Articles Posted in Family Law

Divorce is a difficult period in anybody’s life. In our area, many couples wish to avoid the expense and emotional toll of fighting throughout the process and feel that they can come to a mutual understanding without the need to hire a New Braunfels divorce lawyer for an uncontested divorce. However, there are several crucial issues related to any divorce, including uncontested divorce, that a qualified attorney will identify and address to avoid running into inevitable problems in the future. Not hiring an attorney is rarely advisable. This is particularly true the longer the marriage lasts, when there are children involved, and the more assets accumulated.


Usually for a flat fee, a qualified San Antonio uncontested divorce lawyer will explain issues related to property division, child custody and support, spousal support, preparation of the divorce petition and final decree, name changes, tax issues and other related matters. Addressing all of these questions from the outset with an attorney will save time and money in the future when these matters inevitably come up if left ambiguous or unaddressed.

Property Division
Even though spouses may think that they have worked out an acceptable division of property for both sides, a lawyer may help point out issues that parties don’t realize exist. For example, it is important to know that despite a divorce decree that assigns a marital debt to one spouse, creditors can still seek payment of the debt from both spouses since they are not bound by the decree. A divorce attorney will help identify better solutions that will not expose clients to debts and other liabilities that their ex-spouse has agreed to undertake.

In other cases, an ex-spouse may fail to disclose assets that make the agreed-to division disadvantageous for the other spouse. A good attorney will protect their client by requiring that both parties file sworn statements of their assets that can later be used to prove that fraud in obtaining the divorce settlement. For more discussion of these issues, please see our related blog posts related blog posts here.

Child Support and Custody
Child support and custody issues are complicated and dealing with the process is made easier with the advice of an attorney. Legal professionals in our area can explain child custody laws in Bexar County and the concept of conservatorship. This includes issues like which conservator has the right to determine the child’s residence, what geographic restrictions Bexar County courts place on this determination, the weight of the child’s preference, the difference between managing and possessory conservators, and a host of similar issues.

A San Antonio uncontested divorce lawyer will be especially helpful in navigating the intricacies of the Texas Family Code as it relates to child support and medical support. The attorney will help their client calculate the amount of child support according to a specific formula set out by the Code. A lawyer can also explain support modification and issues like support avoidance by stopping work and Employer’s Orders to Withhold. In addition, in uncontested divorce it remains crucial to discuss medical support for the child, including medical insurance.

Continue Reading

Uncontested divorces are more common than ever these days. Apart from costing less than a contested divorce, uncontested divorce may also be much less complicated if it is right for the participants and the situation. The following is a list of things to keep in mind if you are contemplating an uncontested divorce in Texas.

1. Always consider hiring an attorney. Many websites offer easy, do-it-yourself uncontested divorces. However, even uncontested divorces can be complex for those unfamiliar with Texas family law. When contemplating any type of divorce, it is important to consider hiring an experienced San Antonio uncontested divorce lawyer to do things right the first time. For a low flat fee, a divorce attorney will lead you through the process of an uncontested divorce, including the preparation of the petition, waiver of service, and final divorce decree. They can also prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and military retirement order (DRO), should either or both be needed.

2. Is an uncontested divorce right for you? Many people find that their relationship with their soon-to-be former spouse is amicable enough for an uncontested divorce. For an uncontested divorce to work smoothly spouses must have a high level of trust in each other, be convinced that they have worked out major issues, and can easily work out any issues that may arise during the divorce process and beyond.

3. Have you worked out the major issues? Both spouses should agree to major issues in an uncontested divorce, and should be confident that they will be able to solve any major disagreements on these matters should they come up in the future. Major issues include division of community property, child custody, and child support.

4. Understand and divide your property: A divorce attorney will provide a guide on how to divide the marital estate, including assets, debts, and taxes. This may include an inventory appraisement to ensure that both parties have the same understanding of the property acquired during the marriage and the property that should be considered the separate property of each spouse. Even in situations where attorneys advise their clients to sign a waiver of discovery of their spouse’s finances, an inventory appraisement will ensure that both parties are on the same page and that the divorce decree includes all of the marital assets.

5. Discuss and understand issues concerning children: A divorce attorney will help a client understand major issues concerning children including child support, conservatorship, possession, and health insurance. If contemplating an uncontested divorce, spouses must come to an agreement on these and other child-related issues.


