Offices in Richardson and McKinney, Serving the Surrounding Counties
Lisa B. Canterberry, Attorney at Law provides personalized and aggressive family law services for clients throughout Dallas, Collin, and Denton counties. The firm was founded in 1992, so you can rest assured that Attorney Canterberry has years of experience helping parents and spouses in a variety of situations. From divorce to custody to modifications, she can help you navigate the family legal process.
Filing for Divorce
To file for a divorce in Texas, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for a continuous 6 months. One of the spouses must also have been a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days. Note that Texas is a "no-fault" divorce state, so a spouse can merely allege “insupportability,” which cites conflict of personalities with no potential for reconciliation. If one spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage, though, the court may take that into consideration in determining property division.
Typically, a Texas divorce may entail the following steps:
- One spouse (the petitioner) files an Original Petition for Divorce with the court and serves these papers to the spouse (the respondent).
- If the spouses think they haven't gotten all the information they need from each other, they may pursue discovery, the process by which they exchange information and documents.
- The spouses will discuss settlement of the case, either directly or with the help of attorneys or mediators, after which they will prepare an Agreed Decree of Divorce for the judge’s approval.
- If the spouses are not able to agree on all the issues in the case in mediation, they will go to trial.
- At the conclusion of the trial, one of the attorneys will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce to present to the judge for signature.
A divorce typically takes around 6 months to 1 year or more to finalize, depending on the complexity of the issues and the degree of conflict.
Child Custody Arrangements
One important topic of discussion in a divorce is child custody. Texas refers to custody as “conservatorship,” and “managing conservatorship” refers to the decision-making power for the child’s medical, educational, and cultural needs, while “possessory conservatorship” addresses where the child will reside. When it comes to conservatorship, Texas law aims to:
- assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;
- provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and
- encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
Under Texas law, there’s a presumption that the parents should have joint managing conservatorship, unless a parent has untreated alcohol or drug abuse or a history of domestic violence or child abuse.
Note that “the best interest of the child” guides the court’s determination on conservatorship and addresses:
- the child’s desires;
- the child’s immediate and future physical and emotional needs;
- any immediate and future physical and emotional danger to the child;
- the parental abilities of each parent;
- the programs available to assist parents who want to promote the best interests of their child;
- the plans each parent has for the child;
- the stability of the home or proposed home;
- any actions or failures to act that may indicate that the parents don’t have a proper parent-child relationship; and
- any excuse the parents may have for those actions and failures to act.
If you are currently facing a family-related legal issue in Texas, do not hesitate to contact an attorney immediately for legal support. Attorney Lisa Baker Canterberry has years of experience working with families throughout Collin, Dallas and Denton Counties and she can provide you the advocacy you need to navigate your family negotiations.