Family matters are personal but very often, legal issues arise. At Eddington & Worley, an experienced Houston family lawyer will help you navigate the legal system as you go through life changes. Our team of dedicated attorneys work on a range of matters, and we treat each with the empathy and delicacy it requires. Some of the issues we handle are:
- Divorce – Whether the decision to end the marriage was yours or your spouse’s, we will protect your interests. This is a difficult time in your life, and you may not fully understand the law. We will explain the divorce laws in Texas and advise you on the best way to proceed.
- Alternative dispute resolution – If you don’t want to go through litigation, our attorneys can lead the negotiation and mediation process. Many families prefer to settle their matters out of court in a way that makes sense to them and saves time, stress, and money. We can assist with this.
- Child custody and support – When parents split up, deciding who gets custody of the children is often a major issue. It is best if the parents can decide this on their own, and we can help with that process. But if the matter needs to be decided by the court, we will advocate for your parental interests. Typically, the parent who doesn’t get physical custody has to pay child support. If there needs to be an adjustment to the custody or support arrangement later, we can assist with those requests.
- Adoption – When you’re ready to add to your family, our attorneys can offer the guidance you need. The adoption process can be lengthy and there’s lots of paperwork involved. It can be hard to keep track of all the requirements. Our attorneys can help you with the legal issues while you prepare emotionally.
- Probate – Unfortunately, the time comes when our loved ones die. During this particularly difficult period in your life, you can turn to us. We will help you to settle your relative’s estate. We know Texas probate law and we will guide you through the procedures.
When Should I Hire a Houston Family Law Attorney?
If there are complex legal issues to resolve, you need an attorney. Even if you have legal training, you shouldn’t try to represent yourself. Emotions tend to run high in family matters, and it can be difficult to think straight and objectively. Family law issues often bring about major life changes, and legal procedures will be the last thing on your mind. A Houston family lawyer is best-suited to file the required documents, protect your interests, and navigate the court system.
You can hire an attorney at any stage of a family law matter. Even if you began the process unrepresented, you can still get professional legal help. In cases involving child custody and support or complicated financial matters, the help of an attorney is invaluable. Generally, if your spouse has hired an attorney in a divorce, you should get one as well. Even if you don’t want the divorce to be acrimonious, you need someone knowledgeable looking out for your interests. Since our attorneys are trained in alternative dispute resolution, we will try to seek resolutions outside the court.
What are the Ground for Divorce in Texas?
Texas allows for no-fault divorces. This means neither party has to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage. The petition for divorce simply needs to cite “insupportability”. The term “insupportability” means the conflict between the parties is so serious that there is no likelihood that they can stay married. Other states refer to this as irreconcilable differences. You can still attribute blame to one spouse. If that person is at fault, the court may consider that when dividing your property. The grounds for divorce in Texas include:
- Confinement in a mental hospital for three years or more
- Conviction of a felony
- Living apart for three years or more
Your divorce attorney in Houston will be able to advise you on the type of divorce you should pursue.
Your attorney will also inform you about alimony, property division, child custody and visitation, and child support. It can be difficult for couples to put feelings aside and deal with these issues. The impartial counsel of a Houston family lawyer is often essential.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the process through which an impartial third party helps people solve disputes outside of court. ADR can help the parties save money by avoiding litigation. It can also help reduce the stress that families experience when discussing divorce, child custody, and other family matters. The attorneys at Eddington & Worley are trained in ADR and we can resolve family law matters through mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.
ADR allows the parties to find creative solutions to their problems. The process is less complex than litigation and the road to resolution is usually shorter. It is also less emotionally draining than litigation and it can ensure a more amicable settlement. If you’re looking for a low conflict way to settle a family law matter, ADR may be right for you. The best thing to do is reach out to a Houston family lawyer. We will help you decide the best strategy for your particular case.
How is Child Custody Determined?
