in place in most cases. For those parents involved in a child support case, it is critical to keep in mind the fact that all orders made by the court are done so with the best interest of the child in mind. Because of this, parents may mutually agree to not paying or receiving child support payments, but the judge may order child support anyways.

Texas has child support guidelines in place that are established by the Texas Family Code and are meant to assist the family courts in calculating how much child support is to be owed by one or both parents. While parents can agree to pay above and beyond what the court establishes as the necessary child support payments, they cannot agree to pay less. Should the parents reach an agreement on child support payment amounts and timing of payments, it must be approved by the court.

Generally speaking, the parent who spends less time with the child, the non-custodial parent, will be ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. The paying parent is referred to as the “obligor.” The recipient of these payments is referred to as the “obligee” parent. Many factors go into considering when child support should be ordered and how much should be ordered. Need and ability to pay are two of the primary factors. A parents need for the payments to support the child and the other parent’s ability to pay will be central to the child support calculation. Other relevant factors will include the expenses of the child. The medical needs and expenses of the child will often be central to the calculation of support.

In sum, parents may agree that no child support needs to be paid and the court may approve this arrangement. If the best interest of the child dictates that child support should be paid, the court will order otherwise. Before agreeing to no child support, however, parents should consider the problems that can come from such an arrangement. Child support can be a good way to help ensure both parents are remaining financially responsible for their child.

Family Law Attorneys

Child support questions? Get the answers you need from the family law team at Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.

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Why You Should Always Consider Mediation Before Litigating a Divorce

Divorce is a complex process that can bring feelings of anger or sadness to everyone involved. Conflict in the divorce can mean more emotional and economic pain, for the litigants and any children involved.

Mediating a divorce is an excellent decision to help avoid an expensive legal battle and reduce that stress by providing the parties to the suit with more control over the case’s outcome.

Learn why mediation is better than divorce, then contact our Dallas divorce mediation attorneys for more information.

Divorce Mediation Overview

Divorce mediation allows separating couples to meet with a neutral third party, with or without counsel, to resolve any issues or items of contention in a divorce. Mediation is preferable to litigation because it is less upsetting and almost always less expensive. Divorce mediation also usually allows the parties to finish their case quicker than a standard divorce.

Another important benefit to mediation is that you and your partner have the ultimate say—subject to agreement and the confines of the law—over your contested issues. Outside of extreme circumstances when mediation may not be the best course of action, any agreement reached in mediation is binding on the Court. This means that you both can keep the power and control over your relationship, and the Court is not making ordering things that no one asked for.

How Mediation Works

Divorce mediation starts when you and your partner agree and select a mediator, or the Court appoints one. While divorce mediation is voluntary in most states, Texas courts have the power to order the parties to mediate their case. This is the limit to what the Court can do, as the Court cannot force parties to reach agreements.

While mediation is highly successful in resolving cases, it is most effective when both parties are willing to negotiate their contentious divorce issues. Usually, the mediator will set up an appointment in a neutral setting with the spouses (and counsel, if any). During this initial meeting, the spouses can talk about their views on common divorce topics that, include:

  • Division of assets
  • Child visitation and custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony

The first discussion helps your mediator to understand how realistic a possible resolution to the case is via mediation. As a further means of “keeping the peace” during these sessions, the mediator will generally have each side in a separate room (or Zoom room, if being done electronically).

There is no time limit on divorce mediation in Texas. Everyone can continue working with the mediator to reach an agreement until an agreement is reached, or the process becomes unworkable. If the issues are too complex or the conflict is too high for agreements to be reached, litigation is still possible. Still, mediation is almost always less expensive than a lengthy divorce fought out in the courts. Parties can save thousands of dollars—and ever-valuable time—by resolving their case through mediation.

Is Mediation An Option?

Mediation is possible if there is a chance you and your partner will agree to the terms of a divorce. Also, both sides need to be open on finances, and agreement is required on child custody matters. However, mediation is not usually advisable if there is a history of domestic violence.

Contact Our Dallas Divorce Mediation Attorneys Today

Divorce is painful, and a contentious divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating. Everyone is better off when both sides can agree to divorce terms without an extended legal quarrel. Divorce mediation is a great choice to reach these agreements, whether the issues are alimony, child custody, or division of property.

