reasons to file divorceGoing through a divorce is difficult. Separating from someone who was once a major part of your life can be extremely daunting, to say the least. And the struggle is multiplied when you have children involved, mutual property and other factors that need to be worked out. It may be tempting to navigate the divorce on your own, but the reality is that hiring a divorce attorney is crucial if you want ideal results. Here are five reasons why you should contact the best divorce lawyers in Houston.

1. Minimize Stress Levels

As you go through the divorce process, you have plenty to concentrate on. Dealing with paperwork, legal issues and other necessary evils is only going to add to the stress. Hiring the best divorce lawyers in Houston helps to minimize your workload so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family. It is all too easy to get bogged down with the technical issues in a divorce that you forget what’s really important. A qualified divorce attorney handles all of the details that are either unfamiliar or overwhelming so that you don’t have to.

2. Save Money and Preserve Property

You may think that going through the divorce process on your own can minimize expenses, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In the long run, it is much more cost effective to pay lawyer fees and maintain what is rightfully yours. If your former spouse has the best divorce lawyers in Houston, you are immediately disadvantaged. Even in an uncontested divorce, you owe it to yourself to use whatever resources are available to help you get ideal results, and a divorce attorney is one of your most valuable assets in this scenario. Don’t put yourself in a situation that could end in regret; the risk just isn’t worth it.

3. Hasten the Process

In the state of Texas, it takes a minimum of 60 days to finalize a divorce. Of course, a 60-day divorce rarely happens even when it is uncontested. There are plenty of legal hoops to jump through, paperwork that needs to be filled out, waiting periods and more. The best divorce lawyers in Houston know exactly what needs to be done to make this trying process as quick as possible. If you want to keep the process moving, you must have an attorney working for you. The court system is complicated and attempting to go through it on your own is an easy way to cause significant delays.

4. To Prevent Errors

prevent errors during divorce

One small detail overlooked can have serious repercussions. For example, if your spouse has outstanding credit card debt that isn’t acknowledged, you can be left paying half the bill when all is said and done. Even if you consider yourself extremely knowledgeable and meticulous, the stress and complication involved in a divorce can overwhelm even the sharpest people. It is important to have a third-party legal professional who has no emotional involvement to make sure that every single detail is taken care of. Using the best divorce lawyers in Houston ensures that you aren’t stuck paying for a careless and avoidable error. After all, you don’t get a second chance after the judge has made a decision.

5. Permanent Results

Most people don’t speak legalese. Just because you can read and understand legal documents does not mean you should attempt to write them yourself. If you try to navigate a divorce on your own, there is a good chance that any agreements you make with your former spouse may not actually be binding. The best divorce lawyers in Houston make sure that once the divorce is finalized, it stays finalized. If you want to put the past behind you, a divorce attorney ensures that you never have to go through this difficult time again.

Choose Ramos Law Group, PLLC

At Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we take great pride in being able to provide the best legal service possible. Our technical knowledge, years of experience and expertise make us highly qualified to handle even the most complicated divorces involving high net worth parties. Our clients consistently trust us because we provide exemplary service. Don’t make the mistake of trying to navigate the divorce process on your own. Call 713-225-6200 for more information, or simply fill out a contact form on our website. Protect yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time.

    1. Make copies of all financial records.

It’s very important to have an accurate picture of all your assets and debts. You’ll need to know all bank accounts, savings accounts, loan accounts, credit accounts, tax returns, etc. as all of these will need to be divided in your divorce. Having copies made before you actually separate from your spouse will save you the trouble of trying to track records down later.

    1. Obtain a credit report.

A credit report is a useful tool in a divorce, it helps you to ascertain all the debts associated with your credit score. If your credit score is tied to your soon to be ex-spouse, a credit report will help to provide a clear picture of your current financial status and will identify any problem areas. It may also potential reveal loans or lines of credit that you did not realize were opened in your name during your marriage.

