How To Talk To Your Children About Divorce

Adams Law Firm > Blog

How To Talk To Your Children About Divorce

Divorce is a challenging time for the entire family. Many parents worry about how they will announce their divorce to their children, and what to say when they make the announcement. Here are some tips to help you have this difficult discussion with your family.

Talk to the Whole Family

While you may be tempted to have private discussions with each child, you can place an unfair burden on your children. Telling older children first means that they may feel stressed about keeping this news a secret from their younger siblings. Your younger children may also feel hurt that the news was kept from them. For these reasons, it is best to plan a time to have a family discussion when the whole family can be present.

Choose Your Time Carefully

You should choose a time that will allow your children time to process the news. Monday morning before school is obviously not the best option, since your kids won’t have time to work through their feelings and ask questions. Often, the start of a quiet weekend at home can be a good choice. It is important to be available to your children during this time, as well. They may need extra comfort or have many questions to ask you.

Present a United Front

No matter what fighting has happened between you and your spouse, it is important to set it aside before you talk to your children. It is imperative that you do not blame each other when discussing your divorce with your children and that you do not discuss your reasons for getting divorced. Instead, focus your discussion on how people change, and explain that your relationship doesn’t work anymore. Take turns talking, and be sure to avoid pointing fingers.

Support Your Children

There will be a lot of changes that occur during your divorce. Take some time to discuss what may change, and what will stay the same. Preparing your children with some idea of what they can expect can reduce their fear and stress. You also should be sure to remind them that the state of your relationship isnot their fault, and that they will still be loved and cared for, no matter what the divorce may bring. If they have questions, try your best to provide answers.

Get Help From Our Katy Divorce Attorneys – (281) 764-6087

No matter how complex your divorce case may be, our team at the Adams Law Firm is here to help you through your case. Our Katy divorce lawyers are backed by more than 35 years of collective experience in a variety of family law issues, including child custody, child support, and divorces. Learn how our driven, compassionate attorneys can help you by scheduling a consultation to discuss your case.

Contact our offices by calling (281) 391-9237.

How Can Child Custody Affect Child Support Payments?

As a parent, you probably help to shoulder the cost of raising your children with their other parent. Whether you have full custody or joint custody, you still will need to understand child support payments in Texas.

In many states, your child support obligations may be dependent on the amount of parenting time you have. In Texas, however, your child support payments are not calculated according to the amount of custody you have. In Texas, child support payments are calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children receiving support.

If you are the custodial parent, you can expect to receive child support payments calculated using the other parent’s income. If they make less than you do, their child support payment is smaller than you would pay if the situation was reversed. However, your income will not play a role in the amount of child support you receive.

Texas Child Support Amounts:

  • One Child: 20% of the non-custodial parent’s income
  • Two Children: 25% of the non-custodial parent’s income
  • Three Children: 30% of the non-custodial parent’s income
  • Four Children: 35% of the non-custodial parent’s income
  • Five or more Children: 40% of the non-custodial parent’s income

Joint Custody & Child Support

In Texas, “custody” is actually considered conservatorship, meaning the parents are there to “conserve and protect” their children. While it may be called custody, conservatorship means that the child is not seen as a possession, but rather an individual over which parents have certain rights to protect. Even when conservatorship rights and duties are evenly shared, they will not affect child support.

Joint Managing Conservatorship may mean that the parents have agreed to equally sharing physical conservatorship and legal conservatorship duties, but it doesn’t guarantee an even split. For this reason, visitation and custody are seen as a separate issue from child support.

Have Questions? Ask Our Katy Family Law Attorneys – (281) 764-6087

Child custody and child support negotiations can be stressful. Our highly knowledgeable team at the Adams Law Firm is backed by more than 35 years of collective legal experience. Our Katy child custodyattorneys can help you understand the details of your case and can explain your legal options to you so you can make fully informed choices.

Schedule an appointment with our team today. Contact our offices by calling (281) 391-9237.

Tips for Fathers: How to Win Child Custody

As a father, you have as much right to be a parent to your child as their mother does. It can be a challenge to enforce your parental rights, however, especially when you’re trying to gain custody of your children. Despite the challenges, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to gain custody as a father. Here are some tips to help you build your case for custody.

