Frequently Asked Questions

 

The following FAQs are provided to help you find quick answers to common questions. If you do not find the answers you are looking for on this page, feel free to contact a San Antonio family law attorney Clint Lawson at 210-244-2701

 

 

May I withhold visitation because my spouse will not pay child support?

You may not withhold visitation. If you withhold visitation because a spouse will not pay his or her child support, you are taking the law into your own hands and may be held in contempt of court.

If you are you not receiving the child support you are owed, contact Clint Lawson, your San Antonio divorce lawyer at

210-244-2701.

 

May I stop paying child support because my spouse will not give me my visitation and access?

You may not stop paying child support. If you withhold child support because a spouse will not allow you to exercise your visitation, you are taking the law into your own hands and may be held in contempt of court.

If you are not being allowed to exercise your visitation rights, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson

by calling 210-244-2701.

 

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

The person who brings the case first gets to talk first. Some lawyers swear that there is an advantage to being first. Others say it doesn’t really matter. There is no negative connotation attributable to the spouse who brings the action or to the person who responds to the action. However, as one lawyer said, “first impressions are last ing impression.” If family violence has been a part of your life you need to take action. It is more credible for a victim of family violence to bring the action first.

If you are considering a divorce and are u nsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce attorney Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

What percentage of Texas divorce cases are settled versus tried to the court?

Nearly all of them. It is the policy of the State of Texas that parties are to try and resolve their conflicts without court intervention other than granting the divorce. The Texas Family Code requires that each party sign an Alternative Dispute Resolution clause attached to their initial pleading. It usually takes significant legal action to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable resolution.

If you are considering a divorce, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson at 210-244-2701 for assistance.

 

How long does a divorce take?

A minimum of 61 days. Texas law requires that the couple wait 61 days before the Court can grant a divorce. This is known as the “cooling off period”.

If you are considering a divorce, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson at 210-244-2701 for assistance.

 

At what age can a child decide with whom they want to live?

The law in Texas changed as of September 1, 2009 on this issue. Before then, a child could make a written preference but it was not binding on the court. Now, the only option available is for a child to speak directly with the Judge. If the child is over the age of 12 years, the Judge is required to speak with the child if a request is made by a party to the case. For a child under the age of 12 years, the Judge may speak with the child or decline to do so. For cases that involve visitation schedules or other issues relating to the child, the Judge may speak with the child in chambers.

Call San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson at 210-244-2701 if you are considering a divorce.


Does a spouse have to prove fault on the part of the other spouse to obtain a divorce?

No. Texas is a no-fault divorce state. We simply plead, “Conflict of personalities that destroy the legitimate ends of the marital relationship.” No spouse has to “give” the other spouse a divorce anymore. However, many fault issues (adultery, cruelty, etc.) are frequently relevant factors in divorce cases because they can have an impact on how the community property is divided, or how custody is decided. There is some discussion in the legislature about doing away with the no fault divorce.

If you are interested in a divorce, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson today by calling 210-244-2701.

 

Can I use electronic surveillance to catch my cheating spouse?

You should be very cautious about the use of electronic surveillance to monitor your spouse unless you have his or her consent to do so. Intercepting communications made by a spouse can expose you and your attorney to both civil and criminal liability under Texas and Federal law. State and Federal wiretapping laws impose criminal liability on persons who intercept communications such as emails, instant messages, and telephone calls. Certain computer spyware programs can violate these wiretapping laws if they are programmed to intercept communications made in real-time. But even accessing your spouse’s previously stored emails or communications can expose you to liability for invasion of privacy.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

May I record conversations with my spouse?

It is not illegal to record a conversation in Texas if you are a party to the conversation. But this is not true in all states, so you should not do this outside of Texas. Also, you should not record conversations between your spouse and your children or other third parties.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

Do Texas courts divide property 50/50?

Not necessarily. Texas courts may only divide a couple’s community property and may not divide the separate property of a spouse. The standard used by courts to divide community property is a “just and right” division. To achieve a “just and right” division, courts consider many factors including, for example, the difference in income and earning capacities of the spouses, the education of the spouses, the size of each spouse’s separate estate, fault in the break-up of the marriage, and the attorney fees of the parties.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

What happens to my retirement benefits in divorce?

Retirement plans and employee benefits that have accrued during the marriage may be divided by the court between you and your spouse. However, those benefits which existed at the time of marriage remain a spouse’s separate property and are not divided upon divorce so long as there is documentation of the value of the benefit prior to marriage. A Qualified Domestic Relat ions Order is used to divide a retirement plan which has accrued during the marriage. Stock options, pensions, 401(K) accounts, and bonuses are also divisible upon divorce.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

What if my spouse controls all of our money?

When a spouse files for divorce, he or she can request temporary orders to obtain temporary spousal support, child support, and interim attorney fees. Temporary orders can also impose a temporary visitation schedule for a parent, prevent the sale or transfer of community assets, and require the disclosure of the financial information of the spouses among other things.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

What if my spouse has been violent with me?

Regardless of whether you have filed for divorce, a court can issue a protective order restricting your spouse from committing family violence, communicating with family members, visiting a residence or place of work, and owning a firearm. The court can impose fines, imprisonment, and even criminal penalties on a party for violating a protective order. A court can also issue a restraining order which can order a person to refrain from certain behavior including hiding property and making harassing telephone calls.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.

 

Can I get court-ordered alimony in Texas?

No. Texas law does not allow a court to order the payment of alimony. However, a court can order “spousal maintenance” under certain circumstances. The couple must have been married more than 10 years and the spouse requesting support must show that he or she lacks the ability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs. A spouse requesting maintenance must also show that he or she is either disabled, caring for a disabled child, or lacks earning capacity. In cases not involving disability, spousal maintenance cannot continue for more than three years.

Although a court cannot order a spouse to pay alimony, spouses can agree to contractual alimony. Payment by a spouse would be enforceable as a contract but not as a court order as in the case of spousal maintenance.

If you are considering a divorce and are unsure if you should be the first to file, contact San Antonio divorce lawyer Clint Lawson by calling 210-244-2701 today.