COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open to serve you, with in office visits, remotely via teleconference, & video conference. Call Today!

Category Archives: Family Law

What You Need to Know About Long-Distance Custody Arrangements

What You Need to Know About Long-Distance Custody Arrangements

One of the most important assets created during a divorce is the child custody agreement. After all, it’s critical that your children have adequate parenting time with you and your ex-spouse in most cases. Yet, what happens if you or your spouse must move away?

Distance doesn’t stop you from having a relationship with your children. Long-distance custody arrangements are a great way to ensure you and your spouse co-parent effectively.

Potential Scheduling Ideas for Long-Distance Arrangements

During your divorce, you and your attorney will work together to create and propose an arrangement that fits you and your child’s needs. There are many ways a long-distance arrangement can work, depending on where you must live, travel requirements and finances.

Some schedules include children staying with the distanced parent during summer breaks as well as spring break every year. Some allow the child to visit the distanced parent every other Christmas for a week or more. Other options include:

  • A visit every other week, depending on travel requirements
  • A visit every other month for a week or more
  • A visit for one weekend each month

Long-Distance Co-Parenting Tips

Long-distance co-parenting, although challenging, is far from impossible. You and your ex-spouse must continue to communicate and work together to parent your children. Here are some other quick tips that can help:

  • Use your tech tools: Technology makes it easy to remain in your child’s day-to-day life no matter where you are. You can use tools such as Skype to video chat. If you have an older child, text messaging and apps can help keep you in touch.
  • Respect your ex-spouse’s parenting time: Both parents need to have dedicated time with their children. While your child is with your ex-spouse, respect their time and give them space.
  • Revisit your plan when appropriate: Long-distance arrangements may need revising as you and your ex work out the kinks. Remain open to revisiting your plan and making changes to improve it over time.

Need Help With Your Custody Arrangement? Reach Out to Our Legal Team!

In most cases, it’s in your child’s best interest for you and your ex-spouse to share parenting time. Although long-distance custody can be difficult at first, an attorney can help you create a plan that works best for your family. To learn more about child custody, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

Can I Lose My Alimony In Texas?

Can I Lose My Alimony in Texas?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is sometimes awarded to one spouse after a divorce. The goal of alimony is to ensure the less-moneyed spouse can maintain their lifestyle and financial wellbeing.

If you’ve been awarded alimony, you may wonder if it’s something you can lose. In Texas, the loss of alimony can be triggered by certain circumstances. Let’s dive in.

Who Is Eligible for Alimony in Texas?

First, it’s important to understand who’s eligible to receive alimony in Texas. After all, it isn’t automatic for every divorce. The court will determine eligibility for alimony based on many factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Age of each spouse
  • Earning capacity for each spouse
  • Contributions to the marriage

The court may order spousal maintenance if the spouse receiving it has a disability that hinders their ability to work. Another reason for a court to award maintenance is if a spouse must stay home to care for a child with a disability or impairment.

What Events Can Trigger the Loss of Alimony Payments?

Court-ordered alimony payments have a specific end date. For example, if you and your spouse were married for over 30 years, you could receive alimony payments for up to 10 years after your divorce. However, certain events can trigger an early termination of your payments:

  • If the court-ordered alimony is based on your disability and you improve to the point of being able to work again.
  • If your earning capacity increases with a new job or inheritance.

On the flip side, if your ex experiences a disability or loses his or her job, the court may terminate based on their inability to pay.

What If My Ex-Spouse Tries to Unfairly Terminate My Alimony?

If your ex-spouse wishes to terminate your alimony, they’ll need to show proof of your increased capacity or improvement. Without it, the court will have no reason to terminate unless you’ve reached the end date. An attorney can also help you protect your rights if your ex should try to treat you unfairly.

Questions About Spousal Maintenance? Call Us Today.

Are you concerned about losing your alimony due to a qualifying event? Worried about your financial situation? Our Fort Worth divorce attorneys can help you. To learn more about alimony or for answers to your questions, give our Fort Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

When Should I Start Estate Planning?

When Should I Start Estate Planning?

Estate planning is critical for protecting your assets in the event of your death. So, when should you start? The answer is now. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, wealthy or living simply. We don’t know what the future holds; there’s no better time than now to protect yourself with an estate plan.

Why You Should Start Estate Planning ASAP

Many believe that estate planning should be reserved for the wealthy or those with many assets such as real estate. The truth is that estate planning is important for all of us for many reasons. For example, estate planning:

  1. Helps you provide for your loved ones: If you have children, an estate plan is a great way to protect them in the event of your death. Without a plan, the court will decide who receives what part of your assets. A plan gives you the power to outline who receives what, when and how. It also enables you to choose who will take care of your children on your behalf.
  2. Reduces costs: Estate plans come with tax benefits that can save your family serious cash, giving them one less thing to worry about as they mourn.
  3. Allows you to outline your healthcare decisions: An estate plan can outline your wishes should you become incapacitated at any time. This includes whether you wish to be resuscitated as well as who you want to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so on your own.