6. What is the process involved in a Texas uncontested divorce? The divorce process begins when one party serves the other party with a Petition for Divorce. For an uncontested divorce, the other party will sign a waiver of service. The attorney then prepares the final divorce decree, which will be signed by both parties. After 60 days, the attorney presents the decree in court and it is approved and signed by a judge.

Continue Reading

In our last blog entry, we discussed elements of the uncontested Bexar County divorce decree. A New Braunfels uncontested divorce lawyer must generally wait at least sixty-one (61) days after the filing of the divorce petition before finalizing the divorce decree. There are exceptions where the waiting time may be reduced if there are instances of family violence. Each county specifies policies for setting the final hearing. It should be noted that some counties do not require physical presence of the parties if the parties execute an affidavit proving up the divorce decree.

Your family lawyer will make sure the prove-up reflects the requirements including living in the county for at least 90 days and in Texas for six (6) months, and whether children are involved.

There are specific closing divorce documents including child support withholding orders through the Texas Attorney General , warranty deeds, qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO), specific tax forms as to the tax treatment of child dependents, name changes, and powers of attorney over vehicles.

In our last blog entry , we discussed the basic elements of a San Antonio and greater Bexar County uncontested divorce . Today, we will discuss what obligations an attorney has when preparing an uncontested divorce. The attorney disciplinary rules do not allow an attorney to represent both parties in an uncontested divorce. The attorney must not lead the unrepresented party to believe that they are representing their interests as well or give them any type of legal advice. An unrepresented party should consider obtaining their own attorney in developing decisions over contested issues.

A San Antonio uncontested divorce lawyer will often ask the unrepresented party to sign a statement in which the party indicates its understanding that the attorney does not represent them. Generally during an uncontested divorce, there is very little discovery of items like community property and finances. The parties should be fairly comfortable about the nature of the opposing parties’ assets and how they would treat custody and possession of children. Often attorneys will ask their clients to sign a waiver of their rights to discovery of the opposing party’s finances. It is crucial that all the marital property is identified and disposed of in the divorce decree.


In drafting the uncontested divorce decree, a San Antonio uncontested divorce attorney assembles basic provisions including language on jurisdiction, grounds for the divorce, and children born of the marriage. The attorney will often discuss critical issues with the parties as they relate to children including, conservatorship, possession, child support, and health insurance. Next, the lawyer focuses on the division of the community estate including assets, taxes, and debts. The divorce decree will confirm separate property ie. property belonging to one spouse only, usually property acquired before the marriage. Other divorce issues include name change, permanent injunctions, status of temporary orders, and court costs. In an uncontested divorce, the attorney will make sure the other side agrees and acknowledges the terms of the divorce. Sometimes, the divorce decree will direct the parties to execute certain documents like warranty deeds so that property may be easily transferred.

In our last blog entry, we touched base on some fundamentals of a San Antonio uncontested divorce . Keep in mind that a Bexar County uncontested divorce attorney will generally charge a flat fee with a separate flat fee for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and military retirement DRO.

In initiating a divorce in Bexar County, the attorney will often ask the client to complete an inventory appraisement. Many couples often approach me with the statement, “This is a simple divorce – we have no community property.” That may very well be true, but an inventory appraisement is often needed just to get the parties thinking about what property they have accumulated during the course of the marriage. Sometimes, there are assets (or debts) that the parties have not considered and it is important to have a frank discussion about assets and debt division. Generally, joint bank accounts should be discontinued and divided. Notes on vehicles and other property should be taken out of both names, and joint credit cards should be cancelled or put in only one spouse’ name.

So as not to cause unnecessary issues, the grounds for divorce in a Bexar County uncontested divorce is often irreconcilable differences, the general “no fault” provision. Attorney fees are generally not requested. The petition for divorce is accompanied by a waiver of service. With the signed waiver, there is no need for the other party to file an Answer to the petition – submission of the waiver constitutes an appearance and for all intents and purposes, a default answer. A party can elect not to receive notice of any further proceedings – most people elect to get notice, but if they have a good relationship with the attorney, it is not necessary as I will explain later.

These days, due to financial concerns, many couples and families are pursuing the route of uncontested divorce. Families also want to avoid the long drawn out process that can often accompany divorce and the adversarial nature of the proceedings.

In some cases, an uncontested divorce can be a strong option especially if the parties can agree on major issues like division of community property, child custody, and child support. That being said, it is often ill-advised to try to do an uncontested divorce without a lawyer. A San Antonio uncontested divorce lawyer can assist you with processing the paperwork and obtaining a timely divorce without unnecessary delays and additional fees.


