Family law is a complex area of law that can have major implications on your life. A family law case might impact your finances, relationships with your children, and your future in general, so it is important to always get the best possible outcome. You can do this by seeking representation from an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney
At the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, we take a forward-thinking approach to family law. From the outset of your case, we will take the time to learn about you, your family, and your situation. We will ask you what you want your future to look like. Only when we have this information will we begin formulating a strategy to resolve your case.
Some family lawyers want to resolve each case as quickly as possible, and they have a formula they follow to prioritize quantity over quality of cases. This is not how our law firm works.
Ours is not a one-size-fits-all law firm, as we know that each family law matter is unique with real people involved and real consequences. Informed by more than 20 years of experience, our attorneys build one-of-a-kind legal strategies for one-of-a-kind cases. Contact us today to learn more about how we might help in your situation.
Representation In All Family Law Matters
Our attorneys represent people in the Fort Worth area in all family law matters, including:
No one gets married expecting to get divorced, though many spouses decide to go their separate ways at some point. Whether you have been married for one year or 30 years, divorce is a complex legal process, and you must meet certain requirements in order to end your marriage.
First, you must meet residency requirements and state the proper grounds for divorce in your petition. One spouse must file the petition in the proper court, and the spouses must resolve all applicable financial and child-related issues before the court will finalize the divorce. Some people can reach an agreement from the start and resolve the case fairly quickly, while others might refuse to agree and require a trial for the judge to decide.
Division of property
One complex issue in divorce cases is how to divide your shared property. In Texas, you must divide your community property, which is the property you acquired during your marriage. Community property - including assets and debts - need to be distributed fairly and justly between the spouses, which does not require a 50/50 split. How you divide property should take all of your circumstances into consideration, and you want to ensure you receive your fair share.
Child custody - known as conservatorship under Texas law - issues can arise as part of a divorce or between two parents who are not married. Custody determinations are based on what is in the best interests of the child, and often, parents share custody if they are both fit to parent. There are two aspects of custody that need to be divided - legal custody, which is decision-making for the child, and physical custody, which is when the child will live with or visit each parent. We can help make sure your parental rights are protected.
Child support is another issue that parents must resolve when they do not live together. Texas has standard child support formulas, though issues can still arise. For example, if one parent is voluntarily unemployed, they should not be able to get out of paying child support if they should be earning income.
Some custody and support orders make sense for a while, but then a change of circumstances warrants modifying these court orders. To do so, you must follow a legal process and obtain a formally changed court order.
If you were not married when your child was born, we can help you establish legal paternity, whether you are the mother or father of the child. We can also help resolve issues regarding custody and support once paternity is established.
If you are engaged, always consider whether a prenup is right for you. There are many situations in which these agreements can be highly beneficial should divorce happen in the future. We can evaluate your circumstances and advise whether we believe a prenuptial agreement can protect your rights and interests. We can draft an agreement that works for you.
Adoption and termination of parental rights
Whether you want to adopt your stepchild or another child outside of your family, there is a strict legal process you must follow. For stepparent adoption, the process involves terminating the rights of the biological parent. Adoption is a complex and emotional process, and we work to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Domestic violence and restraining orders
If you are the victim of domestic violence, we can help you obtain the protective order you need for legal protection. If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic abuse, we can assist you in defending against a restraining order that you should not have against you. We can also handle divorce and custody cases that involve domestic violence.
How much does a family lawyer cost?
Each law firm sets its own fees for family law cases, but these fees must not be unreasonable. Different matters - such as a full divorce case versus a child support modification - will have different costs based on the complexity of the process. In addition, how your case unfolds might impact the cost, as an uncontested divorce takes much less time and resources than a divorce case that requires a trial.
The important thing is that you discuss with your attorney how much your case will cost. You should receive a full explanation of the lawyer’s fees and your obligations up front, so there will be no surprises. You should never sign a representation agreement unless you have a clear understanding of what you will pay for the lawyer’s services.
You might be tempted to find the cheapest family lawyer around, though cost should never be your sole criteria. If the lawyer does not have the proper experience or resources to reliably handle your case, you would be wasting your money and risk an outcome that can seriously hurt your future.
On the other hand, the Fort Worth family lawyer with the highest fees is not necessarily the best one. The most important thing is that you seek help from someone who understands and knows how to handle the issues in your specific case.
What's the difference between a family law and a divorce attorney?
Divorce is a subset of family law. This means that family lawyers handle divorce cases along with other family law matters, such as custody, child support, and paternity cases that happen outside of a divorce. A divorce lawyer might focus on handling divorce cases, but should still be able to address all divorce-related issues, which might include:
- Community property distribution
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance
If you have a family law matter that does not involve ending a marriage, you should make sure that the attorney handles cases aside from divorces.
Do mothers have more rights than fathers in Texas?
In the past, the law and family courts assumed that a mother was better suited to care for children when two parents did not live together. However, a lot has changed, and the current law has no presumption for a mother over a father in a custody battle. Instead, the judge decides custody based on the best interests of the child and the fitness of the respective parents.
One situation when a mother might seem to have more rights is when a child is born to unmarried parents. Then, the mother automatically has full parental rights and responsibilities, but the father does not until paternity is legally established. This can be accomplished in different ways:
- The parents marry at a later date
- The parents fill out the proper paperwork after the child is born and get the father’s name added to the child’s birth certificate
- One parent brings a paternity suit in family court if the other contests paternity
Once paternity is established, however, mothers and fathers are presumed to have equal parental rights.
The same is true when it comes to child support. Most people assume that a father will pay child support to a mother, though this is not always the case. Child support calculations do not take into account a parent’s gender, but are instead based on the relative income and expenses of the parents.
Ready To Work To Get The Results You Need
Our lawyers have the knowledge and skill to maneuver through the most complex family law issues in pursuit of your desired outcome. From divorce cases that cross state or international borders to child custody disputes involving allegations of parental alienation or domestic violence, we will stand by your side. We are well-versed in resolving cases through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. We are also trial-ready and will argue on your behalf in front of a judge if the opposing party is unwilling to cooperate.
Get answers to other frequently asked questions about family law.
Schedule A Fort Worth Family Law Consultation
Call 817-332-7703 or send an email to schedule a meeting with a Fort Worth family law attorney who will help you resolve your case and take control of your future. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker today.