Debt Defense, Probate
Forney Divorce Attorney Advice
As a divorce attorney here in Forney I constantly run into clients who’ve considered representing themselves. I advise against it, of course. If you are going to represent yourself in Texas in your divorce, there are a few issues you should keep in mind.
- Your property. Texas is a community property state. Everything that you have accumulated since the day you were married is 50% yours and 50%your spouse’s. This includes retirement plans, homestead, and anything else you accumulated during marriage. The only property that you can consider 100% your property is property that you owned prior to marriage, inherited property, and gifted property from a third party.
- Your Children. Texas has a great standard child custody order for divorces. If you have no issues such as a criminal history, mental illness, CPS involvement, drug or alcohol history then you should be able to get standard visitation if you are not the custodial parent. This standard visitation includes first, third, and fifth weekends; all Thursday evenings during the school term; thirty days during the summers; and a flip-flop with Spring break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
- Geographical Restrictions.You should always ask for geographical restrictions to be placed on your children’s domicile. Otherwise, you may be making regular trips to Alaska or some other place far, far away.
- Child Support.In Texas, the visiting parent will pay 20% of your net income for one child, 25% for two children and 30% for three children. This does not vary except by agreement of the parties and approval by the Court.
- Health Insurance. Texas law requires that you have the children covered by some type of health insurance upon your divorce – whether that be CHIPS, Medicaid, or private insurance. Usually one spouse is responsible for providing the health insurance. The visiting parent usually is ordered to pay for the health insurance premiums no matter who is responsible for providing the health insurance. The Court will order both parents to be responsible for 50% each of uncovered health expenses for the children.
- Seek a lawyer’s advice. At the very least, you should consult with a licensed Texas attorney before signing off on any paperwork. You could lose thousands of dollars in property or valuable time with your children by attempting to “do it yourself”.
The above language is not to be considered legal advice but rather a general and summary guide to some of the major considerations involved in getting a divorce. A divorce can be be quite complicated and treacherous.
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