dallas fathers rights

Hers, His, Ours: Marriage – Divorce – Remarriage

Today’s family unit is often in a state of flux. After a divorce, most people remarry and often there are children involved. In the new, blended family, one or both spouses may be paying child support. Newly-born or adopted children may also enter into the picture.

Sometimes, the cycle continues: marriage, divorce, remarriage, divorce.

Now, mom or dad has children in multiple households.

Do the additional children change the amount of child support to be paid? Not without a court order.

In Texas, child support may be reduced when an obligor (person paying child support) has additional children that the obligor is legally required to support. These children may be new biological children, or legally adopted children. Generally, Texas courts do not consider stepchildren as a factor in reducing child support.

Texas courts follow statutory guidelines in determining amount of child support. Many people are familiar with the following basic formula: 20% of net income for one child; 25% of net income for two children; 30% of net income for three children; and so on.

However, under the legal guidelines, the court also considers whether the obligor has a legal obligation to support other children, either under another child support order or because the obligor has legal custody of the child. In cases involving the children in multiple households, the court may consult the following chart from Section 154.129 of the Texas Family Code:

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

BASED ON THE MONTHLY NET RESOURCES OF THE OBLIGOR

 

1 child 20% of Obligor’s Net Resources

2 children 25% of Obligor’s Net Resources

3 children 30% of Obligor’s Net Resources

4 children 35% of Obligor’s Net Resources

5 children 40% of Obligor’s Net Resources

6+ children Not less than the amount for 5 children

 

Depending on the number of other children an obligor has a duty to support, the percentage of child support may be lower. For example, if the obligor was previously married and has 1 child to support in the previous marriage, the amount of support paid for one child before the court decreases to 17.50 percent. See the chart below.

 

Multiple Family Adjusted Guidelines

(% of Net Resources)

Net Monthly Resources X Percentage Below = Monthly Child Support Obligation

 

 

Number of other children for whom the obligor has a duty of support

Number of Children Before the Court

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

0

20.00

25.00

30.00

35.00

40.00

40.00

40.00

1

17.50

22.50

27.38

32.20

37.33

37.71

38.00

2

16.00

20.63

25.20

30.33

35.43

36.00

36.44

3

14.75

19.00

24.00

29.00

34.00

34.67

35.20

4

13.60

18.33

23.14

28.00

32.89

33.60

34.18

5

13.33

17.86

22.50

27.22

32.00

32.73

33.33

6

13.14

17.50

22.00

26.60

31.27

32.00

32.62

7

13.00

17.22

21.60

26.09

30.67

31.38

32.00

The court may also consider additional factors listed in Section 154.123 of the Texas Family Code.

In order to benefit from these factors, the obligor must present evidence that rebuts the presumption that the statutory guidelines is in the best interest of the children. When a person has children in more than one household, determining child support can be complicated. A wise person will seek the professional help of an experienced family law attorney.

By Nacol Law Firm | Child Support For Fathers
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Facts About Divorce in Texas (How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced?)

To file for a divorce in Texas, you must be a Texas Resident for 6 months, and you must have lived within the county you plan to file in for at least 90 days immediately prior to filing of your divorce petition.  Time spent by a Texas resident outside of Texas, while in the military, satisfies the residency requirement in Texas for a divorce.

Texas does not recognize legal separations. 

It is possible to get a divorce even though the other party does not want the divorce to take place.  Texas is a “no fault divorce state.” “No fault” means that one spouse does not have to prove the other spouse has done anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. You cannot be held to a marriage because your spouse does not want to sign or refuses to participate in the divorce process.  The court will enter divorce orders even if the other party refuses to sign them.

Texas requires a minimum 60 day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court.  In other words, the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorced in Texas is 61 days.  On occasion, in domestic violence cases, there is an exception to the 60 day rule.  If the parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding can be finalized immediately following the sixty-day waiting period.  On average, however, the time period is more likely to run 90 to 120 days in an uncontested divorce due to the crowding of court dockets and the time necessary for counsel to draft necessary legal documents and obtain the agreement of both parties regarding the wording of the final documents.  If the parties are not in agreement, the time necessary to finalize the divorce will depend on the conduct of both parties and their attorneys, the court’s schedule, the matters in controversy and the complexity of the contested issues. From start to finish, the divorce process may go through a number of phases which might include temporary orders, exchange of financial information, psychological evaluations (in custody cases), alternative dispute resolution, trial, and appeal. A divorce in which the parties are deeply in opposition to an agreement on some or all of the core issues may take anywhere from several months to several years to complete.

As to the division of marital assets, Texas is a community property state.  For more information on community and separate property, see our blog, Divorce:  What is separate property and what is community property.

It is important to remember that, although the statutory waiting period to finalize a divorced is 60 days, it is more likely than not that your divorce will “not” be finalized on the 61st day following the filing of your petition for divorce.

