Experienced Family Law and Divorce Attorney Serving Frisco, Lewisville and all of Denton County, Texas
The divorce process can be complicated, emotional, and stressful. Just as every family is unique, so is every divorce matter. When you become a client, I pledge to take the time necessary to learn about you, your family, and your objectives; and I will work hard to help you reach your goals.
Texas allows for both “no-fault” divorce, and divorce based on fault grounds, and I have significant experience representing clients in both types of proceedings. I also have represented many clients in their uncontested divorces as well as highly contested cases.
Before we file any petitions with the court, we will discuss together the benefits and challenges presented by each option and go from there.
Understanding What a Texas Divorce Entails
Some basic phases of a Texas divorce may include the following:
- Initial filings (i.e., the petition and response)
- Period of time governed by temporary orders, which remain in effect during the pendency of the divorce (matters of temporary custody, child support, spousal support, payment of bills, etc.)
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement regarding temporary orders, the court will hold a hearing and issue its own temporary orders.
- Discovery period: Very early on in the process, both parties are required to identify – and disclose to each other – all individual and marital assets and debts.
- Negotiation discussions: Throughout the entire process, and particularly when discovery has yielded a clear picture of the couple’s finances, both parties and their attorneys should negotiate and work towards reaching a final agreement with respect to all outstanding issues.
- This is accomplished through basic negotiation, mediation, and/or arbitration.
- Settlement and/or trial: In most cases, the parties to a divorce settle most or all of the issues prior to a final trial – but it may require some litigation in order to get there. In cases where no agreement can be reached, the parties and their attorneys head to trial.
Specific Components of a Texas Divorce
In order for a Texas court to approve a divorce agreement or issue its own final orders, the following issues must be resolved in some manner:
- Child custody
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Child support
Custody of the parties’ children and a detailed parenting schedule must be agreed upon or court ordered before a divorce is finalized. Visit our child custody page to learn more about the specific elements that parties and the court must consider when drafting custody and parenting plans. The standard that each and every party, attorney, and judge must adhere to when crafting these plans is as follows: the best interests of the child(ren).
Texas is a community property state, which means all marital property acquired or incurred during the marriage – assets and debts – is subject to a just and right division. Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean an equal division. Oftentimes a fair and equitable property division means something other than a 50/50 split. Visit our property division page to learn more.
Texas courts may consider a number of factors when determining whether to order an unequal property division during a divorce, including for example, a spouse’s fault in the break up in the marriage.
As an experienced divorce attorney, I will work hard to protect your interests when negotiating or litigating the property division in your case.
While it is somewhat common in Texas for one spouse to pay spousal support to the other spouse while a divorce is pending (in order to pay the bills and maintain the status quo), it is important to note that spousal support might not be ordered once the divorce is finalized. When a divorce is finalized spousal support (if awarded) is called spousal maintenance.
Recent changes in Texas family law have increased the length of time spousal maintenance may be awarded. Specifically, depending on the length of the marriage and other factors, spousal maintenance may be granted for up to five, seven, or 10 years.
The person who seeks spousal maintenance must sufficiently demonstrate that he or she lacks the financial ability to provide for his or her basic, reasonable needs; other factors also play a part in determining whether a spouse is legally eligible for an award of spousal maintenance.
In determining whether an award of spousal support is appropriate (how much and for how long), the court will consider a number of factors, including the following:
- Each spouse’s financial resources
- The education and job skills of each
- The length of marriage
- The age, health, employment history, and earning ability of the spouse seeking support
- Contributions by one spouse to the education or earning capacity of the other (for example, one spouse’s payment of the other spouse’s dental school tuition and/or all related living expenses incurred during that time period)
- Contributions of a spouse as a homemaker
Whether your goal is to seek or object to an award of spousal maintenance, I have experience successfully representing people on both sides of this complex issue.
When couples with children go through the divorce process, one of the most anxiety-inducing issues is the child support obligation of each parent. One of the first questions my clients ask when they hire me is, “how much (do I have to pay) or (will I get in) child support?”
In calculating a child support amount to be paid to the parent with primary custody, Texas family law courts use a specific formula and follow specific guidelines that factor in the income of the party that will pay child support.
Contemplating divorce? Contact Gregory C. Goline, Attorney at Law
Whether you and your spouse agree on all matters and issues in your case, or whether you disagree on more issues, such as the custody of your children or the division of your property, I can guide you through the process and look out for your best interests.
Contact me today to schedule your complimentary consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Denton County serving all of North Texas. Credit cards accepted, and payment plans may be available.
Please visit our other pages on various divorce topics: