Serving Denton County including Flower Mound, Highland Village, Little Elm and Denton
Divorce is one of the most painful experiences a person can go through, regardless of how amicable it is. Divorce is more complicated than simply ending the marriage. You have to contend with property and debt division, and in many cases, spousal support. If you have children, you and your spouse will need to work out child custody and child support. When you’re going through the emotional turbulence of divorce, you need an advocate who will think clearly and act in your best interests.
Youngberg Law Firm is here to help. We work closely with our clients to make divorce as painless as possible. Our experienced domestic litigation practice will walk you through these and other issues that must be resolved when two people bring their marriage to a close.
Property and Debt Division
One of the most significant parts of divorce is splitting up the marital estate. This means dividing debt as well as property, including houses, businesses, retirement plans, and credit cards. Texas is a community property state. Property acquired during the marriage is considered to be the joint property of both spouses (the community estate), unless it qualifies as separate property. Separate property typically includes anything owned by either party before the marriage, personal Inheritance and gifts, and certain personal injury awards.
The community estate includes most property and debt acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Many people incorrectly assume that community property laws in Texas automatically require an equal division upon divorce. But the court can unequally divide the community estate if it finds that it is “just and right” to do so. Several factors must be considered before this determination can be made, including:
- The spouses’ ages, physical conditions, and health
- The spouses’ respective earning capacities
- Which party will be primarily responsible for raising the children
- Marital fault
- Tax consequences of the divorce to both parties
Navigating these factors is complicated. Youngberg Law Firm will research all issues of the marriage that affect property and debt division, and will fight for an outcome that is fair to you.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
Texas courts do not automatically award spousal maintenance. To be eligible, the spouse seeking support must lack sufficient property to provide for his or her needs once the divorce is final. One of the following must also apply:
The paying spouse must have been convicted of (or received deferred adjudication for) an act of domestic violence that occurred during the divorce process or no more than two years prior to the filing of the divorce.
The spouse requesting maintenance cannot earn sufficient income due to physical or mental disability or the need to care for a disabled child.
The requesting spouse has been married to the other spouse for at least 10 years.
As with most aspects of family law, these issues will turn largely on the facts in your case. Whether you’re seeking spousal maintenance or defending against such a request, Youngberg Law Firm will explain the relevant Texas domestic laws and how they apply to you.
Texas courts must take the child’s best interests into consideration when the parents divorce. More specifically, the courts will consider the issues of legal custody (who gets to make decisions concerning the child’s education, health, etc.) and possession and access (physical custody of the child).
Judges in Texas can speak with the child and ask what his or her preferences are. But the best interests standard is the overriding concern. The court must determine the relative fitness of the parents and evaluate any allegations of abuse posed by either parent (or any third parties) to the child. Custody issues can quickly become nasty; that’s why you need Youngberg Law Firm to defend your parental rights.
In Texas, child support is determined according to a formula that takes into account the parents’ incomes, the child’s needs, and other factors. Child support guidelines also consider the number of other children for whom the paying parent is responsible.
One of the most common disputes between parents is over how much either needs to take care of the child. Another common issue is whether either party is intentionally depressing his or her income. These and other issues, like custody, can devolve into heated arguments. Youngberg Law Firm can represent you regardless of which side of the child support obligation you’re on.
With same-sex marriage now legal nationwide, same-sex divorce is legal as well. The law in this area is still developing, and in some cases presents novel legal challenges to Texas courts. Youngberg Law Firm represents same-sex spouses who are undergoing divorce, and we can assist with the same issues that arise for any other divorcing couple.
Alternative Methods of Resolving Divorce
There are three main alternatives to going to court. First, the parties can directly negotiate a resolution to their differences. A dedicated family law attorney will facilitate that goal.
We also represent domestic clients in mediation. Whereas negotiation occurs between parties and their lawyers, mediation involves a neutral third party. Although mediation is not binding, an attorney can ensure that any agreement reached is fair and comprehensive.
A third alternative is collaborative divorce, in which the parties agree in writing to settle outside of court and not take their issues before a judge. Youngberg Law Firm is experienced with collaborative divorce and can explain more about how the process works.
Speak to a Denton County Divorce Lawyer Today
No one heads into a marriage expecting it to end. When it does, the divorcing parties must contend with complicated matters involving their property, their money, and their children. That’s where we come in. Youngberg Law Firm understands the difficulties you are going through and will work for a fair and just outcome for you. Contact us today to set up your consultation.