The Dallas divorce mediation attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson can help with mediating your divorce to bring your case to an agreeable conclusion without a lengthy legal battle. Our attorneys are proud to serve the communities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, and San Antonio. Please contact our Dallas divorce mediation attorneys at (214) 273-2400.

The post Why You Should Always Consider Mediation Before Litigating a Divorce appeared first on ONDA Family Law.

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Is military disability pay a marital asset?

If you are a military veteran who has a service-connected disability, then you may be able to receive disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. How VA disability can impact a divorce case in Texas is what we are going to be discussing in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Subjects as diverse as child support calculations, spousal maintenance, and community property division may be impacted by your eligibility for VA disability payments. Understanding the relationship between these areas of your divorce is important considering that there is a small margin for error in any divorce case.

If you have a service-connected VA disability rating of at least 10% then you are entitled to VA disability payments. Your military retirement will be reduced on a dollar-by-dollar basis if your disability rating is under 50%. So, why would you want to waive VA retirement benefits to receive VA disability benefits? The two primary reasons why disability benefits may be preferable to retirement benefits are due to disability benefits not being subject to division in a divorce and disability benefits are not taxable.

How can you apply for VA disability benefits?

Just because you have a service-connected disability through the military does not mean that you will automatically receive VA disability payments. Rather, you need to follow the process that the military has laid out for veterans and active-duty service members to apply for and receive VA disability benefits. While some people in your position will apply for and receive disability benefits at the same, they that they separate from the military, there is no deadline to apply for disability. It could be years later that you first apply for disability benefits and receive them.

What this means for your divorce is that you should not assume that just because your spouse is not receiving benefits at this moment, he or she will not begin to receive them in the future. The VA will pay on any person’s claim who can prove that he or she has a service-connected disability rating of between 10 and 100%. Depending on whether you have a spouse and children you can receive a monthly disability payment from the VA of over $3,500 per month.

Backdoor division of VA disability benefits

As we have already discussed, VA disability benefits are not divisible in a divorce as community property. Once the funds are deposited into a jointly held bank account then disability payments may potentially be divided in a divorce. What we are describing here is something called “commingling” where separate property and community property are placed together. Rather, it would be wise for you to segregate your separate prop (like VA disability) into a bank account that will never have community property funds within it. This way you can be sure that the bank account in question will never have an issue with commingled funds.

How can VA disability impact decisions on child support and spousal maintenance?

The questions about child support and spousal maintenance revolve around income. VA disability benefits do count as income when it comes to calculating child support or spousal maintenance. As opposed to the community estate, disability benefits from the VA can be a part of a veteran’s income for purposes of setting child support.

For alimony or spousal maintenance purposes, Texas is an outlier among the rest of the 49 states in our union. Texas family courts will typically not consider VA disability payments as income for calculating spousal maintenance.

Can VA disability payments be garnished for child support and alimony?

Wage garnishment in Texas typically takes place via a wage withholding order. A wage withholding order is usually submitted to an obligor spouse or parent’s employer after a child custody or divorce case. In that way, the employer will know how much money to withhold to pay child support each month.

Military disability benefits cannot be treated as community property in a Texas divorce. Let’s look at a case where a husband filed an appeal from his divorce arguing that the court incorrectly divided up his military disability benefits.

In that case, the wife had filed for divorce. In her Original Petition for Divorce, this woman argued that she should receive a disproportionate share of the community estate for a variety of reasons. Her income was much less than her husband’s, she had no advanced education and she had no separate property from before the marriage. Ultimately, the divorce court awarded her more than half of her husband’s military retirement benefits. Her husband immediately appealed the decision.

The husband’s main argument was that in awarding his wife 55% of her military retirement pay, the court had included disability benefits in that equation. The wife argued that this was not the case and that the final decree of divorce awarded him his military disability and Social Security disability benefits as a part of his separate estate.

What did the final decree of divorce say, exactly?

The language as contained in their final decree of divorce stated that the wife was to be awarded fifty-five percent of the husband’s disposable military retired pay including any accrued unpaid bonuses, disability plan, or benefits. Under awards to the husband, the same language was used. A domestic relations order was drafted to divide up the military benefits and included stated that only disposable retired pay could be considered community property. Military disability pay would not count as military benefits for division in the divorce.

What did the appellate court say?

When the husband appealed the trial court orders it went to an appellate court here in Texas. The final decree of divorce contained an award for the husband of his military disability and Social Security disability benefits as separate property. The appellate court found the definition of disposable retired pay did exclude military disability pay. As a result, the appellate court found that the trial court did not make a mistake and award any of the husband’s disability benefits.

Dividing up marital property in a Texas divorce is not easy

The subject of community property division in a Texas divorce arises with a great deal of regularity. It is also complicated- more complicated than many guides on the internet will lead you to believe. One of the most difficult aspects of community property division to figure out for many couples has to do with how government benefits are divided up. It could be a teacher’s retirement or military retirement, there are methods of calculating what percentage of these benefits can be divided in the divorce that relate to your length of service as well as how many years of marriage coincided with that length of service.

Veterans’ benefits, including military benefits, are no different. Special rules apply that will determine how your military benefits will be divided in the divorce and whether they are even subject to division. We have already seen how military disability benefits are not divisible by a Texas family court. Additionally, because of the example that we shared in the earlier section of today’s blog post hopefully, you can understand just how critical it is to make sure that your final decree of divorce is worded clearly and unambiguously. The result, if you don’t, is to prolong the case and put you in a position where you spend money that otherwise would not have to.

Military benefits are done through federal law and Texas law determines how property is divided in a divorce. Your attorney will need to be able to divide up those benefits correctly and understand how state and federal law treat these subjects. It is a bad situation to find yourself in when your final decree of divorce is not correct. This will cost you time, money, and stress that otherwise would not need to be spent. Hiring an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a great way to help ensure that you do not find yourself in this position moving forward.

Our attorneys and staff have been fortunate enough to be able to represent members of our military and veterans alike in their divorce cases since our office was first opened. In addition, military spouses are among the most frequently seen clients of our office. Texas is home to many military members and veterans, and we are honored whenever we have the opportunity to work with military families to help you all accomplish your goals during a difficult time. Contact us today for a free-of-charge consultation with one of the experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Military retirement benefits

Military pensions can be subject to division in your divorce. If the pension was contributed to during your marriage, then those portions of the military benefits will be divisible in the divorce. Any portion that was contributed before the marriage will count as separate property and will not be divisible. The tricky part for you and your spouse will be to determine how much of the military retirement benefits are community property and then how to divide up that community property portion of your benefits.

At the time of your divorce, the military pension becomes frozen. Once you or your spouse file for divorce the pension’s value will be what it was on the date of filing. The reason why this law is in place is that it would be possible for a military spouse to take advantage of their spouse being promoted during the divorce and then be eligible to receive more money as a result of that promotion. Cost-of-living adjustments are typically allowed during a divorce, but the pension amount stays steady where it was at the beginning of the case.

The bottom line is while a military divorce will follow the same procedures and processes as a civilian divorce, there are specific areas where a military divorce can differ from a civilian divorce, as well. The length of your marriage, while you were serving in the military, will also make a difference when calculating benefits.

If you are married to a military member, then the length of your marriage will have a tremendous impact on your ability to receive benefits. Simply put, if you and your spouse have been married for less than 10 years then you should not expect to receive much of anything in the divorce as far as military benefits. As you are probably aware, Texas is a community property state which means that debts and property accumulated during the marriage will be subject to division in the divorce.

You and your spouse need to have been married for at least 10 years to become eligible for military retirement pay. In addition, the ten years of your marriage must have overlapped with 10 years of military service to qualify. This is different from a civilian divorce where a spouse would be eligible to receive a portion of their spouse’s retirement benefits upon divorce no matter the length of the marriage.

As soon as you and your spouse have been married for ten years you would become eligible to receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement pay. Here are a few benchmarks to keep in mind as far as retirement pay is concerned. At 15 years, you would be eligible to receive half of the retirement pay and one year of health insurance after the divorce comes to an end. Once you have been married for twenty years or longer you would be eligible for half of the retirement pay, health insurance, and other benefits available through the military. The health insurance would go away once you remarried, however.

The importance of hiring an experienced family law attorney in a military divorce

You need to include the specific language that the military requires to receive the correct amount of retirement benefits. Your final decree of divorce should include whatever language the military mandates be included in these orders. Failing to include this language in the order can ruin your chances of receiving the property that you worked so hard to obtain in your divorce. You should be accurate when listing how long you or your spouse served in the military and how long your marriage was.

The government will send the orders back to you if not completed correctly. Keep in mind that this will cost you time in that the attorney will have to go back and correct their work. On top of that, the extra time and effort that it takes to correct these mistakes will cost you time and money. This is adding insult to injury and makes it very difficult to be able to budget for a divorce or plan for your life after the divorce has come to an end. Able to say accurately this is when the divorce ended and here the financial consequences of the divorce are an important part of the case for peace of mind’s sake.

No matter how long you and your spouse were married, if he or she won’t be retiring for another twenty years then you will have to wait a while to get the money promised to you in the divorce. Your spouse may become the person who must pay you the retirement pay when it does come time for those payments to be made. This sounds ok at the time of your divorce but can become cumbersome ultimately for a person in your shoes given that you have no idea what will become of your spouse after the divorce.

If your ex-spouse does not pay you the correct amount of money at retirement you will need to keep tabs on him or her and then file an enforcement lawsuit against him or her. Time is a factor that stands to harm almost every divorce at this stage. Instead of dividing up military retirement pay, why not divide up other property instead? This method can help you to get a case immediately rather than having to wait decades.

You can ask for more equity in the home, a greater amount of child support or spousal maintenance, or anything in between. There are many ways to prepare for a divorce when it comes to community property division. You should begin by going through all of your assets and debts and develop a plan on how to divide them in your divorce. You are only limited by your circumstances and creativity in this regard. Otherwise, having an experienced family law attorney can help you to problem solve and think outside the box when it comes to the division of marital property.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about your family’s circumstances that may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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Court Ordered Medical Insurance

Child support guidelines recognize that dependent children need to be covered by a health insurance plan. Find out how Judges decide which parent will be responsible for coverage.

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Can I have my attorney’s fees paid by my spouse?

Everyone knows that a divorce is not fun. On top of not exactly being a walk in the park, it can also be expensive, stressful and an emotional roller coaster for you and your family. Paying for a divorce could end up being one of the most important factors in your entire case. Being able to make sure that you can afford the divorce that you are seeking is among the most critical pieces of information that you can learn about during the entire process. Starting down a road that you cannot afford to continue down is not where you want to find yourself. Plan your divorce, plan the costs, and develop a strategy for meeting the costs head-on. That is a winning strategy no matter what ends up happening in your case.

It makes sense to inquire about whether your spouse can pay your attorney’s fees. After all, it may be the “fault” of your spouse that you are even in this position. You’ve been a faithful and loving partner to your spouse but he or she may have committed adultery, wasted community assets, or engaged in cruel behavior toward you, and your marriage has failed as a result. You didn’t want to file for divorce, after all. Rather, the divorce was thrust upon you due to the actions of your spouse. Now that you are learning what the costs are of a divorce you may want to know what the options are as far as your spouse being able to pay your attorney’s fees.

The answer that a lawyer gives whenever an answer is unclear is it depends. The judge in your case will determine whether your spouse can be ordered to pay your attorney fees if you ask for them to be paid by him or her. This analysis is performed on a case-by-case basis so we would need to know more about your specific circumstances before I can give you an answer on this subject. In a lot of divorce cases, each party pays their attorney. In others, one spouse is ordered to pay all the attorney’s fees.

What is the process involved in asking your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees?

Unless you ask the court to order your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees it won’t happen. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. In your Original Petition for Divorce or Counterpetition, you need to petition the court to have your spouse pay for your attorney’s fees. Make sure that your attorney is aware that you want this to be included in your petition or counterpetition. Most attorneys will include a request for attorney’s fees regardless of if you mention anything to him or her, but to be safe you should make this known to your attorney before the petition is filed. Otherwise, your petition will need to be amended to include the request.

What are the factors that a family court judge will look to when determining whether attorney’s fees should be granted?

