Law Office of

Evan Pierce-Jones
 
125 South Washington Street, San Angelo, Texas 76901
Telephone 325.486.1660

Family Law

  Texas Family Law....

   Family law is the area of the law that deals with divorce, child custody and support, adoption, and child 
   protection cases.  In Texas, juvenile delinquency cases are also included in Family Law.
    

   The break up of a marriage is usually painful and difficult for all concerned.  While there is no way I can
   make this important, life changing decision for you, I am available to guide you through the court
   system, and to be your advocate for the resolution you seek. Even if you and your spouse have agreed
   on how to deal with child custody and property issues, I can still help you navigate the court system.  

   If you are seeking a modification of child support payments or child custody after a divorce has been   
   granted,  I am available to explain the law and to assist you with your case.


REPRESENTATION FOR... 
          

      • Divorce
      • Modification of Child Support
      • Modification of Child Custody
      • Enforcement of terms of Decree of Divorce
      • "CPS" Cases (cases brought by State of Texas seeking termination of parental rights)  
      • Other family law cases

DIVORCE BASICS...

Texas allows for divorce based on what in everyday English would be called "irreconcilable differences".  There are other grounds for divorce in Texas, but this is the most common.
 
A Texas divorce case begins with the filing of a petition for divorce with the proper court.  In some counties, that is the County Court at Law, and in other counties it is the District Court.  To file for divorce, the person who brings the action must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months and in the county where the case is to be filed for at least 90 days.  Or, if the other spouse has lived in Texas for at least 6 months, the divorce can be filed in the county the other spouse lives in.  In most cases, there is a 60 day waiting period before the court can grant the divorce.

If the couple has children, custody of the children should be decided as part of the divorce case and will be set out in the Decree of Divorce entered by the court.  The same is true of child support.

A Decree of Divorce will normally also address issues such as health insurance for the children, division of retirement benefits, division of property (cars, house, household goods, etc.), and who pays what debts.
 
CHILD CUSTODY BASICS...
 
Every parent who has been a consistent and positive influence in the life of his or her child should expect to be able to continue that relationship after a divorce.  The Decree of Divorce that the court will sign will spell out periods of time when each parent is to have possession of the children.  More and more courts are entering orders that parents have joint custody of the children.  Even so, in almost every case, one parent will  have the children living with them more.  The Decree of Divorce will typically set out an ongoing visitation schedule with the othe parent, as well as deal with holidays and summer vacations.
 
CHILD SUPPORT BASICS...

In a typical divorce case with children, one of the parents is ordered to pay child support.  The Texas Family Code provides guidelines for the court to use in setting the amount of child support.  However, these guidelines are not mandates, and under certain circumstances, the court is permitted to set child support in an amount greater or less than what the guidelines provide.  In addition to the support provided by the guidelines, the parent who is ordered to pay child support is commonly also ordered to provide for medical insurance for the child.
  
MODIFICATION OF CUSTODY BASICS...
   
After entering the Decree of Divorce, in certain circumstances, a Texas court is permitted to make changes to the original child custody orders.  Generally speaking, the court is required to do what is in the best interest of the children.  However, Texas law requires that there be factors in addition to the best interest of the children before a modification of custody can be ordered by the court.  The Texas Family Code specifies what additional factors justify a change in custody.  If you are seeking a change in the custody ordered for your children in your Decree of Divorce, you should contact a Texas family lawyer to discuss your particular situation.  

MODIFICATION OF CHILD SUPPORT BASICS...
  
When the court has ordered child support in the Decree of Divorce, under some circumstances you or your former spouse may be able to get that order changed.  The Texas Family Code provides that where there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances of either the child or a person affected by the child support order since the order was rendered (or if it was based on a mediated settlement agreement, the date of that agreement), the court can make changes to the child support order. 

Another way a Texas family court can get the authority to change a child support order is if it has been at least 3 years since the order was rendered or last changed, and the amount ordered is different by either 20% or $100.00 from what would the child support guidelines under the Texas Family Code would provide in the present.

As with modification of custody, the issues involved in modification of child support can be complex.  If you would like to try to get the amount of child support ordered in your case changed, you should contact a Texas family lawyer.
  
ENFORCEMENT OF DIVORCE DECREE BASICS...


A Decree of Divorce is a court order and is legally binding. If you are divorced and your former spouse is refusing to comply with the terms of the Decree of Divorce, you may wish to consider filing a motion to enforce the Decree by holding your former spouse in contempt of court. A Texas court considering such a motion has the power to punish your former spouse for not complying with the Decree of Divorce. 

CHILD PROTECTIVE CASE BASICS...
  
Child protective cases usually begin when the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (formerly called "CPS") learns that a child may be in danger or may be being mistreated.  At that point, the Department will investigate, and may offer the parents or caregiver what is called Family Based Safety Services.  If the situation is bad enough in the Department's eyes, it may ask the court for an order giving the Department the right to take the child into custody. In some cases, the Department decides that the situation is bad enough to pursue termination of the parents' legal rights to the child.  If the Department has asked you to participate in Family Based Safety Services or has taken your children, you are facing a very serious legal problem.  You should contact a Texas lawyer who is familiar with child protective cases without delay.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information given on this website is for informational purposes only and is not to be taken or construed as legal advice on any legal matter whatsoever. For answers to your legal questions, contact an attorney.

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