Dallas 972.253.4440 | Santa Barbara 805.884.9922
Christman Kelley & Clarke, PC | Family Law - Christman Kelley & Clarke, PC
The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke have a unique and refreshing approach to the often turbulent and emotionally stressful disputes arising in the context of divorce, child custody and other family law cases. When you are facing these difficult circumstances, you deserve knowledgeable and experienced representation to preserve and protect your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual resources.
Divorce, Annulment, Child Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Spousal Support, Property Division, Modification, Enforcement of Orders, Pre-Marital, Post-Marital Agreements, Termination of Parental Rights, Estate Planning
29
page-template-default,page,page-id-29,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,
  family2

Family Law

The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke have a unique and refreshing approach to the often turbulent and emotionally stressful disputes arising in the context of divorce, child custody and other family law cases. When you are facing these difficult circumstances, you deserve knowledgeable and experienced representation to preserve and protect your emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual resources.

There is no one size-fits-all solution in family law disputes, and our approach is to carefully consider all legal options and help our clients pursue the course of action that best serves the real-world needs of our clients and their families. Trust Christman, Kelley & Clarke to provide you with thoughtful and insightful counsel and representation for all your family law needs. Contact Christman Kelley & Clarke today to schedule your initial consultation and let us fight for you.

Divorce and Annulment

Divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotionally taxing times of a person’s life. The questions and ethical dilemmas facing the parties to a divorce are many. There are usually no easy answers, and that is why it is important to have an attorney that will give you straightforward, knowledgeable and practical advice that will help you preserve your spiritual, emotional, and financial health.

 

A suit for annulment is brought when there has been some legal impediment to the creation of a valid marriage. The legal impediment must have existed before the marriage as opposed to post marriage events in a divorce case. A marriage that is subject to annulment is a valid marriage until a party is granted an annulment at which time the marriage becomes void and is considered to never have happened.

 

Whether you have questions about a divorce or an annulment, the attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke are uniquely qualified to listen to you and provide you with the meaningful, practical advice that you need. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.

 

Child Custody and Visitation

Child Custody and Visitation (Conservatorship and Rights to Possession)
A conservatorship suit establishes who will make legal decisions for a child (legal custody) and have rights of possession and access to the child (physical custody). In Texas the courts must first consider the child’s best interests and consider Texas’ public-policy imperatives. Texas public policy is (1) to give a child frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the child’s best interests, (2) to provide the child with a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment, and (3) to encourage parents after separation and divorce to share in the rights and duties of rearing their children. The legal issues surrounding these legal concepts are complex and emotionally charged.

 

At Christman, Kelley & Clarke, we know that the custody advice you receive and the custody lawyer you hire can be a critical part in the outcome of your custody case. That is why we work to ensure you completely understand the process and your rights. You need the help of an attorney you can trust to handle your case with the utmost compassion, skill, and professionalism. You can trust Christman, Kelley, & Clarke for the guidance you need. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.

Child Support

Child Support
Financial support for child can be a very contentious issue for families whether it is brought as an independent suit or together with another suit like a divorce, conservatorship, or parentage action. In Texas, there are four types of child support (temporary, current, retroactive, and medical) and many people find the technicalities and subtleties of the system confusing.
The purpose of a child support action is to obtain a Court order for either or both parents to provide financial and medical support for a child. In most circumstances, the support can be ordered until the latter of (a) the child reaching 18 years of age, or (b) graduating from high school. If the child is disabled, the court can order Child Support to be paid for an indefinite period.

It is critical to know your rights and to have the proper counsel when making decisions regarding Child and Medical Support. Contact us today for your free initial consultation.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support
Spousal maintenance/support (sometime referred to as court ordered alimony) is a claim for periodic support payments from the future income of one spouse to pay for the support of the other spouse. In Texas, a spouse must establish one of the four statutory grounds for spousal maintenance (ten-year marriage, family violence, disabled spouse, or disabled child) and that the spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for the spouse’s reasonable minimum reasonable needs. Once you establish you are entitled to spousal maintenance the Court would need to set the amount, duration, and manner of the award.
The lawyers at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke can assess whether a spousal maintenance award is probable in your case, how much could be ordered, and for how long. It is important for you to get the proper advice as early in the process as possible to protect all of your resources. If you have questions about spousal support please contact our offices and schedule your free initial consultation.

Property Division

Property Division
Marital property law is a subset of Texas property law that governs the property rights of married people and the division of property in any given divorce can involve complex concepts of Community Property, Separate Property, Economic Contribution, and Reimbursement, as well as all of the legal concepts that make up the law dealing with Retirement Accounts, Corporations, Partnerships, and Governmental or Military Retirement, to name a few.

As a result, it is extremely important that you retain a lawyer who understands the rules and methods for determining the character of property, whether separate or marital (community), and how to apply the rules and analysis to determine the character of property to your specific items of real and personal property. Further, after your property is properly characterized, you need to know how the property should be valued and ultimately divided.

The division of the community estate is one of the two major portions of any divorce. The lawyers at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke have extensive experience in handling all types of marital property issues and will take the time to listen to your wants and needs in relation to your property. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation so we can begin to craft a strategy to achieve your goals.

Modification and Enforcement of Orders

Modification of Court Orders:
Certain orders are modifiable after a final judgment has been entered by a judge. The most common areas for post-judgment order modification include modification of custody (conservatorship), modification of visitation (Possession and Access), modification of child and/or medical support, and modification of spousal support. Each of these areas have specialized rules that govern the process for asking the court to change a previously made order, and it is critical for you to have an experienced attorney working for you.


