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North Texas Child Custody LawyerParents want what is best for their children. Whether you are an unmarried parent or a parent planning to divorce, you probably have several questions about child custody in Texas. Who your child will live with and how significant decisions about the child’s upbringing will be made are essential concerns during a Texas divorce. Read on to learn about child custody laws and what to do if you need help with child custody concerns.

Legal Custody and Physical Custody

Each state handles child custody slightly differently. In Texas, “legal custody” refers to parents’ decision-making authority. Parents with legal custody have the right to decide where their children will go to school, what type of healthcare the children receive, whether the children go to church or participate in other religious practices, and more.

Physical custody refers to where the child lives and which parent cares for the child on any given day. The Texas Family Code calls custody “conservatorship,” but the term child custody is still used informally in this blog for clarity purposes.

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Frisco Spousal Support LawyerWhether you are just thinking about divorce, or you have already filed the divorce paperwork with the court, you may understandably have questions about the divorce’s impact on your finances. Spousal maintenance can help offset the negative financial consequences of divorce. However, alimony or spousal maintenance is only available in certain circumstances. If you are interested in pursuing spousal maintenance during your divorce or you think your spouse will ask for spousal maintenance, contact a skilled divorce lawyer for help.

You May Be Able to Negotiate an Alimony Agreement

Spouses may be able to negotiate an agreement about the terms of spousal maintenance payments during the divorce process. Often, one spouse will receive certain assets in exchange for paying spousal maintenance to the other. For example, you may be able to negotiate a spousal maintenance arrangement that trades maintenance payments for business interests, stocks, or other assets.

The Court May Award Alimony in Limited Circumstances

If you cannot reach a spousal maintenance agreement with your spouse, you may be able to petition the court for spousal maintenance. However, Texas courts only award spousal maintenance in certain circumstances. You may qualify for alimony if you demonstrate a genuine financial need, and one of the following is true:

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Collin County Order of Protection AttorneyFamily violence or domestic violence is a very legitimate problem in Texas. Unfortunately, some people abuse the legal system by making false accusations of family violence. Whether you are going through a divorce, child custody dispute, or other family law matter, being accused of family violence can have a major impact on your case. The best thing to do when you find out you have been accused of child abuse, domestic assault, or another form of family violence is to contact a skilled family law attorney for personalized legal guidance.

Do Not Speak to or Visit the Person Accusing You of Family Violence

Being accused of something as heinous as child abuse or domestic violence is understandably shocking. If a current or former romantic partner, family member, or housemate has accused you of harming them or their children, you may be eager to defend yourself. You may want to confront the accuser and set the record straight. However, confronting the accuser is one of the worst things you can do in a situation like this.

Follow The Terms of The Protective Order

Most accusations of family violence involve a protective order. A protective order is a court order that legally prohibits you from taking certain actions. Most protective orders require the subject of the order to stay away from the accuser and refrain from contacting them. Something as simple as a phone call may technically be a violation of a protective order. Do not call, text, or otherwise contact the person accusing you of family violence. Stay away from the accuser’s home, school, and workplace. You may need to temporarily move out of your home or forgo seeing your children for a short period of time in order to comply with the protective order. Following a protective order that is based on false accusations can be infuriating, but doing so is the best way to avoid further criminal charges or worsening your chances of a favorable outcome in your case. 

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Collin County Divorce LawyerWhen a couple gets married, we typically think of it as an emotional or romantic union, not a financial union. However, getting married does entangle the spouses’ finances considerably. During a divorce, the spouses’ property and debts will be divided. However, each spouse must be fully transparent about his or her assets, income, and debts in order for property division to be accurate. Some spouses try to manipulate their divorce outcome by hiding assets.  