    1. Get your own accounts.

You will need your own accounts once the divorce is finalized anyway and your own accounts will give you freedom and peace of mind during the pendency of your divorce. In a community property state such as Texas all assets and debts are still considered community property, but having your own account allows you to handle your own bills during the divorce and prevents your soon to be ex from control over your money.

    1. Get your debt under control.

Divorce is an expensive process as it is. Reducing your debt will increase your potential credit line in the wake of a divorce as well as lessen your bills you will be responsible for with only your income after a divorce.

    1. Start a budget.

A divorce forces most people to live on one income when they are accustomed to living on two incomes. Establishing a budget will help you live within your means and make the transition from two incomes to one income more manageable. Make sure to be reasonable; you want to live within your means, not incur additional debts during the divorce process.

    1. Social Networking Sites

Studies have shown that social networking sites, specifically Facebook, are a contributing factor to infidelity. Facebook allows for affairs to blossom; reconnecting old flames or allowing a person to become friends with someone they met in passing. If your spouse is spending a lot of time on social networking sites or is being secretive about their online activities, it may be a sign that they are engaging in an affair.

    1. Cell Phone Habits

Your spouse may all of a sudden add a password or lock code to their cell phone to prevent you being able to check their calls or read messages. They may also keep the phone on silent or refuse to answer calls or texts in your presence. A sudden change in cell phone habits may be an indicator that your spouse is communicating with someone they don’t want you to know about.

    1. Spending Habits

Has your spouse suddenly been more secretive about their spending habits? An increase in spending habits, changing the location as to where the bills or credit card statements are directed or preventing your from accessing online billing statements may all be signs pointing that your spouse wants to prevent you from monitoring their spending.

    1. Change in Work Schedule or Hours

A sudden increase in hours spent at work or traveling for work can be an indicator that your spouse is using work as a cover for time spent with a paramour. Work is a convenient cover for a cheater and a sudden change in schedule may be cause for concern. Checking your spouse’s paycheck for overtime hours is a simple way to verify that your spouse actually is working overtime and nothing suspicious is going on.

    1.  Disappearing Acts or Secretive About Schedule

Are you unable to reach your spouse on the phone or at work? Are they evasive when asked where they were or why they didn’t answer the phone? If your spouse is suddenly unavailable or can’t explain the periods of time they’ve disappeared, they may be spending that time with another person. If they get defensive about their activities, it may be cause for concern.

If you believe your spouse is cheating, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC so we can discuss your options.

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The Top 5 Divorce Mistakes

To avoid the top five mistakes in a divorce you must take a step back, remove the emotions and treat the process similar to a business transaction. If you are considering divorce, use these tips to help you expedite the process and avoiding the additional cost of an extended litigation. Avoid these divorce mistakes to move on with your life as quickly and painlessly as possible.

1. Having Unrealistic Expectations

The Texas Family Code will dictate many aspects of your divorce, including child support, custody, and division of property. You will probably be awarded what is considered a fair and equitable division of the marital estate and you will probably be awarded or ordered to pay guideline child support. Expecting to take your spouse to the cleaners or having sole custody of the children, absent strong circumstances to support otherwise, is not likely to happen. You should focus on a reasonable resolution rather than “winning” your divorce.

2. Withholding Information from Your Attorney

Your attorney is there to guide you through the divorce process as well as zealously represent your interests. But your attorney must have your cooperation and full disclosure; withholding information will only hurt your case in the long run. You may think that something is trivial or embarrassing but it may be vital information to your case and you need to disclose it to your attorney. The best path to avoiding other divorce mistakes is to be open and honest with your attorney from the moment you are considering divorce.

3. Being a Passive Participant in Your Own Divorce

A divorce is likely addressing vital issues such as your children, your money, and your home. It can be an overwhelming process and you may prefer to let your attorney handle everything and distance yourself from the logistics. It’s important, however, that you remain apprised of the status of your divorce. Ask questions if you are confused and make sure you understanding everything you are signing, whether it’s a mediated settlement or your final decree of divorce.

