Family Law

Practice Areas > Family Law

Considering divorce?

Read below on what to expect for a divorce in Texas.
Divorce can be a highly challenging area of law due to the complex legal and emotional issues involved. Whether you are the spouse filing for divorce or the spouse responding to a divorce action, it is crucial that you have the right representation.
Because of the expense involved, and the relationships with children which are often involved, William’s primary goal is to get our clients through the divorce process as efficiently as possible given the particular circumstances of the client. William recognizes the importance of negotiation and attempting to settle divorce related-matters, and encourage our clients to do so in every case. Often a divorce case can be resolved through informal negotiations. In many cases, however, a more formal approach is necessary. In such cases, Mediation is typically used to resolve disputes. Sometimes divorcing spouses simply cannot agree on the terms of their divorce. Consequently, these cases must go to trial. Most importantly, our lawyers have experience necessary to effectively pursue our client’s interests in the courtroom.
Divorce may be one of the most difficult decisions you ever have to make in life, and it is important to know that you are entering proceedings with the help of a lawyer you can trust. So much hinges on the outcome of your divorce, including child custody, child support, visitation rights, alimony, and property division. You need to know that you have a lawyer who will tirelessly advocate for your needs and rights.

If you have questions about divorce, please contact us to set up a consultation at a reduced cost. To discuss the specifics of your divorce, please contact us today by calling 512-219-4053.

If you or someone you love is going through a divorce, it can help to know that your legal representation has a vast wealth of experience handling a wide variety of cases. William is equipped to help you with: Contested Divorce, Uncontested Divorce, Mediated Divorce, Simplified Divorce, and Military Divorce.

We understand just how painful and personal the divorce process can be. We believe in providing compassionate legal representation, whether your case is going to court or not. We are dedicated to doing what it takes to make sure that you are satisfied with the divorce arrangement.

William also handles Modifications, SAPCR – suits involving non-married parties with children, child support matters including representation at the Attorney General of Texas, name changes, and post-divorce property matters. 


Post-Divorce Property Disputes

If you have property disputes in response to a recent divorce, the Law Office of William H. Russell is prepared to offer our assistance! 

In Texas, any communal property that was not divided prior to a finalized divorce becomes shared by both parties. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement and a property dispute arises, then the Courts may step in to decide the proper division of this community property. As you begin the process of addressing any post-divorce property disputes, our office is glad to help.

Understanding Texas and Community Property

When preparing for a divorce and the processes that follow this, it is important to understand how property division works in Texas. 
This state serves as a community property state. Therefore, any property owned by either spouse during the marriage and divorce processes is considered community property. This differs from another type of property known as "separate property," which typically includes protected assets intended for a specific party or anything owned prior to the marriage by a party.  On the other hand, "communal property" is any property owned by either party that does not fall under this "separate" category. Unfortunately, this is when disputes occur during and after a divorce. However, our office is confident that we can function as a resource for our clients experiencing any property issues.  

As the Court aims to divide the community property in question in a "just and right" manner, many characteristics of each party may affect the Court's decision. Here are just some examples of topics that may be discussed: 
  • The physical and mental wellness of each party
  • Any specifics about the reason/cause of the divorce (i.e. whether a party possesses a fault for the divorce)
  • ​The value of each party's "separate property"
  • ​Child Care 
  • ​Alimony
  • ​The state of employment of each party
You may find it difficult to navigate through the intricacies of post-divorce disputes and property division alone, but our office is available to help you on this journey. The Law Office of William H. Russell prides itself on the expertise and knowledge that we have acquired in the field of property division. We encourage you to reach out if you want a dedicated attorney and legal team on your side. 

Retirement Division and Post-Divorce Issues with QDRO's

Protecting Your Retirement Plan

As you may have discovered from your divorce, retirement benefits are a component of the property division and disputes over its separation between spouses may be brought before the Courts. This process in Texas can be puzzling at times, which makes it even more important to have an attorney who knows what they are doing. 

At the Law Office of William H. Russell, we value the importance of our client's retirement benefits and will work to get a favorable outcome.

Since courts consider retirement benefits to be community property, they may be granted jurisdiction over the "equitable" division of these benefits if both parties in a divorce are unable to agree. Common benefits of one's retirement plan include pensions; 401k accounts; Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and deferred compensation accounts. If you and your spouse decide to get a Texas court involved in the division of these benefits, you may most likely want legal counsel that you can depend on. 

If the other party or the court awards you a portion of your spouse's retirement benefits, you'll need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to finalize the case. A QDRO informs your former spouse's employer of the property division and enables them to redirect a certain portion of the retirement benefits to you. Once you determine how to divide retirement benefits, the judge presiding over your case will sign the QDRO, finalizing the arrangement.