1. Pay Your Child Support Payments

If you want custody of your child, it is important to make sure you are current on your child support payments. Failing to keep up with your payments can be interpreted as a lack of interest in raising your child. If you have informal arrangements, it’s important to maintain your own records and proof of payment. If you find yourself struggling to make payments, request a modification.

2. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Child

Even if your child isn’t in your custody, it’s critical to try to maintain a strong relationship with them by calling and visiting whenever possible. Communicating with your child regularly, supporting them at their events, and checking on their progress can help your child feel secure in your relationship and reassure them that you are there for them.

3. Maintain Your Own Records

You will be expected to demonstrate your involvement in your child’s life, so it is important to maintain your own records of your visitation schedule, parenting plans, and other ways you are involved in your child’s life. Developing a parenting plan can help you in court when your child’s custody is being decided.

4. Attend Important Meetings & Events

If you want custody of your child, you need to show commitment to supporting their life, including their important social, educational, religious, and other events. These could be school plays, sports games, baptisms, birthday parties, parent-teacher meetings, and playgroups. The court will interpret this involvement as evidence of a meaningful relationship with your child.

5. Prepare Their Own Space in Your Home

Your child will need their own space in your home. Even if you live in a small apartment, you should try to set aside a special place for your child in your home. The court will want to know about your accommodations during the custody hearing. Be prepared to respond to these inquiries.

6. Have a Plan for Your Child’s Needs

The judge will want to know about your plans for your child’s continuing care and support. Will they have their own space? Do you have the financial resources to support them well? Do you have plans in-place for their education, afterschool activities, child care, and more? You should be ready to articulate your preparations for your child’s care.

7. Be Respectful

Court proceedings can be stressful, but it is important to show appropriate respect towards all involved, including the child’s other parent, the judge, and your child. The judge will use your attitude to help them make the custody decision, so be sure to keep any negative feelings in check.

8. Ask Someone Who Has Been There

Experience is an important asset when fighting for custody. It can be helpful to talk to another father who has fought for custody of his child and ask about his experiences. You also should seek the help of an experienced child custody attorney. They will know the ins and outs of custody proceedings and be able to assist you effectively.

9. Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution for Your Custody Case

Mediation or arbitration can be an easier way for fathers to negotiate custody. A court hearing can be stressful and expensive, but many parents can come to an agreement in a mediation session with the guidance of a neutral third party. If these methods fail, you can always escalate your case to a hearing before a judge.

At the Adams Law Firm, we know how difficult it can be for fathers to gain the custody they seek. We are committed to protecting the rights of fathers and helping them remain involved in their child’s life. Backed by more than 35 years of collective experience, our Katy child custody attorneys are here to fight for you. Learn more about our services by scheduling a consultation.

Contact our team online or call (281) 391-9237 to speak to a member of our team.

What Are Grandparent’s Rights in Texas?

Texas is one of the strictest states for grandparents seeking visitation with their grandchild. In 2005, Texas adopted far stricter standards after the Supreme Court ruling in Troxel v. Granville. The state now holds the view that they have no place intervening in family affairs so long as the parents of the child are fit to care for them. So what does this mean for grandparents?

When Can A Grandparent Not Seek Visitation?

Before you learn what you will need to prove to request visitation, you should know if you even are able to request visitation through the court.

Grandparents may not request visitation if:

  • Both parents of their grandchild are dead or have had their parental rights terminated.
  • The child has been adopted by anyone, except for stepparent adoption, or an adoption is in progress.
  • Both parents of their grandchild have relinquished their parental rights to child services or any other organization acting as a managing conservator of the child.
  • The grandparent’s child is the grandchild’s parent who still retains their parental rights.

In these cases, you will not be able to sue for visitation rights.

In What Circumstances Can a Grandparent Seek Visitation?

In Texas, the court is reluctant to interfere with the decisions of the parents of the child, unless there is good reason to do so. The court generally holds that, provided the parents are fit to raise the child, the court should not intervene on behalf of the grandparents. There are some circumstances in which the court can be prompted to make a decision on the matter.

