Family Law In Texas
Family law is an incredibly broad subject area that encompasses a wide variety of different legal issues. Because family law cases center on familial relations, these matters are often incredibly personal to the people involved and emotions tend to run high, which can cause many unwanted complications when attempting to reach a resolution.
Some people can be tempted to think that they are capable of appearing in court and making their own personal case for themselves without having to hire a lawyer, but it can be a profound mistake to not consider legal consultation for these kinds of matters. You will want to be sure that you have qualified legal representation before appearing in any court when it relates to a family law matter, otherwise, you will very likely be walking away without anything that you had thought you were entitled to.
“At The Sparrow Law Firm, we recognize that each case is uniquely different.”
Houston Family Law Attorney
Are you currently dealing with a familial dispute likely to end up in court in Houston? You are going to want to be sure to contact The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, for help with your issues so you can have the best chance of achieving the most desirable possible resolution to your case.
Do not wait to call 281-973-0431 or contact our firm online today so you can set up a completely free consultation that will allow us to review your case and outline all of your legal options. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you have strong support before entering a courtroom and capable representation while you are in one.
Types Of Family Law Cases
The Sparrow Law Firm handles a wide variety of different family law cases. Our practice areas include:
● Child custody
● Child support
● Custody modifications
● Parental rights
● Property division
Texas is a community property state, which means that any property acquired by a couple during their marriage is equally owned by both spouses. Family law issues are codified in the Texas Family Code, which incorporates prior Texas statutes and a large body of Texas case law, including written options of the Texas Supreme Court and numerous Courts of Civil Appeals.
Common Questions And Answers
If you have questions about family law in Texas, we have taken the liberty of answering some common questions here:
How long will a divorce take?
If both sides are cooperative, a divorce can result in as quickly as 60 days from the date you filed for divorce. It can take longer depending on negotiations or litigation. If your spouse is uncooperative, you and your spouse share significant high-value assets, or the litigation process becomes complicated, it can take months or longer to resolve.
Can a child influence the custody agreement?
While a child in a divorce cannot choose for themself where they live in a divorce, if they are older than 12 they may be asked for their preference during the divorce. Otherwise, a court commonly considers the child’s best interests when determining custody.
How can someone prepare for divorce?
If you are planning on filing for divorce in the near future, gather copies of all your important documents, separate your income from shared accounts, prepare living arrangements if you intend to move out, and consult with us immediately. We can help you take other important steps before you file for divorce.
Is a lawyer necessary?
While there is no requirement that you need to have a lawyer for your divorce, they can be essential to protecting your best interests. Without an attorney, you risk missing out on the custody, child support, alimony and asset division outcomes you deserve.
How are assets divided in a divorce?
Texas uses the “community property” method of splitting assets. This method splits all shared assets equally so that each spouse keeps as close to half of the marital assets as possible. We can help you negotiate which half of the assets stay with you after the divorce.
Family Law Procedures In Harris County
While family law cases in most of Texas’ 254 counties are heard by the State District Court, major urban areas, such as Houston, have state district family law courts that limit their cases to family disputes and have the same judicial authority and power as other district courts which handle serious criminal and civil cases. Harris County has 10 family law courts and a protective order court, with each court being identified by a district number. The family law courts are the 245th, 246th, 247th, 257th, 308th, 309th, 301st, 311th, 312th and 507th, with the 280th being the protective order court. In matters concerning child support, cases are heard in the four IV-D Courts dedicated to child support matters, which are courts 991, 992, 993 and 994, although these are more commonly referred to as IV-D Court Numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.
When you file a lawsuit in a family law case, your case will be randomly assigned to one of the 10 family law courts. If you are filing an action relating to a prior order, then your case will typically be heard in the court that ruled on that initial order.
All 10 family law courts are located in the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline Street in Houston and the protective order court is in the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress Street in Houston. The IV-D courts are located in the Family Law Center at 1115 Congress Street in Houston, and all of these buildings are connected by a tunnel.
