Family law is one of the most emotionally challenging branches of the legal field. It encompasses the making and breaking of familial bonds: marriages, adoptions, divorce, child custody, child support, and even termination of parental rights. Should you find yourself in the ‘breaking bonds’ area, things may well be complicated and stressful. Experienced, Texas-based family lawyer Carrie Marquis can help when looking for a child custody lawyer in Texas.
Before we dive further into what makes Carrie and Marquis Family Law an excellent choice to tackle your family law troubles in the state of Texas, let’s first take a more in-depth look at the field of family law itself.
Two common areas of family law are divorce and child custody.
Before divorce must come marriage. A marriage is, of course, a romantic relationship; but it is a legal one as well. When two people get married, they form a legal contract in the eyes of their state. When they no longer wish to be married, they must file paperwork in state court to legally end this contract.
Texas allows for a no-fault divorce – a divorce in which neither party is required to prove marital misconduct, or ‘fault’, on the part of the other. Things can often become more complicated than that, however.
Division of Assets
When two people get divorced and are unable to resolve their differences outside of court, a judge must ensure that their community property is divided fairly. In dividing their assets, the judge will strive for equity, termed a “just and right division” in Texas – not to be confused with equality. Equality would, in this case, mean treating both parties exactly the same, regardless of any specific or unique circumstances. Equity, on the other hand, would mean giving fair treatment to both spouses while factoring in any barriers, considerations, or specific struggles they may face.
So, when judges aim for equity in the division of assets, they take into account the length of the marriage; what each spouse has contributed to the marriage; and what each of their needs will be after the divorce. The judge can, and likely will, take into account fault in the break up of the marriage (if any), such as infidelity or domestic abuse.
Alimony is one spouse’s court-ordered financial provision for the other after divorce or separation. When determining alimony and who should pay it, the judge considers many of the same factors as in the division of assets, such as length of the marriage and any misconduct, as well as other factors such as accumulated debt, the age of each spouse, and whether or not they can work.
Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements
These are contracts signed by both spouses either before or after (pre or post) marriage, outlining which spouse gets what in the event of a divorce. Things like alimony, assets, and separate property can all be included. Occasionally these agreements are contested by one of the spouses.
Custody and child support arrangements, however, cannot be included in pre- or post-nuptial agreements. This brings us to child custody, one of the most fraught areas of family law.
When parents separate, arrangements must be made to provide the best life possible for their children. Often, parents can agree on custody on their own. If the parents can’t come to an agreement, however, the evidence must be presented in court regarding the child’s best interests to determine two different types of custody.
Legal and Physical Custody
Physical custody means just what the term implies: who physically has possession of the child at any given time. Legal custody refers to who is responsible for making major decisions about the child. Either or both of these types of custody can be shared between the two parents, or awarded to just one.
In deciding how to award custody, judges will consider the stability of each parent’s home, who has a stronger bond with the child, whether either of the parents has a history of substance abuse problems or criminal history. And, depending on the age of the child, the child’s wishes.
When parents separate, child support is generally ordered to the parent who does not have “custody.” In Texas, child support is a formula based on the payor’s income, how many children are involved, and the cost of health and dental insurance for the child(ren). This is why a child custody lawyer in Texas would be so beneficial.
Abuse and Neglect
The state can begin abuse and neglect proceedings when they believe that one parent is unable or unwilling to properly care for their child. The bar for termination of parental rights is extremely high, but it is important that any parent involved in these proceedings seek out help in either defending against allegations or in regaining custody of their child.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help
This brings us back around to the importance of working with a knowledgeable family and child custody lawyer in Texas, like Carrie Marquis.
In cases involving child custody, family lawyers can help advocate for someone whose parental rights are in danger of termination, and ensure that child support amounts are accurate.
In divorce and cases, family lawyers can help make sure the court looks at all relevant factors when awarding alimony, and put together evidence such as subpoenas and depositions.
Carrie Marquis and Marquis Family Law
Carrie Marquis brings 25 years of compassionate, cost-effective family law practice to the table. She has worked with clients in matters of divorce, child custody and support, adoptions, paternity, parental rights terminations, CPS cases, same-sex marriage, and mediations.
Carrie’s clients describe her as “extremely professional”, “caring”, and “an amazing person.” She understands how emotionally draining family law matters can be and strives to guide clients through them with empathetic, well-reasoned representation.
Family law matters are undeniably challenging. Carrie Marquis at Marquis Family Law can help make them decidedly less so. If you live in the state of Texas and find yourself struggling with matters of family law, Marquis Family Law, at (281) 803 – 5850, is the first call you should make.