Cypress Family Lawyer & Estate Planning Attorney
Our Family Law & Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Meet Life’s Challenges Head-on
Our families are our lives. Many of us would do anything to protect them and provide for them. In some cases, that means preparing an estate plan to make sure they’re taken care of when we’re gone. At other times, it could mean ending a marriage that isn’t working and is causing nothing but pain and heartache to all involved. Then there are times when it means bringing someone new into our family through adoption, brightening both our new family member’s life and our own.
Whatever the case may be, whether it’s guiding you through the divorce process, helping you prepare a trust or will, or assisting you with an adoption, the family law and estate planning attorney at The Pollard Firm, PLLC is up to the task.
At The Pollard Firm, PLLC, we know family comes first. That’s why we tailor our services to meet your needs and protect your rights like we’re protecting those of our own families. We work side-by-side with our clients through every step of the legal process, using our estate planning and family law expertise to help them find the best solutions to their problems.
Cypress Family Lawyer Providing Comprehensive Family Law Services
Family law covers a wide range of practice areas. Each practice area is designed to provide a roadmap, so that those facing a major life change can find their way through to a better future. Not every attorney can handle family law cases. These types of cases involve sensitive issues that require a combination of legal expertise, compassion, and strength to handle the right way. You don’t want to let just any attorney handle issues involving the end of your marriage, your and your children’s welfare, or the complicated process of adopting a child.
Divorce Attorney in Cypress, Texas
While a divorce marks the end to one chapter of your life, it can also open the door to a bright future. In Texas, grounds for divorce include:
- Being confined in a mental hospital
- Living apart
- Felony conviction
In addition, you must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months and resided in the county where you’re filing for divorce for at least 90 days.
Once you have established residency and grounds for divorce in Texas, here is how the divorce process will generally unfold from there:
- The divorce petition is filed
- If necessary, temporary orders are requested
- Divorce papers are served
- Discovery is introduced
- The sides are given time to negotiate a settlement
- A trial takes place (if a settlement was not reached)
- The divorce is finalized
How Long is the Divorce Cooling Off Period in Texas?
Before your divorce can be finalized, there is 60-day cooling off period that begins from the time you file. Like legal separation (which is not recognized in Texas), the cooling off period allows couples time to reconcile. However, reconciliation rarely happens.
In some cases, divorces are modified. Reasons for divorce modifications can be to change spousal support, child custody, or child support decisions. Also, sometimes the law must step in and ensure that everything agreed upon in the divorce is being carried out. This is known as divorce enforcement. Examples of issues that can require enforcement include visitation, child custody, spousal support, child support, and asset distribution.
What Rights Do Custody Parents Have in Texas?
In Texas, child custody is also known as conservatorship. There are two types of custody. There is sole custody and joint custody. Parents or conservators who are awarded custody have the following rights:
- The right to consent to medical treatment for their child in an emergency
- The right to speak to the child’s teacher about their educational status
- The right to information from the other parent concerning the child’s welfare, health, or education
- The right to speak to the child’s dentist, doctor, or psychologist
- The right to access to the child’s dental, medical, or psychological records
In general, Texas courts believe it is in the best interests of children to have both parents involved in their life. However, if one parent is deemed unfit, then the other parent (assuming they are not also deemed unfit) will usually be awarded sole custody. In addition, if the parents of a child are unmarried, in most cases, custody of the child is automatically awarded to the mother. In those situations, for the father to gain custody, he must establish paternity with the court and file for custody.
Determining Child Support Payments in Texas
In Texas, the biggest factor in determining child support payments is the gross income of the parent who must pay. Sources of gross income used for calculation include:
- Income from wages, salary, tips, overtime, bonuses, and commissions
- Royalty income, dividends, and interest
- Rental income
- Self-employment income
- Miscellaneous income, such as unemployment, annuities, retirement pay, spousal support, severance pay, workers’ compensation, trust income, pensions, and disability benefits
Child support continues until a child turns 18. However, if an adult child has a mental or physical issue that requires ongoing medical attention, child support can continue indefinitely. Child support can end before 18 if a child is legally emancipated, which can happen once the child turns 16 or 17 (the age depends on the type of emancipation they seek).
Child support payments can be modified if the party seeking to change the payments can prove that there has been a significant material change in their circumstances. Child support can also be modified if the Texas Family Code child support payments fall under changes.
Adoption Services in Texas
There are multiple reasons why someone might want to adopt a child, such as couples who can’t have children, singles or couples who prefer adoption to natural birth, and stepparents who want to adopt their stepchildren. Whatever the reasoning behind it, adoption isn’t easy.
In Texas, there are several requirements you must meet to be approved for an adoption, such as:
- You must be financially stable
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You must provide references
- You must complete and pass a home study
- You and any other adults in your home must submit to and pass a criminal background check and a child abuse check
- If applicable, you must provide proof of marriage or divorce
- You must complete an adoption application
Cypress Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning is unfortunately something that many people put off until it’s too late, leaving the fate of their property/assets, as well as the loved ones they leave behind, up in the air. In most cases, the best time to handle estate planning issues is always right now. It’s understandable to want to leave it on the backburner. Nobody wants to think about death, let alone design a plan about what will happen to them, their property, and their loved ones after they die. However, no one wants to leave their family in a bad position after they’re gone either.
At The Pollard Firm PLLC, we understand how to handle estate planning matters efficiently, effectively, and with compassion. Whether you need a power of attorney, trust, or will, we have the experience, knowledge, and skills to help you.
Power of Attorney in Texas
A power of attorney allows you to designate someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. There are different types of power of attorney. The most common are:
- Financial – This enables someone you choose to handle your financial matters in the event you’re unable to do so due to incapacitation.
- Child Care – This is generally used if your child is temporarily living far away from home. It allows someone else you designate to have the power to make decisions when it comes to caring for your child.
- Health Care – This allows someone you choose to make medical care and end-of-life decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
Cypress Trusts & Wills Lawyer
The two most common ways for people to designate how their assets and property should be distributed in case of their death are wills and trusts.
- Wills: enable you to leave your assets and property to those you wish to have them, and if necessary, prevent those who would otherwise inherit those items from inheriting them. Wills also enable you to designate a guardian for your minor children if you die. If you don’t, it could be left up to the court to appoint a guardian for your kids after your death.
- Trusts: are like wills. They allow you to leave assets and property for others in the wake of your death. Unlike wills, trusts are private (wills are public record). Also, unlike wills, trusts can be handled outside probate court, which can save your beneficiaries money and time.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning & Family Law Attorney in Cypress Today
Estate planning and family law issues, like divorce, preparing a trust or will, or dealing with a child custody dispute, are difficult problems to tackle on your own. They’re sensitive issues that often involve those we care about most. At The Pollard Firm, PLLC, we understand that and are dedicated to helping our clients and handling their legal problems with compassion. We’re ready to be your rock during one of the most challenging times in your life and prepared to use our legal expertise to help you find the solution to your problems that works best for you.
If you need help with an estate plan, divorce, or any other type of family law issue, don’t hesitate to give our Cypress family law attorney a call at (832) 864-9296 or contact us online. Request a personalized consultation today.