Divorce

Just making the decision to get a divorce can be a painful and exhausting decision.  It can lead  to one of the most difficult experiences of a person’s life. All too often, divorce is emotionally stressful, financially taxing, and physically draining. At Duffee + Eitzen LLP, we understand the toll a divorce can take and we work tirelessly to shoulder as much of the burden as we can.  we will help guide you through each step of the divorce process. By taking the time to truly listen to, and understand, the things that are important to you, we will help protect what you value most. Whether you have a complex estate or just need a simple divorce, we will answer all of your questions and educate you about your legal rights, responsibilities, and options.

Unfortunately, children are heavily impacted by divorce. We will help minimize the stress you and your children feel during your divorce while ensuring your legal rights are protected. We recognize that, often times, a traditional, litigated divorce is not in the best interest of our clients or their families. We also know that the effects of litigation can cause strain on family relationships that linger well beyond the divorce process itself. That is why it is critical to have our experienced and compassionate attorneys on your side.

Here at Duffee + Eitzen LLP, we will attempt to settle your case out of court, in an amicable manner. Whether it’s a collaborative divorce, mediation, or an informal settlement process, our aim is to get you divorced as quickly and amicably as possible, while accomplishing your goals and protecting your family.

However, there are some situations that necessitate litigation. In those instances, you need an attorney that isn’t afraid to try your case. Our lawyers have the knowledge and the proven trial skills to help you achieve your legal goals. And while we can never predict a trial outcome, we can promise you that our trial preparation and performance are second-to-none.

We will also be here for you, in the years that follow the completion of your divorce case, to address any post-divorce modification issues you may have; such as child custody, child support, parenting time, parent relocations, visitation rights and more.

Collaborative Divorce

Why Collaborative Law Divorce May Be Right For You

Many people face the prospect of divorce with fear, anger, and mixed emotions. Much of it is due to concern over court battles, the belief that they will be taken advantage of, and not knowing what to expect. In many cases, collaborative law divorce is a better approach.

An amicable divorce is better for both spouses. With assistance from your attorney and other professionals, spouses can reach agreements without unnecessary friction and conflict. This will eliminate the need for court action.

When both spouses cooperate in collaborative law divorce, it is also better for the children. Children benefit greatly when their parents cooperate with each other in resolving differences.

When couples divorce, it can be a traumatic experience for their children. While your child may be troubled over his family breaking up, dealing with your divorce in a respectful manner will make it less painful and less confusing for the child. When he sees his parents treating each other respectfully, he will have a sense of security and peace of mind.

Time and expense are additional reasons to consider this approach to divorce. As standard divorce can take a long period of time to resolve, it can take much of your time and money. You can avoid these difficulties when you and your spouse decide to cooperate with each other and settle the divorce with the simplest method.

It is easier for both spouses and their children to look toward the future and move ahead with their lives. Instead of lingering bitterness, everyone can have a sense of satisfaction and hope for the future.

Divorce is never easy, but you can take the approach that is in the best interest of everyone in your family. You can start by contacting Duffee + Eitzen L.L.P for an appointment to discuss collaborative law divorce.

Post Divorce Modification

The nature of children is that they are constantly growing and changing. When the circumstances of a party change, the need for a modification may arise. A modification can make changes to an existing court order based on the changes of the needs of the parties and the children.

Modifications typically address changes such as:

  • Changing conservatorship;
  • Changes to parental rights and duties (e.g. the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child(ren);
  • Changes to the possession schedule of the child;
  • Increasing or decreasing the amount of child support paid for the child; and/or
  • Changes to the geographic area the child will reside in.

The best interest of the child is always the primary consideration in Texas family courts. In order to modify an existing court order, there must be a material and substantial change in the circumstances of the parties and the children. This burden of proof was created to prevent the constant re-litigation of cases involving children. However, once this threshold is met, the courts consider various factors in determining whether to modify an existing court order including the child’s best interests.

At Duffee + Eitzen LLP, our family law attorneys are experienced enough to understand the legal issues surrounding modifications. We are able to offer various methods of resolving issues including settlement negotiation and mediation, but we are also able to provide aggressive litigation, should that become necessary. We take the time to understand the unique nature of each case and client and we work together as a team to craft creative solutions to best meet our clients’ needs.