4. Allowing Emotions to Dictate Your Actions

Divorce is an emotionally trying time. You are probably going through a rollercoaster of emotion, which is understandable for someone in your position. Divorce mistakes are more likely if you let your emotions get in the way of the big picture. You’re ending a relationship you were likely hugely invested in, but you need to set the hurt and pain aside and focus on closing this chapter in your life. Considering the divorce will be over at some point and you will move on with your life, don’t let feelings of anger or hurt cloud your judgment.

5. Believing Your Soon-to-be-Ex is Your Friend

Divorce, by nature, is an adversarial process. There are many divorces where the spouses can come to an amicable solution but there are also many divorces where one spouse will take advantage of the other. Don’t sign anything your spouse wants you to sign without consulting with a competent divorce attorney or let your spouse convince you that you don’t need an attorney. The most important party in your divorce is you; your focus should be on protecting your assets and interests, not remaining friends with your soon to be ex.

The Worst Divorce Mistake: Foregoing Legal Representation

A divorce process can easily be one of the most emotionally and financially turbulent time a person can go through. Having professional legal advice and representation of a board certified attorney will protect your rights to join assets as well as make the entire process less stressful. A family law attorney will keep you from making these potential divorce mistakes and confidently move on to the next chapter of your life.

If you’re looking for an experienced attorney for this important role, contact our team at Ramos Law Group today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Mediation is very popular as a method for settling divorce cases rather than going to trial and it has many proponents. But why should you attempt mediation rather than go forward at trial?

  1. Some courts require mediation
  2. Mediation is so successful that many family law courts make mediation a requisite before parties may proceed at trial. So while you may believe your case needs to go before a judge at trial, chances are good that you will be required to mediate your case at some point during the divorce process.

  3. You retain control over the outcome
  4. Should you go to trial, the end result is entirely in the hands of one person sitting on the bench or twelve people sitting in the jury box. These are people that don’t know you, don’t know the facts and must make a judgment call about the lives of two strangers based on what is presented in possibly a two hour trial. Mediation is a collaborative process where both parties come to an agreement about all the issues, whether it’s property division or child custody issues. Mediation is about compromise

  5. Less costly than litigation
  6. Litigation is very costly. You’re going to have to take off work; you’re going to incur attorney’s fees for the court appearance itself as well as for prepping for your trial and your trial may last for days. Mediation can finalize all issues in one day.

  7. Privacy concerns
  8. Divorce proceedings, including the record of testimony presented during the trial, are public record. That means that every bit of dirty laundry aired about you or your spouse during trial is available for public consumption. What is said in mediation is confidential; only the parties, their attorneys and the mediator will know what was said.

  9. Timetable
  10. Courts are burdened with huge case loads and judges can only hear so many cases a day. You may be scheduled for trial on a certain date but there is no guarantee you will actually be heard that day. Mediation allows for all the parties to agree on a date that fits their schedule and is not dictated by a busy court’s schedule.

For the reasons stated above, mediation is an invaluable tool in a divorce and parties should be open-minded to the process. If you are going through a divorce or are interested in learning more about the mediation process, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC.

Marriage can be confusing enough on its own, but several states still have laws on the books that may make you scratch your head.

  1. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to remarry the same person four times.
  2. In Tennessee, a person may file for divorce on the grounds that their spouse made an attempt on their life by poison or other means showing malice.
  3. Adulterers beware! New Mexico and Mississippi each have a divorce law that allows the victim of adultery to sue the paramour of the cheating spouse for damages.
  4. California, Colorado, Montana, and yes, even Texas, allow for the practice of marriage by proxy, which means someone stands in for a bride or groom who can’t be present at his or her wedding. This is limited to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, but is still in practice today.
  5. In South Carolina, under the Offenses Against Morality and Decency Act, it is illegal for men over the age of sixteen to propose marriage as a joke.  If they don’t mean it when they say it, they have committed a misdemeanor
  1. Transfer of property
  2. Your Final Decree of Divorce will include language awarding property to you and your ex, however that is not the final step in the process of awarding property. Make sure that, if relevant to your case, documents such as Special Warranty Deeds, Deeds of Trust or Powers of Attorneys are signed, notarized and filed with the proper entities. Don’t wait until an issue pops up down the road to discover that you never transferred the title to a piece of property, make sure it’s all handled quickly after your divorce is finalized.

