As Southlake family law attorneys, we handle divorces, child custody, child support, non-parent rights, prenuptial agreements/postnuptial agreements, property division, enforcements, appeals, and paternity suits. Mims Ballew Hollingsworth also offers litigation alternatives.
Mims Ballew Hollingsworth handles all types of divorce cases, from high net-worth divorces to common law divorces to uncontested divorces. Texas is a community property state, meaning marital assets are divided equally in the event of divorce. To file for divorce in Texas, you do not need to have been married here (just reside here for six continuous months prior to filing). Texas divorces take at least 60 days to become finalized. It is not necessary for either spouse to be “at fault.” You are also entitled to alimony if you can not support yourself and are disabled, married longer than ten years, or the victim of your spouse’s violence.
Nine out of ten divorcing couples who are both represented by lawyers will mutually agree to a custody arrangement without needing a judge to decide for them. Only six out of ten couples agree to custody terms when even just one of them does not lawyer up. Additionally, eight out of ten couples who each have attorneys will eventually agree to joint custody.
If a judge does have to step in and determine custody, what is in the best interest of the child is the deciding factor. A judge may consider: the bond between the parent and the child, sibling relationships, ability to provide a safe and stable environment, the parent’s health, any special needs of the children, a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and so on.
In Texas, child support is calculated based on a percent of the paying parent’s overall earnings. For example, if there is one child from the marriage, the paying parent would provide 20% of their income in child support. If there are two children, the paying parent would provide 25% of their income. If there are three children, 30% of the obligor’s income is paid. If there are four children, 35% is paid. If there are five children, 40% is paid. In the Lonestar state, even if there are six or more children, the paying parent will never be required to pay more than 40% of their income in child support—that is the state’s maximum.
Where a biological parent in Texas does not have to meet any standards to have access to their own child, people like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and adult siblings must show the court that denying child access to the relative in question is not in the child’s best interest. On the other hand, sometimes relatives may wish to adopt a child if the biological parent gives up their parental rights or is found to be unfit. Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can help you regardless of which end of the spectrum you may fall on.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are signed by a couple before or during marriage and stipulate how their property is to be divided in the event of a divorce. To be valid and enforceable, these agreements must be fair, meaning neither party should agree to waive the right to something they are legally entitled to, such as alimony. Marital agreements should not violate any laws and not be entered into under duress or undue pressure. Financial disclosures are also often required.
Not every law firm that handles family law, or even just divorces, is necessarily well-versed in property division. If you are involved in a high net worth divorce, in particular, having a bonafide property division lawyer in your corner is highly recommended. High net worth divorces are more complex and tend to take much longer to finalize. The increased number of assets is not the only culprit – there are often more complex spending habits involved by either party. Additionally, a family law attorney who focuses on property division will have all the right expert contacts when appraisers, business evaluators, and tax professionals are needed.
In Texas, a baby’s father does not automatically have legal rights to his baby if he is not married to the mother. In cases such as these, paternity must be “established” in one of two ways: with a DNA paternity test or by completing an “Acknowledgement of Paternity” form. Whether you need help as a father being added to a birth certificate, re-claiming paternity of a child that has a different documented father, or settling custody and support issues, we can help.
This refers to enforcing court orders. If your ex-spouse is not paying all of the child support due, Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can help you get your child support court order enforced. Likewise, if you aren’t receiving the full amount of alimony you are due, we can help. If your co-parent is not dropping the children off at the right times or following the terms of your parenting plan, we can help you get your child custody court order enforced.
If you feel your family law matter was not handled properly by a judge, that correct protocols were not followed, or that the evidence for your case was inaccurate or otherwise lacking, it is possible to appeal the decision. It’s critical that you hire the very best Southlake attorney you can for a family law appeal because you often only have one shot with a new judge to argue your case.
Many divorcing couples prefer to keep their marriages and families out of court and come to settlements on their own without a judge. What is a “litigation” alternative? Litigation alternatives, also known as Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), include mediation and binding arbitration. Mediation involves a professionally-trained objective third party helping you and your spouse reach a mutual agreement. Sometimes, lawyers attend mediation hearings with their clients, and sometimes lawyers simply prepare their clients in advance for mediation and the client attends the session solo.
Binding arbitration is more formal and reminiscent of a courtroom-type proceeding. In arbitration, the objective third party “mediator” leading the session will make a decision that is binding at the end (The goal is not for the two parties to reach an agreement but rather for the arbiter to resolve the dispute for the involved parties). Even though you might not be going to court, which we fully support, having a lawyer to help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, help you strategize, and help you with paperwork is still recommended.
If you are dealing with any of these legal issues, Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can help! We have 75 years of combined family law experience, and two of our Southlake, TX, attorneys are board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We know how stressful family law matters can be, and we fight for the best outcome in every case.
We put you and your family first! Whether you are facing divorce, seeking adoption, or have a child custody case, you can rely on our legal team. Contact us today for a free case review or legal consultation.