“I’m glad I found Mary! I knew immediately she was going to handle my case since she was knowledgeable and you can see her passion for what she does. Also, she put my mind at ease and made me feel like I was in great hands. My divorce was finalized about a month ago and I could not be happier.” – O. M. on.
Divorce In Texas
Getting a divorce in Texas is likely one of the most stressful events you will experience in your lifetime. Individuals often experience a wide range of intense emotions including anger, fear, sadness and resentment and these feelings may cloud one’s better judgment. In addition to being an extremely emotional process, a divorce often involves the biggest financial decision of your life. That is why it is critical to have a divorce attorney who can protect your best interests during this difficult period.
At the Ramos Law Firm, we believe it is important to educate our clients about their rights in a divorce, and to find the right divorce lawyer to guide them through the process from start to finish. We will guide you through the process and ensure that you have the ability to make the best possible decisions for your family and your future. Call or email us today to schedule your initial consultation and to learn more about the divorce process.
While considering whether a divorce is best for you and your family, it may be helpful to understand how divorce works in Texas. Below please find a general overview of divorce in Texas:
The Ramos Law Firm represents many individuals in uncontested divorces, and all of our divorce attorneys do so for a flat fee. In an uncontested divorce both spouses agree to be divorced on the grounds of insupportability, sometimes referred to as a no-fault divorce. Both spouses also agree on all other issues related to the divorce including child custody and visitation, child support, and the division of property accumulated during the marriage.
This is generally the quickest and least expensive method of divorce, however, both spouses must agree on all issues for this process to work.
A contested divorce occurs when divorcing spouses cannot agree on all issues. Just because a divorce is contested does not mean that it cannot be resolved amicably. Our team of Houston divorce lawyers is well versed in handling contested divorces and always aims to ensure the most efficient and painless process possible. In fact, the majority of contested divorces are resolved by the agreement of the parties, often following mediation. An experienced attorney, like the attorneys at the Ramos Law Firm, are often able to effectively negotiate a favorable agreement by removing emotion from the discussion and focusing on the legal rights of each party.
High net worth divorces are divorces in which the parties have accumulated substantial assets during the course of the marriage. Since these proceedings differ from the standard divorces process, the guidance of an experienced professional like the divorce lawyer you’ll connect with at Ramos Law Firm is the key to navigating the best course of action. Often multiple properties, retirement accounts, stocks and often closely held businesses need to be divided. Complex financial documents need to be analyzed in order for a fair and equitable division of property to occur.
The agreements or court ordered provisions for visitation and support of your children contained in your divorce decree may no longer be in the best interest of your family. If a material and substantial change has occurred since your original divorce decree was filed.
The Process Of Divorce
After hiring a divorce attorney in a contested divorce, an Original Petition for Divorce is filed on your behalf. Your case is then assigned to a district court in the county in which you live. The Ramos Law Firm handles contested divorces in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County and Harris County. After the Petition is filed, a copy of the Petition is served on your spouse by a process server. If your spouse files the Original Petition, you must file an Answer as well as a Counter-Petition. It is usually of little legal consequence which party files first.
Temporary Restraining Orders
Our divorce attorneys will also advise to serve a Temporary Restraining Order on your spouse at this time. This is a common practice. A Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO, should not be confused with a criminal protective order, and does not imply any misbehavior by you or your spouse. A TRO is a series of injunctions that require both parties to maintain the status quo. Both parties are enjoined from making any large or unusual purchases, selling any major assets, destroying any documents that may be relevant in the divorce, and changing the children’s school or daycare among other restrictions. The purpose of the TRO is to prevent one spouse from making any large changes without the consent of the other spouse. Your divorce lawyer at Ramos Law Firm will always try to keep the process as simple as possible. Filing a TRO helps to achieve this goal.
