Going through the process of a divorce is almost never easy. However, a tremendous amount of the stress and anxiety that often accompanies the process is the result of not knowing what to expect. When you work with an experienced Liberty Hill divorce lawyer, the process becomes much clearer. Not only that, but a divorce attorney can also ensure that your interests are protected et at every step of the way.
At the Law Office of Jason Wright, we have assembled a knowledgeable team of Liberty Hill divorce attorneys dedicated to serving spouses going through the challenging process of a divorce. We understand the worries that are going through your head and are prepared to help you develop a strategy aimed at minimizing conflict and efficiently pursuing workable solutions that you can not only live with—but are happy with.
Liberty Hill is a small town about 35 miles northwest of Austin, TX. As of the 2020 census, there were 3,646 people who lived in Liberty Hill. While it doesn’t sound like a large population by any means, the population of Liberty Hill has more than tripled since the last census in 2010, when the population was a mere 967. In large part, this is a function of the extreme popularity of the Austin metropolitan area, especially among young professionals. However, as young professionals start to have families and yearn for more space, Liberty Hill is a good option.
Of course, this dramatic increase in population comes along with an increase in the overall number of Liberty Hill divorces. While the Texas divorce rate has historically been quite low when compared with much of the country, that isn’t the case in Austin and the surrounding areas. For example, according to a 2021 study of Austin marriages, almost 25 percent of marriages end in divorce. However, because the city is so popular among younger couples, Austin is one of just 12 major cities with zero children under the age of 5 whose parents have been divorced three times.
Divorce is a legal term referring to a court-ordered dissolution of a marriage. When a court enters a divorce decree, it severs the legal relationship between the spouses. However, before a judge can do this, they must address a variety of issues that will allow the spouses to go their separate ways.
Before any divorce can be final, the parties either have to agree on the following issues or have a judge resolve them:
Each of these will be discussed below in further detail. Attorney Jason Wright understands the complexities that come with legal separations and divorces. With years of experience and being a family man himself, he strives towards preserving clients’ legal rights when going through a separation.
Perhaps the most commonly disputed issue in any Texas divorce involves the couple’s debt and property. When you get a divorce, if the parties cannot agree, the judge overseeing the proceeding must answer the “who gets what” questions. This includes a couple’s assets as well as their debt.
Texas is a community property state. Thus, the court presumes that any property either spouse obtained during the marriage is “community property.” Both spouses have an ownership interest in community property; however, it doesn’t mean that the court will divide the value of the assets in half. Instead, the court will distribute community property according to what is “just and right.” This requires the court to review the financial standing of each spouse when distributing a couple’s property. Some of the things a court considers when distributing property during a divorce include each spouse’s:
The judge overseeing a divorce also considers whether one spouse served as a primary caretaker of the couple’s children or as a “homemaker.” This acknowledges the truth that stay-at-home spouses also work, just not for financial gain. Finally, in the event of a fault-based divorce, the court may choose to consider one spouse’s fault in contributing to the breakdown of the marriage, although the court is not required to do so.
Adding to the confusion, not all assets that a spouse acquires during the marriage count as community property. For example, the following are not considered community property regardless of when they were obtained:
Still, there are exceptions to even this rule. For example, assets that are not community property can become community property if the spouse who owns those assets allows them to become “commingled” with community property assets. To illustrate, assume you inherit $500,000 when your grandmother passes away. If you deposit that money into the joint savings account you and your spouse use for large household purchases, it may be very difficult for the court to determine what portion of the balance is your inheritance and what portion is your family’s savings. In this situation, the court may determine that the entire balance is community property. This is where having an experienced attorney to help would be beneficial.
Slightly less than half of all couples in the United States have one or more children under the age of 18 living at home. In Texas, this figure is slightly higher. Thus, issues of child custody and child support are very common in Liberty Hill divorces. Texas law doesn’t use the term custody, instead the term “conservatorship” is used to establish who gets to make decisions for the child and “possession” is used to define what day and time a parent has possession of the child.
As a general rule, Liberty Hill judges prefer to follow the legal presumption under Texas Law that both be named parents joint managing conservators of any minor children. This means that both parents have a legal right to make major decisions impacting the child’s life. However, even when a court orders both parents to serve as joint managing conservators, the court must then issue a possession order outlining the specific days and times parents have possession of their children. The possession order will clarify with whom the children will live and when they will spend time with the other parent.
In some cases, however, courts elect not to name both parents as joint managing conservators. This typically comes up in cases involving abuse, neglect, or if the spouses agree. In this situation, the court will usually name one parent as the sole managing conservator, provided there is a parent fit for the role. Most of the time, the court will then name the other parent as a possessory conservator. This means that the other parent retains their parental rights but does not have a legal right to make decisions on their child’s behalf.
Child support is a monthly payment intended to cover a child’s living expenses. These payments are the property of the child but are given to the receiving parent. Typically, the court will require a non-custodial parent to pay child support to the parent with primary physical custody. Courts look to the noncustodial parent’s income when determining the appropriate amount of child support. Thus, spouses that make more money are expected to pay more in child support, up to a point. Further, if a noncustodial parent already pays child support for other children, they are entitled to an income deduction.
As stated, Texas does not have alimony. Instead, Texas Law allows for spousal maintenance (or sometimes referred to as spousal support), is a court-ordered payment from one spouse to the other. Typically, spousal support is intended to allow the receiving spouse to maintain the quality of life they enjoyed throughout the marriage. However, as a general rule, it is very difficult to get spousal support awarded in a court. In fact, state law dictates conditions that must exist before a judge can order spousal maintenance. Even when these situations apply, a court can only award support for a limited period of time.
The situations in which a court will consider awarding support include:
Of course, couples do not need to leave it up to a judge to decide these important issues. Couples are free to work out the details of their divorce on their own. However, practically speaking, this is often difficult.
One option that has gained popularity in recent years is divorce mediation. In divorce mediation, both spouses and their attorneys sit down with a neutral party who works through all the decisions that the couple needs to make. The mediator then proposes solutions, none of which are binding on the couple. In other words, if either you or your spouse are not satisfied with the mediator’s proposals, you are free to scrap the mediation and proceed through other means, usually litigation.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Liberty Hill or recently learned that your spouse is thinking about filing for divorce, contact the dedicated Liberty Hill divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Jason Wright. At the Law Office of Jason Wright, we have decades of combined experience helping clients navigate the emotional, complex, and challenging process of getting a divorce. With the assistance of a Liberty Hill divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Jason Wright, PLLC, you can rest easy, knowing that your interests are protected at every step of the way. To learn more about the Law Office of Jason Wright and to schedule a consultation with a Liberty Hill family law lawyers, give us a call at 512-884-1221. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
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