Lakeway Family Law and Business Attorneys
The prospect of divorce can be a challenging experience for anyone. Fortunately, the advice of a skilled legal team can help reduce stress and provide valuable peace of mind. Indeed, empowering clients with experience in the Travis County family law system has been one of the primary motivators for our team. Continue reading below for brief overview of just a few of the topics and practice areas our Lakeway attorneys routinely help clients navigate.
Arbitration is a method of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR), meaning that it is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. Various ADR methods have grown in popularity considerable over the last several years. One common ADR method among Lakeway residence is divorce arbitration. During an arbitration proceeding, the “arbitrator” (a neutral, third-party with extensive knowledge and experience in family law matters) will act as a judge-jury hybrid. First, the arbitrator will hear the arguments and weigh the evidence of both parties. After careful consideration, the arbitrator will issue a binding decision. This joint judge-jury role avoids much of the hassle of traditional litigation and can also reduce costs. Both parties must agree to enter arbitration before the proceeding can commence.
Like arbitration, mediation is another method of Alternative Dispute Resolution. During mediation, the “mediator” (a neutral, third-party with extensive knowledge and experience in family law matters) will listen to the arguments of both sides. But unlike arbitration, the mediator does not issue a final decision. Instead, the mediator helps guide the spouses through the mediation process, hopefully towards a mutually beneficial resolution. Perhaps because the arbitrator’s role is more akin to a guide than a decision maker, many parties who engage in mediation find that the process can be less stressful than arbitration.
Child custody can be one of the most contentious aspects for divorcing couples. In Lakeway, and all of Travis County, child custody matters are comprised of two categories: legal and physical. It is legal in the sense that custody includes a parent’s right to raise the child and make decisions regarding his or her daily life. The physical component of custody refers to the physical possession of the child. Section 153.002 of the Texas Family Code 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.” Pursuant to that statute, courts in Travis county will assess a number of factors when determining the best interests of a minor child.
Unrelated individuals can draft premarital agreements in anticipation of marriage. Lakeway residents have increasingly turned to premarital agreements due to the unique benefits that can be achieved through their use, such as bypassing many of the state’s default rules. One common example is the classification of property. In Texas, courts will presume that all marital property is “community property” (i.e. property shared by the spouses). Premarital agreements are an effective tool for couples who seek to depart from the state default rule and classify their property themselves. Beyond property classification, premarital agreements can be tailored in countless ways to meet the needs of the couple.
In contrast to premarital agreements, postnuptial agreements are those that are only effective after marriage. Postnuptial agreements can achieve many of the same goals as their pre-marriage counterparts, such as the replacement of state default rules. Similarly, postnuptial agreements can also be used to modify or amend previous legal agreements between the spouses.
An estate plan is a set of instructions in case of one’s death or incapacitation. Estate plans often consist of an assortment of legal documents and instruments including:
Part of any effective estate plan is conforming its instructions to your current circumstances and wishes. An out-of-date estate plan can produce results you no longer desire, or worse, unnecessarily burden loved ones with added complexities. Estate plans can be crafted to fit everyone’s unique situation, and we recommend working with an experienced estate planning attorney to protect your interests.
Business litigation can be used to resolve disputes arising out of commercial or business relationships. For many Lakeway business owners, business litigation can occur in a number of forums including Travis County courts or in a private alternative dispute resolution setting. The experienced lawyers at Kirker | Davis LLP can help you each step of the way and provide analysis outline the advantages and disadvantages of each forum.
If you have questions relating to family or business law, contact one of our Lakeway-serving lawyers today by calling our office 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.
At Kirker Davis LLP we can help you through a variety of issues you may find yourself confronting in the course of ending your marriage. Call us at (512) 746-7304 to speak with a thoughtful, dedicated attorney.
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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