Grandparents may request visitation if it is in the child’s best interest and:

  • The parents of the child are divorced.
  • The parents have abused or neglected the child.
  • One parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or has died.
  • A court has terminated the relationship between the child and one parent.
  • The child has lived with the grandparent for at least 6 months.

What Is the Harm Standard?

In 2005, Texas adopted the Harm Standard for making decisions on child visitation for grandparents. What this means is that grandparents must demonstrate that the child will suffer considerably if they are unable to see their grandparents. This can be a very strict standard to meet, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Expert testimony has been a successful tool in recent cases. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to obtain expert testimony when the grandparent does not have access to their grandchild, school, or medical records. Your attorney may ask for a preliminary hearing, in which a professional evaluation can be requested for the purposes of expert testimony. At this hearing, your lawyer can also request relevant records to support your case.

Get Help Today! Call Our Katy Family Law Attorneys – (281) 764-6087

As a grandparent, it can be devastating to be denied the chance to participate in your grandchildren’s lived. At the Adams Law Firm, we have more than 35 years of collective experience to help you fight back. Our Katy family lawyers can help you protect your rights as a grandparent.

Start your case with a consultation. Contact our team by calling (281) 391-9237.

What Is the Difference Between Marital Property & Separate Property?

Texas community property laws are the laws that dictate how property and debts are to be divided up when a couple goes through a divorce. These laws can often be confusing, but it’s important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who will advocate for you and help you get a fair share of your marriage’s assets. You may come across the terms “marital” or “community” property and “separate” property. Understanding what these terms mean is important to helping you end your marriage with a favorable outcome.

Community Property in Texas

Known as marital or community property, this refers to the property that you and your spouse have acquired during the course of your marriage, with some exceptions. Texas is considered a community property state, but that doesn’t mean that you can expect a perfectly even split of your assets. You can expect that the court will be more interested in providing an equitable and fair division.

One way that Texas courts determines the status of contested property is the “inception of title” rule, which relies on the property’s status at the time it was acquired. The state considers all property (with the below exceptions) gained by either spouse during the course of the marriage to be community property. It is on you or your spouse to otherwise prove that a piece of property is separate property.

Separate Property in Texas

According to Texas laws, separate property is any property owned or claimed before the marriage, and property acquired after the marriage by gift, devise, or descent. This means that there are some pieces of property that don’t fall under equitable distribution.

Separate property may include:

  • Birthday gifts
  • Family heirlooms
  • Property or assets purchased before the marriage
  • Inheritances
  • Personal injury awards (unless the recovery is for lost wages, medical bills, or other shared property)

Still Have Questions? Ask Our Katy Divorce Lawyers – (281) 764-6087

If you’re considering a divorce, you need an experienced legal team on your side. With more than 35 years of experience behind us, the Adams Law Firm is well-equipped to handle even the most complex divorce cases. Don’t wait to get the knowledgeable legal counsel and caring client service you deserve. Our Katy divorce attorneys are ready to address your concerns, answer your questions, and advocate for your best interests today.

Contact our team by calling (281) 391-9237.

Who Gets Fido? Pet Custody After a Divorce in Texas

Our pets are often beloved members of our family, but legally, our four-legged friends are considered property in the State of Texas. This can lead to some serious stress and conflict if you and your spouse end your marriage. Fortunately, many judges are pet owners themselves or understand the deep ties you may have with your pet, so they may be willing to consider your pet’s custody more carefully and rule in favor of the pet’s best interests. Here are some things you should know about pet custody during a Texas divorce.

Write Down Your Custodial Wishes for Your Pet

If you can’t stand the thought of your pet leaving your side, you may want to write down your wishes for their custody. This information can be included in a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or partition agreement. If you’ve already married, a postnuptial agreement can also help.

In child custody cases, the judge will always consider the best interests of the child over the parents’ desires. When it comes to pet custody, however, the law only allows for pets to be treated as property. The judge will need to first determine whether the pet is separate property, belonging to one spouse, or marital property, belonging to both spouses.

