Archive for December, 2012

Balancing Amicable Negotiations & Litigation in Texas Child Custody Cases

Monday, December 24th, 2012

If you and your spouse are one of the 80,000 couples annually that navigate the divorce process, you may be apprehensive and stressed about an uncertain future.  While the divorce process can be emotionally trying, less conflict usually is better for both spouses and their children where possible.  An experienced Texas divorce attorney can assist you in establishing mutually beneficial resolutions to key issues like spousal support, division of community assets and debts, child custody, visitation and other applicable issues.

When Longview family law attorney Alex Tyra represents clients, he provides legal advice so that his can clients can make informed decisions about when to take an aggressive position to obtain their desired outcome.  Because of Mr. Tyra’s extensive experience handle divorce cases before Texas judges, he can suggest a range of potential outcomes and insight into how a judge will typically rule on a particular issue.  This permits clients to make informed decisions and avoid animosity on issues where there is little if anything to be gained by bitter contentious litigation.

If your divorce will involve developing custody and visitation arrangements for minor children, the value of dealing reasonably with the other parent cannot be overstated.  One important factor that Texas divorce judges look to when developing custody and visitation arrangements is a parent’s ability and willingness to encourage a continuous and ongoing relationship with the other parent.  When family law judges are presented with evidence that a parent is attempting to alienate the child from the other parent, the court will often give such conduct significant weight when developing custody and visitation orders.  The court will apply the “best interest” of the child standard and will generally presume that frequent and continuing contact with both parents is in the best interested of minor children.

While taking the “high road” and seeking an amicable arrangement on custody and visitations orders with the other parent is always preferable because it is easier on minor children, some issues generally promote more contentious disputes.  If either parent has a history of domestic violence, child neglect or abuse, substance abuse or similar types of issues, the safety and well-being of the children may necessitate limited access by one parent or even supervised visitation.  The parent against who such allegations are made often will aggressively contest such restrictive arrangements.  If you are involved in a divorce with these sorts of child custody issues, it is important to have an experienced Texas child custody lawyer because the case may proceed to trial.

Whether you are involved in a divorce with contentious child custody issues or you are seeking to reach an amicable child custody and visitation settlement, Texas family law attorney Alex Tyra offers a free consultation so that he can help you understand your rights and options.  We invite you to contact us in our Longview, Texas office at 903-753-7499 or visit our website and submit a case contact form.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Right for You?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Although an increasing number of couples are entering into prenuptial agreements prior to marriage, there is still a feeling among many that prenuptial agreements undermine the full commitment or trust that is fundamental to a marital relationship.  When considering a marital partnership, it can be helpful to draw an analogy to business partners – marriage is a particularly expansive form of business partnership involving both the personal and professional aspects of a couple’s lives.

Few business partners would consider entering into a partnership without an agreement that delineates matters like the initial contributions of each party, sharing of profits, responsibility for liabilities, management duties, process for voting or separation and so forth.  When considered in this light, the notion of entering into a far more extensive partnership like marriage without establishing the expectations of each party if the partnership should dissolve seems almost reckless.  A prenuptial agreement is not a hedge against commitment to one’s marriage, but insurance that provides security and predictability if disaster strikes.  It would be silly not to buy insurance because of a fear that acknowledging the risk might make it more probably that something catastrophic might occur.

These types of marital contracts can be a way to provide both parties with peace of mind, fairness and predictability when the relationship is strong and secure as opposed to trying to resolve issues through contested litigation if a marriage does deteriorate.  When divorce proceedings become highly contested because the parties cannot agree on key financial issues like alimony (spousal support, spousal maintenance), property division, responsibility for debts, business ownership and other important matters involving your finances and property, the conflict can drive up attorney fees and litigation expenses.  When this occurs, there is less of the marital estate left for the parties to split and use when rebuilding following a divorce.

While the value of a prenuptial agreement in Texas may derive merely from the predictability it provides, some situations make it extremely prudent to consider such a pre-marital agreement, including the following:

  • Either spouse expects to receive a substantial inheritance
  • One spouse will earn a significantly higher income or be the sole income earner
  • Either party enters the marriage with substantial assets and/or has a high net worth
  • A marital partner has an established business
  • One or both partners have prior marriages with children
  • A spouse owns property especially income producing property
  • Either partner has a relatively high debt to income ratio compared to the other spouse
  • Husband or wife has a high risk occupation

While not every Texas marital partnership justifies a prenuptial agreement, it is important to seek legal advice regarding the merits of a “prenup” depending on your specific situation.  Texas family law attorney Alex Tyra offers a free consultation during which he can advise you about whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you.  Mr. Tyra also handles challenges to prenuptial agreements.  We invite you to contact us in our Longview office at 903-753-7499 or visit our website and submit a case contact form.