  3. Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
  4. If you were awarded part of your ex’s retirement benefits in a 401k, you will need a QDRO to effectuate being awarded that money. A QDRO is a separate document from your final decree of divorce that is directed to the 401k’s plan administrator. It will also need to be signed by a judge before the money can be removed from the account. This cannot be done until after your final decree of divorce has been signed, but be prepared to get this finished soon after the divorce is granted.

  5. Name Change
  6. If you restored your last name to your maiden name you will need to take a certified copy of your decree to the DMV, social security office, banks, schools, etc. It can be daunting so it is best to deal with it as soon after your divorce as possible.

  7. Insurance Beneficiaries
  8. A divorce can impact your current life insurance policies if your former spouse was named as a beneficiary. Make sure to update all your policies, including any policies through your employment, to reflect a new beneficiary.

  9. Children-Related Issues
  10. Provide your child’s school a certified copy of your final decree of divorce in case any custody issues arise. Contact the Texas Disbursement Unit to set up your child support payments account or start making payments if you were ordered to pay child support. Update any medical professionals with your new name, address and relevant information.

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.

1. Don’t involve the kids

Just don’t. Divorce is hard enough on children without added pressure or emotional blackmail coming from the parents. Don’t use your kids as pawns, don’t disparage your ex and don’t involve them in any pending litigation. It reflects poorly on you, your judge won’t appreciate it and it will have harmful effects on your children.

2. Don’t make unreasonable demands

You’re probably hurt and upset with your soon-to-be ex right now, but be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t insist on being name sole custodial parent when there is no evidence to show your ex is a bad parent. Don’t insist on being awarded a disproportionate share of the community estate or spousal maintenance just to “get back” at your ex. Unrealistic expectations make the process more litigious, increase legal fees and usually leave unhappy parties.

3. Don’t be adversarial

Divorce is emotional enough without being litigious and cutthroat. The majority of divorces are settled through informal settlement agreements or mediation. While sometimes extensive court battles are the only way to settle a divorce, more often than not it’s through agreement and you need to be open to that process. It’s not about winning in court; it’s about looking at the bigger picture and focusing on closing one chapter of your life as painlessly as possible.

4. Don’t refuse to communicate

This is especially important if you have kids or shared finances that require some level of communication while your divorce is pending. Don’t insist on going through your attorneys to schedule exchanging the kids or making sure your mortgage is timely paid. This only serves to increase legal fees and annoy the other party. If you absolutely cannot speak with your spouse then your attorney can facilitate communications, but try to be open to communicating with your spouse.

5. Don’t spend a lot of money or incur a lot of debts

A divorce forces couples to go from being supported by two incomes to just one income. It can be a very difficult time financially for some couples, don’t increase your burden by incurring additional credit card debt or make big purchases. This is also an issue for community property states where any assets or debts accrued, even while a divorce is pending, are considered part of the community estate and your spouse is entitled to their community share. Make smart financial decisions during the pendency of your divorce.

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

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Legal Cost Control – 5 Tips for a Lower Cost Divorce

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 for the benefit of legal cost control. Making efficient use of your lawyer’s time will earn you a lower cost divorce.

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. Being proactive by providing your attorney with copies of any documents, photographs or other items you believe may be pertinent to your case is an effective form of legal cost control. 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 for a lower cost divorce.

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. Take charge of your legal cost control by being responsive with your attorney whenever possible.

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 for an overall lower cost divorce.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer, please contact us online or give us a call at (713) 352-3427.

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