Reducing the Cost of Legal Representation

A divorce is one of the most challenging and emotionally draining experiences someone can go through. An effective and experienced family law attorney can help guide you through this trying process, but it’s no secret that hiring legal representation in Texas can be expensive. Consider these tips:

  • Send specific, numbered questions via email
  • Gather documents and do your own homework
  • Create a timeline of your case

In this video, Mary E. Ramos outlines these tips to help reduce the cost of representation in Texas. If you’re going through a divorce, or any other difficult family law situation, contact the expert attorneys at Ramos Law Group, PLLC for more information.

1. Send Your Questions Via Email

Divorce can get expensive, especially when people won’t agree to things. As soon as attorneys get involved, expenses begin to skyrocket. One of the ways that you can reduce your attorney fees during the divorce process is to communicate via email to your attorney when you have questions and concerns.

At Ramos Law Group, attorneys may request that clients send questions, numbered one through five, in an email so that they can addressed and dealt with in an efficient and timely manner. The office policy is to return all emails within a 24 hour period.

2. Do Your Own Homework

Another way to mitigate your expenses is to do as much homework as you can on your own and gather documents to provide your attorneys. The less time that your attorneys have to work on your case, the less expensive it is for you.

3. Create a Timeline

One of the most effective tips to help reduce the cost of representation in Texas is to create a timeline of your case for your attorney. In other words, write out the ‘story’ of your case. Your divorce case is a story, and the only way your attorney is going to be able to relay that story to the judge is to know exactly what is going on. Remember: this your case, this is your marriage, these are your children, this is your life.

By providing as much detail as possible to your attorneys, they will be able to express your concerns to the judge more accurately; it’s like drawing a picture in a coloring book, and filling out that picture with as much detail as possible. This puts your attorneys in a better position to reach the goals set in your case.

Contact Our Team Today

Mary E. Ramos is committed to achieving positive outcomes for each and every one of her clients. As a board certified family law attorney, she has the knowledge, experience, and reputation you’re looking for when you’re going through a divorce. Consider these tips to help reduce the cost of representation in Texas, and schedule a consultation with our attorneys at Ramos Law Group, PLLC, today.

wooden gavel and block

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: What’s the difference between a lawyer and God? Answer: God doesn’t think he’s a lawyer. Yes, everyone loves a good lawyer joke, and granted, there is no shortage of sleazy shysters out there, but with a bit of patience and research, you can easily avoid the bad guys and obtain a lawyer who really does have your best interests at heart. This is important, because a good attorney can be an invaluable asset. Consider just some of the ways in which a qualified attorney can help you today.

A Sound Strategy

As far as complexity is concerned, quantum physics has nothing on our American legal system. Attorneys spend years making sense of the intricacies so that you don’t have to. If you have a legal issue that pertains to a crime, business or civil matter, an attorney can help you to make sense of your rights and develop a strategy to ensure the best possible outcome. By contrast, a lack of qualified legal representation can all but guarantee that you obtain less than what you deserve…if you obtain anything at all.

A More Timely and Stable Resolution

Let’s say that you decide to start a corporation. “I don’t need a lawyer to start a business,” you said. “I read an article on eHow, and I think I pretty much have the gist of it.” So you started filling out the forms, drafting your Articles of Incorporation, and paying the fees. As it turns out, though, you forgot to file all of the necessary paperwork, resulting in timely and costly delays, and now you’re being sued for trademark infringement by a company with a similar name located halfway across the world. With a qualified lawyer, you could have avoided all of these pitfalls.

A Level Playing Field

Let’s say that you’re in the midst of a divorce. You don’t have an attorney, but your spouse does. You might as well raise the white flag right now. A qualified attorney provides you with a level playing field. He or she understands all of the methods, strategies and tricks that the opposing lawyer is likely to unleash, and can help you to not only weather those storms unscathed, but to implement highly effective legal strategies of your own. Without this kind of professional assistance, your goose is cooked (if you’ll forgive the cliché).

stressful divorceImproved Peace of Mind

Most importantly of all, a qualified lawyer gives you the confidence to walk into that courtroom knowing that you have more than a fighting chance. Your attorney takes care of all the boring, confusing and frustrating legal procedures on your behalf, so you can focus on more important things. That freedom alone is worth the cost of a good attorney.

Divorce and Family Lawyer – Houston Texas

Mary E. Ramos is the lawyer Houston is talking about. If you need your own highly qualified family lawyer in Houston, contact Ramos Law Group, PLLC today at 713-225-6200. We’ll show you why we’re not your average law firm, and we’ll fight to get you the favorable outcome you deserve.

harris county district court

Finding the right lawyer in Houston can be quite the undertaking. With a population of over 2 million, we make up the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States. We have nearly 600 square miles of land and enough attorneys to populate a medium-sized island (I know there’s a lawyer joke in there somewhere). Every attorney claims to be the best, so how do you actually go about choosing the right one—or ones—to defend your rights?