Texas is a community property state. This means that at the time of your divorce all property owned by you and your spouse is presumed to be community property and therefore subject to division in your divorce. There are exceptions to this rule but generally speaking the property and debts of your marriage at the time of your divorce are divisible. Included in this rule are attorney’s fees. Your attorney’s fees can be divided between the two of you as a part of your divorce. You can negotiate for that as a part of your divorce settlement, or you can ask the court to order your spouse to have that done.

Property is to be divided in a just and right manner. Fairness counts, in other words. The financial wherewithal of you and your spouse will be of the utmost importance to a judge when it comes to looking at the costs of your case and who can afford to pay what. If you are a stay-at-home spouse with no outside income opportunities, then this will matter. If your spouse is a doctor with oodles of money and a high income then this will matter, as well. Expect that you will have a good chance to have your spouse pay for your attorney’s fees in this case.

Just because a divorce is ongoing does not mean that your bills are going to stop coming in. Rent, mortgage, utilities, school tuition, etc. These responsibilities that are a part of your life will continue to need to be taken care of even after the divorce is filed. This may seem unfair but that is the reality of the situation. With this in mind, adding attorney’s fees on top of this equation can be too much for you to handle if you have no income coming. Your spouse may well have to pay attorney’s fees for both of you in this situation.

How do fault grounds play into how attorney’s fees are divided, if at all?

A relevant question to ask would be whether your spouse’s bad actions will have any impact on how attorney’s fees are divided. We have already discussed fault grounds in terms of how they may impact how costs and other aspects of your divorce are divided as far as property is concerned. Keep in mind that attorney’s fees are usually awarded at the end of a divorce. You can negotiate with your spouse so that attorney’s fees are paid out over time, but you may have a judge order a lump sum to be paid to you at the end of a divorce once you have submitted a bill to him or her. Make sure that you have a detailed billing statement from your attorney but not one that shows the nature of conversations that were discussed or anything else that would violate the privileges associated with the attorney-client relationship.

It is a common practice in divorces for a judge to order both you and your spouse to produce accountings for your attorney’s fees. That way the judge can compare the bills and other costs associated with the divorce to decide if attorney’s fees will need to be divided. If not, then you will need to pay your lawyer any fees that are unpaid at that time or work out a payment plan of some sort with them. However, if you have factors that you believe are favorable to you then you should present those to the judge in your pleadings and then plan to have your attorney’s fees ready for the judge at the end of your case.

If you can’t afford to pay your attorney….

Let’s say that you are going along through your case, and you suddenly discover that you won’t be able to pay your attorney’s fees. For most people, it won’t be a sudden realization that you cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer for their fees. This will probably be a realization that you have before the case begins. You may be lucky enough to have a family member or someone else who will step up to the plate and offer to pay those attorney’s fees for you temporarily until you can pay them back. They may give you some money to pay as a retainer to your spouse until you get an award for attorney’s fees during the divorce case.

You can ask for temporary attorney’s fees in your divorce by filing a motion for interim attorney’s fees. The judge can either hold a hearing on the matter or can simply address your motion and any response from your spouse to determine if interim attorney’s fees will be allowed. The attorney’s fees accrued by both sides as well as your resources will be looked at in depth to determine if attorney’s fees can be paid on an interim basis.

How can you avoid paying attorney’s fees?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot now. Suppose that your spouse has asked a judge to order you to pay their attorney’s fees. Are there any steps that you can take to avoid being put in a position where you could be ordered to pay for those fees? One step that you can take is to hire your attorney to argue why you should not be made to pay for your spouse’s attorney fees. Simply having your attorney pay for you does not absolve you of having to pay for your spouse’s attorney’s fees. Rather, this is a decision that will be made based on several different factors that we have already discussed in some detail today. However, it is a useful argument to be able to make when you have your lawyer to pay and a tight budget, to begin with.

What you and your attorney can do is present a detailed and accurate rundown of your income, your monthly bills and expenses, and any other costs that exist for you which may limit your ability to pay for your spouse’s attorney fees. Simply not having the money to pay for your spouse’s attorney’s fees may be the best way to avoid having to pay them. Of course, if you are using community income to pay for your attorney’s fees and have drained a jointly held bank account then this would be a factor worth considering if you are a family court judge.