Enforcement of Possession and Support Orders:

There are several methods you can utilize to seek enforcement of a court’s prior order. For example, you can seek to enforce the order by contempt, clarification, or by reducing a financial support order to a specific money judgment amount. The method that should be used in a given case is generally driven by the language used in the order and how that language relates to what you want to accomplish/enforce.
If you have questions about an order entered in your case or need to get an existing order enforced, contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Pre-Marital and Post-Marital Agreements

Pre-marital (Prenuptial) Agreements:
If you are about to get married, you probably have a lot weighing on your mind. The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke can guide you through the legal issues related to your marriage so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. A Premarital Agreement (a/k/a prenuptial agreement) is an agreement between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage and is to be effective on marriage. Premarital Agreements involve complex concepts, and the effects can be far-reaching and financially life-altering.

 

Premarital Agreements may involve the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them, as well as the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control the property of either or both parties to the marriage. Additionally, a Premarital Agreement may involve the disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event.

 

One of the most important features of a Premarital Agreement is that it can modify or eliminate spousal support. Since there is no statutory limit to the amount of temporary spousal support that the court can order during the pendency of a divorce, this one provision alone can save tens of thousands of dollars or more in certain circumstances.

 

Premarital Agreements can also involve the making of a will, trust, or any other arrangement necessary to carry out the provisions of the agreement. Also, the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy can be altered by a Premarital Agreement. A Premarital Agreement can provide for the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement and many other matters involving the personal rights and obligations of the prospective spouses.

 

Notwithstanding the broad range of matters that can be contracted for, however, a Premarital Agreement is not enforceable to the extent it purports to require any action in violation of public policy or any statute involving a criminal penalty and it cannot adversely affect a party’s child support obligation.

 

Once the parties to a Premarital Agreement are married, the agreement can only be amended or revoked by a written agreement, signed by both parties. Just like the original agreement, there is no necessity for consideration in the amendment or revocation.

 

At Christman, Kelley, & Clarke, we will manage and evaluate for you the complex legal concepts involved in Premarital Agreements. We will educate you on how these agreements work and draft or revise such agreements to suit your particular needs and desires. We want to eliminate any risk or confusion and provide you with peace of mind. Contact us today and let us answer any questions you might have concerning a pre-marital agreement.

 

Post-Marital Agreements:
A Post-Marital Property Agreement is an agreement between spouses altering their rights in separate property, community property, or both. Post-marital contracts usually control the distribution of assets or property in a divorce, but can also control many other issues that may be important to the particular couple, including temporary and permanent support, division of assets and debts, confirmation of separate and community property, or even who gets custody of the family pet.

 

Many people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, where fiancées predetermine the fate of important issues should their marriage unexpectedly end. Conceptually, post-marital agreements are the same, but the couple decides to make this agreement after they are already married.

 

Because of the important issues covered in post-martial contracts, and the potentially devastating results if abuse occurs, Texas law imposes strict requirements on postnuptial agreements. Some of the requirements are procedural, such as making sure the legal document has the necessary signatures and witnesses.

 

However, Texas law will also render the agreement invalid if one of the spouses can prove that the agreement was formed unfairly or without some minimum level of sufficiency. While the law may appear straightforward, these requirements are subjective in nature and are open to extensive arguments from both parties.

 

If you are in an argument over the validity of a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement, or are looking to create one, contact us to schedule your free initial consultation.

 

Family Law Torts
In the law, a Tort is a civil wrong where one person has breached a duty owed to another person, and that breach has caused the aggrieved party damages. For example, if a one spouse assaults the other, the District Attorney’s office may prosecute the case criminally, but the injured spouse may also file a civil lawsuit for money damages (in addition to the criminal case).

 

Spouses can sue for torts they commit against each other. Obviously, doing so would tend to cause an end to the marriage, so most often these types of suits are brought in conjunction with a Divorce. Torts include Assault and Battery; Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Invasion of Privacy; Wiretapping; Access of Electronic Communications; Slander and Libel; and Fraud.

 

However, Texas law does not allow the same conduct to be used as a factor justifying a disproportionate division of the community estate and a means of a separate recovery, but in appropriate cases, a spouse can come out of a divorce with both where there are sufficient reasons to warrant each.

 

Since Tort law is its own substantive area of the law, it is vital to have an attorney that is familiar with both the pursuit of Family Law and Tort remedies. The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke have successfully handled many Tort claims as well as family law cases making us uniquely qualified to represent you. Contact us today for your free initial consultation and let us assist you in evaluating your case and your needs.

Termination of Parental Rights

The termination of parental rights is very serious business and we provide knowledgeable and experienced guidance to our clients facing this turbulent issue. Whether you are trying to protect the rights of a minor child, seeking to provide benefits to a child or fighting to keep someone from interfering with your relationship with your children, it is imperative that you have experienced counsel protecting you and your family. Contact us today for your free initial consultation and let our team help inform you about your legal rights.

Estate Planning

The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke provide wise counsel and representation for your estate planning needs. Through careful legacy planning and trust instruments, the attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke will help to preserve your family’s wealth for future generations while minimizing estate taxes and avoiding the expense and nightmares of probate. We will prepare estate planning documents such as:

 

  • •Simple wills
  • •Family Limited Partnerships
  • •Medical Powers of Attorney
  • •Medical Authorizations
  • •Burial Directives
  • •Revocable Living Trusts
  • •Durable Powers of Attorney
  • •Advanced Healthcare Directives/Living Wills
  • •Declarations of Guardian

 

The attorneys at Christman, Kelley, & Clarke will prepare the estate planning instruments that best suit the client’s needs and family expectations. Contact Christman Kelley & Clarke today to schedule your initial consultation and let us fight for you.

Contact Christman Kelley & Clarke today to schedule your initial consultation and let us fight for you.

*Services offered exclusively at our Dallas, Texas Location