Divorce & Family Law
Legal issues associated with divorce, child custody, and property division are among the many sensitive matters addressed in Texas Family Law. When facing legal challenges in a divorce, it is critical to have an attorney with proven trial and negotiation skills. Michael Pezzulli is a board-certified civil trial lawyer with 40-plus years of experience in Texas and U.S. law. A Dallas trial lawyer known for likeable authenticity, he has a wealth of encyclopedic knowledge and first-chair trial experience in family law that can be instrumental in protecting your rights. If you have children and/or significant assets, he can provide the level of skilled representation you seek.Divorce
It is not necessary to be separated from your spouse to get a divorce in Texas, but there are certain requirements. For example, you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least the past six months and in the same county for at least 90 days. Before a filed divorce petition can be finalized, there is a standard 60-day waiting period. A divorce can be expedited through court intervention, if your personal safety is at risk or family violence has occurred. Typically, divorces in Texas are completed in about six months. The process takes longer when details of the divorce are contested.
No-fault divorces are permitted in Texas. Sometimes an individual asserts that his or her spouse is at fault, such as for adultery or cruel treatment, and proof of the assertion could influence division of assets.
It is generally presumed in Texas that all property earned or acquired by you or your spouse during your marriage is community property to be equally divided. When significant assets are involved, legal representation is essential, to ensure that your rights are protected. Mediation is mandated by all Texas judges before a divorce case goes to trial.Child Custody / Child Support
In Texas, parents may come to an agreement regarding child custody or conservatorship, but the court has the final say. The rights of conservatorship encompass various matters that include but are not limited to making important decisions on a child’s behalf, providing consent for medical treatment, and having access to the child’s educational and medical records. Decisions of the court with regard to child custody are guided by what is in the child’s best interests. The parent awarded primary custody usually receives child support from the other parent. If there are safety concerns and risk factors related to child custody that put your child in jeopardy, resources are available to you.
The amount of child support paid in Texas depends on each parent’s income and other resources plus other factors, such as how much time the child spends with each parent. Child support arrangements are important in securing your child’s future. When a child has extraordinary needs that can be proved, the court may order more than the standard amount of child support. You can access the child support calculator to see Texas guidelines.
Figuring the child support amount for military parents is usually an involved matter, and experienced counsel can be of benefit.Asset Division and Spousal Support
Clear and convincing proof is required to overcome the presumption that all property acquired during marriage is community. The nature of property involved in a high-asset divorce is often complex. For instance, the value of certain assets is not apparent immediately, such as stock options, retirement funds, and pensions. Intellectual property, vacation property, and multiple residences may also need to be valued. If a couple owns a professional practice or a family business, they may have different ideas about the business’ worth. Establishing equitable division in a high-asset divorce usually requires the help of a Dallas trial lawyer. Divorce attorney Michael Pezzulli provides top-notch legal representation for individuals with modest assets as well as high-level assets.
Spousal support or alimony was never allowed in Texas until recent years. If one of two specific conditions exist, alimony may be awarded to a spouse under the Texas Family Code.
The first condition in which spousal support may be allowed is if, within the two years prior to the date a divorce suit was filed with the court, the other spouse was convicted of crime that involved family violence. This includes convictions for a class C misdemeanor involving family violence and instances in which a defendant exchanged a guilty plea for deferred adjudication.
The second instance begins with a ten-year marriage in which a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs and seeks maintenance. If that condition exists, other factors come into play. Does a mental disability or personal physical disability incapacitate the spouse so that he or she cannot work outside the home? Is he or she primary caregiver of a child who has a mental or physical disability and therefore requires substantial care? Finally, does the spouse apparently lack the skills to find a job that will support minimum reasonable needs?
Inadequate skills for employment is the most common alimony claim. For this request to succeed, the spouse must show that he or she made a reasonable attempt to get job training or employment.Consult a Skilled Dallas Trial Lawyer
Michael Pezzulli is devoted to helping clients achieve their objectives. Skilled representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your divorce. Your case may involve paternity, adoption, grandparent rights, premarital agreements, post-marital agreements, appeals after a divorce, military issues, a special needs child, or unusual and complicated matters. For quality legal representation in a divorce case, contact the Law Office of Michael F. Pezzulli.