If the pet was purchased or adopted before the marriage, it is likely to be considered separate property, and custody will be awarded to the owning spouse. If the pet was gained during the course of the marriage, the pet will be considered community property, and the custody of the pet will need to be determined with the rest of the marriage’s assets and property. If this is the case, the judge is likely to evaluate the roles both spouses play in caring for the pet and obtaining the pet.

What Factors Will Judges Use to Decide Custody?

As with any complex property settlement case, the judge will need to determine the animal’s status as community or separate property before proceeding. If the pet is community property, the judge will delve deeper into the matter. Here are some things judges may consider to determine which spouse is better prepared to care for the pet:

  • Which spouse has been the primary caretaker?
  • Which spouse meets the daily needs of the pet?
  • Has either spouse neglected or abuse the pet in any way?
  • Which spouse has the more pet-friendly work and travel schedule?
  • What are the custody arrangements for any children, and are they close to the pet?

The judge will strive to place the pet in the best household, where its needs will be met properly. If the children of the divorcing couple share a bond with the pet, the judge is likely to place the pet with the spouse who has primary custody of the children.

If there is more than one pet in a divorce, there is a good chance that the judge will split up the pets and award each pet to the spouse who is better equipped to prepare for that pet. Dogs may be awarded to the spouse who will be home more often, while a cat may be given to the spouse who works more or travels more.

Pet Visitation

The judge will not award a visitation schedule for your pet. Unlike your human children, your fur-children cannot legally have a binding visitation agreement determined by a judge. What a judge can do, however, is enforce any arrangements that the spouses can agree upon. Explicit terms spelled out in an agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, can help simplify these issues.

How You Can Protect Your Custody

It can be stressful if you are unsure of your pet’s fate. Laying out your wishes in another agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement, can help simplify these matters. If you don’t have such agreements in place, you’ll need to take steps to prove you are the spouse who should have continued custody of the animal.

You will need to provide evidence that demonstrates your commitment to the animal or animals in your household. This evidence can include:

  • A pet license or adoption application with your signature
  • An affidavit from your veterinarian that states you are the person who tends to the pet’s medical needs
  • Receipts from pet supply stores, grooming, and other pet services with your payment information.
  • Witness statements from neighbors, other dog-park visitors, or friends who can speak to your dedication to your pet’s care and wellbeing.

Contact Our Katy Divorce Attorney – (281) 764-6087

If you’re facing a divorce, you shouldn’t face it alone. At the Adams Law Firm, we’re committed to supporting our clients in every way possible through the divorce process. Our Katy divorce attorneys have more than 35 years of experience under our belts, so you can trust that we’re ready to assist you with your divorce case—no matter how complex.

Begin your case with a consultation. Contact us at (281) 391-9237 today.

Why You Shouldn’t File for Divorce Without a Divorce Lawyer

You may be exploring ways to file a divorce without an attorney, hoping to save money or time during your divorce. While there is no legal reason you cannot file for a divorce without a lawyer, there are many benefits to having one. It may even save you money in the long run. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t file for divorce without an experienced attorney on your side.

Divorcing Without Legal Representation Can Cost You

If you’re considering a DIY divorce—don’t. Even if you and your spouse are ending your marriage amicably, you still should at least hire a divorce attorney to review your divorce agreement terms to ensure they meet the legal requirements of your state and that a judge will agree to them.

If your marriage is ending in a less-than-friendly way, you’ll benefit from having the insight and experience of a divorce attorney to assist you. Even if you and your spouse manage to negotiate the terms of your divorce on your own, your lawyer can serve as a representative on your behalf, advise your decisions, and help you understand the long-term impact of your choices.

In litigation, your attorney will represent your best interests and help to ensure you receive a fair share of your marriage’s assets, a favorable custody or visitation schedule with your children, and even advocate for a fair amount of child support payments. Without a strong, knowledgeable legal advocate on your side, it’s easy to make mistakes that can end up costing you considerably at the end of the divorce.

Your Attorney Has Considerable Knowledge to Share

Are you familiar with the judges in your local family law court? Do you know the divorce laws of your state? Are you able to calculate and understand the tax impact if you choose to try and keep the house, rather than selling it and splitting the profits? You may not know all these things, but it is the job of your lawyer to know it. Why struggle through your divorce alone, when your attorney can provide invaluable insight, experience, and knowledge?