Choosing the Perfect Lawyer in Houston

The first step, of course, is just process of elimination. What kind of attorney do you need? A divorce lawyer? A personal injury lawyer? A criminal lawyer? Perhaps an attorney who handles mass torts? Stay away from general-purpose, Jack-of-all-trades attorneys. As the local country buffet always reminds us, those who don’t excel at something are mediocre at everything. Hire a lawyer who knows their trade inside and out.

Look for Reviews and Recommendations

The Houston Lawyer Referral Service is an excellent non-profit agency that links people with qualified, highly rated attorneys in the Houston area. You can also find detailed reviews on sites like YellowPages.com, Yelp, Google Reviews, Avvo Lawyer Directory, and the FindLaw Lawyers Directory. If you find a lawyer who seems like a potential match, check out their reviews and testimonials. The more time you spend researching, the more informed your decision will be.

Speak to Potential Candidates

Just because an attorney has an attractive website and plenty of glowing reviews doesn’t automatically mean that they are the right fit for you. If a particular individual seems to show potential, give them a call and schedule a consultation. This will enable you to speak directly to the attorney and determine whether the two of you are on the same page. If you have any reservations or misgivings, keep looking. This is one of the biggest cities in the country, and there is no shortage of legal professionals.

Questions to Ask Your Attorney

  • How many years have you been in business?
  • What are your strategies? Do you take an aggressive approach, or do you favor settlements?
  • How long will this case take to resolve?
  • What are your fees?
  • Do you have experience in the county (or court) in question?

Find Your Lawyer in Houston – Call us Today

If you’re looking for the right lawyer in Houston who works in divorce and family proceedings, call Ramos Law Group, PLLC at 713-225-6200. We’ll gladly set you up with a consultation and demonstrate precisely how we can help you. Our services include divorce, child support, adoption, alimony, visitation and other critical family matters. Don’t hesitate another moment. Call us today.

Happy couple in a convertible car waving with just divorced signDivorce is a traumatic process for the individuals whose marriage is ending as well as their families and children. Because the process is messy, filled with emotions and incredibly stressful, there are many misconceptions surrounding divorces. People should consider these common misconceptions and remember that hiring a Houston divorce lawyer can help them find a reasonable resolution to their marriage.

1. Dissolution of Marriage vs. Legal Separation

Many people are interested in the idea of a legal separation. In some states the dissolution of marriage and legal separation are actually quite similar. They both involve an agreement that the parties reach about child custody, marital property, child support and other elements of the marriage. The difference is that when a couple is only legally separated, they cannot legally enter into a new marriage contract with someone else, while dissolution of marriage allows people to remarry. However, Texas does not recognize legal separation. The only options for couples in Texas is to remain married or to divorce.

2. No Fault Divorce

Under Texas law, there are a variety of legal reasons to justify divorce, including abuse, adultery and insupportability- which is a kind of catchall term for when a couple cannot go on being married.  Almost every person who wants a divorce in Texas can legally get a divorce using the irreconcilable differences justification, or the no fault divorce. Most agreed divorces are granted on the terms of insupportability.

3. Custody Dispute Standards

The Texas courts are required to examine the best interests of the child when ruling on custody. In this analysis, the judge may examine the spouse’s home environment, history of abuse, employment, and a variety of other factors to determine what’s best for the child. A Houston divorce lawyer can help their client make a strong custody argument to the judge.

4. Age When the Child Can State a Custody Preference

In Texas, children are not allowed to testify in court. Many years ago children of a certain age could sign papers stating a preference as to where they will live, however that is no longer allowed. Upon the motion of one party, the court may speak to children at least 12 years of age in the judge’s chamber. Even if the child prefers one parent over the other, the court may overrule the child if they feel another arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

5. Joint Custody Involves Equal Time with the Children

Divorce and Separation conceptCustody is called conservatorship in Texas. In Texas, courts presume that parents have joint managing conservatorship. A parent with joint custody has the right to manage the child’s affairs like schooling, legal affairs, medical needs, upbringing and extracurricular activities. Just because a parent has joint custody doesn’t mean they have equal time with the child; they just have a say in managing the child’s life. The possession determines how often each parent sees the child, and Houston divorce lawyers can help people form solid parenting plans that include conservatorship and possession.

6. Computation of Child Support

There’s a defined schedule for child support for parents who make less than $8,550 a month that starts at 20% of income per month for one child and increases with more children from there.

