Round Rock Divorce Lawyer

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No one is ever fully prepared for all of the difficulties and challenges that the divorce process can involve. Addressing the primary issues of a divorce presents challenges that are hard to recognize when you haven’t been through the process before. The emotional toll can also be even harder than you may expect. That’s why you need a Round Rock divorce lawyer who will help you meet your objectives in the divorce process while remaining sensitive to the stress and emotions involved.

At the Vaught Law Firm, our experience has taught us how important it is to care for both the legal interests of our clients and their emotional well-being. We take care to ensure that our clients receive the respect and sensitivity that they deserve. However, we pair this compassionate approach with the skills and knowledge that have led our lawyers to become board-certified family law attorneys. We bring this combination to every client’s case and are prepared to do so for yours as well.

What Does a Round Rock Divorce Lawyer Do?

Your Round Rock divorce lawyer will have to serve a number of different roles throughout the course of the divorce process. In each of these steps, they serve as your representative and advocate, ensuring that your interests are pursued throughout. That process often begins with assisting with the initial filing of a petition for divorce or responding to the petition if your spouse filed first. While paperwork like this is something we can assist with throughout the divorce, it’s only one of many things we help with.

One of the most impactful things that your lawyer can do during your divorce is inform and advise you. The divorce process is often complicated, and in particularly challenging situations, it’s easy to become frustrated. We can help ease some of that stress by communicating regularly, making sure you understand where the process stands, and informing you of your next steps. Clear communication from your lawyer can often be critical to having some level of control over the situation.

There may be a variety of decisions and considerations that you will need to work through as part of the divorce process. From child custody to property division, many decisions will need to be made. We can help with advice on these matters. Our experience and understanding of the relevant laws can provide a valuable perspective that can assist you in deciding how to handle these issues. Be sure to ask for your lawyer’s input if you are ever unsure of something or need clarity.

Help With Settlement Negotiations

The courts have a preference for divorcing couples working out a settlement rather than taking the divorce to hearings, where the court will make a final decision on any undecided issues. Although it can be challenging, most divorces are resolved through a negotiated settlement. While the two sides come together to reach these agreements, there are some parameters set by the fact that a judge will need to sign off on the agreement, and it will need to fit within the limitations set by divorce law.

There are different means of reaching these settlements, such as through mediation or arbitration. However it’s done, a lawyer is a critical part of the process. A lawyer can offer critical elements of help for these negotiations.

Setting Your Expectations Before Negotiations Begin

Because these negotiations deal with such important issues at such a sensitive time, there’s always the possibility of the situation turning combative and disrupting progress. There are a few ways a lawyer can help avoid or reduce these kinds of issues and their impact.

One of these ways is by making sure you have a good understanding of what to expect for the outcome to look like for these issues. Experience gives a lawyer a good idea of what to expect from negotiations, and understanding the likelihood of those outcomes can reduce the potential contention that can arise from being blindsided by an unexpected challenge.

The experience our lawyers have can also be helpful in keeping the negotiation process focused. We understand where the potential risks for derailment and pitfalls may be, and we can help try to keep the process focused while working around those issues. This can also help move things forward in an attempt to avoid a divorce that drags on for a long while.

A lawyer can also be helpful with regard to having your negotiated agreement approved. The judge will need to ensure that the agreement meets the expectations of the law. A lawyer can identify anything that is likely to result in skepticism from a judge. They will also write the agreement in a way that clarifies why it should be approved by the judge.

What Are the Primary Issues Involved in a Divorce?

In most cases, especially if a couple has been together for a number of years, the process of divorce can be complicated. That’s because it’s an attempt to separate and disentangle the couple’s lives, which were often built together and deeply intertwined. The process is all the more complicated when children are involved as well. Generally, there are a few major issues that need to be resolved in the divorce.

Child Custody

One of the most emotionally intense aspects of a divorce is child custody. Most parents want as much opportunity to be a part of their children’s lives as possible. However, when parents are no longer living in the same home, that can be a challenge. A custody plan will need to be made to clearly address what is expected of both parents. In Texas, custody is broken into two components:

  • Conservatorship. This refers to the rights and duties of the parents, as well as the decision-making role that a parent has for a child, particularly in important areas such as religious upbringing, medical options, and educational choices.
  • Possession and Access. This refers to the physical aspect of where a child will live and how the time will be divided between the two parents.