Resources that are available for low-income Texans

If you are going through a divorce and have a very low or no income at all then you may wonder if there are any resources available to you that can assist you in moving your case forward. As luck would have it, yes, there are. From the very beginning of your case, you need to know that there are costs associated with simply filing for divorce. For example, it will cost you money to file an Original Petition for Divorce. If you have a very low income, then you may be able to have your court costs waived by filling out an application to have your fees waived. This is known as a statement of inability to afford the payment of court costs. By filling out the form you can tell a judge that you cannot afford to pay these basic costs associated with your divorce and that you need to have them waived.

Your spouse may also be in a position where he or she can be ordered to help you survive financially at least until the divorce is over. For example, you can ask for temporary spousal support. Temporary spousal support will have your spouse pay you a certain sum of money each month until the divorce is complete. This may not be a large sum of money but likely would be based on your monthly expenses over and above what you can afford to pay based on your income. In your motion for temporary orders, you can ask for temporary spousal support.

Contractual alimony comes at the end of a case when you and your spouse agree that you should be able to receive a certain sum of money for a certain period after your divorce. Contractual alimony would be negotiated using elements of contract law rather than family law. This is important to note because in the future you would not be able to enforce provisions in your divorce decree involving contractual alimony in the same way that you would spousal maintenance. As we are about to see, spousal maintenance is included in the Texas family code and a judge can enforce their orders regarding this subject. However, contractual alimony is different.

In a divorce trial, spousal maintenance can be ordered by a judge if you and your spouse do not agree on contractual alimony. It is difficult to be awarded spousal maintenance in a divorce. A judge can only award spousal maintenance if you or your spouse lack sufficient property after the divorce to be able to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, the spouse who would be paying spousal maintenance would need to have been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence offense against the receiving spouse or child within two years of the divorce having been filed. Or spousal maintenance can be ordered if you or your spouse is unable to earn enough money to meet your minimum reasonable needs due to a disability suffered by you or your child. Finally, the most common circumstance under which spousal maintenance is paid is when you and your spouse have been married for at least 10 years and there is a proven financial need for the support.

What kind of financial support can you gain from your spouse immediately? a new paragraph in some instances you may require financial support from your spouse right away. In that case, you can ask a judge to issue a temporary restraining order or temporary orders. A temporary restraining order would last for a relatively short period until a hearing can be held, or mediation can allow the two of you to resolve your matter amicably. Once you have temporary orders in place, those orders will typically last until your divorce is over.

Temporary orders in a divorce which involved children can include any orders that are necessary to promote the safety and well-being of your child. Otherwise, temporary orders involving children most typically relate to temporary conservatorship, child support, health insurance, and possession. When it comes to the property in your divorce temporary orders can also determine how property is to be used temporarily, how debts are to be allocated during the case and whether spousal support and attorney’s fees need to be paid. These are essential pieces of information that you need to be very specific about when you ask a court for these items to be paid.

Closing thoughts on attorney’s fees in Texas divorce cases

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance to have your attorney’s fees paid for by your spouse in a divorce, then you need to be prepared. Having an organized budget that can show what your income is versus what your other responsibilities are is extremely important. The better organized and more detailed you can be the better chances you will have to have a judge order attorney’s fee to be paid on either an interim or final basis after your divorce case. Also, if your spouse has an attorney, it would be in your best interest for you to consider hiring one as well. An attorney will not make decisions for you and your case but will help guide you and provide you with context to assist you with making wise decisions based on the law as well as the circumstances of your case.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to look at the circumstances of your case and how the family law of Texas may impact those circumstances.

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Who pays for uninsured medical expenses?

For child support purposes, these would be considered necessary and reasonable health-related expenses for a minor child. Find out how these expenses are split between divorced parents.

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Brad Baugh Used Newsletters Signals Corruption

Early in his legal career divorce attorney Brad Baugh carved out a special niche to connect  lawyers and judges in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. As editor of the family law newsletter, judges and lawyers  read what Baugh wrote in newsletters delivered directly to mailboxes in the most affluent California communities. 

Each newsletter brought ads for office space, paralegals and fire sales in law firms up and down Silicon Valley. Baugh controlled the messages and the information, elevating himself and his legal career in the process. 

These newsletters had another purpose that could not be seen on the surface. The newsletters were used to gather information, but also to engage in what was arguably antitrust activity. With the typing of each newsletter, Baugh got lawyers appointed as referees, Special Masters, private judges and minor’s counsel while he also worked to get lawyers elvated to the bench, where they would owe him and his associates favors. 

Baugh’s newsletters are said to have sent signals to judges as to how to rule in divorce cases to earn more in fees for the lawyers in Baugh’s network. 

​Secret Funds and CPS Ghost Children 

Baugh used the Newsletter to promote fundraising, and kickbacks to therapist willing to write reports that would provide judges with evidence to justify stealing children and family assets in divorce cases. He was said to be providing kickbacks to Santa Clara County Counsel  Ann Ravel for a ghost children program. Ravel , arranged for children taken in divorce or custody cases into foster programs that brought in funding from the federal government.  This illicit activity was covered up by the county’s Department of Child Support Services, and CPS. 

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The Most Important Stages Of The Divorce Process

The Most Important Stages Of The Divorce Process

 

Divorce is both an emotional and a financial hassle. If you want to file for dissolution of marriage in Florida, you should know there are two types of divorce. The simplified dissolution of marriage and the regular dissolution of marriage.

In a simplified dissolution of marriage, spouses agree on the division of assets and property, do not have children or file for divorce during a pregnancy stage, or do not seek alimony. In a regular dissolution of marriage, the situation is reversed, and various aspects of the divorce cannot be agreed upon.

In both cases, consulting with a divorce lawyer can simplify the process, bringing it to an end sooner and in your favor. Working with a lawyer can help you take the proper actions while the case is underway. For example, certain actions, such as online statements, can backfire on your case during the divorce procedure. Click here to learn more.

Regardless of what type of divorce you wish to pursue in Florida, here are some of the most important stages:

The Petition and the Response

The first stage in a divorce, and one of the most important for foreshadowing how your divorce case will go, is how you file the petition and how your spouse responds to it. In Florida, you must meet some requirements before filing for divorce, such as:

  • One of the spouses had a residency in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce
  • Both parties must provide full financial disclosure
  • Proof of marriage
  • Demonstrating the marriage is disjointed

When you file the dissolution of marriage in the county you reside in, the court will send divorce papers to your spouse. If your spouse disagrees with the divorce settlement terms, the court will order a court hearing.

If your spouse agrees with the settlement agreement, your divorce case will not go to trial and will be finalized sooner. A divorce attorney can help you prepare your files properly so your case proceeds easier.

If your spouse dodges the divorce papers, it may be an early sign that your divorce proceedings will not go smoothly, and thus you will need a good divorce lawyer to help you combat other divorce delaying tactics that your spouse may use later.

Division of Family Assets & Alimony

The equitable division laws in Florida imply the distribution of all marital assets. Although some do not consider these laws to be fair, a divorce attorney will represent your rights and opinions regarding alimony. This is the most critical financial stage in a divorce, and the court will consider issues such as:

  • The duration of your marriage
  • Disabilities, age, and health
  • Various economic circumstances
  • Spousal allocation of wealth

It’s important to avoid big financial decisions during your divorce proceedings; otherwise, it may backfire on your case. Even if you learn here more about the most important stages of a divorce, things can turn out differently in your case. Contacting a divorce lawyer is the best way to have your case analyzed and get solid legal advice that can prepare you for the most important stages in your particular divorce proceedings.

Child Custody or Child Support

The most important “emotional stage” of any divorce is, of course, related to child custody. Here, the court will decide in the child’s best interest, and this is the stage where issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, and other problems are discussed if present.

If you want to keep your children safe, working with a divorce lawyer is imperative to prove the abusive behavior of your former partner. Apart from this, child support is also important during separation. Even with the distribution of assets, raising and caring for children is difficult without additional financial support. Child support is imperative if you are unable to take care of your children due to financial reasons.

More importantly, even if you aren’t an abusive parent, your former spouse may try to put the blame on you. Having a good divorce lawyer by your side is critical in this situation, as they will help you out and fight in your best interest till the end.

