Whether you are filing for a divorce in San Antonio, or your spouse has asked you for a divorce, there are actions which must be taken and decisions which must be made. A seasoned San Antonio divorce attorney can help you through what could be a difficult time.
There are two contentious issues when a couple divorces: money and the child or children. Determining child custody is something that ideally the parents can work on together with a bit of negotiation help. If parents can’t agree, the court will step in and make a determination on its own.
There are two types of child custody: physical custody or where the child lives and legal custody or medical, religious and educational decisions which impact the child. In most instances, the parents share legal custody so either one can make a decision on medical care, for example.
The physical custody can also be shared, although in many instances one parent will have sole physical custody.
Military Divorce And Child Custody
Those who are stationed at one of the San Antonio military bases may wonder if divorce in the military is any different than a civilian divorce. Military members stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Camp Bullis or Camp Stanley should understand that there are special considerations in terms of divorce and child custody. One of those is the Family Care Plan.
Family Care Plan
When a member of the military is a child’s sole caretaker and is deployed, or when both caretakers are deployed, the military will require a Family Care Plan. The plan spells out in detail who has physical and legal custody in the parent’s absence. A Family Care Plan is required by the military and includes the following types of issues:
- Guardian access to necessary funds
- Housing, food, transportation and emergency needs
- Last will and testament
- Life insurance
- Power of Attorney
- Travel arrangements for your child to the guardian’s location
Although a Family Care Plan is a military requirement and not a county requirement, if you are in the process of divorcing, it is something that your attorney could assist you with as you prepare for any overseas assignment.
Child support is determined according to a formula which considers the net income of both parents, as well as the physical custody of the child or children. As a basic guideline, the non-custodial parent could be asked to provide 20 percent of his or her net income for the support of one child. For the care of two children, the child support amount would be 25 percent of net income.
If a parent is required to pay child support, and does not do so, the court has legal resources to collect payment including wage garnishment, repossession of property or jail time.
San Antonio is in a community property state. This means that any assets or debts that were accrued during the marriage belong equally to both parties. The division of property becomes more complicated in Texas, however, because the property is not divided “equally” but rather in a way that is “fair and just.”
For example, a judge could determine that if one spouse committed adultery, that it would be fair to give that spouse less than 50 percent of the assets. The property could be divided 60/40. Further, if the spouse who committed adultery was also the sole breadwinner, the property division could be skewed even further to a 70/30 percent split.
It may be easy to see why a skilled attorney can be an important ally in a Texas divorce.
Division Of Property
The types of property which are subject to division include:
- All vehicles including ATVs and boats
- Any collectible items
- Family home and other real estate
- Home furnishings and clothing
- Retirement plans
- Savings and checking accounts
- Stocks, bonds other liquid assets
It is important to note that all credit card debt and other unsecured debt is also shared by the divorcing couple.
Alimony Or Spousal Support
Texas is not known for generous spousal support or alimony determinations. Generally, a judge will only require an alimony payment to be made if the requesting spouse is unable to meet “minimum reasonable needs” after the divorce. The conditions for a spousal maintenance award are:
- The marriage must have lasted for 10 years or more OR
- The receiving spouse is not self-supporting due to a disability or inability to earn sufficient income OR
- The receiving spouse is the caretaker of a disabled child
The spouse who is seeking alimony must prove that an effort is being made to become self-supporting.
As with child custody, in many ways a military divorce is similar to a civilian divorce. The residency requirements are slightly altered to provide for being “stationed” in Texas and Bexar County rather than “living” in San Antonio and Bexar County.
When domestic violence is charged, many of the other legal determinations change. For example, child custody is typically not granted to someone found guilty of domestic abuse, and in some cases visitation may also be denied. Also, alimony can be mandated and the marital property can be split in an unequal manner.
- If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is imperative that you obtain legal counsel as soon as possible.
- If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, it is equally as important that you obtain qualified legal counsel to protect your rights as a parent and as an individual.
In some cases it may seem as though getting a divorce over and done with quickly can be the right decision. That could be a mistake, however, because some legal decisions are much harder to change or undo than they are to make in the first place.
A skilled and experienced divorce attorney will let you know when a choice you are making is a risky one, or one that isn’t aligned with your stated goals. For military or civilian divorces, fill out the free case review form today to arrange for an initial consultation with a local divorce lawyer.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
In some instances people have a family lawyer they’ve used and whom they trust for a variety of legal needs such as contracts, real estate closings or other issues. When it comes to divorce, however, it is wise to select an attorney who focuses his or her legal practice on family law in general and divorce law in particular.
Look for an attorney who has represented people like you in Bexar County courtrooms. Look for experience to find the results you need.