Attorneys Help Prevent Mistakes

It’s natural to make mistakes when encountering something you’re unfamiliar with. Unfortunately, small mistakes can equal big consequences in a divorce. Your lawyer is there to make sure your case goes smoothly, to manage the details of it, and to mitigate mistakes, so you can receive a favorable outcome, no matter what your goals for your divorce are.

Ready to Begin Your Divorce? Call Our Katy Divorce Lawyers – (281) 391-9237

At the Adams Law Firm, our compassionate team is ready to fight for your needs. We understand the unique challenges of a divorce, and our Katy divorce attorneys will work closely with you to develop a legal strategy for your needs and goals.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering a divorce, you may also be considering hiring a divorce lawyer to help you through the process. Finding the right divorce attorney, however, is easier said than done. If you’ve never worked with a lawyer, you may have no idea what to expect. Family law and divorce cases are their own unique area of the law, which can make it even more challenging to know if you’re making a good choice when choosing an attorney. Let our Katy divorce lawyers take the guesswork out of hiring an attorney with these questions you should ask a potential lawyer:

  • Do you specialize in divorces, or are they only one aspect of your practice? You’ll want to know more about their experience with divorce cases, so it’s important to find out how long they’ve been handling divorce cases, what percentage of their practice is devoted to divorces, and if they have any certifications, such as being a certified family law specialist.
  • What is your strategy for my case? You’ll want to work with an attorney who will work towards your goals. If their strategy won’t meet your goals, keep looking. You also should find out how long they estimate it will take to resolve your divorce.
  • How will you communicate with me? Get the details on how long it should take for a phone call to be returned, who will be calling, who you can call, and how you can contact your attorney in the event of an emergency.
  • Who else will be working on my case? Many law firms have multiple attorneys, paralegals, assistants, and administrative professionals working there. Find out who you can expect to be involved in your case, what they will be doing, and what their experience is. It also doesn’t hurt to find out if you can meet them.
  • How will I be charged? Learn more about their hourly rates, how they will bill you, and whether you will be billed for time spent talking to paralegals, legal assistants, or others in the office. You should also ask about their retainer fees.
  • What costs, besides attorney fees, do you expect during my case? Filing fees, court costs, document handling, investigators, forensic accountants, psychologists, mediators, and other costs can all add up quickly, so it’s important to know what you may be paying for ahead of time.
  • What’s your best estimate of the cost of my divorce? Beware of attorneys who give you a low price, since they are trying to just get your business. An honest lawyer should explain to you how different factors can affect the cost and how they may affect your overall divorce expenses.
  • Do you permit me to negotiate directly with my spouse, or are there other tasks I can handle to reduce my costs? While you are hiring your lawyer for their expertise and insight, you also do need to consider your budget. They may have certain tasks you can carry out or recommendations to help you save money.
  • Based on your current knowledge of my case, how do you think a judge would rule? This can be another thing that is difficult to predict, but your lawyer may be able to provide some insight, especially if they are familiar with the local family court judges.
  • Can you help me understand the tax impact of the decisions I will need to make? Divorce means a lot of decisions, and you should have an understanding of the long-term effects of these decisions.

At the Adams Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping you and your family make it through this difficult time. Our compassionate and experienced legal team is on your side, and our Katy divorce attorneys will fight for your best interests.

Ready to get started? Contact our firm to schedule a consultation by calling (281) 391-9237.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Summertime Child Custody

Summer is nearly upon us and school is ending soon. Your children may be excited about more free time, but summer can pose unique child custody challenges for parents. Here are the do’s and don’ts of child custody plans over summer to help you and your co-parent have a stress free summer.

