Cedar Park Family Law and Business Attorneys
We routinely handle divorces involving family-owned businesses, professionals, custody matters, and other forms of complex litigation. In addition, we can resolve all forms of business matters ranging from formation to a wide variety of business disputes. Our driving business philosophy is based on fidelity to the practice of law and a commitment to client service.
Many of those who undergo the divorce process describe it as one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. Facing a longtime partner as a now-hostile party can certainly be a jarring experience. But many of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process can be reduced or even alleviated with the help of an experienced lawyer. Knowledge of the family law systems in use in Williamson County and Travis County also provides a significant benefit to those contemplating divorce in Cedar Park. Please continue reading below for an overview of a few topics divorce lawyers in Cedar Park can help their clients navigate.
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Alternative Dispute Resolution exist as alternatives to the traditional litigation process. In Mediation, a disinterested, third-party (the mediator) is tasked with helping guide the conflicting parties to an agreed solution. Mediators are specially trained in conflict resolution and can be helpful for couples who would prefer to resolve their conflict without the time and expense of traditional litigation. The mediator has no power to compel a resolution, however. In the end, it is up to the parties to reach a solution. Many couples who opted for mediation describe the process as less stressful and much more empowering than traditional litigation.
Arbitration is another form of ADR. Similar to mediation, the arbitration process includes a neutral, third-party (the arbitrator). The arbitrator’s role is different than a mediator’s role as arbitrators are endowed with decision-making authority. After hearing the arguments and examining the evidence of both parties, the arbitrator will make a final decision. This decision will then be reviewed by a county judge, who will then render an order according to the arbitrator’s decision. Arbitration is a voluntary process, meaning both parties must consent to its use. Like mediation, arbitration benefits couples by reducing costs and shortening dispute timelines.
Determining who will retain custody over a child can be one of the most difficult (emotionally and legally) aspects of any divorce litigation. Custody can be divided into two separate realms: legal and physical. The legal aspect of child custody refers to the parent or guardian’s right to make decisions that will impact the upbringing of the child. The physical aspect is the parent or guardian’s physical possession of the child. Unlike many other aspects of family law, child custody can be determined by Texas state courts only. In making determinations concerning child custody, courts are required to follow the Texas Family Code, which states, “the best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child” (Tex.Fam.Code § 153.002).
A premarital agreement is simply a private contract signed by two unmarried people in anticipation of marriage. Premarital agreements have seen a sharp rise in popularity among Cedar Park residents due to their ability to bypass some of the terms found within the state’s de facto marriage contract. One of the most common provisions included in Cedar Park premarital contracts is property characterization. This allows couples to specify precisely which assets and liabilities are the couple’s shared, or “community” property, and which are the spouses’ separate property.
As the name implies, postnuptial agreements operate in much the same way as their pre-marriage cousin. The key difference between the two agreement types is that postnuptial agreements can only be signed by married spouses. Despite this difference, postnuptial agreements have many similarities with premarital agreements, as both types permit couples to address the unique circumstances of their relationships to bypass the state’s default rules.
Estate planning is simply the act of creating legally binding instructions for the disposition of property after death or incapacitation. Typically, an estate plan will be comprised of a number of different documents and legal instruments, each accomplishing a specific goal. Common components of estate plans for Cedar Park residents include: (1) the Will; (2) a Power of Attorney; (3) Advanced Medical Directives; and (4) a trust (depending on the circumstances). The creation of an estate plan can reduce a great a deal of stress and heartache for loved ones. In addition, estate plans may be amended or altered in any way to address changes in one’s values, goals, or circumstances. With the help of experienced estate planning lawyers, many Cedar Park residents have provided their loved ones with valuable peace of mind.
Put broadly, business litigation refers to a family of disputes arising out of business interactions. Business litigation in Cedar Park can occur in one of several legal forums; if a traditional litigation route is selected, the most likely court will be a Williamson County court. But if the parties have agreed to forgo traditional litigation in favor of an alternative dispute method, then the forum could be a number of settings.
For those with any questions relating to business or family law, please feel free to contact one of Kirker | Davis LLP’s experienced Cedar Park lawyers today at (512) 746-7304.
As the Family Law Partners at their previous firm, Chris M. Kirker and Holly R. Davis oversaw a family law litigation practice of up to fourteen family law attorneys in three offices throughout the State. The success of their business practices, based on creative and innovative approaches to the profession, have changed the way family law firms operate in Central Texas, an impact which will last for years to come.
