If my spouse does not pay child support, may I refuse to send the children for visitation?
You may not withhold visitation. If you withhold visitation because a spouse will not pay her or her child support, you may be held in contempt of court.
May I stop paying child support because my spouse refuses to send the children for visitation?
You may not stop paying child support. If you withhold child support because a spouse will not allow you to exercise your visitation, you may be held in contempt of court.
Once a child support order is signed, can the amount of support that is paid be changed?
Circumstances change and so may child support. Divorced parents can agree to a change with approval by the court or if no agreement, the party requesting the modification can petition the court for the change. The Court looks at any changes in circumstances since the order was signed before making a decision.
Is there an advantage to filing for divorce first?
It depends on whom you ask! Certainly, a spouse who waits to file for divorce when he or she knows there is a serious problem at home may appear less credible in the eyes of the court. "If it was so bad, why did you wait for your spouse to file for divorce?" The person who brings the case first gets to talk first. Some lawyers swear that there is an advantage to being first. Others say it doesn't really matter. There is no negative connotation attributable to the spouse who brings the action or to the person who responds to the action. However, as one lawyer said, "first impressions are lasting impressions." If family violence has been a part of your life you need to take action. It is more credible for a victim of family violence to bring the action first.
Are more Texas divorce cases settled in or out of court?
Nearly all of them are settled out of court. It is the policy of the State of Texas that parties are to try and resolve their conflicts without court intervention other than granting the divorce. The Texas Family Code requires that each party sign an Alternative Dispute Resolution clause attached to their initial pleading. It usuallytakes significant legal action to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable resolution.
How long does a divorce usually take?
A minimum of 61 days. Texas law requires that the couple wait 61 days before the Court can grant a divorce. This is known as the cooling off period.
Is my child old enough to decide with whom he wants to live?
If the child is 12 years of age or older, a request to speak with the Judge must be honored. For children under 12, the Judge may or may not choose to speak with the child.
Can I represent myself in a divorce?
Yes, but I do not recommend it. I have represented clients against their spouses without an attorney involved. That is a mismatch. If neither client has an attorney, then both take the risk of losing something that has value to them. It might be the television set... or it might be precious time with your child. The economy has led some to make poor decisions in this area in an effort to save money. That is understandable;however, more often than not, their lack of counsel costs them much more than my fee.
Is it necessary to prove fault on the part of the other spouse to obtain divorce?
No. Texas is a no-fault divorce state. However, evidence of adultery and cruelty are often important when it comes to dividing property and deciding custody.
May I use electronic surveillance on my spouse?
You should be very cautious about the use of electronic surveillance to monitor your spouse unless you have his or her consent to do so. Intercepting communications made by a spouse can expose you and your attorney to both civil and criminal liability under Texas and Federal law. State and Federal wiretapping laws impose criminal liability on persons who intercept communications such as emails, instant messages, and telephone calls. Certain computer spyware programs can violate these wiretapping laws if they are programmed to intercept communications made in real-time. But even accessing your spouse's previously stored emails or communications can expose you to liability for invasion of privacy.
May I record conversations with my spouse?
It is not illegal to record a conversation in Texas if you are a party to the conversation.
Do Texas courts divide property 50/50?
Not necessarily. Many factors affect the division. I make sure that the evidence of these factors is presented to the court. The factors include the difference in earning power and ability of the spouses to earn income, the total amount of assets and debts, and when applicable, fault.
What happens to retirement benefits in divorce?
The court may divide them. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is used to divide a retirement plan that has accrued during the marriage. Stock options, pensions, 401(K) accounts, and bonuses are also divisible upon divorce. If you are considering a divorce and either you or your spouse have retirement benefits, stock options, pensions, or other accounts.
What if my spouse controls all of our money?
Temporary Orders filed with court address this issue so that the non-controlling spouse has access to funds. These orders also address child custody and support and remain in effect until the divorce is granted. If you are considering a divorce and need to release your spouse's control of the money or protect your control of the money.
What if my spouse has been violent with me?