Financial Fraud is Fraud on the Community

Texas divorce cases are subject to community property laws. This means that property acquired during the marriage is the property of both spouses. Both spouses are entitled to a portion of the marital estate during property division in a divorce – save for a few exceptions. Separate property is not divided. However, the amount of separate property a spouse owns can still influence the divorce case. Each spouse’s income and overall financial circumstances heavily influence issues like child support and alimony. Some divorcing spouses try to sway divorce issues in their favor by lying about income and assets. They may do so to gain a financial advantage or to “get revenge” on their spouse. Hiding assets in this way is considered “fraud on the community” by Texas law.

Sneaky Ways Spouses Manipulate Financial Information in a Divorce Content

There are many ways spouses may try to hide assets in a divorce. Some use business interests or investments to conceal money. Business owners may delay invoicing clients, fabricate business expenses or debts, or lie about the value of the business. Other spouses hide assets by hiding physical cash or valuables like jewelry. They may use a safety deposit box to hide assets or transfer assets to a friend or family member. Some spouses even overpay the IRS to evade a fair division of property. Once the divorce is over, they recoup the money through a tax refund.

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North Texas Paternity AttorneyIn Texas, when a child is born to unmarried parents, a father’s right to be involved in the child’s life is not guaranteed. If you are a father who wants custody of your children, you will need to ensure that you take the proper steps to establish legal paternity. However, there is more than one way to be recognized as a child’s legal parent, and it is important that you understand the method that is most appropriate for your situation.

Presumptions of Paternity in Texas

According to Texas law, a man is presumed to be the legal father of a child when he was previously married to the mother, and the marriage ended within 300 days of the child’s birth. If your child was born soon after your divorce from the mother, you may not need to take further action to establish paternity. However, a presumption of paternity is rebuttable if, for example, another man purports to be the biological father. It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney to see if you need to take further steps to protect your rights as a father.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If you have no past or present marital relationship with your child’s mother, the most straightforward way to establish paternity is by completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form. These forms are typically available at the hospital to fill out upon a child’s birth, and they are also accessible through various entities certified by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Both you and the child’s mother must sign the AOP for it to take effect.

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Frisco High-Asset Divorce AttorneyWhen you are going through a divorce, all of the financial assets you acquired throughout your marriage can be affected by the division of marital property. This can be especially concerning to business owners, who may be at risk of losing their business, or at least a substantial share of it. If you have business assets to divide in your divorce, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you protect them as much as possible.

One important step in determining how a business will be handled in a Texas divorce is obtaining a business valuation. However, different types of businesses may need to be valued in different ways, and you should be sure to understand the option that best applies to your circumstances.

Understanding Different Business Valuation Methods

Not all businesses are created equal. For the purposes of business valuation in a divorce, a publicly-traded business may need to be valued very differently from a closely-held family business, for example. Your attorney can help you work with a knowledgeable financial professional to determine the most appropriate valuation method for your business. Options include:

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Frisco family lawyerBetween housing, groceries, extracurricular fees, and childcare expenses, raising a child can be expensive. If you are a parent, you know this first-hand. Child support payments can help an unmarried or divorced parent cover child-related costs, however, getting the child support you need and deserve is not always easy. If you are not currently receiving any financial support from your child’s other parent, you should know that there are steps you can take to establish child support or enforce your current child support order. An experienced family law attorney can help.

Make Sure You Have an Official Child Support Order

In an ideal world, every parent would do his or her share to ensure that his or her child’s financial needs were met. In reality, many parents try to avoid child support. This is why it is important for every parent to obtain a formal child support order from the court. If you and your child’s other parent had a verbal agreement about how much money he or she would pay you each month, the state does not have any authority to recover the past-due payments from the other parent.

Two Ways to Enforce Payment of Child Support in Texas

If you have a court order requiring the other parent to pay child support, there are a few different ways that you can enforce that order. In Texas, The Office of the Attorney General houses a Child Support Division helps parents recover payments from a non-paying parent. The state has the authority to set up wage withholding, impose property liens, intercept tax refunds, suspend the parent’s driver’s license, and more.

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