The Law Offices of Dayne Marguglio Attorney at Law

Family Law Overview

Welcome to the Law Office of Dayne Marguglio.  Dayne Marguglio has been exclusively practicing family law in Dallas and surrounding counties since 1984.  He has assisted thousands of individuals with their family law needs.  Dayne Marguglio devotes 100% of his practice to FAMILY LAW.  If you have a need for a family law lawyer, call our office to set up an appointment to meet with Dayne Marguglio.  The most common areas of family law which our office routinely handles include:   divorce, paternity, child custody and visitation, child support, complex property division, enforcement of child support, modification of child support, spousall support, pre- and post- nuptial agreements; and much more.

 

Divorce

A divorce-referred to in some states as a dissolution of marriage-is a decree by a court that a valid marriage no longer exists. A divorce leaves both parties free to remarry. A judgment of divorce (the formal paper issued by the court) usually provides for division of the parties' property and debts and makes arrangements for child custody, access and possession by the non-custodial parent, and child support (including provisions for health care and how uninsured health care expenses for the child shall be allocated between the parties).

Although divorces may be emotionally contentious, most divorces do not end up in a contested trial. Usually the parties negotiate and settle such things as division of property, spousal support, and child custody and support between themselves, often with an attorney's help. Sometimes parties reach an agreement through mediation, with a trained mediator who tries to help the parties identify and accommodate common interests and tries to resolve all contested issues without the necessity of a formal trial. The parties then present their negotiated or mediated agreement to the judge. Approval of a mediated settlement agreement (i.e. MSA) by the court is virtually automatic if the agreement appears to meet a minimal standard of fairness and is in the best interst of the child(ren).

If parties are unable to to reach an agreement on all issues in controversy, they may ask the court to decide one or more of those issues.

A threshold requirement for obtaining a divorce in most states is residency or domicile of one or both parties who are to be divorced. "Residency" refers to the state in which a person lives; "domicile" refers to the state that the person regards as "home".  Usually the state of a person's residency and domicile are the same, but sometimes they can be different. For example, a couple may reside four months each year in the state of their "summer home," but regard another state where they spend the rest of the year as their true home (and that state would be the state of their domicile).

Residency requirements vary from state to state.  In states with a residency requirement, a party must have lived in the state for the specified period before a divorce can be granted.  In Texas a party must have resided in the state of Texas for six (6) months and be a resident in the county in which the divorce is filed for 90 days prior to the filing of the divorce suit.

The party seeking a divorce must state a ground for divorce in the papers filed with the court. The grounds may be based on no-fault or fault, depending on the state. All states now offer no-fault divorces, although some states require a long period of separation before a no-fault-divorce is granted.

A no-fault divorce is a divorce in which neither the wife nor husband blames the other for breakdown of the marriage.  There are no accusations necessary to obtain a divorce-no need to prove "guilt" or "fault."  The most common basis for a no-fault divorce are "irreconcilable differences" or "incompatibility." As those terms imply, the marriage is considered to be over, but the court and the legal documents will not assess or assign blame.

Some critics of no-fault divorces are concerned that an economically dependent spouse may not be adequately protected when it is so easy for the other spouse to obtain a divorce.  The critics argue that no-fault divorces result in lower awards of property and support to economically dependent spouses than fault-based divorces.

Some of the most common issues of fault are as follows:   (1) adultery, (2) physical cruelty, (3) mental cruelty, (4) fraud upon the esteate, (5) desertion, (6) habitual drunkenness, (7)  drugs, (8) lack of support, (9) impotency (usually unknown to the partner at the time of marriage), and (10) infection of one's spouse with venereal disease.  If there are fault issues in your divorce, you may be entitled to other than a 50/50 division of the estate.  In other words, the non-offending party may want to ask the Judge to penalize the offending party who is at fault in the break-up of the marriage and request that the Court award a greater than 50% portion of the community estate to the non-offending party.

 

Child Custody

When parents divorce, the divorce decree will specify with whom the divorcing couple's children will live (and circumstances under which the other parent will visit with the children). Often, parents work out these arrangements between themselves, either completely voluntarily or with the assistance of their attorneys or a mediator. When they are unable to reach a decision, however, or when unmarried parents are unable to agree on who will have custody of their child, the court may intervene and make a decision based on the child's best interests.

Physical and Legal Custody

In most situations, physical custody is awarded to one parent with whom the child will live most of the time. Often, however, the custodial parent shares "legal custody" of the child with the non-custodial parent.  The court order will also deal with the parties' rights and duties regarding the children--these include the right to make decisions about the child's education, religion, health care, and other important concerns.

Joint Managing Conservatoriship/Custody

Normally the court will appoint the parents as Joint Managing Conservators of the child with one parent having primary possession and the other parent have standard access and possess plus any other times mutually agreed upon between the parties.

