Family Law: Child & Spousal Support, Paternity, Adoption, Parental Rights, & Divorce

Divorce can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience for both spouses, their children, and the entire family. Selecting an experienced divorce attorney to protect your property, retirement benefits, assets, and children’s best interests during this time is critical. Canton, TX family lawyer Zachary S. Elliott will work closely with you to identify your goals and objectives based upon the specific facts of your case.


If you are wondering how to get a divorce or facing a child custody case, we can help you in any of the following areas:


1.      Filing for divorce: To file for divorce in Texas, one spouse must have been a Texas resident for at least six months, and a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days. The petitioning spouse must file legal paperwork with the District Court and serve papers to the respondent spouse. There are strict timelines for each step of the process, and failing to meet any one of them can set your case back significantly. Note that Texas does not recognize legal separation, although the court may approve a written division of assets plan that is just and fair to both parties. In addition, it is possible to file for temporary spousal support if one spouse is not working or is earning significantly less than the other.


In addition, Texas law allows for “no fault” divorce under the grounds of insupportability, which basically means that you can no longer get along. There are also six “at fault” reasons for divorce, such as adultery and abandonment. The grounds you choose can affect many court decisions that will have long-lasting impacts on your lives.


2.      Child-related concerns: In Texas, it is presumed that children need a secure and substantial relationship with each parent. This presumption does not fit each case and if protection for you and your child is necessary, we can help you. If protection is not needed, families are usually best served by sitting down together, along with both attorneys, to draft a written parenting plan. If this is not possible, however, then the court will settle the issues of custody, visitation, and child support. We will help protect your rights and the rights of your child during this sensitive time.


3.      Complex property issues including retirement and employee benefits: In general, Texas is a community property state. This means that all assets are usually considered the property of both spouses equally. However, there are some exceptions. In addition, a “just and right” division of property does not always mean a 50-50 split. We will protect your property interests. Let us identify with certainty the character of property involved in your case, whether separate or community, based upon a complete disclosure of your and your spouse’s assets, debts, and income. Retirement and other benefits are particularly difficult to negotiate, but we have the expertise needed to help you reach an equitable resolution.


4.      Spousal maintenance: Spousal maintenance refers to future payments made by one spouse to support the other. It is only awarded under particular circumstances, and the amount is determined by numerous factors. Whether you are seeking spousal maintenance or potentially obligated to pay it, we will ensure that your legal rights are protected.


5.      Enforcement of Orders: Sadly, all too many people fail to meet their court-ordered obligations. If your ex-spouse has violated your legal agreement, we can help you through the process of enforcing court orders. State law is on your side, but you must meet specific legal requirements. We know how to move your case through the sometimes-challenging field of family law.


6.      Modifications: There are many reasons to modify a final divorce decree. Property divisions are only rarely modified, but issues surrounding child support, custody, and visitation may be modified many times. Spousal support can also be modified under some circumstances.


If you and your former spouse agree to the terms of the modification, it can typically be made without a formal court appearance. However, the agreement must be put in writing and approved by the court in order to be legally binding. If you do not come to an agreement, then either party can petition the court for a new order.


In general, courts will only agree to a modification if the circumstances of the child or of one or both parents have substantially changed. We can help you prove the facts of your case and obtain a modification that is appropriate to your new circumstances.


Most divorce cases can reach a successful resolution through negotiation. If we are unable to reach an agreement, however, we are prepared to go to trial.


Attorney Zachary S. Elliott is a Van Zandt County native. He graduated from Grand Saline High School before going on to Dartmouth and earning his Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University. While attending law school, he had the opportunity to study international law in Lyon, France. He has extensive courtroom experience and is committed to finding the best legal resolution for every case. If you are ready to move forward with a Canton attorney who wants the best for your family, call us today at (903) 567-4515.