Family Law Attorney in Corpus Christi, Texas
Helping You And Your Family Through A Difficult Time
If you are facing a family dispute, you deserve compassionate legal representation to protect your interests during this difficult time.
The Bourlon Law Firm has extensive experience in family law and is familiar with the legal procedures and statutes unique to Nueces County. Lead Attorney Bobby Bourlon understands and respects the sensitivity involved in family matters and takes pride in achieving swift conflict resolutions for clients.
Call 361-289-6040 us today for a Free, no obligation consultation.
Let Us Be Your Advocate
You don’t have to go through this alone. We are ready to passionately advocate on your behalf. We have the knowledge and resources to effectively handle a variety of family law cases, including:
- Divorce Child support
- Military Divorce Child Protection Services (CPS)
- Annulment Spousal Support
- Child Custody/Conservatorship Paternity Suits
- Guardianship Domestic Violence
Getting Divorced in Texas?
Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotional times in a person’s life.
Family Law Attorney Bobby Bourlon knows that the last thing you want to endure right now is a long, drawn out process that adds to your stress level. If you retain him as your attorney, he will do all the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on planning your future.
Here are just some of the ways he can assist you during a divorce:
- prepare all the necessary documentation, including filing a petition for divorce
- protect your property interests in the marital estate
- account for all your marital assets
- devise a plan for marital debts
- help structure a custody agreement
- determine whether you are eligible for alimony, pension or child support
- negotiate a fair settlement
- represent you in family court
Meeting The Residency Requirement
To file for divorce in Texas, you or your spouse needs to have been a resident of the state for a continuous six-month period. In addition, one of you must have been a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days.
Grounds For Divorce
Texas is a no-fault state, meaning fault does not need to be proven in order to obtain a divorce. The most common grounds for divorce in TX is “insupportability,” which is defined as “discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
If, however, you do want to assign blame for the breakup of your marriage, you may choose to file under the following statutory grounds:
- cruel treatment (that renders further living together insupportable)
- abandonment (for at least one year with the intent to abandon)
- long-term incarceration (more than one year)
- confinement to a mental hospital (for at least three years)
Who Gets What? Dividing Assets And Debts
Texas is a “community property” state, meaning that all property and debts acquired during a marriage is considered to be the joint property of both the husband and wife. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide your property and debts, the court will decide for you.
The judge’s decisions will be based on what he/she “deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.” Many factors may be taken into consideration when dividing marital property including you and your spouse’s income, fault causing the divorce, etc.
Bobby Bourlon will fiercely represent your interests and make sure you receive what you are entitled to.
Any property acquired or debts incurred before marriage are considered personal, not joint property and is not subject to division.
How Long Does It Take To Get Divorced?
Texas has a minimum 60-day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. The 60 days start running at the time the Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the court. However, most divorces take longer than 60 days.
If you and your spouse are involved in a highly contested divorce, the process could take anywhere from six months up to several years. The more agreements reached between you and your spouse regarding the terms of the divorce, the sooner your divorce will be final.
Determining Child Conservatorship
When children are involved in a divorce case in Texas, there are key decisions to
be made regarding issues of:
- child support
- access or visitation
In Texas, conservatorship (commonly known as custody) refers to the rights, responsibilities and duties of parents in raising their children.
There are two kinds of conservatorship:
- sole managing conservatorship
- joint managing conservatorship
The court will always make conservatorship decisions based on what is in the “best interests of the children” and does not discriminate against a parent because of their sex or marital status.
Sole Managing Conservatorship
In rare occasions, the court appoints one parent as the sole managing conservator (SMC) who will have superior rights to the child.
This is usually decided in cases where the other parent endangers the child in some way (history of violence, neglect, drugs, etc), or the parent has been absent from the child’s life.
The sole managing conservator has the right to:
- decide where the child will live
- provide consent to any medical treatments
- receive child support payments
- make decisions pertaining to the child’s education
Joint Managing Conservatorship
A joint managing conservatorship is generally desired in cases where the children have healthy relationships with both parents. In this instance, each parent has the right to make decisions pertaining to the children’s welfare.
