If you are current engaged in divorce, are thinking about a divorce, or are post divorce, you may have thought about moving your children to another city, state or even country.
Although the idea of a fresh start in a new place may sound appealing, it may not be as easy as you think especially if
children are involved. Before you rush into any decision, here are three tips to consider before you start packing:
1. Is this move really in the children's best interest?
When you relocating your children, you are moving them away from the other parent. That may sound like a good idea, but for your children this may be a devastating move. As Texas courts do, you must also think about what is in the best interest of the children before you make any moves. If your ex-spouse has possession time with the children, chances are that your decree has a geographic restriction on the residency of the child. it will not be easy to convince the courts to lift those restrictions and allow you to move away unless you have a very compelling reason. Remember also that you will be moving your children from both family and friends and they will have much more limited access to that support system. If you have to litigate this matter, it may be a long time before you get a ruling from the Court, so timing of your move is also a critical consideration. If your children are old enough, you should open a dialogue with them very early on so you can access their wishes on whether they want to move at all.
2. Have I Developed a plan?
Have you thought everything through? What school will your children attend? Is that school as good or better than the one they are leaving? Who is going to take care of the children when you cant? Do you have family or friends nearby? Many parents consider relocating for work. Is your job definite or a "maybe"? Is the new job really a better opportunity? The court will be asking these and many more hard question. You better have a good answer and a solid plan.
3. Have I talked with the other parent?
Communicate with the other parent about your proposed move. Who knows? You may be shocked to find they are willing to cooperate with the move. That's the best scenario and would save you considerable litigation costs. By communicating you can together develop an appropriate parenting plan and visitation schedule. Communication can also promote creative solutions such as virtual visitation through Skype or Face-time. Open communication and assurance that you are not trying to cut the other parent out of the children's life will make deciding details such as travel expenses for visitation and other issues much easier and without expensive litigation.
There are just a few of the important considerations you have to take into account if you are thinking of relocating your children. You should talk with an experienced family lawyer about all the factors that the court will take into account.
Ultimately, relocation with children should not be an impulsive decision, but rather one that is well thought out and planned appropriately.
Generally Texas frowns on the permanent payment of alimony to an ex -spouse after the divorce. There are two forms of "alimony" in Texas. One is temporary spousal support and the other is contractual alimony. For contractual alimony, the parties have to contract and agree to the payment of alimony after the divorce. This is usually only done when a spouse is a high wage earner and there are tax benefits to him or her in paying alimony.
The other type of alimony is more common, but still only applies in some narrow set of circumstances and usually only for a limited amount of time. It is designed to help an ex-spouse from a long term marriage temporary support while they gain skills or education so they can be self sufficient after the divorce.
Eligibility is narrow and only applies if:
1. The spouse from whom payment is sought was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence under Family Code Title 4 and the offense occurred within two years of the date the suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed OR the offense occurred during the pendency of the suit;
2. The duration of the marriage was 10 years or longer, AND
a. the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including property distributed under the family code, to provide the minimum reasonable needs, (limited by the Family Code at 8.054), AND
b. Is unable to be self supporting because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability, OR is the custodian of a child who has a physical or mental disability that requires the spouse not be employed outside the home, OR the spouse lacks the earning ability in the labor market to provide the minimum reasonable needs for that spouse. Payments shall be for the shortest reasonable time that allows the spouse to obtain a job or skill level so as to reach that spouse's minimum reasonable needs (8.054).
Many people who are interested in seeing a divorce attorney have never been to an attorney before and aren't sure what to expect. So here are three important points about your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.
1. This is a relationship test.
The purpose of the first interview in a divorce case is to determine whether the attorney and the client can work together. The relationship between an attorney and his client can be a very sensitive one due to the nature of the personal information that has to be shared. If an attorney and client wish to work effectively together, there must be a good natural feel to the communication flow. You may be required to reveal some very embarrassing information to this person. You should be sure this is a person you feel comfortable with. You have to go with your gut on this one. It is also the attorney's interview as well. If the attorney thinks that your values conflict with his, he will decline to represent you. I have turned down potential clients when I felt the their motives were destructive to themselves or their children. I think most ethical attorneys would do the same.
2. This may not be the right time.
Many times clients come in for an interview just to get general information. It is not unusual for a client who has come into my office for information and I will not see them again for a long time- sometimes years. Maybe they just want information to help them make a decision about their marriage. Maybe they just want to be able to tell their spouse that they have been to a lawyer in order to get their spouse's attention. On occasion I am hired to file a suit, but then the client doesn't really want to follow through to the final decree. I try to spot these clients ahead of time and advise them to seek counseling as a first measure.
3. If you are ready- so should be your attorney.
There are some clients who come to my office who are ready to file and follow through right away. This may be because they are being forced to respond to a divorce suit filed first by their spouse, or because they have come to realize that the pain of remaining in the relationship is worse than the pain of divorce. Either way, they attorney should be ready to draft responsive pleadings right away and handle any deadlines that exist. If this is your case, you should bring any paperwork you have received from the court or a process server and be prepared for your lawyer to begin the longer process of gathering information and determining your goals and the best way to handle the case.
The initial attorney interview may be a new experience for some people, but it should not be viewed as an intimidating thing. It is usually the first small step to a better life.
If you have any other questions about your divorce or family law case, you can visit our website at www.mydivorcefirm.com
Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.
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