Steven M. Williams attorney at law

 

With 30 years experience, I will work hard to protect your freedom, to protect what you have and to get what you deserve. Your interests are my utmost concern. Anything you tell me will always remain confidential. Whether you have a Personal Injury case, Criminal case or Family Law case, I will “fight for your rights”.

 

 

 

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Steven Williams Address: 802 W. Business Hwy 380 Decatur, Tx 76234 Ph. 940-627-6060

Family Law

The Law Office of Steven M. Williams helps their clients with all types of family law issues. The firm provides representation for:


Divorce - Marriage is a legal relationship between two people. Many legal matters arise when a marriage is to be dissolved and you need help to find your way to an agreeable settlement. As your legal representative, the Law Office of Steven M. Williams has the experience and creativity to understand the difficulties that arise and the flexibility to help you discover new ways to cope during this stressful time.


Alimony/Maintenance - Alimony is an allowance which husband or wife pays to the other spouse for maintenance while they are separated or after they are divorced. As with other aspects of a divorce settlement, calculating amounts and determining if alimony is appropriate can be confusing. Be sure to hire an attorney who has experience in dealing with alimony as part of the dissolution agreement.


Property Division - When a couple has been married for any length of time, it is likely that they have obtained assets together. If the marriage is dissolved, those assets need to be valued and divided in a manner that is fair and considers the needs of both parties. Because The Law Office of Steven M. Williams has extensive experience with divorce, they have also dealt with many levels of property division.


Child Support - It is undisputed that divorce has emotional implications on the family. Financial implications can be almost as daunting. Because each state has a unique formula for determination of Child Support amounts, you need proactive representation to help you reach a fair settlement and an efficient attorney to help you reduce legal costs.


Custody & Visitation - When working toward the right visitation schedule or deciding where the children should live, each party should have an attorney who is knowledgeable of the state standards and sensitive to the concerns of both adults and children.


Paternity - Establishing paternity is financially important and establishes parental rights as well as contributing to a childís sense of identity. The firm has access to the resources to help establish paternity or to set the record straight when paternity has been incorrectly asserted.
Practice (on home page)


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a divorce?
Do I need a “legal separation” from my spouse?
Where can I file for divorce?
How is property divided between spouses in a divorce?
What is the difference between separate and community property?
How is child support calculated?
What is “standard” visitation?
What are temporary orders?
If my spouse and I have agreed to all the relevant terms, what is the general procedure for obtaining and finalizing the divorce?
Do I have to show fault to get a divorce?
At what age can a child choose where to live?

1. How long does it take to get a divorce?

If the spouses have reached an agreement on all of the relevant issues a divorce may be obtained on the 61st day after the divorce petition was filed. If an agreement is not possible and the case must be tried, the length of time is primarily dependent on the Courtís docket. Most divorce cases are set for trial within six to twelve months after the divorce petition is filed, but this can vary from one divorce to the next.


2. Do I need a “legal separation” from my spouse?

While some states recognize a legal status known as “legal separation,” Texas does not. Under the Texas Family Code spouses are married until the Court grants a divorce. Filing for divorce is the closest thing, in Texas, to a “legal separation”.


3. Where can I file for divorce?

You can file for divorce in a county in which either you or your spouse has lived for at least 90 days, as long as that same person has lived in Texas for at least six months.


4. How is property divided between spouses in a divorce?

The Texas Family Code requires that the Court divide the community property of the spouses “in a manner that the Court deems just and right.” This means the Court is not required to divide the property 50-50 and can consider a variety of factors in deciding what is “just and right.” These factors can include fault in the divorce, disparity in earning power, disparity in amount of separate property, etc.


5. What is the difference between separate and community property?

Generally, a spouseís separate property is property that was either:


›› owned by the spouse before marriage
›› acquired by gift or inheritance, or
›› certain kinds of recoveries for personal injuries

Separate property of the parties is not divided by the court. Community property is all property other than separate property. All property owned by either spouse at the time of divorce is presumed to be community property. The party that is asserting the claim of separate property has the burden of proof on that issue.


6. How is child support calculated?

In most cases, child support is calculated using a formula in the Texas Family Code. The payorís monthly “net resources” (a term defined by statute) is multiplied by a percentage which is determined by the number of children at issue (e.g., the percentage is 20% for one child, 25% for 2 children, 30% for 3 children, etc.). The payor is entitled to a reduction if he or she is also responsible for the support of another child from a different relationship.


7. What is “standard” visitation?

Most divorces involving children name one parent as the primary Joint Managing Conservator and grant the other parent (also a Joint Managing Conservator) “Standard Possession Order” visitation. The visitation is spelled out in great detail in the statute (Texas Family Code Section 153.312) and should also be spelled out in detail in the Final Decree of Divorce. A very short hand version of a typical visitation order (assuming both spouses reside within 100 miles of each other) is as follows: the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Friday of every month from Friday (beginning at either school dismissal or 6:00 p.m.) and ending either at 8:00 p.m. that night or when school resumes the following morning), as well as 30 days in the Summer, and additional visitation periods for Spring Break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, depending on whether it is an odd or even numbered year. While Standard Possession Order is the most common visitation schedule, it may be inappropriate depending on the particular case. The visitation schedule can also vary by agreement.


8. What are temporary orders?

Temporary orders are orders issued by a court, after either a hearing or an agreement by the parties, which are designed to last until the divorce is final. Practitioners sometimes refer to them as “band aid” orders. Temporary orders commonly address issues such as temporary restraining orders, child support, custody and visitation of the children, exclusive use of the marital residence, exclusive use of vehicles, alimony, and interim attorneys fees.


9. If my spouse and I have agreed to all the relevant terms, what is the general procedure for obtaining and finalizing the divorce?

It is common for spouses to believe that they have an agreement, but they actually have not addressed all the necessary terms, such as child custody or support, or property division. Assuming all required terms are agreed to in advance of filing, the divorce can be a relatively simple legal procedure. The attorney for the Petitioner (the filing spouse) files the divorce petition and either has the petition served on the other spouse or the other spouse executes a Waiver of Service. The Petitionerís attorney then drafts an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce and any other necessary documents which are reviewed and signed by the other spouse. The other spouse is free to hire or consult with an attorney of his or her own. After the necessary papers are signed by the parties and attorneys, the Petitioner and his attorney then go to court for a hearing to have the Court enter the Decree and other documents.


10. Do I have to show fault to get a divorce?

Texas is a no-fault divorce state which means that it is unnecessary to show that either party was at fault in order to obtain a divorce. It is only necessary to show that there is marital discord and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. However, many fault issues (adultery, cruelty, etc.) are frequently relevant factors in divorce cases because they can have an impact on how the community property is divided, or how custody is decided. One spouse cannot stop the other spouse from obtaining a divorce.


11. At what age can a child choose where to live?

Once a child turns 12 years of age, either parent may ask the Judge to have a conference in his office to determine where the child wants to live and why. The Court will generally give great consideration to the childís desires. However, the ultimate determining factor in custody matters is the “best interests of the child.”



 

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