Make William H. Russell your attorney today and feel secure knowing our legal team will do its best to help you throughout this process.


If you are given a portion of your spouse's retirement funds -either from the court or the spouse themselves, then you will be required to have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) prior to finalizing the case. A QDRO communicates to the other party's employer of the property division and green-lights their ability to send a part of the retirement benefits to your account. Once both parties decide on the division of their retirement benefits, the QDRO will receive a judge's signature thus finalizing the process.

Make William H. Russell your attorney today and feel secure knowing our legal team will do its best to help you throughout this process.

How the Law Office of William H. Russell can help
with Marriage:

Thinking about marriage but not sure about how the law applies to this sacred pact between two people? The Texas courts recognize marriage as a mutual civil contract voluntarily made between two individuals who owe a fiduciary duty to the other. Additionally,  this state supports marriage over cohabitation for couples and acknowledges both ceremonial and common-law marriages. Our legal team at the Law Office of William H. Russell is prepared to provide information for any questions that you may have about legal marriage requirements in Texas. We encourage you to contact us today and schedule a consultation!

Separation in Texas

Although the state of Texas does not permit you to get a legal separation as a substitute for a divorce, there are still other options for you. In Texas, you can make use of temporary orders, protective orders, suits affecting parent-child relationships, or separation agreements to achieve much of what you would expect from a "legal separation."

Similar to a legal separation, these alternatives to a divorce provide visitation, financial support, and property orders without a finalized divorce process 

However, these options can have confusing elements that necessitate the aid of a lawyer. Minor issues have the potential to create serious results and we recommend that you hire a lawyer who can prevent these consequences.

Child Custody and Child Support

The Value of Family

Our office understands that the practice of family law can be a tumultuous time for everyone in your family, including your children. Not only are emotions at an all-time high due to disputes between parents, but also the lives of your children are being affected by this often negative experience. Therefore, it serves a great purpose to have a skilled lawyer on your side if you wish to expedite this process and begin healing your family after a separation or a divorce. 

With that said, a typical element of a recent divorce/separation in a family involves the dilemma of child custody. For the most part. this issue may force you to take on the endeavor of deliberating with your spouse about an equitable possession schedule or working with the court to develop a decision. Whatever the case may be in regard to the custody of your child,  the Law Office of William H. Russell is experienced in handling disputes that may arise and we are equipped with the necessary resources to help you. 

We hold family at the forefront of our ideals, and our law firm is dedicated to safeguarding the rights and well-being of you and your child. If you have legal concerns about visitation rights, factors related to child custody, or the impacts that this case may have on your family, then we encourage you to reach out to us! 

Supporting Your Child, While We Support You

A divorce in Austin, Texas has numerous implications for each party, especially if you share a child with your spouse. In the event that you have already decided upon this child's custody, then your next decision could center around child support. In Texas, the individual retaining primary custody of the children may be owed a certain amount of money for their child's life and necessities. In terms of this fixed financial means for supporting your child, the court will generally be the arbiter of this cost via: 
  • Calculating the monetary value of a child support order
  • Considering the number of children cared for by the individual retaining primary custody
  • ​Examining the financial contributions that the other parent is capable of making (i.e. net income)
Wondering how long child support may last?

In general terms, a parent is obligated to provide support until the child either becomes 18 years of age or graduates from high school. It is important to keep in mind that special circumstances exist when a child with disabilities is involved, which may require the competent legal counsel that our office possesses.

 Has your financial situation changed and altered your ability to provide an already established child support cost? 

If this occurs, then you may have the option to petition the court for modification of child support. However, this could be a strenuous process that calls for a sufficient amount of compelling evidence (i.e. long-term unemployment or a significant drop in your net income). Since he understands the intricacies of this process, attorney William H. Russell is qualified to support you and review your case to determine your eligibility for modification.

Examples of the crucial processes you may need our help in: 

  • Enforcement of Orders
  • Modification of Child Custody and Child Support
  • Retroactive Child Support

Suit Affecting Child Relationships

In a Suit Affecting Child Relationships (SAPCR) case the court's involvement revolves around the needs of a child. A judge can be asked to make an order regarding custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and dental support. A SAPCR suit is usually filed separately unless there is a pending divorce that automatically includes the SAPCR.

A SAPCR can also be filed with the court to answer any questions about a parent-child relationship, such as custody and visitation rights for a child (among other things). In most cases, a SAPCR finds itself coming to fruition in custody disputes between unmarried parents or in cases modifying child custody terms.
If you find yourself trying to file a SAPCR suit, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. SAPCR is no easy endeavor and there is an array of intricate legal processes that could go more smoothly with a lawyer like William H. Russell. Should you or anyone you know need help in changing their parental rights or modifying their custody, please contact us!

