Divorce

Divorce is a complicated process filled with legal uncertainties and emotional difficulties. Even the most amicable situations can result in unexpected conflicts regarding property and matters pertaining to your children. During a divorce, it is always in your best interests to seek guidance and counsel from a skilled family law attorney. The Law Office of Melissa A. Cook, PLLC is ready and able to assist with even the most complex cases, whether contested or uncontested.

Property Community Property is considered any assets acquired during the marriage, unless a spouse can prove otherwise. In Texas, marital property is divided equitably, unless good cause exists for a disproportionate division of the community estate. Property division, even in an uncontested divorce, can become extremely complex when several assets are involved or there is disagreement over items classified as Community or Separate property. A competent and thorough attorney can ensure nothing is overlooked and the assets are distributed fairly.

Uncontested Divorce The court encourages spouses seeking a divorce to work out their own agreements regarding asset distribution and issues regarding your children. This is called an uncontested divorce and usually requires the assistance of a skilled family law attorney with considerable experience in divorce cases. Once an agreement is worked out, an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce is prepared, signed by both spouses and then submitted to the court for approval.

Child Custody

In most cases, it is in the best interest of the children to have both parents involved in their lives. It is important to outline a proactive and complete child custody strategy to protect the rights of the children, and to ensure both parents can come to an agreement with regards to decision-making powers for the children. If you are going through a child custody case or attempting to negotiate a parenting plan in a divorce suit, there are three main areas that will need to be decided – Conservatorship, Possession and Access, and Child Support. As can be expected, the best interests of the child are the main concern in any custody case.

If you currently have final orders regarding your children but one of the parents desires changes to those orders, a modification suit may be filed. The Law Office of Melissa A. Cook, PLLC, is experienced in initiating and defending modification suits, which are often complex and highly contested. However, if you and your ex-spouse are in agreement to making changes to a prior order, we can assist you in finalizing a modification suit and obtain new final orders that work best for your children.

Child Support

Raising children is a lifetime commitment and we work towards ensuring that such a commitment is honored. In Texas, both parents are legally responsible to support their children; however, one parent is typically obligated to pay periodic child support payments. Texas has set guidelines for determining the amount of child support that should be paid, which can vary depending on factors such as: income of the parties, work-related child care costs, health insurance costs, pre-existing child support obligations, and any special needs of the children or parents.

Modification
Parents can seek a change in a prior child support order due to significant changes in the earnings of the parent making child support payments. In these situations, a modification suit can be filed to request a change in the amount of child support ordered. The Law Office of Melissa A. Cook, PLLC, is experienced in initiating and defending modification suits involving child support issues, and strives to reach agreements and minimize costs whenever possible.

Enforcement
When a parent obligated to pay periodic child support, and/or ongoing child-relating expenses (such as medical expenses) does not fulfill those obligations, an enforcement suit can be filed to obtain reimbursement. The Law Office of Melissa A. Cook, PLLC, is experienced in initiating and defending enforcement suits involving child support issues, and strives to reach agreements and minimize costs whenever possible.

Child Protective Services (CPS)

In Texas, Child Protective Services (CPS) may be informed regarding concerns about the welfare of a child. This can include reports of child abuse or neglect, domestic abuse, a parent's drug addiction or other legal matters. If you are involved in a situation in which CPS is currently involved with your family, it is in your best interest to have a strong lawyer on your side. As a former Caseworker at CPS and Staff Attorney at the Travis County Office of Parental Representation, Melissa A. Cook is experienced in assisting parents currently involved with CPS. CPS can be intimidating, confusing, and downright scary for parents. The Law Office of Melissa A. Cook, PLLC, strives to make the process easier by providing zealous representation to clients throughout the state who are currently dealing with CPS.

Domestic Violence

A Protective Order can offer needed protection to a person or child experiencing domestic violence. It is different than the more commonly known restraining order in that someone violating a protective order can be arrested. Due to unresolved issues that often accompany a divorce, Texas allows Protective Orders to be granted in post-divorce situations. While Texas law has relationship requirements in order to qualify for a Protective Order, it does not require a marriage relationship.

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