During a divorce, one of the most important issues that must be decided is custody of the children. In Texas, child custody is called conservatorship. Conservatorship refers to the rights and responsibilities a parent has under the law. If the parents can’t agree on a custody plan, a judge makes the decision. The judge’s primary concern is the best interest of the child. Conservatorship is divided into the categories of joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. Custody usually includes the right to:
- Get information about the child’s welfare from the other parent
- Have access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child
- Consent to medical treatment during an emergency
- Talk to a doctor or school official about the child
In Texas, it is generally believed that parents should be named as joint managing conservators. This means they would share parental duties. However, the judge may give one parent the exclusive right to make certain decisions. He may also choose not to give both parents equal physical access to the child. If you want your interests represented throughout the process, you need to have a Houston child custody attorney on your side.
If the court has to decide on child custody, child support usually has to be paid by the non-custodial parent. It typically has to be paid until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. However, it can continue for a longer period if the child is disabled. In Texas, the non-custodial parent usually pays about 20 to 40 percent of their net income and other financial resources. The amount is based largely on the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children involved. Income includes wages, salaries, tips, overtime, severance payments and social security benefits. Rental income and alimony are also considered. While there are state guidelines for how much should be paid, the court can deviate from the guidelines.
If you are facing an issue with child support, contact one of our Houston child support attorneys for advice.It doesn’t matter if the problem is due to divorce or if you and the other parent were never married. At Eddington & Worley, we work hard to ensure our clients are treated fairly and children get the support they need.
Child Custody and Child Support Modification
Child custody and child support orders are not set in stone in Houston, TX. Circumstances can change in the lives of either parent. For instance, the custodial parent may not be able to take care of the child anymore. On the other hand, the non-custodial parent may no longer be able to pay as much in child support. When these or other events happen, you need to ask the court to modify the orders. Child custody orders can be modified on the basis of:
- Abuse or neglect
- Substance abuse
Child support orders can be modified if either party experiences a material and substantial change in circumstances. These can include, among others:
- The parent’s income has changed
- The parent paying support is legally responsible for the support of other children
- The child’s medical insurance coverage has changed
- The child’s living arrangements have changed.
The court must approve any new child support arrangement. Informal agreements between parents are not automatically recognized by the court. A Houston family lawyer can assist you with preparing a modification request or defending against one from the other parent.
Adoption is a great way to start a family and give a child a loving home. Any adult in Texas can adopt and under state law, there are no age limits. However, adoption professionals may have their own restrictions in place. While anyone can be adopted, children age 12 and older have to consent to the adoption. The adoption process can be complex. It is, therefore, in your best interest to hire an experienced Houston family law attorney to guide you. At Eddington & Worley, we can help with everything from the initial paperwork to ensuring everyone follows the rules. Whether you’re adopting a relative’s child or going through an agency, we can handle all the legal issues. You can focus on preparing to welcome the newest member of your family.
When a relative dies, wrapping up their affairs can be very time-consuming and stressful. If their estate is large and complex, it can be especially overwhelming to deal with. The estate can include cash, life insurance policies, stocks and bonds, personal property, and retirement accounts. In Texas, all the deceased’s assets have to be gathered and their debts must be paid out of those assets. After that, their assets will be distributed based on their will or intestate succession laws if there is no will. Since this can be difficult to understand and handle, you need to hire a Houston probate attorney. At Eddington & Worley, we understand Texas family law and we are ready to help you settle your loved one’s affairs.
Contact a Houston Family Law Attorney at Eddington & Worley Today
Our team of lawyers can offer you comprehensive legal advice and support for your family. Whether you’re adopting a baby, getting divorced, or wrapping up your elderly parent’s estate, we have the skills you need. If your concerns relate to child support or child custody, we can also help. Our team of experienced attorneys will stand by your side through every stage of the legal process.
We know that family law matters can involve a great deal of emotion. It can be difficult for you to think clearly and focus on the issues in your case. That’s why we offer impartial, informed opinions which are grounded in the law. When feasible, we recommend handling family law matters through alternative dispute resolution. However, if we need to go to court, we will fight to ensure you get a fair outcome.Reach out to Eddington & Worley today and benefit from our expertise. Call us today for a free consultation and we will explain your legal position and outline your options. You can then use this information to help you decide how to proceed.
Call us today for a free consultation and we will explain your legal position and outline your options. You can then use this information to help you decide how to proceed.