Preparing for an Adoption in Texas

Interested in the adoption of a child and wondering how the court makes its final decision in the matter? For the most part, this decision will heavily rely on what is deemed in the child's best interest. There are also other elements of the adoption process that will affect a judge's decision, such as the testimony of involved parties, the examination of required reports and studies, and the application of adoption law to each specific case.

Since the particularities of each case play a part in the adoption process, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our office about gathering the facts of your case in order to prepare your suit for adoption in the most effective manner.

​Grandparent's Rights

Similar to their parents, a child's grandparents can play a vital role in their life and, in some cases, form a strong connection with them.

When this connection is translated into the legal field of grandparent's rights, it typically applies to the custody and visitation of their grandchild. It is not uncommon for grandparents to submit a request asking the court to grant them custody over their grandchild, especially if they argue that doing so would be in the child's best interest. Additionally, a grandparent may ask a court in Texas for certain visitation privileges with the same argument of interest, and under the following conditions:
  • The child's parents have divorced
  • The child experienced abuse or neglect from their parent(s)
  • ​The child's parent is not present in their life due to certain circumstances (e.g. incarceration, detected incompetency, or death)
  • ​The child shared the same residence as their grandparent for six months or longer
It is important to note that there are limitations to the rights of a grandparent. For example, a grandparent is unable to acquire an absolute right to visitation and may not request visitation if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than the child's step-parent.

As a custodial parent who is providing housing to your grandchild, you can apply for child support as you seek custody. Both parents are legally obligated to provide financial and medical support for their children. If you have custody, they will be required to pay it to you. If you would like more information and legal counsel intent on protecting your legal rights, we encourage you to contact our office!

​Enforcement of Orders

Court orders are legally binding documents that both parties in a divorce are obligated to comply with. However, in some cases a party will decline to follow through with these orders from the court, creating issues for the other divorce party.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to understand how this violation can be remedied prior to involving the court. Some examples of family law-related court orders that could be enforceable are below:
  • Child Support and Child Custody
  • Alimony
  • Child Visitation
In the event the court determines that a spouse is in contempt of a court order, the party in violation can be punished via differing penalties (i.e. the suspension of their driver's license, garnished wages, liens, fines, jail time, etc.).

Through the enforcement of orders, our experienced legal team may be able to assist you in ensuring your ex-spouse abides by the court's orders and fulfills their duties.

​Domestic Violence

Dependent on the situation, the terms 'domestic assault' or 'family violence' can have many definitions that apply to various forms of assault. This makes it even more important to have an experienced lawyer on your side who understands how these terms may relate to your case.

Another element of a domestic assault offense to think about is who exactly fell victim to the assault. Parties involved in a domestic assault case could include the defendant's spouse, a family member via marriage or adoption, a household member who shares the same residence as the defendant (e.g. roommate), or a former or current significant other. In Texas, domestic violence laws can also involve persons related by "affinity," such as one's foster parents and foster children. Texas domestic assault laws are also applicable when the alleged victim is a spouse from the past, a child of a spouse or former spouse, or a person who shares a child with the defendant.

The conviction of a domestic assault or family violence charge in Texas can have dire implications, such as a criminal record. In return for these consequences, one's future in education and employment could be negatively affected.

Remedies to this could manifest themselves in the form of counseling and community service, or even the inability to have contact with a spouse, a child, or someone who was closely connected to the defendant in the past.

Although the severity of each penalty varies, the effects of a domestic assault and family violence case are not to be taken lightly. In order to prevent more severe punishments, it could be beneficial to gain assistance from a skilled defense attorney such as William H. Russell.

To get started, contact the Law Office of William H. Russell today. We can provide you with a consultation and review your case to get you the information that you need.

Don't wait until the last minute.

Penalties for domestic assault and family violence in Texas are serious and it is imperative that you get a suitable defense attorney as soon as you can. 

A Helping Hand in ​LGBTQ+ Family Law

Following the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, family law for same-sex couples has undergone tremendous changes. In addition, the legalization of marriage for the LGBTQ+ community has transformed their legal rights.

However,  this recent change in the law is not the only time our family law office has worked with LGBTQ+ clients. The Law Office of William H. Russell has extensive experience serving the queer community and protecting their rights. Whether it be a case about adoption, marital rights, child custody, or even a divorce, our office can serve as a helping hand for LGBTQ+ Texans.

In terms of same-sex couples getting a divorce or separating, our office recognizes that children may also be an important component of the legal decision-making process.  This may include custody, visitation, and child support. Our legal team has a history of serving the LGBTQ+ community with compassion and dedication to protecting your rights, and we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us for your legal matters.

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