How to Get Started Estate Planning

Ready to get started? First, we highly encourage you to avoid do-it-yourself wills. These cookie-cutter documents don’t provide the adequate protection you need. Instead, we recommend reaching out to an experienced estate planning attorney.

Once you reach out to an attorney, there are a few things you should prep. Start by gathering your real estate deeds, life insurance policy information or any other documents that pertain to your assets.

Next, take some time to consider how you want to distribute your estate. This includes when you want your estate distributed (after your death or at another time) and to whom. Finally, consider who you wish to set as your executors and healthcare agents.

Ready to Start Estate Planning? Call Our Attorneys Today!

If you’re ready to start estate planning, we’re ready to support you. Our Ft. Worth attorneys have years of experience in drafting wills, trusts and more to help protect family assets. To learn more about estate planning, give us a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?

Divorce vs. Annulment: What’s the Difference?

In Texas, there are two different ways to end a marriage: annulment and divorce. While annulments and divorces achieve the same goal, there are some differences between them.

What Is the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?

An annulment is a legal procedure that essentially cancels a marriage. After an annulment, there will be no legal evidence that a marriage ever occurred.

 

A divorce is where the court determines a valid marriage did exist, but that it is now dissolved.

Who Qualifies for an Annulment in Texas?

The grounds for annulment and divorce also differ. For example, the grounds for an annulment include:

 

  • Bigamy: This means one party was already married at the time of the marriage.
  • Fraud: If your spouse misrepresents him or herself, for example, they don’t tell you that they’re a convicted felon, this could be a reason for an annulment.
  • Mental incapacity: If you married while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you were unable to make informed consent. This means your marriage could be considered null.
  • Underage marriage:Both parties must be over the age of 18 to marry without parental consent or court approval. Otherwise, the marriage isn’t lawful.

 

Other grounds, including mental illness and an incestuous relationship, are also situations where an annulment is justified.

 

How is divorce different? In Texas, you’re able to file for a divorce without a specific cause. This is called a no-fault divorce. Both parties agree to the divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.”

Should I Get an Annulment or a Divorce?

There aren’t any true legal benefits to obtaining an annulment instead of a divorce. Some couples choose annulments over traditional divorces due to religious reasons. Others choose annulments to erase the marriage for personal reasons.

 

In both annulments and divorces, property division is handled the same. The court will decide who receives which assets. They’ll also develop a parenting plan if you have minor children.

 

If you meet the requirements for an annulment, the choice is yours. Yet, we recommend reaching out to an attorney who can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.

Questions About Divorce? Reach Out to Us Today!

We know that divorce can be confusing. We’re here to answer your questions. To learn more about annulments and divorce, give our Ft. Worth office a call at 817-755-1852 or send us a message.

 

 

Who Pays for College After a Divorce?

Who Pays for College After a Divorce?

College is more expensive than ever before. According to U.S.News and World Report, prices can vary widely, but the average tuition for a private college in 2020-21 was $35,087, and that doesn’t include all of the costs that may be associated with attendance or account for how much inflation may drive up prices in the future.

 

At the same time, Texas child support laws say that a parent is obligated to pay child support only until the child graduates from high school or turns 18. So what should parents do about college? Who pays for college after a divorce?

When It Comes to College, Be Proactive

Since Texas courts will not force a parent to continue child support payments just because the child has chosen to pursue post-secondary education, it’s important to think of college years before it’s time to fill out applications.

 

Consider making a written agreement about college expenses now, during the divorce process. If properly drafted, courts in most states will enforce college support agreements.

 

These agreements can give you peace of mind that you’ll be prepared to support your child’s education. They may also save you the time and expense or resolving disputes related to college expenses later.

Things to Consider in a College Support Agreement

There is no exact formula for every family. What works best for your family may depend on many different factors. To start with, you and your spouse should agree on what “college” means. Does it mean four years at an in-state school? Or does it mean continued payment until graduation, even if that takes longer or includes graduate studies?

 

Some families agree to deposit a portion of their incomes into college savings funds starting when the children are very little. Other families focus on how payment responsibilities will be divided.

 

If both parents earn equal incomes, fair payment may be 50/50. But if one parent’s income is greater, a more fair division might be 70/30. Because it can be complicated, it’s best to talk about the matter with your attorney and your financial planner.

Contact the Schneider Law Firm, P.C.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about the divorce process, like who pays for college after a divorce. Call 817-755-1852 to talk with us about your situation.

 

 

3 Tips for Handling Divorce Anxiety

There are many reasons why divorce is stressful. For starters, parents face the anxiety that they will lose quality time with their children. Divorce also leads to uncertainty, possible financial implications and social changes.