By Nacol Law Firm | Filing for a Divorce
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Cohabitation and Domestic Partnership Agreements

Premarital and post-marital agreements in Texas have a complex history immersed in the community property presumption, the sate constitution, statutes and case law.  Originally, such agreements were found to be unenforceable.  But with amendments to the Texas Constitution, evolving statutes, recent case law, and improved draftsmanship, such agreements are now enforceable under contract law.

For some couples living together is a precursor to marriage; for others, there is no intent to ever marry, or the law prohibits the marriage, as in Texas with same sex marriages.  The simple fact is, domestic partnership agreements involve a wide variety of circumstances, which may or may not involve the gay or lesbian couple. 

Many couples choose to live together so they do not lose certain benefits under current rules of social security, military and insurance disability programs, or to stop those benefits from being taken away from their children.  In other cases, couples who are divorced, and who may have children, may want to protect certain assets.  In situations such as trust funds or inherited funds, beneficiaries simply do not want to place family money at risk.  Other couples choose to shelter their own resources from the real or perceived obligations of their partner.   

The marital agreement is considered to be a contract under Texas law. The premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.  No actual consideration is required; however, to conform with contractual law, it may be wise to provide benefits for the non-monied party to avoid a later finding of unconscionability, particularly if the financial condition of the non-monied party under the agreement will be poor. 

Matters that may be dealt with in a premarital agreement include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
  2. the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever or wherever acquired or located;
  3. the disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
  4. the modification or elimination of spousal support;
  5. the making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
  6. the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  7. the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
  8. any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

Child support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.  Therefore, provisions providing for the elimination of child support upon separation or divorce are unenforceable.  However, provisions for private education, college expenses, and choice of residence may be included, but may still be reviewed by a court to determine if they are in keeping with public policy.

In post-marital agreements, it has been noted that a fiduciary duty exists that is not present in pre-marital agreements between spouses or prospective spouses.  Case law states that a confidential relationship between husband and wife imposes the same duties of good faith and fair dealing on spouses as required of partners and other fiduciaries.  However, adverse parties who have retained independent counsel may not owe fiduciary duties to one another.  Texas Legislature enacted Section 4.105 with the understanding that married spouses owing fiduciary duties to one another would negotiate and execute post-marital agreements.  Not withstanding these duties, the legislature manifested the strong policy preference that voluntarily made post-marital agreements are enforceable.

Cohabitation, domestic partnership, premarital and post-marital agreements may be as creative as a party determines necessary.  However, care must be given to see that such agreements protect the party, keep with public policy, and adhere to current Texas family law and applicable contractual law.

By Nacol Law Firm | Property and Asset Division
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Texas and Federal Confidentiality Laws – Use Caution with Your Texas Divorce

There are many legal and proper ways to obtain proof of a spouse’s infidelity.  Take care to avoid tactics used to obtain private information that may violate federal and Texas confidentiality laws and a spouse’s right to privacy.  You may be tempted by others to obtain proof of a partner’s infidelity by various inappropriate and/or illegal methods.  Reading emails, recording telephone calls, installing spyware or geographical tracking devices or even setting up hidden cameras are just a few methods a spouse may be offered when entertaining the thought of catching a cheating spouse.  However, such actions may expose both parties and their attorney to civil liability and possible criminal penalties.  Under Texas law, it is a crime to install a geographical tracking device on a vehicle owned by another person.  When emotions are running high, it is imperative that you seek proper counsel as to the proper legal action to be taken when establishing facts.

Both federal and state wiretapping laws apply to divorcing spouses.  A spouse may sue the other spouse or their agents for invasion of privacy.  Federal law regulates electronic surveillance of conversations and access to emails, faxes and voicemail.  The law imposes civil and criminal sanctions for intentional interceptions of electronic communications.  However, accessing email after it has been transmitted, i.e. downloading a text from your telephone or email from the hard drive of a family computer, is not an offense under the Federal Act.  Texas has laws that also prohibit the interception of communications.  Under such laws, counsel may also be held liable if they disclose information received from the intercepted communications provided by their clients.

Federal and Texas laws both allow recording of telephone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the communication.  Under the one-party consent statutes, a spouse may record conversations in which he or she is participating.  This has been extended to include parental recording of a child’s conversations with a third party, including the other parent.  The parent can consent to the recording on behalf of the child so long as the parent has a good faith objective and a reasonable belief that it is in the best interest of the child, even if the child is unaware of the recording.

It is important that a spouse take great care in their means and methods of gathering information.  Information obtained by illegal means can expose one, even if he or she is a spouse, to civil liabilities and possible criminal prosecution.  Texas recognizes that every person has a certain right to privacy.  Such right is violated if a person intentionally intrudes upon the private affairs of another by offensive means.  Accessing stored email or secretly recording a spouse can be a violation of a spouse’s right to privacy.  If a suit is filed, the damaged spouse may recover monetary damages, including punitive damages.

For answers to your questions on gathering information for your Texas Divorce, contact Dallas fathers rights attorney Mark Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm, P.C.

By Nacol Law Firm | Texas Confidentiality Laws
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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