Prior to forming Kirker Davis LLP, Holly R. Davis and Chris M. Kirker were Partners at a highly successful law firm in Austin, TX. Holly R. Davis joined the firm after graduating from Baylor University School of Law in 2006. Chris M. Kirker joined the firm in 2011, after also graduating from Baylor University School of Law in 2010.
Awards and Accolades
Holly R. Davis
Top 40 Under 40, National
Trial Lawyers, 2015-2020
Chris M. Kirker
National Trial Lawyers: Top 40
Under 40 Trial Lawyer – 2012-2020
Holly R. Davis
Top Ten Ranking, National Academy
of Family Law Attorneys, 2014-2020
Chris M. Kirker
National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial
Lawyer in the State of Texas – 2014-2020
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Frequenly asked questions
In Texas, there is a 60-day minimum waiting period for divorce cases. That means that in between the date that you first file for divorce and the date that you request the Court to sign your Divorce Decree, there must be at least 60 days. On average, most cases take at least four months to resolve. However, there are always exceptions. If you and your husband or wife have an agreement as to the rules about your children and the division of your community estate, it is possible that an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP can help you draft all of the required paperwork, including a Divorce Decree, and assist you in obtaining the Court’s signature on the Decree on the sixty-first date after the filing for divorce. This is the fastest possible outcome.
Finalizing your divorce in that short window of time is possible for some families. But often, it takes time for people to determine what their community estate is and then reach agreements as to how to divide it. Even if you believe your divorce to be relatively simple or easy, it is possible that you have not considered something that could provide a benefit to you or your children. It is a good option to have an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP review any potential agreements that you have reached so that you can consider your options and reduce risk in your divorce before signing on the dotted line of a Divorce Decree.
One of the first things that we ask our clients to do at Kirker Davis LLP is to provide us with information about their vehicles, real property, bank accounts, mortgages, credit card balances, brokerage accounts, inheritances, businesses, business interests, trust accounts, retirement accounts, stock, restricted stock, and other assets. When we have a complete list of what you own, we can then discuss how you’d prefer to divide it up. Providing information to your attorney is the first step in our process. Exchanging that information with your spouse and their attorney is typically the next step in our process. Reaching an agreement between a husband and a wife about how to divide it all up can be the most complicated part of the divorce. Depending on what you and your spouse agree to, it can be an easy task, or it can be drawn out and complicated. If your community estate is valued in the millions of dollars, you will want to have it thoroughly reviewed to examine the implications of its division so as to not put at risk hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. If husbands and wives cannot agree to the division of their estate after exchanging information between themselves, a court may divide the estate up after notice and a hearing. It is imperative that parties have the assistance of an attorney at those hearings given the thousands of dollars at stake.
While Texas does not recognize a formal legal separation, we work hard at Kirker Davis LLP to help you consider your options when you are not quite ready to file for divorce. Our attorneys believe that speaking with potential clients weeks before they discuss divorce or move forward with any decision is the best course of action so that the potential client is as informed about their options as possible.
At Kirker Davis LLP, we have helped families create rules for their temporary living situations, rules for the payment of temporary liabilities and expenses, rules for temporary possession schedules for children while parents live apart, and a process by which a husband and wife can exchange information about their estate, assets, real estate, liabilities, brokerage accounts, mortgages, stocks, bank accounts, trusts, vehicles, and college savings accounts in the event that they do decide to move forward with a divorce. Because Texas does not recognize a formal legal separation, it is imperative that you discuss a creative legal alternative with an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP by calling (512) 746-7304.
If a business was created before a marriage, there is an argument that the business should not be included in the divorce. If the business was formed after marriage, it may be community property. If it is community property, it could be divided in the divorce process. A community estate is comprised of assets that have accumulated during the marriage. Our goal at Kirker Davis LLP is to provide business owners and their spouses the information they need to proceed with their divorce without impacting the success of the business they worked so hard to build.
At times, people do not quite know whether or not their business is community or separate property. The characterization of the business may be one of the most crucial questions of the entire divorce. It makes sense, then, to speak immediately with an attorney at Kirker Davis LLP to determine what your rights are, and how you can begin to protect your important assets.
You may need the assistance of a business valuation expert to help assign a value to the business interest if it is community property. You may need to speak with an attorney about the value of the rest of the community estate to ensure that the business can be awarded to the business owner and a fair amount of the remainder of the community estate to the business owner’s spouse. Oftentimes, speaking with an attorney weeks before considering the divorce process is beneficial to the business owner or the business owner’s spouse so that you can begin to gather the necessary information that will be needed in the divorce.
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