Regardless of whether you have filed for divorce, a court can issue a protective order restricting your spouse from committing family violence, communicating with family members, visiting a residence or place of work, and owning a firearm. The court can impose fines, imprisonment, and even criminal penalties on a party for violating a protective order. A court can also issue a restraining order which can order a person to refrain from certain behavior including hiding property and making harassing telephone calls.
Is there court-ordered alimony in Texas?
No. Texas law does not allow a court to order the payment of alimony. However, a court can order "spousal maintenance" depending upon the length of the marriage and the earning power of the spouse. Spouses can agree on alimony and enforce that agreement as contractual alimony. If you are considering a divorce and want your right to receive or withhold alimony protected.
When will the court award alimony or spousal support?
If one spouse ends up with very little income at the time of divorce, the court may order the other spouse to contribute to his or her support. Today, either spouse may be awarded spousal support.
Which parent will get custody of a child?
The parents may agree on this issue. When they cannot agree, the court makes the decision using a number of factors including the age, gender, routine, preference, and health of the child and the health, lifestyle, and parenting history of each parent.
How is the amount of child support calculated?
Texas courts use a chart to calculate child support. Other factors such as the needs of the children are considered as well. An estimate of child support is done as part of a client's initial consultation with Suzanne Schaper Law Firm. This consultation lasts 30 minutes and a fee is not charged.
They will listen about what you have to say
- Bobby Cunningham. 10/13/2019
Suzanne was so amazingly compassionate and truely cared about me as a person, not as a client. I highly recommend her.
- Brooke Franklin. 6/31/2019
Very patient and informative. She sat with me for a good while explaining the process I was about to go through while helping me see angles I had not yet thought of. Very professional and understanding of my situation. She clearly knows what she is doing and that gives comfort through this process.
- Ivory gilcher. 6/27/2018
It's a shame 5 stars is all I can rate Suzanne's office! Suzanne's entire staff really seemed like they cared about what I was going through, I was not just another phone call or box on the shelf when I requested their services. Anytime I went in or called, i was greeted promptly with a smile i could see and hear. Suzanne and her staff give their clients their complete, undivided attention during the entire process... I've never experienced the level of compassion and understanding anywhere like I did while being advised by Suzanne Schaper Law Firm! I hope I'm never in this situation again, but if that time ever comes, you can bet they be my only phone call.
- Cody Goins. 6/27/2018
Mrs. Shaper is a very respectful divorce Lawyer. She handled my case with top priority. Her paralegal team was very approachable and easy to talk to about the details of my divorce. I can honestly say without a doubt that getting a divorce is highly stressful. I think it is key that you hire a lawyer that can be attentive to your best interest. Mrs. Shaper is that person that can be by your side when you are going through a tough situation, such as a divorce. I would use her again if I need too.
- Joseph . 2/8/2018
Ms. Schaper represented me in my divorce and has handled several other family law matters for me since my divorce. Her legal advice, guidance, and professionalism proved to be invaluable. My divorce involved some complicated legal issues that required an in-depth understanding of complex legal issues, and Ms. Schaper not only recognized those complexities, but she was clearly prepared to tackle those issues and fight to resolve them in my favor in the face of vigorous opposition from my ex’s camp. I found Ms. Schaper’s office personnel to be responsive to my calls and questions, and Ms. Schaper never failed to clearly explain all the proceedings to me and prepare me for what to expect. She and her staff always displayed the utmost professionalism and legal knowledge and experience. I have since referred all of my family and friends who are seeking a top-quality family law attorney to Ms. Schaper and have heard nothing but rave reviews from them regarding her legal expertise and representation.
- Angela Allen. 0/19/2018
This woman was wonderful! I found her and her father to be very kind and professional. Personally, I think it's a bonus to have a retired state district judge be a member of my legal team. I casually read through the other review from a year ago. I think the EX-SPOUSE of one her clients giving her one star and disliking her is actually a compliment and why I chose to use her in the first place (thank you vengeful person, you ran a very effective advertisement for her)! The last thing I want is my attorney buddying up to my ex. Suzanne was there to represent me and my interest. Not my EX!