Attorney for Men
Divorce Attorney for Men
Although divorce does not carry the same social stigma that it once did, the experience can still be stressful for the people involved. Men often face feelings of failure and uncertainty about their futures after a marriage ends. And for men with children, these concerns are often compounded by fears of losing their entire family.
A skilled San Antonio divorce attorney for men can help guide you through this difficult period. Attorney David J. Rodriguez tirelessly advocates for a husband’s rights in divorce. He has worked on divorce cases in Texas for 30 years and has always supported men. Let his understanding and empathy advise you as you seek to end a marriage most amicably and responsibly possible.
Understanding the Special Challenges Men Face in Texas Divorce Cases
The marriage breaks up for many reasons. Neither party is truly at fault. A couple can grow apart over time. Ideally, spouses can reach an amicable settlement and file for an uncontested divorce.
Unfortunately, many divorce cases are not so straightforward. If your wife has suddenly served you with divorce papers, or you are considering leaving your spouse, you may need help determining where to begin the process. And you may also fear the family, financial, and emotional consequences of a long, drawn-out divorce proceeding.
Here are some of the more common issues we seek when it comes to divorces for men:
A father’s top question regarding divorce is generally, “Will I lose custody of my kids?” On paper, Texas law does not favor a mother over a father regarding custody. Indeed, custody decisions must be based on what is in the child’s best interests without regard to the sex of the parents. But many judges tend to conclude that it is in a child’s best interest to primarily live with the mother, especially if the children are young and she has been serving as the primary caregiver.
That said, the law presumes that parents should be named “joint managing conservators” of their minor children. In essence, this means that under normal circumstances, both parents are expected to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing together, even if that child spends most of their time living with one parent over the other. Even in cases where the court decides that one parent should be the sole managing conservator, the other parent has the right to regular visitation or “possessory conservatorship.”
If you believe your child’s mother is unfit, you have every right to pursue a sole managing conservatorship. And if you have been falsely accused of being an incompetent or absent father, you have every right to defend yourself in court. Judges typically will not cut off a father’s access to their children absent extreme circumstances. So you should never feel intimidated by asserting your rights as a father.
Spousal Maintenance and Child Support
Another common question we ask men is, “Will I have to pay my ex-wife alimony?” First, Texas now uses the term “spousal maintenance” instead of alimony. And second, state law imposes several restrictions on when alimony can be awarded and for how long.
Absent an agreement between the parties on this subject, a Texas court can only award spousal maintenance after determining that one spouse cannot meet their basic needs following the divorce. This often comes up in cases where a husband is the primary earner, and the wife either stays at home full-time or only works part-time. Even then, an award of spousal maintenance is optional. The court will examine the wife’s education, employment history, and job prospects before declaring the husband must pay maintenance.
Texas also caps the length and amount of spousal maintenance. A judge can only order you to pay up to 20 percent of your average income–but no more than $5,000 per month–in spousal maintenance. The maximum length of such an award is based on how long your marriage lasted. A court will not make any award of spousal maintenance for a marriage that lasted less than ten years absent special circumstances, such as the spouse’s disability or proof of domestic violence. And even for long-duration marriages lasting more than 30 years, the maximum time for an alimony award is ten years.
It is also important to note that an alimony award may terminate prematurely if your ex remarries or starts living with someone else in a romantic relationship. And spousal maintenance is also a separate matter from child support. If the children live most of the time with their mother following the divorce, you must pay child support. Texas has a separate set of guidelines that judges must consult when fixing an award of child support. These guidelines consider a parent’s net financial resources and the number of children requiring support.
If you’re the breadwinner, what happens to your finances and property following divorce? Texas is a “community property” state. Any income or property you received during the marriage is considered your and your spouse’s property. However, any property you received individually is still considered your own.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to split your community property, a judge will order a “just and right division” based on the facts of your case. Just and right does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split in this context. And keep in mind the judge will divide not just your property but also your debts. You are generally responsible for any debts incurred by your spouse during the marriage unless you prove they committed fraud or acted without your consent.
Domestic Violence Allegations
It is not uncommon for wives to accuse their husbands of domestic violence–or “family violence” as it is known in Texas law–amid a contested divorce. A family violence allegation can carry significant consequences for the accused husband. A judge can take evidence of family violence into account when deciding issues such as child custody and spousal maintenance. And even if the allegations prove untrue, they can still cause substantial harm to the husband’s reputation and standing in the community.
Why You Need to Work with a San Antonio Divorce Lawyer for Men
Not all divorces end up with the parties battling in court. Most divorces are resolved amicably outside of the courtroom through processes such as mediation. But if you are a man facing divorce or planning to file for divorce, it is still important to work with an attorney who can best represent your interests and answer your questions about what to expect moving forward.
A skilled San Antonio divorce lawyer for men can provide compassionate representation that considers your family’s needs during a challenging time in your life. Contact the Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC, today at (210) 716-0726 to schedule an initial consultation.