Although divorce is not uncommon today, ending a marriage can still be a devastating experience with long-lasting consequences for the spouses and the whole family. For over 15 years, the experienced divorce attorneys at Navarrete and Schwartz, P.C. have provided comprehensive legal services to help our clients navigate the complexities of divorce in West Texas.  

We recognize that the decision to file for divorce is often an emotional one that weighs heavily on a couple or comes from a place of deeply rooted frustration. We offer each client compassion and knowledge and strive to relieve the anxiety that is typically associated with a divorce. We will work closely with you throughout the process to inform you of your rights and help you resolve key issues such as the division of property, spousal maintenance, child custody, and support.

Division of Property

In a divorce, the couple must decide how to divide the marital property according to state law. In Texas all property that either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered to be community property, including:

  • The family home
  • Stocks
  • Debt
  • Business interests
  • Retirement accounts
  • Other real estate

The state law requires community property to be divided in a way that is “equitable” based on a number of factors. Any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is considered separate property. The divorce attorneys at Navarrete and Schwartz are well-versed in the laws regarding the division of marital property and will fight to protect your interests.

Spousal Maintenance

In Texas, many individuals believe there is no alimony, while others think they are automatically entitled to spousal support or an allowance. The law under the Texas Family Code is very restrictive in this regard. While the parties may agree on an award of spousal maintenance, the court may only order spousal maintenance under the following circumstances:

  • The paying spouse was convicted of family violence within two years before the divorce petition was filed
  • The duration of the marriage was at least ten years

In addition, the spouse who is seeking maintenance must demonstrate that he or she lacks sufficient resources to provide for his or her minimal reasonable needs or that employment is difficult to maintain due to a disability. Also, the court may award spousal maintenance if a child with a disability prevents the spouse from working outside of the home.

The factors the court considers in determining eligibility include:

  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking support
  • The spouse’s education and employment skills
  • The necessary time for education or job training
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, employment history, and earning potential of the spouse
  • The efforts of the spouse to find suitable employment

Lastly, if the court awards spousal maintenance there are time limits in place based on the duration of the marriage. The amount of the award is also limited to the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.

Child Custody and Child Support

Texas courts generally prefer to grant either joint legal custody or shared custody to ensure the child maintains a meaningful relationship with each parent. In joint legal custody, the child resides primarily with one parent, the other parent has visitation rights, and both share decisions in how the child is raised. In the alternative, parents share legal custody in which the child lives with each parent for a certain amount of time during the year. While financial support of children is the responsibility of both parents, child support is determined based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income.

A Midland & Odessa Divorce Lawyer can Help you

At Navarrete and Schwartz, we are committed to protecting your interests and the well-being of your children. While we often encourage clients to resolve their divorce through mediation, we are equally prepared to litigate these matters in court. When you are facing the difficult decision of filing for a divorce, you need an experienced attorney by your side. Call our office today at (432) 279-1479 for a consultation.

Located in Midland, Texas the law firm of Navarrete and Schwartz, P.C. serves clients in Odessa (Ector County), Andrews, Martin, Howard, Winkler, and Crane Counties.