Our Austin Family Law Attorneys

Our Austin Family Law Attorneys

Personalized options for Texas divorce and family law matters.

Deitchle + Simone understands that the breakdown of a marriage, no matter how amicable, is a difficult time for everyone involved. We prefer to first talk to you about your options regarding a divorce settlement, rather than the traditional, adversarial, divorce in a courtroom. We understand that this is not appropriate for all couples and that every situation is different. Speak to us about what may be the best option for your family.

At Deitchle + Simone, we cover everything from divorce, to child custody, to paternity, to child support to grandparents' rights. We can also assist with second-parent adoption, name changes and legally correcting your gender identity. We welcome traditional families and those under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. We practice predominantly in Travis County.

Types of Texas Divorce

There are two types of divorce in Texas. If you and your spouse disagree on issues, such as the division of property, child support or child custody, then it becomes a “contested” divorce. If you and your spouse agree on all issues, it is an “uncontested” divorce.

You qualify for an “uncontested” divorce in Texas if:

  1. You have the information needed to make decisions about how ALL your marital property and debts should be divided
  2. You and your spouse have worked out living arrangements, temporary use of property, possession and access to children while your divorce is pending
  3. You do not have any fear about anything your spouse might do while the divorce is pending

We offer uncontested divorce flat fee packages for the following:

  • Uncontested divorce with no children and no property
  • Uncontested divorce with children and no property
  • Uncontested divorce with children and property

“Gay” Divorce in Texas

Same-sex marital rights fundamentally changed in 2015 when same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States with the decision of Obergefell v. Hodges. This right ensured that same-sex couples in Texas have the right to be married. With that right, comes the right to divorce. Deitchle + Simone understands that there can be unique issues that same-sex couples face when ending a relationship, whether it is a formal marriage, or informal (common law). These can include:

  • The retroactive effect of the marriage equality decision on the existence of a marriage, whether formal or informal
  • The characterization of property as community, separate, or both, and its effect on the division of assets in a divorce
  • Parental rights for bio/non-bio and adoptive parents

Child Custody

Child custody in Texas is known as “conservatorship.” There is an expectation in Texas that both parents remained involved in a child’s life following a divorce. Parents are given titles that designate their rights, duties, and possession of the child after the divorce. It is presumed that both parents will be “Joint Managing Conservators” and both will play a role in the child’s life. However, one parent may have the right to designate the child’s residence and one parent may have visitation rights but also have to pay child support.

When there are children involved in a divorce, our first priority is making sure their interests are a priority when any decision is made regarding custody and visitation.

How is custody determined in Texas?

There are several factors that are considered when deciding who of the two parents will live with the child after divorce. The best interests of the child are always paramount.

Factors a Texas court will consider when determining custody are:

  • The child’s safety, health and welfare
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The parental history of each parent
  • The wishes of a child who is at least 12 years old

We understand that child custody issues can be highly emotional and we have the necessary experience and empathy to guide you through this process.

Child Support

Texas takes child support very seriously. There are statutory guidelines that outline what percent of child support must be paid by the obligor (the parent obliged to pay). The amount to pay will be based upon how many children require support (20% for one child, 25% for two children and so on) and the net resources of the obligor. An obligor is obligated to pay child support from the first $9,200.00 of their net resources (wages and salary, among other things). The obligor can stop paying child support when the child turns 18, gets married, graduates high school, or is emancipated (provided the obligor is not in arrears).

Sometimes, there can be reasons to establish a different child support amount than what is listed in the guidelines. We can assist with fighting for a fair child support order if your situation calls for something outside of the guidelines.

Texas child support factors:

The factors a court will consider when setting child support are:

  • The best interests of the child
  • Whether one parent has custody of another child
  • The debts assumed by both parents
  • Whether a child has special healthcare or educational needs
  • The standard of living of the child during the marriage
  • Financial resources available for the support of the child

Asset Division

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage (with some exceptions) is considered community property and must be divided in a “fair and just” manner upon divorce. This does not mean that each spouse will automatically receive 50% of the marital estate. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when dividing assets and property. We can assist with determining what is community property and what is separate property and ensuring that our client receives their fair share of the marital estate.

Spousal Maintenance

Texas does not provide for the traditional “alimony.” Instead, depending on the length of your marriage, you may be entitled spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is considered a temporary measure for the spouse who is unable to provide for themselves after a divorce. Whether you are on the receiving end or the paying end, our priority is to make sure that a fair amount of support is requested.

Modification

When there is a change of circumstances, a modification may be required. Modifications can be made to spousal maintenance, child custody, child support, among other things.

One of the most common divorce modifications deals with the children. This can be with regards to child custody, visitation and child support. There are many factors that may require a modification. These include the loss of a parent’s job, neglect or abuse of the children, CPS involvement, relocation, new relationship or financial hardship. There are certain rules that must be followed to qualify to make a modification so please contact us so we can review your case and advise accordingly.

Paternity

The legal term for fatherhood in Texas is Paternity. If there is a question as to who the father of a child is, the case is usually called a paternity case, or SAPCR Establishment case. Paternity cases in Texas are often combined with a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) Establishment case. Establishing paternity can be beneficial for all parties involved.

By establishing paternity:

  • Mothers can receive child support
  • Fathers can have a relationship with their child by exercising their custody and visitation rights
  • Both parents can share the responsibilities and costs of raising their child

Second Parent Adoption / LGBTQ+ Adoption

If you are in a same-sex relationship and want to become the other legal parent of your partner’s child, you will need to legally adopt the child. This is extremely important for same-sex couples in Texas where judges can still be skeptical of parentage when there is not adoption order in place.

Name Change

Name changes are not just for married women who get divorced and want to revert back to their maiden name. There are many other people who choose to change their name for a multitude of reasons.

Some examples of who we can help are:

  • Trans clients who want to legally change their first and/or last names — this is often combined with a Correction of Gender order
  • Gay / LGBTQ+ couples who are getting married and one or both partners want to have the same last name
  • Same-sex couples starting a family where one or both partners want to change their last name so they can have the same last name as their child

Correction of Gender Identity in Texas

Legally correcting your gender identity is possible in Texas. It can either be done on its own or combined with a name change.

Speak with an Austin Family and Divorce Lawyer

We talk with our clients about their goals and various options in family and divorce cases. Our first goal is to collaborate and resolve things without courtroom battles, if possible, where amicable resolution is best for you or your children. Based in Austin, our family law attorneys practice primarily in Travis County, Texas. For more information, contact Deitchle + Simone.

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