Katie L. Lewis, P.C. Family Law
Speak with a Family Law Attorney

Expert Strategy For Your Family |Texas Board of Legal Specialization Family Law Attorney

Practice Areas

Dallas Family Law Blog

The child's best interests in child custody decisions

The "best interests of the child" is a child custody standard that is essential for parents to be familiar with and to understand because it is used to guide child custody decisions. Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child standard. Whether parents are developing their own child custody arrangement or need the family law court to help them develop their child custody arrangement, it is important to keep what is in the best interests of the child in mind. The "best interests of the child" means that the family law court will seek a child custody arrangement that promotes the child's happiness, mental health, emotional development and security.

What is in the best interests is evaluated by considering a variety of factors. Factors that may be considered to determine what is in the best interests of the child include: the age and sex of the child; the preference of the child, when appropriate; any special needs of the child and the ability of the parents to meet those needs; the physical and mental health of the parents; the need for a continued and stable home environment; the child's relationships with other members of the household; the opportunity for the child to interact with extended family members; any other child custody arrangement that would have an impact on the child; religious and cultural considerations; adjustments to school and community; and any history of abuse.

The benefits of prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are commonly associated with only the wealthy, but our readers should know that these agreements can provide benefits to almost any couple entering a marriage. There are many benefits of prenuptial agreements for couples to be familiar with, which is why couples should be aware of this important legal resource and how it can help them.

Prenuptial agreements can protect the assets of the parties entering the marriage and protect each of the parties from the debts of the other, but can also address other concerns that may be on the minds of a couple who are about to get married. A prenuptial agreement can also help clarify rights and responsibilities during the marriage and how property should be passed upon death. In addition, a prenuptial agreement can help avoid long and costly disputes if the couple later decides to divorce.

Help with spousal support during a divorce

Spousal support is a big concern during most divorces. Because of this, it is helpful for divorcing couples to know how and when spousal support may be granted during their divorce.

Spousal support is a payment paid by one former spouse to the other former spouse. In certain circumstances, spousal support may be awarded by the family law court during divorces. Spousal support can be awarded in different ways during a divorce. It may be awarded on a temporary basis during the divorce, but may also be awarded as part of the final divorce settlement.

Lack of emotional fulfillment can lead to divorce

It may go without saying that the divorce process itself can be emotional for couples in Dallas. However, the events leading up to the decision to divorce may be emotional as well. A recent study found that in both low-conflict and high-conflict divorces, a lack of emotional fulfillment was ultimately what led one partner to decide to end the marriage.

In the study, 47% of respondents reported that the lack of love or intimacy was what led to the decision to separate and ultimately divorce. Simply put, sometimes people just "fall out of love." In addition, 44% of respondents stated that communication issues were one of the main reasons they decided to divorce. This has long been known as a cause of divorce. When spouses do not talk to one another, it ultimately damages their relationship as time goes on.

What factors determine the amount of child support?

When parents go through a divorce, they are naturally concerned about how this process will affect their children. If your marriage is over and you will be starting the divorce process soon, you probably want to know how you can protect the best interests of your children and what your custody and visitation order will be like. You may also have concerns about child support and your financial obligations.

Divorce has serious financial implications for both parents. Whether you have to pay child support or you will receive it, it can be helpful to understand what factors play a role in how the court determines the specific amount that is necessary each month. When you know what to expect, you will be able to avoid conflicts and disputes over the support amount. 

Staying financially solvent during a divorce

The decision to end your marriage is often one of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make. For some people in Texas, once they have decided to divorce, they may feel a sense of relief and a desire to move forward with their lives. However, there are financial costs associated with a divorce beyond attorney and court fees that people should be aware of, so they can plan accordingly.

First, many people going through a divorce will be moving from a two-income household to a single-income household once the divorce is complete. It is important to develop a budget based on your single income. The budget should not only include living expenses, but also the cost of a new car if you need one and insurance costs, such as auto insurance or homeowner's insurance, for example. Also, when it comes to the family home, a person should determine if they can afford homeownership on a single income before deciding whether to keep a home during the property division process.

How can prenups address a business?

Many entrepreneurs in Dallas, before finding love, grow a successful and profitable business. So, when these individuals do decide to get married, one step they may want to take is to execute a prenuptial agreement, known as a premarital agreement in Texas, to protect the business they spent so many months or years cultivating.

In a premarital agreement, couples can decide whether they want the business to remain a separate asset, or whether it should become marital property. This is significant, because if a couple divorces, their marital assets will be split between them during the property division process. If a couple decides to execute a prenup that will include a business, there are certain steps they may want to take.

Co-parenting and communicating during the school year

August is here, and children in Dallas are preparing to go back to school. For children whose parents are divorced, this time of year can be more complicated than for those whose parents are not divorced. Beyond deciding who will pay for a new backpack, shoes and other school supplies, decisions need to be made about who will be the primary contact person for the school to call should a problem arise. And, some fathers report that even if they co-parent with their ex, they are being left out of the loop when it comes to their child's education.

According to one researcher, divorced fathers, specifically those who live with their child less than 50% of the time, have a difficult time being involved in their child's education. Teachers and administrators often turn first to the child's mother, sometimes leaving the father entirely in the dark.

If asked to mediate my divorce, must I say 'yes'?

When a couple's relationship has become so unraveled that they are seeking a divorce, there may be a certain amount of ill-will between them. Still, one or both parties may want to at least try to reach an out-of-court settlement and may ask their estranged spouse to join them in mediating the divorce. In addition, sometimes mediation is ordered by the court in a divorce case. In these situations, is a person in Texas obligated to attend divorce mediation sessions?

Mediation is a way of negotiating a divorce settlement. The mediator is a neutral third party who oversees conversations between the spouses, facilitating discussions that could lead to an agreement on the issues. Some couples who are on amicable terms may choose mediation, but, if there is a lot of ill-will between the parties, can one spouse refuse to participate?

When the child custody mediation process breaks down

Divorce is a difficult process, and like many others, you may hope that there is a way you can ease the stress and complication that often comes with it. Like many other Texas couples, you and your spouse may choose to try mediation for your divorce. However, every situation is different, and this may not be what actually works for you.

Mediation is a process that allows two parties to work through disagreements and issues in a respectful and productive manner. With the help of a neutral third-party mediator, you and your spouse will use discussion, negotiation and other means of dispute resolution to resolve divorce disagreements and reach a beneficial resolution. In some cases, mediation works and is a smart choice – but what if that is not the case for you?