However, the court will still designate a primary joint managing conservator who will be referred to as the custodial parent with whom the child will most likely reside. The non-custodial parent or possessory conservator will be awarded visitation rights.
Can My Children Decide Who They Want To Live With?
If you have children ages 12 or older, they may tell the court who they prefer to live with. The court will take their request into consideration, but will use the “best interests of the child” as the standard for deciding if they will grant the request.
Possession and Access Schedules (Visitation)
If you and your spouse can agree on a visitation schedule for your children, there is no need to involved the court. If you cannot agree, the court will determine visitation schedules.
If you and your spouse live within 100 miles of one another, the following provisions are usually standard:
- Standard Visitation Schedule: possessory or non-custodial parent would get the children on the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of each month.
- Extended Standard Visitation: parents have close to 50/50 time split with children
- Wrap Visitation Schedule: one parent has children Monday and Tuesday and the other parent has children on Wednesday and Thursday. Parents alternate Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Summer: the possessory parent is granted 30 days with the children to be used either all at once or divided into two visits. Some parents choose not to take the 30 days extended period and opt instead for a 2-week period of extended summer time.
- Holidays: parents alternate major holidays by odd and even years. Christmas can be divided.
How Much Child Support Will I Receive Or Be Responsible For?
Child support in Texas is based on the number of children in the marriage. It is a percentage of the first $7,500 of your adjusted monthly net income. To determine your adjusted monthly net income: subtract income taxes, social security taxes and union dues from monthly gross income, make sure to take out health insurance premium if applicable.
- 1 child = 20% (from net monthly income)
- 2 children = 25% (from net monthly income)
- 3 children = 30% (from net monthly income)
- 4 children = 35% (from net monthly income)
- 5 or more children = 40% (from net monthly income)
Avoid Court With Alternative Dispute Resolution
Your family law case can be resolved in one of two ways, either by:
- reaching an agreement outside of court
- the court makes a ruling at a hearing or trial
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) options are processes available to you to help facilitate agreement so that court proceedings to obtain a ruling are not necessary.
In some instances, a judge will not hear a trial until conflict resolution has at least been attempted through ADR.
ADR Option #1: Mediation
Mediation is the most common form of ADR used in a variety of different family law matters. The process is collaborative and non-adversarial.
An unbiased, neutral person called a mediator will sit down with you and your spouse to encourage productive discussions related to key areas of contention.
- are in the midst of a complicated divorce and seek to end the marriage
- are trying to develop a custody arrangement in the best interests of your children
- need to negotiate allocation of assets and debts
mediation aims to achieve mutually agreed upon outcomes by minimizing drama and emotional distress.
In mediation, you are not forced to settle or reach an agreement. However, if an agreement is reached, you and your spouse would sign a binding contract enforceable by the court.
Bobby Bourlon has extensive experience in mediation settings and can advise you on best practices. He is also willing to be present during the mediation sessions to provide continued counsel and to help you navigate negotiations and/or a settlement.
ADR Option #2: Collaborative Law
Collaborative Law is an ADR process that is most often used in a divorce. It involves you and your spouse as well as your respective attorneys signing an agreement promising to resolve your dispute without going to court.
All the terms of your divorce will be decided in private negotiation meetings. Sometimes, experts are brought in to assist with certain issues, these may include accountants, family counselors, etc.
The primary advantage of Collaborative Law is the opportunity to make your own decisions regarding how you want to end your marriage.
The disadvantage is if one party breaks the agreement and suddenly decides to go to court, both parties would need to discharge their current attorneys and retain new ones before going to court.
ADR Option #3: Arbitration
Arbitration is a process that involves a neutral person or arbitrator who has the authority to make the final decision instead of a judge. This form of ADR is not used very often in Texas however. Arbitration can provide a quicker resolution and privacy but arbitration rulings are usually final and cannot be repealed.