7. Wage Assignment

Texas garnishes wages, also called wage assignment, in order to ensure that child support from one parent reaches the other parent. The money is taken directly from the supporting parent’s paycheck.

8. Division of Property

Courts usually divide marital property equally, but they have some discretion to make unequal distribution if, for example, one of the spouses hides assets or one spouse significantly out earns the other, or if one spouse is at fault in the breakup of the marriage. Spouses can also trade off property that they find important for consideration in other property.

9. Cost of Divorce

Divorce is often expensive. By utilizing processes like mediation and effective negotiations, spouses can save themselves time and money. When the divorce drags on through litigation hearings in court, however, it can become expensive.

Contacting a Divorce Lawyer

Qualified Houston Divorce lawyers are able to diligently analyze a spouse’s circumstances and rights to develop an effective and cost controlled plan for dealing with the divorce. If things don’t go as planned, they can also aggressively pursue their client’s interests in court.

The Houston divorce lawyers at Ramos Law Group, PLLC are committed to finding the best solutions for our clients. Contact our office for more information or to speak with an attorney today.

Texas recognizes an informal marriage, or what is often called a common law marriage, in very limited circumstances. Simply living together, sharing a residence, or even having children together is not enough to create to a common law marriage, regardless of how long you have been a couple.

Several specific factors must be met in order to create an informal marriage under the Texas Family Code:

1.      A man and a woman, neither of whom are married to anyone else and who are over the age of eighteen,
2.      must agree to be married,
3.      must live together in the state of Texas,
4.      and must represent themselves as a married couple to others in Texas.

If all of these factors are not fulfilled a common law marriage has not occurred. Often, one or more of these factors are missing. For example, the parties may live together and occasionally tell people that they are husband and wife, but if they have never agreed to be married, then an informal marriage has not occurred. Sometimes parties agree to be married in the future, then a common law marriage has not occurred. Sometimes the parties have only told people who live outside of Texas that they are married, for example parents who reside out of state. In this case, a common law marriage has not occurred.

If your relationship meets all of the requirements of a common law marriage in Texas, then it will be treated like a formalized marriage for the purposes of a divorce. If that is the case, it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney, who will help protect your interests.

If you desire to change your child’s last name, there are procedural steps that must be followed. In Texas a parent must petition a court to legally change a child’s name. This petition must include the present name and residence of the child, the reason the name change is requested, the full name requested for the child, whether the child is subject to continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court, and whether the child is subject to the registration requirements under Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the child is ten years of age or older, the child must provide written consent for his or her name to be changed.

Once the petition has been filed and all the parties properly served, a hearing will be scheduled. The other parent will be given the opportunity to contest the proposed name change; if that is the case then the Court will decide if the name change is in the best interest of the child.   In most cases, the court will require that both parents consent to the name change.

If the Court grants the name change request, the judge will sign the order granting the name change and you will be able to take a certified copy of the order to the necessary agencies to have all identification and governmental documents changed to reflect your child’s new name.

1. Think before you call or email

Your family law attorney is there to guide you through the process of a divorce or family law dispute and understands that you are going to have questions about the process. But every communication with your attorney will result in being billed, so save your small questions for a weekly status email with your attorney. This does not mean you should avoid communicating important information to your attorney, just think twice before you send off a quick email asking for information that could be found elsewhere or saved for another time.

2. Be an active participant in your own case

Family law cases require the production of lots of information. This can include financial documents, photographs, timelines of events, etc. Don’t make the attorney feel as if they are pulling teeth trying to get this information from you. Be proactive and provide your attorney with copies of any documents, photographs or other items you believe may be pertinent to your case.  If there is an update or an incident occurs that could have an impact on your case, let your attorney know.

3. A therapist is cheaper than your attorney

Going through a divorce or a child custody dispute can be an emotional rollercoaster and your attorney understands the pain you may be going through. Family law attorneys are there to defend your case to the best of their ability, not to be a sounding board for your issues. A good family law attorney will always be supportive and often will lend an ear to your troubles, but you must understand you are being billed for their time. Turn to your friends or families if you want to vent about your ex.

4. Respond to requests from your attorney in a timely fashion.

Many aspects of your family law case, such as discovery, are time sensitive in nature. If your attorney sends you a document and tells you it needs to be notarized or sends discovery requests and gives you a deadline it is very important you respond quickly. Your lack of response can cause the attorney to make multiple attempts to contact you, all of which are being billed to you.

5. Make the paralegals your friends.

You’re entitled to speak to your attorney about issues relevant to your case, but paralegals are often just as informed about your case and can provide the same amount of information that your attorney can but for a lower billable rate.

If you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer, please give us a call at (713) 225-6200 or visit us on the web at RamosFamilyLaw.com.

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