Split Custody

Another option, although much less favored, is split custody, in which one parent has custody of one or more of the parties' children, and the other parent has custody of the other child(ren).  It is the usual policy of the courts to not to separate siblings.

 

 

Child Support

The non-custodial parent is ususally ordered to pay the custodial parent child support in accordance with the guidelines set for in the Texas Family Code (i.e. 20% for 1 child, 25% for 2 children, 30% for 3 children and 35% for 4 or more children of the payor's net resources).  Additionally, arrangements must be made and set for in the court's order for medical support and care for the children.  If the non-custodial parent has health insurance available for the children through his or her employer, the non-custodial parent may elect to to maintain health insurance for the children.  In the event that the custodial parent has health insurance through his or her employer for the children which may provide better coverage or be less expensive than the non-custodial parent's health insurance, the custodial parent may decide to maintain health insurance for the children and seek reimbursement for the cost of the children's portion of the health insurance costs from the non-custodial parent in the form of higher child support for such reimbursement of health insurance costs for the children.  Usually the court orders that any health care expenses that are not covered by insurance be split equally between the parties.

Income Withholding Order For Child Support: When child support is ordered, the court will normally also sign a separate order entitled "INCOME WITHHOLDING ORDER FOR CHILD SUPPORT" which is a separate court order which deals specifically with child support issues only.  This withholding order is sent to the payor's employer.  Upon receipt of the withholding order by the payor's employer, the employer is ordered by the court to take immediate steps to implement the garnishment of the payor's wages for child support.  All child support payments in Texas must be sent through the Texas State Disbursement Unit in San Antonio, Texas.

Retroactive Child Support: Retroactive child support refers to the child support that the custodial parent should have received from the date of the separation of the parties.  Often when a separation occurs, one parent has custody of the child and may not receive any support from the other parent.  Also, sometimes after the parties separate, months and even years may pass before the custodial parent gets into court and obtains a court order for child support.  If the non-custodial parent has not provided support, or if the support provided has not be adequate or in conjunction with what the child support guidelines would require, you should talk to your attorney about seeking retroactive child support for the months that you should have received child support but did not.

Modifications Of Child Support: When there has been a change of circumstances, the court may consider modifying the child support.  For example, it the payor has obtained raises or a new job with a higher income, then the payee should consider going back to court to request an increase in child support.  Likewise, in the event that the payor has lost his or her job or has received a cut in pay, the payor may want to consider going back to court to request a decrease in child support.  Modifications of child support require a court order.

Enforcement Of Child Support: When the payor violates the orders of the court by not paying child support, the payee should take immediate steps to contact an attorney to assit in the enforcement of child support.  Child support is not considered to be a normal (i.e. consumer debt) debt like Visa, or Mastercard, or Walmart, etc.. The courts have placed child support into a special category of debt considered "necessities to the family" and will allow enforcement measures which are much more severe than for a normal/consumer debt which include imprisonment in jail if the payor is found to be guilty of contempt by the court.

If your are the payee, hopefully the payor will follow the orders of the court and pay child support on a regular and consistent basis until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whicever occurs later) in accordance with the orders of the court.  However, far to oftern, the payors do not follow the orders of the court and fall behind in there child support obligations.  If this problem occurs, the sooner this problem is brought to the attention of the court, the better.  Judges typically will enforce their court orders and want the children to receive child support.  At the Law Office Of Dayne Marguglio, we would be happy to assist you with enforcing your court order with regard to child support.  Please note that when one party violates the court order with regard to non-payment of child support, this does not authorize the other parent to violate the court order and deny court-ordered access to the child.  This will only make you guilty of contempt as well and put you at risk of incarceration and hurt your chances of a enforcing child support.  In other words, two wrongs don't make it right.  It is best for the party seeking to enforce child support to be 100& in compliance with the orders of the court so that when you are in trial, it will be clear to the Judge who is at fault and who should be penalized/punished and pay the consequences for violating the orders of the court.  So instead of making matters worse for yourself and the child, just contact the Law Office Of Dayne Marguglio for assistance.  When you meet with Dayne Marguglio, you will need to bring with you a copy of the prior court order that you are seeking to enforce along with a good address (home or work address for the payor) so we can have the payor served with the necessary citation and notice papers.

 

Dallas Divorce Attorney

Family Law lawyer, Dayne Marguglio, provides comprehensive and compassionate family law services in Dallas, Fort Worth,Highland Park, Plano, Grapevine, Richardson, Garlandand other surrounding cities.

Contact

Dayne Marguglio
Turley Law Center
6440 N. Central Expressway
Suite 310
Dallas, Texas 75206

phone: 214-750-8603
facsimile: 214-692-8973

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