Texas is a community property state, meaning that in a divorce, a judge will divide a couple’s shared assets in a way that seems fair. However, sometimes people aren’t happy with the outcome.
In a case that ultimately ended in the Texas Supreme Court, Rita Lackey Fillingim Pearson v. Willis Dan Fillingim, No. 10-0013, a man argued that his original divorce decree incorrectly classified an asset as joint property, when it was solely his property. The trial court, and later the court of appeals, ruled in favor of the man, but the supreme court reversed the ruling, stating a court cannot alter a divorce decree, even if property was divided incorrectly. The supreme court also mentioned that the man had not hired an attorney to handle his divorce and did not appear for the final divorce decree hearing.
When going through a divorce, having legal representation is the best way to protect your interests. The Evans Law Firm has handled many divorce cases over the years, along with other family law matters, such as:
- Prenuptial agreements
- Domestic partnership agreements
- Child custody/conservatorship
- Visitation rights
- Termination of parental rights
- Establishing paternity
- Protective orders
Child Custody Law in Texas
According to Texas Family Code Chapter 153, child custody (which is known as conservatorship in Texas) should, ideally, be a responsibility parents share as joint managing conservators. But the court may elect to appoint a sole managing conservator if one parent has, within the past two years, committed abuse against a child under age 18, a spouse, or the other parent.
Child conservatorship isn’t just an issue associated with divorce. Parental rights could be terminated if a parent neglects, abandons, or endangers a child.
The Texas Department of Family and Social Services can ask the court to terminate parental rights if it believes a child is in danger. The DFS reports that when this happens, it’s usually both parents who are at fault, although there are instances when one parent files suit to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. When both parents lose conservatorship, the court may appoint a legal guardian or place the child in protective care.
Children can suffer psychological damage when their interactions with one or both parents are either significantly altered or terminated altogether. That’s why parents should always try to reach an agreement about conservatorship and honor any orders the court sets forth. But in a bitter divorce, where one or both parties want to retaliate against the other, a parent might try to withhold child support payments or deny visitation rights. Ultimately, it’s the children who suffer the most when that happens.
The Evans Law Firm can find families the best solution for their children. If you need help with conservatorship, child support, visitation rights, parental rights or adoption, give us a call today at (855) 414-1012.
Domestic Partnerships in Texas
The number of people who elect to live together either before marrying or instead of marrying has increased in recent years. And in Texas, that can create some legal difficulties.
Couples who buy property together but aren’t married aren’t subject to state community property guidelines. That can lead to legal battles, as people attempt to sort out how they will get their fair share of assets. But a lawyer can create a domestic partnership agreement – similar to a prenuptial agreement – that outlines how assets will be divided if the relationship ends.
These documents could allow one partner in a domestic partnership to receive benefits under the other partner’s employee coverage. State law forbids same-sex marriage and does not recognize same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships, but some corporations and municipalities will include a same-sex partner in a benefits plan, if the relationship is established via a legal document.
Peace of Mind
Whether you need a prenuptial agreement or a protective order, an official legal document on-file with the appropriate court or agency can give you peace of mind. In many family law cases, what clients need most is for someone to tell them how to protect themselves or their interests. The Evans Law Firm can do that. Fill out our contact form for a free consultation.