Custody

Child custody is one of the most important and emotionally difficult issues in family law. Known as “conservatorship” in the Texas Family Code, child custody issues are often one of the central conflicts parents will face when they separate. Issues that are typically addressed in a child custody case.

  • Which party will have primary custody and possession of the child(ren)
  • Each party’s parental rights and duties, such as the right to make educational decisions and/or medical decisions on behalf of the child(ren)
  • The possession schedule of the child(ren)
  • Which party will pay child support and the amount of support that will be paid
  • The geographic area the child(ren) will reside in
  • How the parties will pay for the expenses of the child(ren)

Texas courts make decisions in child custody cases based on what is in the best interest of the child(ren). Additionally, courts can take into account factors such as drug addiction, domestic violence, mental health issues, criminal backgrounds and even in some situations, the preference of the child(ren), when making decisions in child custody cases. It is paramount to your case that your attorney knows, and understands, the complex provisions of the Texas Family Code. Equally important is that your attorney is able to convey to you what your legal rights and options are for your specific child custody situation.

At Duffee + Eitzen LLP, our experienced family law attorneys are well aware that resolving issues concerning children can be a very emotional and difficult process. Though we are advocates of using collaborative law, mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution in custody cases, we are well aware that, sometimes, aggressive litigation is needed to resolve the issues at hand.

No two child custody cases are the same and here at Duffee + Eitzen LLP, we will take the time to learn what is most important to you. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to help you and your family during your time of need. Contact us today to discuss your situation and to learn how our attorneys can help you and your family during this challenging time in your life.

Order Enforcement and Contempt Of Court

Once you have an order in place, you may encounter an issue where the other party fails to comply with the order.  You may have to enforce the order.  The attorneys at Duffee + Eitzen LLP are well-versed in enforcement issues.  Whether you need to enforce the property division in your divorce decree or the child support order outlined in your order in suit affecting the parent-child relationship, Duffee + Eitzen can help you hold the other party accountable.

When dealing with unpaid spousal or child support or some other family law issue, seeking qualified help is the best way to get a swift and acceptable solution. Your attorney can help you take appropriate action for ensuring that court orders are honored or for getting the appropriate court orders in place. Ultimately, attorneys can help you navigate the many complex legal processes that family law often entails with optimal success.

Complex Property

Divorces can be the largest and most complex business deal a person will ever be involved in. Other than children, few things are as important to a person going through a divorce than their assets.

Accurate characterization of property as separate or community property and proper valuation of that property are essential in a divorce case. Often times, to prove, or disprove, a separate property claim, you will have to employ a method known as tracing of assets. Tracing of assets can be a crucial component in protecting your assets.  We know how important it is for you to have your separate property confirmed.  We can appreciate the effort you spent to accumulate your separate property and we know how to help you prove your separate property claims.

Complex property division cases require lawyers with experience, knowledge, and resources. The attorneys at Duffee + Eitzen LLP regularly handle complex property division cases and work with real estate professionals, business valuators, tax professionals, financial planners, accountants, tracing professionals, and appraisers to ensure our clients’ interests are protected and they receive a just and right division of their property.

Pre-Nup / Post Pre-Nup

Duffee + Eitzen L.L.P. is a same-sex family-friendly law firm that is focused on providing its clients with the highest level of legal services and solutions personalized to the client’s needs. This firm serves clients located in Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, and surrounding areas.

The attorneys at our firm have a passionate and aggressive approach to resolving disputes for their clients. This approach, paired with the full-service resources of the firm, allow the attorneys to be capable of handling any situation including mediation and even the most complex litigation situation.

Same Sex Marriages

Duffee + Eitzen L.L.P. is a same-sex family-friendly law firm that is focused on providing its clients with the highest level of legal services and solutions personalized to the client’s needs. This firm serves clients located in Collin, Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, and surrounding areas.

The attorneys at our firm have a passionate and aggressive approach to resolving disputes for their clients. This approach, paired with the full-service resources of the firm, allow the attorneys to be capable of handling any situation including mediation and even the most complex litigation situation.

Mediation

Come mediate with Lisa Greenwood Duffee, Melinda H. Eitzen, or retired judge, Marilea W. Lewis.

