Frequently Asked Questions About Fees And Laws
Do you charge for initial consultations?
Yes. I charge $100 for the first 30 minutes. My regular hourly rate is $395 an hour.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes. I take Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.
How do I make an appointment?
Do I have to come to your office for the consultation?
No. I can set you up for a telephone consultation. I can charge your credit card for the consultation fee in advance, and you will simply call my office when it is time for your consultation.
How long does a divorce take?
If the parties quickly reach agreements on all the issues of their case, a divorce can be finalized on the 60th day (if a regular business day) after the Original Petition for Divorce (the first pleading) is filed with the court. However, an average divorce usually takes six to nine months to finalize.
Can you get a legal separation in Texas?
No. There is no legal separation status in Texas. However, the goals of a legal separation can usually be accomplished by requesting temporary orders during the pendency of the case, which can include temporary orders regarding custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, health care, temporary use of assets and the temporary payment of debts.
How much is child support?
Child support is generally based on the paying party’s monthly net income, which is usually calculated by taking that party’s gross monthly income and subtracting allowable amounts of federal taxes, Social Security, Medicare insurance, union dues and health insurance, and then multiplying the net monthly income by 20% (for one child), 25% (for two children), 30% (for three children), 35% (for four children), or 40% (for five or more children). There is a presumptive maximum amount of child support that a party will pay, which is based on a presumptive maximum monthly net income of $8,550, even if the party makes more than $8,550 of net income per month.
Can we reach our own agreement on the amount of child support to be paid?
Yes. The court will normally approve reasonable agreements regarding child support that are in the best interest of the child(ren).
Are all of our assets and debts subject to division by the court in a divorce?
All “community” assets and debts are generally subject to division in a divorce. This generally includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. However, the assets and debts a party had before the marriage, assets a party received by gift or inheritance during the marriage, and money received by a party for a personal injury (except for money received for loss of income) are generally “separate” property that are not divisible between the parties by the court. There are exceptions to these general rules, and parties may have rights of reimbursement and rights related to economic contribution.
Can I get sole custody of my child?
Yes. However, the presumption in the Texas Family Code is that joint managing conservatorship (joint custody) is in the best interest of a child. Sole managing conservatorship (sole custody) has more to do with having certain exclusive rights and duties relating to your child. Possession of and access to the child by the nonprimary party can be the same under a joint conservatorship or sole conservatorship. Some of the important rights and duties related to a child include making decisions regarding a child’s primary residence location, health care, legal issues, education, services and earnings, and child support expenditures.
If we have equal access to and possession of the child, does one party still have to pay child support?
Maybe. The parties may agree that neither party will pay child support, but the court may find that one party still must pay child support. However, the courts will usually uphold agreements for neither party to pay child support if the court finds it is in the child’s best interest and if the financial needs of the child will be adequately met by both parties. Even with equal access and possession, the courts will normally order the higher earning party to pay child support to the lower earning party.