Family Law – An Overview
Family law is the term applied to the laws and rules developed regarding family relationships. Family law rules define not only the relationships between members of a family but also between a family and society as a whole. More than any other area of the law, family law reflects the values society shares regarding how people who are related should treat each other. When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney at Law Office of Mark E. Wewers, P.C. in Grapevine, TX, often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter.
Typically, family law attorneys assist people in making and dissolving family relationships. Specific areas of representation include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, paternity, child custody and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the area of adoption.
Marriage is a legal and business union as much as it is a romantic one. Because marriage is a legal and business arrangement, it may be wise to consult with an attorney at Law Office of Mark E. Wewers, P.C. about the advantages of premarital and prenuptial agreements. Many couples find it helpful to work through financial issues and the potential disagreements such issues can create before entering into a marriage.
Divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract. From a legal standpoint, divorce restores an individual’s right to marry someone else. The process also legally divides marital assets and debts and determines the care and custody of the children. Each state addresses these issues differently.
In some states you may need to prove fault, commonly referred to as grounds, to obtain a divorce. However, Texas is considered a “no fault” state whereby spouses are not required to prove that the other caused or is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. As such, in Texas either you or your spouse may obtain a divorce, even if one of you does not consent to the divorce.
In most divorces, the primary issues to be decided are alimony or spousal support, property division and, if there are children, child custody, visitation and child support. When spouses agree on how to resolve these issues, they can usually obtain a divorce relatively quickly, following the expiration of the mandatory 60 day waiting period. However, in many cases, divorcing spouses have disputes regarding their looming post-marriage financial arrangements and the care and custody of their children. Property division and alimony are often hotly contested issues in divorce proceedings, but the early advice of a family law attorney may be able to impact the ultimate result favorably.
Child custody and visitation
The care and upbringing of children following divorce is often an ongoing source of conflict for divorcing parents. Custody must address both physical custody and conservatorship. Physical custody typically involves periods of possession, or visitation, for each parent. Legal custody typically involves allocating the legal rights and responsibilities associated with the child’s upbringing and decision making.
In many cases, the parents agree to an arrangement; in other situations when the parents cannot agree, the court determines one for them. In the past, courts routinely gave mothers physical custody and gave fathers visitation rights. Today, the courts have begun to realize that sometimes it is in the best interests of the children to reside with the father and reverse the roles of the parents. In general, the courts favor joint ongoing child rearing responsibilities with the children residing where it is most practical and where they will flourish. The advice and assistance of a family law attorney can help parents to establish child custody and visitation agreements that focus on the best interests of the children.
Parents must financially support their children. That obligation usually lasts until the child reaches the age of majority (usually upon reaching 18 and graduating from high school) or becomes self-supporting. An order for child support may be entered during or after a divorce or in a paternity case, and either parent may be ordered to pay support depending upon how custody is arranged. An unmarried mother or father may also file a petition to establish parentage for child support in family court, and an order for support will be entered once paternity has been established.
A parent who fails to remain current on his or her child support obligations faces significant penalties. Texas has a child support enforcement office that works with the family court to suspend professional or business licenses, take away driver and recreational licenses, require payment of future owed sums in advance or place non-paying parents in jail when child support obligations are overdue, though hiring a private family law attorney will typically speed up the process. Because of the state specific requirements involved in child support, parents can benefit from the advice and involvement of a family law lawyer at Law Office of Mark E. Wewers, P.C. in Grapevine, TX, when child support issues arise.
Contact a family law attorney
Family relations create a host of legal consequences. A family law attorney at Law Office of Mark E. Wewers, P.C. in Grapevine, TX, can explain the laws that apply to your particular situation and help you to make informed choices for you and your family.
Texas Family Law Attorney
At the Law Office of Mark E. Wewers, P.C., we have significant experience representing people in Northeast Tarrant County, Southern Denton County, North Dallas in family law matters, including divorce, child custody, paternity, adoption, and child support. If you need an attorney for a Texas divorce, or other family law matter, contact our Grapevine office at (817) 410-4735.
Licensed to practice law since 1994, Mr. Wewers is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He is a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney.