Common Issues in Divorce Cases

Paternity

Just because a man fathers a child biologically this does not automatically give him legal rights to his child in Texas. If the parents of the child are not married, when the child is born, then a "paternity suit" may be filed in order to have a Judge determine who the biological father of the child is. Paternity can easily be determined by a DNA test. Once that determination has been made, by the Judge, other issues must be decided by the Judge like: child custody, visitation, and child support. Sometimes a man identified by the mother of the child as the father is not the real father. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., has represented several men in such situations and been successful in removing that man from the child's birth certificate, and stopping previously ordered child support. In such a case the mother can be ordered by a Court to pay the wrongly accused man's legal expenses, DNA testing fees, costs of court, and all support previously and erroneously paid to the mother.

The Bloodworth Law Firm has also represented many mothers of children who have given birth to children only to be abandoned by the child's father who will not accept the responsibilities and privileges of parenthood. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., has been highly successful in bringing these men to justice and obtaining Court orders ordering these men to pay child support, provide insurance benefits and to share in the costs of medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Child Custody

When parents cannot agree as to what living situation is in the best interest of the children, 'child custody' becomes an issue in a divorce. Judges cannot decide the issue of custody any way they want just because they are the judge. Judges are required by law to base their decisions, including child custody decisions, on legally admissible evidence, and make custody determinations by making conclusions regarding the 'best interests of the children'. Factors such as: which parent acted as the 'primary caregiver' during the marriage, the respective work and living situations of the parents and the parenting abilities of each parent, wishes of the child (depending on age), and other facts are often considered by Judges in making their child custody ruling. An experienced attorney, like William D. Bloodworth II, will help explain the strengths and weaknesses of your child custody case, so that you can determine the best strategy to pursue. In some cases, parents can reach an agreement regarding creative custody arrangements that give both parents equal access to the child. The Bloodworth Law Firm has been fighting custody battles for more than 20 years, and is very familiar with various child custody and visitation solutions, and will explore which of these experienced solutions is best suited for you and your family. William D. Bloodworth II, the founding attorney of the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., personally experienced a contested custody battle before becoming a lawyer. William has not forgotten what that felt like, and that experience fuels his passion for fighting for his client's and their children. William recognizes the real battle is not for custody, but fighting for how your children turn out; what they believe, and whether they become successful, productive, well-adjusted adults with their own families.

Child Support

Most courts require one parent to pay child support regardless of the custody arrangement. The Texas Legislature has passed laws that "presume" a parent should pay child support and how much that child support should be. Judges must make special "findings" and "legal conclusions" if they (for whatever reason) decide not to follow the Texas Legislature's Guidelines. Guideline child support is Texas law and is calculated using a percentage of parent's net monthly income. Parents can agree to non-guideline support in creative custody arrangements, however, non-guideline support must be agreed to, as the courts generally follow the guidelines, established by the Texas Legislature.

Division of Property

All property acquired during the marriage is presumed, under Texas law, to be 'community property', regardless of who purchased the property or whose name the property, is on the deed or title. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., knows the details of the different classifications of property under Texas law. Generally, all community property must be split fairly and equitably between the parties in a divorce. A 'fair and equitable' division is often a '50/50 split'; however, there are several factors that can cause one party to be awarded more than a 50% share of the community estate, including the order that one spouse pay a larger share of the parties' debts. Some types of property are not part of the 'community estate', but instead are the separate property of one party or the other. The party claiming 'separate property' has the burden of proving that the claimed property is indeed separate. If a party claims and proves property as "separate" the judge has no authority to take that "separate" property away from that spouse.

Division of Debt

Most debt accumulated during the marriage is 'community debt' and must be divided by the judge in the divorce decree. It is important to remember that even if debt is awarded to your spouse in the divorce, if your name remains on the debt, it will affect your credit if your spouse later refuses to pay. The best course of action is to close all joint accounts rather than having one spouse make payments toward community debts. However, you should only do this in consultation with your attorney, because closing accounts may violate the local rules of the Court, the Court's 'Standing Restraining Order' or a Temporary Restraining Order.

Spousal Maintenance/Alimony Support

Spousal maintenance or Spousal Support as it is sometimes called refers to payments made by one spouse to the other usually monthly. Spousal support is also, often referred to as alimony. There are two types of spousal support in Texas, as described in Chapter 8 of the Texas Family Code, spousal support, is subject to statutory requirements and is enforceable like child support. "Spousal Maintenance" is set by law within certain ranges of amounts depending on the length of time the parties have been married and the amount of gross income the paying spouse earns. The second type of support is often called 'contractual alimony' which is a contractual agreement between the spouses, and there are NO LIMITS on either the amount or the time "contractual alimony" is paid. One type of spousal support may be better that the other depending on your situation, so your divorce attorney at the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., will discuss with you in detail about your particular situation to advise you on the most appropriate choice in your situation.

Relocation (Move away) cases

Moving a child out of the county, state or country without first seeking court approval may violate a court-ordered agreement. Many times at the time of separation and divorce spouses are tempted to move as far away from their future "ex" as they can get. Some people do this for spite, others do it for security, or support from extended family. The reasons for the "move away" are extremely important and you should not move away without first discussing the move and the reasons for the move you're your attorney BEFORE making the move. Many courts place a "geographic restriction" on the primary residence of the children. Courts usually restrict the primary residence of the children to the county in Texas where suit was filed, usually the same county in which the children have usually resided. In most cases the Court will include in the restriction the counties which are contiguous (connected) to the restricted county, so long as both parents live in the same county as the children. If one parent moves away, then the parent with the children is also free to move, usually without further restriction. A geographic restriction may also be lifted by the agreement of the parties or for good cause shown to the satisfaction of the judge. If you are contemplating a move, you need the advice and counsel of an experienced law firm like the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., to examine your particular situation, the reasons for the move, the alternatives to a move, and the risks of the move; in order to help you accomplish your goal; in a way that avoids making unilateral decisions that, anger the other parent and result in an expensive and stressful court battle. The Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., works with our clients to resolve their concerns through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or if necessary, a trial.

Getting a divorce in Texas or going through a Child Custody/Support battle can be overwhelming, but with the help of the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., the entire process can run smoothly and be completed in a timely manner.

Call or E-mail the Bloodworth Law Firm, P.L.L.C., today, and put a passionate, prepared, and effective attorney working for you today!