The Family Code is divided into five titles:
● The Marriage Relationship (Texas Family Code § 1.001 to Texas Family Code § 9.302)
● Child in Relation to the Family (Texas Family Code § 31.001 to Texas Family Code § 45.106)
● Juvenile Justice Code (Texas Family Code § 51.01 to Texas Family Code § 61.107)
● Protective Orders and Family Violence (Texas Family Code § 71.001 to Texas Family Code § 92.001)
● The Parent-Child Relationship and the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (Texas Family Code § 101.001 to Texas Family Code § 266.010)
The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure apply to procedures by cases that proceed in Texas courts, but the Texas Family Code governs issues in family law cases. The Texas Rules of Evidence also apply during any contested hearing in which evidence is presented, and the Harris County Family Law Courts have adopted local rules that govern how family law cases proceed through the courts. Each court can maintain its own rules, but local rules apply when there are no court-specific rules and the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure will apply if there are no local rules on an issue.
The amount of time that it takes to finalize a family law case can vary widely based on many different factors. Whereas some courts can get cases to trial very quickly, others may take several months and it is possible for some cases to play out over a number of years.
For a person to establish domicile in the state of Texas, they must live in Texas with the express intention of making it their fixed and permanent home. To satisfy the residency requirement for a specific Texas county, an individual must be physically living in that county, although temporary absences from the county are allowed.
The Texas Family Code encourages parties to resolve their dispute through mediation, collaborative law, an informal settlement conference or arbitration. These matters are addressed in the Family Code under the section entitled Alternative Dispute Resolution, with Texas Family Code § 6.601 outlining arbitration procedures, Texas Family Code § 6.602 covering mediation procedures, and Texas Family Code § 6.604 discussing the informal settlement conference. The Collaborative Family Law Act is found under Title 1-A of the Family Code in Texas Family Code §§ 15.001-15.116. A court could require parties to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process before a case can proceed to trial.
Mediation is a private, informal dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party called a mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement. Arbitration is also private but is more like a trial court process in which both parties present their cases to an arbitrator, who is often a judge. An informal settlement conference can be a discussion between the two parties, with or without their attorneys, and the talks are not binding unless the parties reach an agreement that is signed by both sides. In a collaborative law case, the two parties will sign a participation agreement before any discussions and then the spouses and their attorneys will meet, possibly several times, to try and reach an agreement.
The most common family law issues generally relate to marriage and divorce as well as child issues such as child custody, special appointments, ad litem representation, grandparents’ rights, custody modification, child visitation, child support, parentage and paternity suits, adoption and child protective services. Other common family law issues could also involve family violence, protective orders, changing the name of a minor child, changing the name of an adult, removal of a child’s legal disabilities, enforcement of court orders, and parental liability.
“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”
– Ikaha M. Sparrow
Texas Family Law Resources
Texas Family Code – View the entire text of the full Family Code. The Family Code is divided into the aforementioned five titles (with Title 1-A being Collaborative Family Law and Title 3-A being Truancy Court Proceedings). The Marriage Relationship in Title 1 has three subtitles (marriage, property rights and liabilities, and dissolution of marriage) and nine chapters; Child in Relation to the Family in Title 2 has four subtitles (limitations of minority, parental liability, change of name, and general provisions) and 10 chapters; Juvenile Justice Code in Title 3 has no subtitles and 11 chapters; Protective Orders and Family Violence in Title 4 has three subtitles (general provisions, protective orders, and family violence reporting and services) and 12 chapters; and the Parent-Child Relationship and the Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship in Title 5 has five subtitles (general provisions, suits affecting the parent-child relationship, judicial resources and services, administrative services and protection of the child) and 37 chapters.
Texas Family Law Handbook (Houston Bar Association) – Use this link to download a PDF of the Houston Bar Association’s Family Law Handbook. This guide covers family law avenues, marriage and divorce, and children. You can also learn more about common family legal procedures.
Contact A Family Law Lawyer In Houston Today
If you are dealing with a family law issue that you do not think you are going to resolve on your own, you should not hesitate to get legal help with your problems. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, is committed to helping people throughout the greater Houston area with all kinds of complicated family law problems and we can help you find solutions to even the most vexing problems.
Call 281-973-0431 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation. Our firm can answer all of your questions and help give you the peace of mind you need during what might be an incredibly stressful time.