While there is generally a preference to try to give the parents as close to equal involvement in a child’s life as possible, the custody plan will need to fit the unique situation. For instance, if a judge believes that there is a reason that only one parent should have custody, such as if the other parent has been arrested for domestic violence, then a judge can rule that custody is the responsibility of one of the parents.

In making a conservatorship or possession and access decision, a judge can consider a variety of different factors. Ultimately, though, they are bound to make the choice that they believe addresses the best interests of the child. Their objective is to ensure that the child faces as little negative impact from the divorce as possible and is left with an ideal situation, given the circumstances.

Understanding Child Support in Round Rock, TX

Child support is often paid by the parent who has less time with the children, the “noncustodial parent,” to the parent who has the bulk of time with and responsibility for raising the children. This dynamic will usually be frustrating for the parent who is paying. They may feel like they are paying to have less time with their child. However, it’s important to remember that the money is expected to go directly to the needs of the children, so it should be paying directly for their care.

For the most part, child support payments are decided based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net income after considering all of the sources of income they may have. There can be some variance from the state’s guidelines depending on the specifics of the situation, but that will be at the discretion of the judge. Your lawyer will be able to help you understand if your situation may differ from the standard baseline.

Determining Spousal Maintenance Payments

In Texas, spousal maintenance is not given out in every situation and is usually only awarded when there is a clear need for it. For a “dependent spouse” to be awarded maintenance, they must first be able to show that the property they are left with after the divorce will be insufficient to cover their minimum reasonable needs. Additionally, they will also need to be able to prove one of the following:

  • That the marriage lasted at least ten years and that even after attempting to find work or develop skills while the divorce was pending, the dependent spouse is still unable to meet their basic needs through their own income.
  • The dependent spouse has conservatorship over the couple’s child with a mental or physical disability who requires care and supervision, preventing the parent from earning enough income to meet their reasonable needs.
  • The dependent spouse’s earning ability is limited by a physical or mental disability, preventing them from becoming self-supporting.
  • The spouse paying the maintenance was convicted of family violence either against the dependent spouse or the dependent spouse’s child. This must have occurred within a certain time frame of the divorce papers being filed or while the divorce was pending

If these criteria are met, then a judge will consider a variety of other factors regarding the marriage in deciding what kind of spousal maintenance to award. However, it’s worth noting that there are maximum lengths of time for which the maintenance is awarded, with a few exceptions. The size of payments is also limited, as spousal maintenance cannot exceed the maximum amount.

Property Division and Community Property

Property division can sometimes be a simple process, but it can quickly turn complicated if the couple has a high net worth or complex assets. The guiding principle for Texas judges regarding how property should be divided is that it must be seen to be “just and right.” This means that they must be able to look at the scope of the marriage and the many different factors involved and be able to argue that the division of the property is fair.

Texas operates under community property laws, which means that not all of the property in the marriage will necessarily be divided. The property will need to be characterized as separate property or community property. Separate property is generally the property that a person had coming into a marriage, inheritance or gifts that they receive, or an award from a personal injury claim. Community property is most of the property that was acquired in the course of the marriage.

Texas law starts with the presumption that the property a couple has at the time of a divorce is all community property. It can only be set aside as separate property if it can be proven to belong in that category. Once these distinctions are made, only the community property will then be separated.

If spouses created a prenuptial agreement before they wed, this can have an impact on how property is divided. In this document, parties can outline which assets should go to which spouse. However, if it fails to adhere to the requirements, it may be considered invalid.

The Vaught Law Firm Can Provide the Legal Help You Need for Your Round Rock Divorce

A divorce is never an easy process to go through. The difficult emotions involved are often triggered by the complicated and frustrating process of negotiating a settlement or going to court. It’s important that you have a Round Rock lawyer who you can trust to be honest with you. As difficult as a divorce is, having the right legal team on your side can reduce the stress and turmoil.

At the Vaught Law Firm, we understand how difficult divorce can be. We take care to respect the emotional challenges and stress that our clients are under while still using our knowledge, experience, and skills to pursue their interests. Our certified family law attorneys are some of the most talented lawyers in the state and are prepared to use their abilities to help you through the challenges involved in your divorce. If you are facing a divorce and need a lawyer you can trust, contact us today.