Family Law: 9 Common Misconceptions

Happy couple in a convertible car waving with just divorced signDivorce is a traumatic process for the individuals whose marriage is ending as well as their families and children. Because the process is messy, filled with emotions and incredibly stressful, there are many misconceptions surrounding divorces. People should consider these common misconceptions and remember that hiring a Houston divorce lawyer can help them find a reasonable resolution to their marriage.

1. Dissolution of Marriage vs. Legal Separation

Many people are interested in the idea of a legal separation. In some states the dissolution of marriage and legal separation are actually quite similar. They both involve an agreement that the parties reach about child custody, marital property, child support and other elements of the marriage. The difference is that when a couple is only legally separated, they cannot legally enter into a new marriage contract with someone else, while dissolution of marriage allows people to remarry. However, Texas does not recognize legal separation. The only options for couples in Texas is to remain married or to divorce.

2. No Fault Divorce

Under Texas law, there are a variety of legal reasons to justify divorce, including abuse, adultery and insupportability- which is a kind of catchall term for when a couple cannot go on being married.  Almost every person who wants a divorce in Texas can legally get a divorce using the irreconcilable differences justification, or the no fault divorce. Most agreed divorces are granted on the terms of insupportability.

3. Custody Dispute Standards

The Texas courts are required to examine the best interests of the child when ruling on custody. In this analysis, the judge may examine the spouse’s home environment, history of abuse, employment, and a variety of other factors to determine what’s best for the child. A Houston divorce lawyer can help their client make a strong custody argument to the judge.

4. Age When the Child Can State a Custody Preference

In Texas, children are not allowed to testify in court. Many years ago children of a certain age could sign papers stating a preference as to where they will live, however that is no longer allowed. Upon the motion of one party, the court may speak to children at least 12 years of age in the judge’s chamber. Even if the child prefers one parent over the other, the court may overrule the child if they feel another arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

5. Joint Custody Involves Equal Time with the Children

Divorce and Separation conceptCustody is called conservatorship in Texas. In Texas, courts presume that parents have joint managing conservatorship. A parent with joint custody has the right to manage the child’s affairs like schooling, legal affairs, medical needs, upbringing and extracurricular activities. Just because a parent has joint custody doesn’t mean they have equal time with the child; they just have a say in managing the child’s life. The possession determines how often each parent sees the child, and Houston divorce lawyers can help people form solid parenting plans that include conservatorship and possession.

6. Computation of Child Support

There’s a defined schedule for child support for parents who make less than $8,550 a month that starts at 20% of income per month for one child and increases with more children from there.

7. Wage Assignment

Texas garnishes wages, also called wage assignment, in order to ensure that child support from one parent reaches the other parent. The money is taken directly from the supporting parent’s paycheck.

8. Division of Property

Courts usually divide marital property equally, but they have some discretion to make unequal distribution if, for example, one of the spouses hides assets or one spouse significantly out earns the other, or if one spouse is at fault in the breakup of the marriage. Spouses can also trade off property that they find important for consideration in other property.

9. Cost of Divorce

Divorce is often expensive. By utilizing processes like mediation and effective negotiations, spouses can save themselves time and money. When the divorce drags on through litigation hearings in court, however, it can become expensive.

Contacting a Divorce Lawyer

Qualified Houston Divorce lawyers are able to diligently analyze a spouse’s circumstances and rights to develop an effective and cost controlled plan for dealing with the divorce. If things don’t go as planned, they can also aggressively pursue their client’s interests in court.

The Houston divorce lawyers at Ramos Law Group, PLLC are committed to finding the best solutions for our clients. Contact our office for more information or to speak with an attorney today.

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