Answers to Frequently Asked Questions - American Block Co Inc in DFW Airport, TX
Do I need an attorney to file for divorce?
It depends. If there are no issues involving children or property (including debts), you may be able to complete your divorce without an attorney. However, if there are issues which you believe might be contested, you may need to retain an attorney. Even if you decide to proceed with the filing and drafting of your paperwork without an attorney, it is always a good idea to hire an attorney to review the documents to be sure your rights are protected.
Can my spouse and I agree to the terms of our divorce without filing with the Court?
No. Although you can agree on the manner in which you will divide property or debts, and you may even agree upon a parenting schedule for your children, it is important to remember that any agreements must be put in writing and filed with the Court. Once the Court approves your agreement, it becomes an order and is enforceable. Until it is approved and ordered by the court, your agreement with your spouse is not enforceable.
How is child support calculated?
In most cases, child support is calculated pursuant to the child support statute in the state having jurisdiction over your case, based on the applicable child support guidelines. A child support worksheet will be used to compute the amount of support using the incomes of both parents, less certain deductions. A percentage is applied based on the number of children. However, in certain circumstances, you may be entitled to request a deviation from the child support guidelines depending on the facts of your case.
Are there different types of custody?
Yes. In fact, most states no longer use the terms "custody" and "visitation." In New Hampshire, the court will make a determination concerning Decision-Making Responsibility (previously referred to as "legal custody") and Residential Responsibility (previously referred to as "physical custody"). In Maine, the Court will determine how to allocate Parental Rights and Responsibilities and will determine the residence and contact schedule for the children.
If I am the father, can I petition for custody?
Yes. The courts no longer presume that primary "custody" of the children should be awarded to the mother. When making an award of either Decision-Making Responsibility or Residential Responsibility, the court is required to consider the best interest of the children. The Court will consider the facts in your case to evaluate whether one parent should be awarded primary residence of the children or whether it is in the best interest of the children for the parents to be awarded shared residential responsibility of the children.
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem (commonly referred to as a G.A.L.) is oftentimes appointed by the Court to conduct an investigation and make recommendations to the Court concerning parental rights and responsibilities of the parents. A G.A.L. is not appointed in every case, however, if you are unable to agree on a the Parental Rights and Responsibilities for each parent, the Court will likely appoint a G.A.L., whose role it is to make a recommendation to the Court detailing what they believe to be in the best interest of the children. The G.A.L. conducts his or her investigation by consulting with a variety of individuals who may have information about the parents and children, including teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, etc. They will generally provide a written questionnaire to each parent to complete prior to beginning their investigation. They will also ask for references from each parent and may interview all or some of the references (either by phone or in person) to gather information about your family. The G.A.L. will also meet with each parent face-to-face and may ask to meet with the children, privately, outside the presence of either parent. Not every G.A.L. conducts their investigation in the same way; the manner and timing of the investigation will depend on the scope of the issues involved in your case.
How long will my case take?
The length of time that a case will take depends on the facts of your case and the issues in dispute. During our initial consultation, we will discuss the particulars of your case, provide an overview of the process and attempt to give you an estimate of the time that may be required to achieve your goals and objectives.
How much will my case cost?
The cost of a case (unless arrangements are made for a flat fee) are nearly impossible for any attorney to predict. We understand that finances are an important concern for any individual and we strive to resolve cases as amicably and cost-effectively as possible. Naturally, if a case can be resolved by agreement, both parties spend less of their money on attorneys and have more funds for themselves and their children. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation. At your initial consultation, after discussing the issues of your case, you will be quoted a retainer. The amount of the retainer varies depending on the complexities of your case.
Call today to schedule a free, initial 30-minute consultation to discuss your case.