Researchers have made an inventory of stressors, and divorce ranks right at the top as the second most stressful event a person could experience. So, what is the best way to cope with divorce-related stress and anxiety? Here are some tips for staying calm during an uncertain time.

1. Ask For Help and Accept It

Friends and family can be uncertain about how to help you during the divorce process. They may not know what to say or do. Don’t interpret silence as being alone. Often, your loved ones are waiting for you to tell them what you need.

Ask for help and name the help you need specifically. Do you need someone to talk with over the phone? Or more concrete support, like help with childcare or budgeting? Tell people the best way to support you, and then gratefully accept the support they lend. Having that support is a key way to beat divorce-related anxiety.

2. Take Divorce Matters One Step At a Time

Studies show that there’s no physical difference between anxiety caused by something that’s actually happening and anxiety caused by something we’re only thinking about. To limit anxiety, try to keep your mind on present things. Of course, that’s easier said than done. However, you can try to tackle each obstacle as it comes rather than thinking ahead to various scenarios.

3. Bring in the Pros. Hire an Experienced Attorney.

Nobody expects to go through a divorce. So when you’re divorcing, you’re constantly faced with decisions you’ve never made before and likely haven’t prepared for. Hire an experienced, reputable lawyer, and then trust that person to guide you through the decision-making process.

Having a trusted professional’s phone number can go a long way toward reducing anxiety and bringing you peace of mind.

Contact Us for Help With Your Divorce

If you need help making your divorce more manageable, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information. For a confidential consultation, call our Fort Worth office at 817-755-1852 . At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience guiding people through the divorce process, and our experience can help reduce your anxiety

 

 

Received Divorce Papers? Here’s What to Do Next

Received Divorce Papers? Here’s What to Do Next

Have you been served with divorce papers? A divorce can be a bewildering experience—especially if you weren’t expecting it. If you’ve been served, here’s what to do.

Don’t Ignore the Divorce Petition

Depending on your personality and the way you cope with stress, it can be tempting to tuck the papers away and ignore them. Don’t do this. Ignoring legal documents never makes the problem go away.

Instead, it can make things worse because you may be caught unaware, miss important deadlines, or fail to give your attorney enough time to work effectively on your behalf.

Review the Divorce Papers and Check Important Dates

Take a careful look at the divorce papers that you’ve been served. The papers likely tell you important information, like the deadline you have for responding. Usually, this is 30 days in a Texas divorce. You’ll need to work with your attorney to respond by that date.

If you fail to respond to legal papers on time, your ex can take certain actions. You may have waived your right to make certain claims or your ex may be able to obtain a default judgment against you.

Stay Calm

You may be tempted to go crazy—posting about the life-changing event on social media or calling up your closest friends and relatives to tell them what just happened. Before you act, take a moment to collect yourself and process what just happened.

Stay calm and try to make rational decisions during this difficult time. The things you post to social media never truly go away and the things you say to the people you love may sound regrettable tomorrow.

Get Legal Help from an Experienced Texas Divorce Attorney

You’ll want to get help from an experienced divorce lawyer as quickly as possible. Of course, we recommend the attorneys at the Schneider Law Firm as the best choice. However, you’ll want to do your research and find a reputable law firm with in-depth knowledge of Texas family law. Arrange a consultation and bring the divorce papers with you for the attorney to review.

Contact the Schneider Law Firm, P.C.

At the Ft. Worth office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys can answer your questions about the divorce process and what steps to take next. Call 817-755-1852 or send us a message to talk with us about your situation. We often hear from people who were surprised and upended by divorce papers, and we can be there to guide you and protect your interests during this difficult time.

Child Custody for Military Parents

Child Custody for Military Parents

With the strong presence of the U.S. military in the Fort Worth area, we’ve become familiar with just how child custody issues affect military families. We have handled numerous military divorce cases, as well as child custody disputes that happen outside of marriage or years after a divorce has occurred. Here are some key things that military parents should know about child custody.

Determining Child Custody During Deployment

Child custody can be tricky for military parents because relocations and deployment can interfere with parenting time. The process of determining child custody and a parenting plan may be especially complicated if one parent is deployed overseas.

When a parent is on active duty, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects them. If a parent attempts to change the child custody status while the other parent is deployed, the deployed parent can invoke their rights under the SCRA to postpone the hearing.

When the primary parent is deployed, courts can’t permanently change child custody. However, they can change it temporarily. Courts can order that temporary child custody is with someone else while the primary parent is deployed.

The law states that the first choice for custody should be the other parent unless other circumstances keep the arrangement from being in the child’s best interest. If the other parent isn’t given custody, the law says the second choice must be someone of the primary parent’s choosing.