You can schedule full or half day mediations in our Oak Lawn office or, for your convenience, we will come to you and mediate in your lawyer’s office. Lisa and Melinda use their skills from years of litigation and collaboration to settle even the toughest cases through creative problem solving and option development.  Marilea uses her skills as a retired judge and experienced family law attorney to mediate and settle even seemingly impossible cases.

What is mediation? Mediation is a process where people are given an opportunity to resolve their differences and make their own agreements with the assistance of a neutral mediator.

Is the mediator like a Judge? No, the mediator is not a decision-maker but a settlement facilitator.

If we settle, is it binding? Yes, if you reach an agreement at mediation and sign it and it is filed with the Court, it is binding.

To schedule your mediation, call us at 214-416-9010.

Melinda Eitzen is listed as a top 10 mediator in Dallas, Texas on Yelp.

Grandparent Rights

Few relationships are as precious as the one between a grandparent and their grandchild. Often times, grandparents are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren. Whether it’s attending school functions, sporting events, or even handling day-to-day child raising, grandparents can play an integral part of a child’s life.

However, the grandparent-grandchild relationship can be restricted or eliminated because of divorce, separation, or the death of one of the child’s parents. Additionally, a parent might refuse a grandparent access to a child due to a strained relationship between that parent and the grandparent. No matter the reason behind it, when a grandparent is unable to spend time with their grandchild, that grandparent is often left feeling helpless.

In Texas, a grandparent’s right to visit their grandchild is not automatically granted to the grandparent. As a result of recent court decisions and changes to the Texas Family Code, the court’s power to allow grandparent visitation is limited. In most cases, the child’s parents are the ones who get to decide whether their child spends time with a grandparent. If one or both parents refuse to allow the visitation, this is often enough to justify denial of the grandparent’s request.

However, all hope is not lost for grandparents seeking access of their grandchildren. A grandparent may be awarded visitation, in certain circumstances, based on their relationship with their grandchild and their involvement in their grandchild’s life. The grandparent will need to show the court that they have a significant relationship with their grandchild, and that formal recognition of the right to visitation would be in the child’s best interest.

In addition, granting custody to a grandparent is often the best situation for the child if that child’s parent(s) cannot provide a safe, stable home environment. Often times, grandparents are the ones raising their grandchildren due to abuse, neglect and/or abandonment by the child’s parent(s). In order to prevent an unfit parent from taking the child back, and thus exposing to child to a dangerous situation, the grandparent should seek a court order that gives the grandparent the right to possession of the child. In cases where a grandparent is seeking custody of the child, it is vital to demonstrate the grandparent’s fitness and commitment to the well-being of their grandchildren, while simultaneously demonstrating that the child’s parent(s) cannot adequately provide for that child’s needs.

Contact us today for more information about potentially establishing your rights to a grandchild or how to respond to a grandparent’s attempt to establish rights to your child.

School Law

Parents and students have many rights and protections at school. Sometimes, schools do not honor these rights and protections. Our attorneys have helped many students and families with issues ranging from special education advocacy, discipline, obtaining records, admission, expulsion, 504 services, truancy, evaluations, ARD meetings, IEP analysis, discrimination, bullying and much more.

Our clients include students attending public schools, homeschools, and charter schools. We never represent schools. Our attorneys have years of experience working in education administration and special education and now use that knowledge to work to get our clients fast resolutions.

Education issues often involve multiple Federal statutes, Federal regulations, Texas statutes, Texas regulations, and local school board policies. School administrators go through years of training and regularly consult with attorneys when responding to issues at school. Parents and students frequently feel overwhelmed and outmatched when they find themselves at a conference table surrounded by school officials who seem to have predetermined how they want things to turn out.

Many of your rights must be exercised within certain, short time limits. Contact us today to make sure that you understand your rights before you sign them away!

Business Litigation

Contact us today for more information.

Private Judging

Because of closures due to concerns about COVID-19, hearings in some counties may be limited to only matters considered essential.

And, you may not want to go to the courthouse due to those same concerns.

If you or your client feels this way, there are options available to get the matter resolved. Duffee+Eitzen partner Marilea W. Lewis can serve as a Special Judge based upon her experience and tenure on the family court bench.  She also can arbitrate or mediate your matter.  Contact her at Marilea@d-elaw.com.

Business Litigation

Contact us today for more information.