Temporary Orders Hearing
If there are any issues that need to be addressed early in the case, for example, if the parties can’t agree who should live in the house, where the children should live, who should pay the bills, a Temporary Orders Hearing may be necessary. At a Temporary Orders Hearing, a judge will hear from the parties and any other witnesses in the case, and make a temporary ruling on issues like use of property, custody and child and spousal support. Our Houston divorce lawyers also advise this method to keep emotions at bay and focus on what is legally best for both parties. This ruling is not final, but will only remain in place until the divorce is finalized. Many people are able to come to a temporary agreement without attending court, and several courts require that the parties attempt to mediate before a Temporary Orders Hearing.
For many individuals, especially those who have a high net worth estate, discovery is a critical portion of the contested divorce process. During the discovery process both sides are allowed to ask questions and request documents from the other party. Your divorce lawyer will work with you to prepare your documents, as well as review and explain the documents provided by your spouse. This allows a fair division of property as it forces parties to disclose all assets and liabilities.
Many courts in the greater Houston area require mediation as part of the legal process of divorce. During mediation, a neutral third party mediator will help the parties reach an agreement. Your attorney will be present during mediation to protect your interests and help you negotiate effectively. Agreements reached during the mediation process are binding and enforceable. Once a mediated settlement agreement is signed, neither party can change his/her mind. Thus, the divorce attorneys at Ramos Law Firm take their time to make certain you are fully aware of the permanency of the agreement and approve of all the elements.
In the event the parties cannot reach an agreement, a final trial on the merits will be held. At the final trial all of the issues and evidence will be presented to a judge or a jury for a decision. The attorneys at the Ramos Law Firm are experienced trial lawyers who can help you effectively present your side of the story.
When parents cannot agree as to what living situation is in the best interest of the children and this cannot be settled in mediation with Houston divorce lawyers, child custody becomes an issue in a divorce. Courts make custody determinations by making findings regarding the best interests of the children. Factors such as which parent acted as the primary caregiver during the marriage, the respective work and living situations of the parents and the parenting abilities of each parent are often used in making this determination. An experienced divorce attorney will help explain the strengths and weaknesses of your child custody case, so that you can determine the best steps going forward. In some cases, parents are able to reach an agreement regarding creative custody arrangements that give both parents equal access to the child. The divorce attorneys at Ramos Law Firm are familiar with various arrangements, and will explore which is best suited for your case.
Most courts in the Houston area require one parent to pay child support regardless of the custody arrangement. Guideline child support is based on Texas law and is calculated using a percentage of your net monthly income. In some cases parents agree to non-guideline support in creative custody arrangements. Non-guideline support must be agreed to, as the courts generally apply the guidelines.
Division of Property
All property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property, regardless of who purchased the property or whose name is on the property. Your Ramos divorce lawyer will know the ins and outs of the requirement that all community property must be split fairly and equitably between the parties in a divorce. A fair and equitable division is often a 50/50 split; however, there are several factors that can cause one party to be awarded more than half of the community estate. Additionally, some types of property are not part of the community estate, but instead the separate property of one party. The party claiming separate property has the responsibility of proving that the property is separate.
Division of Debt
Most debt accumulated during the marriage is community debt and must be dealt with during the divorce in consultation with your divorce attorney. It is important to remember that even if debt is awarded to your spouse in the divorce, if your name remains on the debt, it will affect your credit if your spouse later refuses to pay. It is best to close all joint accounts rather than having one spouse make payments toward community debts.
Spousal support refers to payments made by one spouse to the other on a monthly basis. Spousal support is often referred to as alimony. There are two types of spousal support in Texas, Chapter 8 spousal support, which is subject to statutory requirements and enforceable like child support, and contractual spousal support which is a contractual agreement between the parties. One type of spousal support may be better that the other depending on your situation, so your divorce lawyer at Ramos Law Firm will speak with you in detail about your situation to settle on the most appropriate choice.
Many courts place a geographic restriction on the primary residence of the children. For example, Harris County Courts often restrict the primary residence of the children to Harris and contiguous counties for so long as both parents live in Harris and contiguous counties. If one parent moves away, then the parent with the children is also free to move. A geographic restriction may also be lifted by the agreement of the parties or for good cause.
Getting a divorce in Texas can be challenging but with the help of the Houston divorce lawyers at Ramos Law Firm, the entire process can run smoothly and be completed in a timely manner. Call or Email us Today!