Houston Divorce Lawyers
A contested divorce is one where the parties are unable to agree to the terms of the final decree. Issues usually concern who will have primary custody of the children and division of property. Possession and access is another area that can create problems in a divorce. Neither parent wants to give up time with their children and the emotions that arise during this period can lead to hurt feelings and feelings of resentment that can hamper the divorce process. The lawyers at Garg and Associates, P.C. are experienced in guiding their clients through this emotional and difficult time thus making the process easier to deal with.
Truly uncontested divorces are not common. Usually if the marriage is of short duration and a significant community estate has not been created, conflict can be minimized. This is especially true if there are no children or the parties have been separated for some time. Occasionally, even marriages of relatively long duration can be dissolved more or less amicably if the parties have reached agreement on the division of assets and liabilities. At Garg & Associates PC, we strive to reduce the level of conflict while still zealously representing our clients’ best interests. Our attorneys have decades of experience in navigating these issues and we will be glad to arrange an informative consultation.
Child Support and Modification
Often, the issues that led to divorce persist long after the final decree has been signed. Children are frequently a point of contention or conflict between the parties. Recriminations over real or perceived fault in the break-up can overshadow what should be the overriding concern of both parties: the best interest of the children. While most if not all courts require that parties to a divorce attend a parenting or family stabilization class prior to the finalization of the divorce, they may have little impact.
Child support can be a significant percentage of the non-custodial parents’ income; anywhere from 20% to a maximum of 50% of a person’s after tax earnings. This creates financial difficulty that may translate into a deteriorating relationship between the former spouses. Likewise, non-payment of child support which carries the threat of incarceration for non-payment imposes hardship on the single parent who may already be struggling. Swift action to enforce the child support order is the best means to adequately protect the best interests of the child. The experienced attorneys at Garg & Associates, PC understand the importance of promptly restoring interruptions in child support payments. We can file the motion to enforce child support within twenty four hours of being retained and seek the earliest possible hearing date.
Child support may be increased every three years by applying to the court to modify the support order.
It may be possible to do this in less than three years under some circumstances. It is also possible, under limited circumstances to modify the child support downward. This is also true where there are more than one child and one reaches the age of eighteen; we have seen people, on their own, simply cut the child support in half in this situation. A well drafted divorce decree or modification order will contain a “step-down” order which states the amount of support due as each child turns eighteen. Those that don’t may require a motion be filed with the court to inform the judge that the child has attained the age of majority and request that the support order be modified accordingly. The facts vary from case to case and if you have questions, you should consult a competent family law attorney.
Regardless of the issues, Garg & Associates, PC has the experience and expertise to provide prompt and competent legal representation.
Enforcement of Prior Orders
Possession is another potential source of conflict in the post divorce era. While possession and access are clearly stated in the final decree of divorce, it is inevitable that conflicts will arise. Often if the non-custodial parent stops paying child support, the other parent will withhold possession of and access to the children. Conversely, the custodial parent may withhold the children and the other ceases paying support in retaliation. Both are expressly prohibited by the Texas Family Code and a warning is usually printed in capital letters in the final decree or other orders. Either party violating these provisions is subject to a finding of contempt of court which may include jail time, court costs and attorney’s fees. At Garg & Associates, PC, we have the knowledge and experience to quickly resolve these difficult issues.
When the custodial parent remarries, another layer of issues may be added to those outlined above. The non-custodial parent may resent the new spouse’s influence and daily contact with the children. This resentment may manifest itself in various ways ranging from passive/aggressive behavior to outright physical violence. Child support paid to the custodial parent may come to be viewed by the non-custodial parent as funding the new relationship rather than supporting the children. To the extent that any such events may disrupt or even endanger the children, it may be necessary to modify the existing support or possession orders to comport with the new reality. The court can order anger management programs, counseling or if necessary, supervised visitation. In extreme situations where family violence has occurred or been threatened, a protective order is appropriate.