The post The Most Important Stages Of The Divorce Process appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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6 Benefits Of Online Divorce

pensive curly haired woman working on her laptop

 

We often hear about the growing role of the internet in the divorce process. It isn’t unheard of for divorce filings to include the word “Facebook.” A wife reconnects with an old high school boyfriend on Facebook, and the next thing you know, divorce has been filed.

That isn’t the only way the internet is playing a larger role in the divorce process, though. The internet has become a more convenient place for dissolving marriages, thanks to online divorce services.

If you desire a hassle-free and affordable divorce, it’s easy to understand why online divorce services are growing in popularity for those seeking an uncontested divorce.

Who can File for Divorce Online?

You’re more likely to be able to take advantage of the affordability of an online divorce if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce settlement before filing for divorce. That and the factors below should be taken into consideration when filing for divorce online.

  • If the marriage was short-term
  • If there are no shared assets or debts
  • If there are no children
  • If any disagreements have already been mediated

If all or at least most of these factors are present in your marriage, then online divorce services may be advantageous to you.

6 Benefits of an Online Divorce

What are the 6 top benefits of using an online divorce company when you’re contemplating a divorce?

1. Online Divorce is Easier and Less Painful Than a Litigated Divorce

Ending a marriage is a painful and stressful process. Add to that the adversarial nature of a litigated divorce, and you make matters worse. Let’s face it, divorce attorneys are in business to make money, and amping up conflict is the way they do it.

With online divorce, however, most of the legwork is done for you without the need for attorneys. When you eliminate divorce attorneys, the entire process is smoother, less painful, and quicker. You’re provided the needed forms, fill them out, file them, and the process works for you, not against you.

2. An Online Divorce Saves You Money

According to a survey conducted by legal website Nolo, the average (mean) total cost of divorce in 2019 was $12,900, while the median cost was $7,500. However, If you do your own divorce papers and your divorce is amicable, costs could be under $500, according to LegalZoom.com.

By getting an online divorce, you can save yourself thousands of dollars! How is this possible? You don’t need an attorney, which means not getting stuck in all the conflict stirred up when you introduce an attorney into the divorce process. There are no attorney fees, no court costs, and no mediators to pay!

3. File for  Online Divorce, and you Won’t End up in Divorce Court

Most online divorce services were created with this in mind. Their goal is to keep customers out of divorce court and, due to this, offer services that make the divorce process easier and less conflicted.

For example, some online divorce services offer mediation services for issues such as child custody and child support. They encourage the use of visitation schedules and communication services to keep things civil and out of the hands of mediators and divorce court judges.

An online divorce service will work with you to keep down conflict and make the settlement process easier instead of working against you.

4. Additional Help is Available if Needed

Some online divorce services offer additional help, for example, if you don’t know the location of your spouse, you will be helped in finding them. Another way some online services offer additional support is by having attorneys on staff to answer questions someone may have about marital debt, child custody, or other divorce-related issues. Please request information about additional services before contracting with any online divorce service.

5. Online Divorce is Convenient

When you file for divorce at home on your computer there is no need to schedule meetings with a divorce attorney or, make trips to the courthouse. You can start and stop the process as needed at your own convenience.

Online divorce means:

  • You don’t miss work
  • No need to worry about childcare
  • No waiting inline
  • No need to rearrange your life

You create a username and password and sign in at your convenience to track and update your case files and documents.

6. No Need to Worry Over and Hassle with Paperwork

I’ve been through a litigated divorce. Twenty years later, and I still have boxes of paperwork in my attic! When you file for divorce online, all your paperwork in stored online, in one convenient location, and accessible to you at all times.

No need to worry about delivering paperwork to your attorney and then worrying about the attorney losing it or not properly filing it. No need to worry about taking paperwork to the post office to mail off and crossing your fingers that it gets to the proper address.

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce is the paper chase you become engaged in. With an online divorce, you avoid that aspect altogether.

Divorce, in general, can test your limits. It’s painful and stressful, but being able to get an online divorce is heaven sent due to its many benefits. Do your research, know how the process works and choose the online divorce services that best fit your situation. Then enjoy the benefits of a more expedited divorce process.

The post 6 Benefits Of Online Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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