Family Law

Family Law attorneyWhen two people agree their marriage cannot be saved, they generally decide to file for divorce. Under Texas law, the dissolution for marriage can be instituted by either party under “no fault” provisions. One of the parties to the action must have resided in the county of the filing for a period of at least six months.

Issues Impacting Children

Divorce is stressful for everyone involved and one of the most important aspects of divorce is making sure the children of a marriage are cared for properly. Texas courts will take the best interests of the child into consideration when determining physical custody.  One or both parents may be ordered to pay child support, regardless of who has actual custody. Generally support payments must be made until the child has reached the age of majority unless the child has special needs in which case the courts may order the payments for a longer period of time.

In some instances, grandparents or other family members may file a SAPCR (Suits affecting parent/child relationships) for the purposes of visitation or custody of the child. We can help with these proceedings if there is reason to believe the child may be in danger or there are other valid, legal reasons for the suits.

Pre and Post Marital Agreements

Since Texas is a community property state, couples may opt to have agreements in place prior to getting married or agreements drafted during the marriage. Generally, these agreements will explain which property is considered solely owned, an agreement on when/if spousal support payments will be made in the event of divorce and other specific rights and obligations of both parties. Attorney Harlan can help you draft these agreements or review agreements prior to signing.

If such agreements are not in place, when a couple divorces, property is generally considered community property. Parties who have specific proof that a property was brought into the marriage or belongs to one of them can petition to have the property considered separate property and not subject to division.

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

Texas, like most states, takes domestic violence very seriously. If you’re concerned about your safety or the safety of your children, we can help you file for a protective order. Protective orders may be filed on your behalf if someone has assaulted you and you fear ongoing violence. You may also file for a protective order if you’ve been threatened at home or work.

Custody and Support Order Modifications

Once a divorce is finalized the court will have approved child custody, child support and spousal support orders. These orders cannot be changed through a written or spoken agreement between the parties; instead a modification request must be filed through the courts. Child and spousal support payments will generally not be modified unless there is a substantial change in the finances of one of the parties. Custody arrangements may be changed for a number of reasons including a parent relocating for work or health of the custodial parent.

Filing a Contempt Suit for Support Enforcement

When court-ordered support payments are not made in accordance with an agreement, your options are fairly limited. If you cannot convince the person required to make such payments to resume those payments, the only option is to go to court and file a contempt charge. The courts can then order the person to resume payments and failure to follow through could result in jail time or fines. Contempt charges may also be filed against a parent who is withholding visitation from the other parent.

Other Family Law Matters

When you are facing any type of family law issues, you can count on Attorney Harlan for help. Other services the firm provides include:

  • Paternity Suits
  • Adoptions
  • Name Change
  • Family Law Litigation

If you live in Tarrant or Dallas County and need legal help with any family law matters, contact the Law Office of La’Donna Harlan, PLLC at  (972) 293-8888.