Interstate and International Custody Disputes

For military families, child custody disputes can often reach across Texas borders—and sometimes even international borders. When a child custody dispute spans multiple states, state law determines the child custody dispute. It takes an experienced lawyer to make sure that the parent-child relationship is properly protected.

When a child custody dispute spans multiple countries, international law comes into play. The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction aims to protect children from the harmful effects of parental abduction.

The convention provides a process for a parent to get a child back when the other parent has taken the child out of the country. Countries that have signed on to the convention promise to cooperate to make sure a child is returned to the custodial parent. This law interacts with other important laws, like the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA) and the UCCJEA to protect the parent-child relationship.

Contact Us for Help With Military Child Custody Matters

If you need help with child custody matters, talking with a lawyer is a good way to get real information. For a confidential consultation, call our Fort Worth office at 817-755-1852 or send us a message. At the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., we have extensive experience helping military families in matters affecting their children.

Reasons to Modify a Child Custody Order

Reasons to Modify a Child Custody Order

Putting a divorce behind you can feel liberating. Instead of being tied up in the emotions that came with your divorce, you begin to focus on moving forward. This can be complicated—especially when child custody is involved. Your children have changing needs and schedules that may make it necessary to return to court to modify an existing court order.

Relocation: Changing Child Custody When Moving Somewhere Else

Relocation is a common reason for modification of child custody. When one parent moves, a child custody and visitation schedule that used to meet the family’s needs may no longer work. Parents and courts can amend the schedule to be a better fit.

It’s important to know that a law called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) protects non-custodial spouses in Texas. The law says that custodial parents can’t move more than 100 miles away without getting prior approval from the court. If you’re considering moving with your child, you will want to get the court’s permission before you make the change.

Remarriage: Child Custody After a Parent Remarries

New marriages often mean changes to existing child custody agreements. That’s because they often come with changes in living arrangements and schools, new siblings and financial changes that can all affect the time parents can spend with their children. They also affect the decisions that need to be made for them. We often hear from parents who need to modify an existing agreement after remarriage.

Change in a Work Schedule That Affects Child Custody

When there’s been a significant change in circumstances, like long-term changes to a parent’s work schedule, it’s possible to ask the court to change the child custody and visitation agreement. You’ll probably need to provide the court with evidence of the change. Official documents that list your new work schedule are usually sufficient evidence.

Change in Ability to Provide Childcare

Significant, long-term changes in one parent’s ability to provide childcare can also be the reason for child custody order modifications. Often, parents create a plan that takes their schedules and finances into account. But changes to those schedules and finances can mean they need to make different childcare plans.

Change in the Child’s Needs or Health

Courts aim to consider the best interests of the child in parenting matters. When a child’s needs change significantly, this can impact the court’s assessments. A medical diagnosis—like a learning disability or a chronic illness—or an accident that requires rehabilitation can be reasons to modify an existing court order.

Get Help With Child Custody Modification. Contact an Attorney.

Matters of child custody can be stressful because they affect the people who are most important to you. That’s why it’s critical to have an experienced attorney on your side.

If you need legal help with modifying a child custody order, get started by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Our Texas child custody lawyers are here to support you.

Your Divorce and Your Ex’s Pension: What You Should Know

Your Divorce and Your Ex’s Pension: What You Should Know

When you’re married, the financial decisions that you and your spouse make affect both of you. The money you put towards retirement becomes your plan for the future, and a pension becomes a crucial part of that plan. So, when you divorce, it’s important to consider your pension.

Division of Pensions in Texas Divorces

Texas is one of nine states that are community property jurisdictions. Divorcing in a community property jurisdiction means that property you and your spouse acquire during the marriage is considered to be equally owned by both of you (with a few exceptions). It’s then divided between you.

Courts consider a pension that you or your spouse earned during the marriage to be community property. In a divorce, the pension is subject to division—either by a judge in court or an agreement between you and your spouse in mediation.

The pension should be included in the divorce agreement as property to be divided. However, a separate order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will allow you to gain control of the pension funds. The QDRO lists the specific details, including when the payments should be paid out and whom they should go to.

Enforcing a Court Order and Getting Access to a Pension

If your divorce agreement outlined pension division but you never got a QDRO, it’s probably not too late. Texas law allows you to go back in time and get one.

Sometimes, years after the divorce, a former spouse refuses to retire or to give you access to the pension funds you are supposed to receive. If that is the case, you can reach out to our legal team for help in getting the court to enforce the court order. When one spouse is acting in bad faith to prevent you from gaining access to a pension that is rightfully yours, the court can step in and protect your interests.

Talk With an Attorney About Your Rights to a Pension

The law is complex, and the outcome of a case often depends on very particular facts—especially when you have a pension. The only way to get answers that apply to your situation is to talk with a lawyer.

Start by calling the Arlington office of the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., at 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.