Do’s of Summer Co-Parenting

  • Do make your summer parenting plan in advance. If your parenting plan doesn’t already address the summertime, it’s time to sit down with your co-parent and develop a plan for the months your child is out of school. Once approved by the court, this modification will be responsible for dictating your custody schedule during the summer months.
  • Do communicate with your co-parent. Summer trips, camps, and activities can be fun for your family, but it’s important to communicate these plans with your co-parent early. Notify them of vacation plans, summer activities, or summer-only changes that may occur before they happen. If you and your co-parent struggle to communicate, a mediator can help.
  • Do consider your kids’ feelings. Even small changes can feel like big changes when you’re young, so don’t forget to take this into account when making summer plans. Seeing one parent less, staying in a different home, or other changes can be uncomfortable and can cause an emotional reaction. Talk to your children about your plans and help them understand what will happen so they feel secure. If they’re older, they may want to help you plan or have plans of their own you may consider.

Don’ts of Summer Co-Parenting

  • Don’t take it personally if your child misses their other parent. If your summer plans are dramatically different than the rest of the year or you’re planning a trip away, it’s possible your child may take some time to adjust and miss their other parent. This is natural, so you shouldn’t feel hurt if they seem to miss the other parent more than they’re excited to see you. You can help ease their worries by planning fun activities but also planning plenty of time to talk with their other parent on the phone or on a web-calling program like Skype.
  • Don’t make legal decisions without talking to your attorney. When making changes to your normal parenting plan, it’s important to remember that custody is a legal issue. Even if you have informal arrangements with your co-parent, the formal custody orders are what will be enforced if there is an issue. Be sure to consult your lawyer before making any changes or if you foresee any issues.
  • Don’t skip your support payments. You may have physical custody of your child more during the summer, but that doesn’t mean you can skip paying child support. Unless you have a modification, you are still legally obligated to pay what has been ordered, whether your child is living with you or not for the summer. If you want to request a modification, talk to your attorney.

Planning ahead can help your family enjoy summertime without the stress, and Adams Law Firm can help! Our experienced Katy family law attorneys can assist you with your child custody and child support modifications for the summer.

Schedule a consultation to discuss your case today. Call (281) 391-9237.

Planning a Vacation When You Have Shared Custody

Summer trips can often create cherished memories with your children, but planning one can be a challenge when you share custody of your children. Don’t give up on your dreams of a camping trip with your kids just yet, though! Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of planning a vacation with shared custody.

  • Communicate. You and your co-parent need to communicate your plans for summer before summer starts. Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon in July? Talk to your co-parent s about it, and see if they will agree. If they won’t, see if there is a compromise you both can agree upon, such as moving the trip, making it shorter, or even going together. Before you book anything, take some time to talk, and use a mediator if you need to.
  • Ask your children. If you have older children, they may have their own desires for summer. Talk to them and see what they want to do, and take it into account. Even younger children may be happy to add their input to the plans, and planning a trip together can be rewarding.
  • Confirm plans in writing. Mix-ups can be frustrating, but they can also place you into legal issues if your custody plans aren’t followed. If you and your co-parent choose to use informal agreements rather than formal modifications to your custody agreements over summer, be sure to get all plans in writing as agreed upon by both of you. This can also help if your co-parent changes their mind or forgets the plans you’ve agreed upon.
  • Consult your lawyer. Remember, custody issues are legal issues. If you’re seeking to make changes to your custody plans or take your kids on a trip out of state, your attorney can make sure it’s handled correctly so you’re protected.

Ready to enjoy your summer vacation? We’re here to help. Our Katy family law attorneys are ready to help you navigate the process of custody modification or to answer your legal questions. Schedule a consultation with the Adams Law Firm today to learn more!

Contact our firm by calling (281) 391-9237.

The Adams Law Firm Difference

book logo
More Than 35 Years of

Since 1977, our Katy divorce attorneys have served clients throughout the greater Houston area with dedication and skill.

courthouse Logo
Top Family Lawyers
by H-Texas Magazine

Recognized as leaders in the field, we have been voted top lawyers in family law for the Houston area. We are known for skilled, dedicated advocacy.

scales of justice logo
AV Preeminent®

Our firm has garnered this top peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell® due to a reputation for meeting the highest standards in ethics and legal excellence.

paper and pen logo

Our firm has garnered this top peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell® due to a reputation for meeting the highest standards in ethics and legal excellence.