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Facts About Family Law Disputes

Family law disputes are emotionally draining, even when both parties have a desire to work things out.

For high-net-worth individuals, the emotions are often times amplified as the potential impact adds a level of complexity and uncertainty to the typical challenges.  At Brophy & Devaney, we focus on providing you with the information, guidance and representation you need to navigate through these strenuous times.

We understand that no two cases are alike. That is why we take a hands-on, client-focused approach with the goal of negotiating a solution that meets your needs, protects your rights, and minimizes the effect on your daily life. With this goal in mind, we realize that family law cases oftentimes present complex issues, and an early settlement may not be possible. When we accept a case, it is because we believe in our client’s position and know we can help. With over 65 years of combined litigation experience, our attorneys have the skills and expertise to litigate for you when an agreement cannot be reached.

The attorneys at Brophy & Devaney can assist clients with a wide range of family law matters, including:

  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Property Division
  • Child Custody
  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Post-Judgment Modifications & Enforcement


Texas law does not acknowledge legal separation. Unlike other states (such as California), in Texas you cannot get a “legal separation”.  Texas, however, adopts a system that uses a variety of tools listed below to achieve many similar goals as those recognized in a “legal separation” in other states.  Our attorneys understand what is involved in these suits and what it takes to achieve a favorable result for clients. If you have questions as to whether one of these may be appropriate for your situation, please contact us to schedule a consultation.

  • Temporary Order
    • Temporary orders can be sought in conjunction with a divorce action, or a SAPCR (explained below), or during an appeal of either type of suit. A Temporary Order is a court order that can be sought for a spouse’s protection, for the preservation of property, or for a child’s safety and welfare.
  • Temporary Restraining Orders (“TRO”)
    • A TRO is a court order used to preserve the status quo by restraining a party from doing some act, such as making harassing phone calls or threatening violence towards you or your loved ones.
  • Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
    • A SAPCR suit is separate from a divorce action and is a suit in which a parent seeks to (1) be appointed conservator of a child, (2) receive child support, (3) establish the parent-child relationship, (4) terminate the parent-child relationship, or (5) receive possession of or access to a child.
  • Separation Agreements
    • A Separation Agreement is a contract, enforceable at law, entered into by two spouses who no longer live together but are not officially divorced, that sets out each spouse’s responsibilities in the marriage.


For most people, filing for divorce is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. It is oftentimes difficult to accept that the marital relationship has broken down and no amount of counseling will help repair the relationship. Our attorneys will guide you through this emotional rollercoaster, advise you as to your rights and obligations, and work with you to achieve a fair and equitable resolution for you.

Property Division

Texas is a “community property” state, which means there is a presumption that all property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses regardless of who “earned” that property and regardless of whether the title of that property is in one or both spouses’ names. This means that all marital property is subject to division at divorce, regardless of what state it was acquired in.  Texas also recognizes “separate property.” Separate property is property that a spouse acquired prior to the marriage or received during the marriage as an inheritance or gift.

Child Custody

For many parents, the hardest aspect of a divorce is the effect it will have on the children. The outcome of a divorce that involves children will influence the parent-child relationship for years to come. Our attorneys are prepared to advocate for your parental rights and work to achieve a “best-case-scenario” parenting plan that fits your situation. No two custody disputes are the same and every case has its own factors, but the ultimate goal in any custody dispute is to ensure that your parental rights and the children’s best interests are protected. Our attorneys will negotiate and litigate the child custody issues while you focus on your children and continue to maintain a healthy relationship with them.

Child Support

Child support is another important element of any divorce involving children. The child support determination will have an impact not only on the financial situation of the payor and payee, but also on your children. Whether you are the parent responsible for making the payments (payor) or the parent who is receiving payment (payee), our attorneys will guide you through the process and advocate for a fair and just child support order. As with child custody, the ultimate goal is to determine and promote your children’s best interest and ensuring your children benefit from the appropriate amount of child support goes hand-in-hand with that goal.

Spousal Maintenance (aka “Spousal Support” aka “Alimony”)

As with child support, spousal support is often a highly contested element of divorce, especially when there is a significant discrepancy in earning potential between spouses. The purpose of spousal support is to provide temporary and rehabilitative support for a spouse after the divorce. To be eligible to receive spousal support, one must prove that she/he is a spouse, lacks sufficient property to provide for her/his minimum needs, and has met one of the 4 statutory bases for spousal support. A court will then consider various factors when determining how much and how long a spouse will pay support. When calculating support, the court must determine whether the support award exceeds the statutory cap of $5,000 or 20% of the other spouse’s gross monthly income.

Post-Judgment Modifications

Sometimes circumstances change and the court order you obtained at the time of your divorce may not fit your present circumstances. Whether you lost your job, or moved or got remarried, a substantial change in circumstances is often required for the court to modify a child custody, child support, or spousal support order.