In an uncontested divorce, there is one attorney. The parties have agreed to all if not most of the issues, and the unrepresented party agrees to a waiver of service, which is prepared by the attorney. The waiver of service helps the parties save on processing fees and the other party is given a copy of the divorce petition and given the choice of whether they want notice of any additional hearings. The attorney can also help the parties save on filing fees by petitioning the court for a waiver of fees if the party qualifies based on economic hardship.

In a San Antonio divorce case, many disputes center on whether marital property is separate or community property. Marital property often takes on a strictly community or separate nature, or hybrid of separate and community property. The question as to whether marital property is community, separate, or a hybrid mixture is often answered at the ‘inception of title’ phase. The inception of title is dependent on when the party acquired a right of claim to the property. A party that owned property before the date of marriage would have an inception of title before marriage and would have his or her own separate property.

Property acquired during marriage is classified as community property. There are several exceptions to this general rule such as when the property is bequeathed as a gift or inheritance. Property whose inception of title occurred after the end of marriage is not part of the marital estate. Sometimes property is acquired in another state and would be considered community property. The court also has special rules for property acquired in another state that would be considered separate property.


Any property in the possession of a spouse during the dissolution of the marriage is assumed to be community property unless a spouse can show otherwise through clear and convincing evidence. A judge and jury often make decisions as to how property shall be characterized. There are certain situation where due to commingling , it becomes impossible to determine the nature of the marital property, and in such cases, the property is treated as community property. A sale of separate property does not change its inherent nature. Nor does a natural increase or decrease in value change the nature of the property.

Often clients will come in and ask about the conditions under which Bexar County child support may be terminated. For example, perhaps the child no longer lives with the custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent no longer wishes to make payments to the custodial parent. Well, you can certainly change to whom you make payments, but you cannot change the fact that you must make payments regardless of where the child resides – unless of course it is with you.

The Texas Family Code is very clear on the fact that child support must continue – 1) until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later; 2) until the child is emancipated (usually when they marry or when the court rules they are no longer a minor); 3) until the child dies; or 4) if the child becomes disabled indefinitely. If the county Department of Protective and Regulatory services becomes the managing conservator of the child, then the court can order both parents to make child support payments.


The Texas Family Code also outlines very specific grounds for the modification of child support. One of the grounds is a “material and substantial change” in the circumstances of the child. For example, if the child no longer lives with the mother during the week, and the mother is no longer furnishing the same degree of services to the child as at the time of the divorce, while the level of the father’s services have increased, then such a situation would warrant a modification of child support. The court compares the financial circumstances of the children and the parents at the time of the previously entered order with the current circumstances to determine whether in fact there has been a material and substantial change.

The Texas Family Code recognizes two types of marriages : ceremonial and common law. Although Texas recognizes common law or informal marriage, there is a great deal of confusion about what constitutes a Texas common law marriage . The elements of an informal / common law marriage are that a man and woman (1) agreed to be married, (2) lived together in Texas as husband and wife after the agreement, and (3) in Texas represented to others that they were married. Tex. Fam.Code Ann. Section 2.401. All three elements must be in place at the same time for common law marriage to occur.

According to the courts, the agreement to be married means that the man and woman had an immediate agreement to be married as husband and wife, and they intended to have a permanent marital relationship. Simply becoming engaged does not constitute an agreement to be married.


There are certain examples that would tend to support agreements to be married. For example, a couple may purchase property such as a home and refer to each other in legal documents as “husband” or “wife”. Each party may include the other in their health plan.

The Texas Family Code outlines specific grounds for the modification of child support. Bexar County and greater San Antonio judges have the authority to modify a prior child support order, including amounts set aside for health care coverage under Section 156.401 of the Texas Family Code.

The grounds under which child support may be modified include whether the circumstances of the child have “materially and substantially changed”. To determine material and substantial change, trial judges compare the circumstances of the parents and the children at the time of the initial order with current circumstances. Current and historical evidence of a person’s financial situation is the key to such an analysis. Without the ability to compare 2 distinct sets of financial data, the court will not modify the order. Bexar County courts are given broad discretion in setting child support and revising the payments.

For example, in one case, the children no longer lived with the mother during the week and she was no longer providing the same level of services to the children as she did at the time of the divorce. However, the father was providing a greater level of services to the children now than he did when the divorce occurred. Such a change in circumstances represented a material and substantial change that obviated a modification of child support.

Contact Information