Posted by Ramos Law Group, PLLC | Divorce
In Texas, a divorce is said to be “contested” when the parties cannot agree on one or more of the issues in dispute. Typically, disagreements arise over the division of community property, spousal maintenance, custody, visitation, and support of minor children. If the parties are not in agreement, a divorce court will need to make a finding by applying the relevant laws to the facts of the case. The judge makes a determination after conducting a hearing on the matter, which may include the presentation of arguments, evidence, and testimony from both sides.
From this description, you can see that a hearing in a contested divorce sounds like a trial – and it is similar in many respects. You might hesitate to go through the process, especially when it seems easier to make an agreement through an uncontested divorce. However, you could be making a serious mistake that affects your rights, financial interests, and future if you do not stand firm on your position. You will need advice and counsel from a Texas contested divorce attorney if you are dealing with the three key reasons to contest your divorce.
1. You believe your spouse is concealing assets. There is just one reason that a party to a divorce would hide property, and you can guess that it is financial in nature. When someone conceals assets from the court, a judge will not take the value of these items into account when making a decision on how to divide community property equitably. Plus, these assets may also impact a determination on spousal maintenance and child support. In a contested divorce, you have access to discovery tools, through which you can identify assets and bring them properly before the court.
2. Your children’s best interests will not be served through a proposed custody or visitation arrangement. If you disagree with the other party about an arrangement for co-parenting, you should contest your divorce to get a court ruling on custody and/or visitation. A judge is required to make a finding that serves the child’s best interests, by considering such factors as:
The emotional and physical needs of the child, now and in the future;
Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s well-being;
Any past acts or omission by a parent that indicate trouble with the parent-child relationship;
The child’s wishes, if appropriate in consideration of age and maturity; and,
Other factors that would negatively affect a child, such as domestic violence or addiction concerns.
3. You deserve proper spousal maintenance after giving up opportunities to focus on your family. Post-divorce spousal support is appropriate in many situations, but your soon-to-be-ex will likely argue against it on various grounds. One of the most effective strategies in being granted an order for spousal support is proving to the court that you gave up significant opportunities during the marriage. A judge may approve your request for post-divorce maintenance if:
You left school to get a job and support the household, while your spouse obtained a degree or other professional credentials;
You quit your job or otherwise gave up employment opportunities to raise children;
You suffer from an impairment that renders you unable to work to support yourself; or,
You do not work because you are the caregiver for a disabled child.
FAQs About Texas Contested Divorce: Some answers to common questions may also be informative on the reasons to contest your divorce.
What if we can agree on some divorce issues? If the parties can reach a compromise on some matters, they can enter into an agreement. Under the circumstances, you would only have to go through a hearing on disputed issues.
Are there options other than a divorce court hearing? Yes, you may want to consider mediation to resolve your disagreements. A trained mediator can often get parties to compromise by encouraging productive conversation about disputes.
Do I need a lawyer for a contested divorce? You are not legally required to hire legal counsel, but the reasons listed above should convince you to consult with an attorney. If you do not have a legal background, you cannot adequately protect your rights and seek appropriate relief.
Speak to a Texas Contested Divorce Lawyer About the Process
There are many other reasons to contest your divorce, but they generally relate to asset division, alimony, or issues related to minor children. You have rights and interests to protect, so you need experienced counsel to assist with the process. To learn how our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can help, please contact our office today to set up a consultation. Once we review your circumstances, we can advise you on the next steps.