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The following information is provided to give litigants and potential litigants an idea of what to expect in a divorce. However, it is important to remember that each and every divorce is different and not all stages apply to each divorce case. There is an infinite number of issues that could arise, and this article is intended only to give an overall idea and not to contemplate every possibility.

Stage One: Initiating the Divorce and Provisional Remedies

The initial stage of divorce includes a filing of a petition for divorce, along with additional provisional requests, if any. The initial requests from the Petitioner must be served on the Respondent or the Respondent has to execute a waiver of service indicating receipt of the pleadings.

Along with the Original Petition for Divorce, a Petitioner can file a Temporary Restraining Order and Request for a Temporary Orders Hearing.

Temporary Orders protect the parties until a final decree of divorce is issued to make sure all the bills are getting paid, each parent has access to the children, that the children are being provided for, that each party exclusive of their vehicle and/or residence, and access to funds to live and pay their attorney, if necessary.

Stage Two: Information Gathering

Once the initial issues have been resolved, the next stage of divorce involves the process and procedures necessary to gather the information needed to finalize the divorce. Parties can agree to the exchange of information or the parties can utilize formal discovery procedures to gain access to the information necessary to either reach an agreement and/or prepare for trial.

Parties will need to gather all information necessary to properly determine the assets and debts which are includable in the community estate and those that are the separate property of each party. Additionally, any information necessary to resolve issues related to the children would be gathered during this time as well, including, but not limited to, information that could affect custody, possession and access, child support and medical support for the children.

Again, this stage of litigation can be done completely by agreement if the parties are able to work together and are willing to rely on the information provided by the other party. However, it can be the stage of the divorce that can quickly cost the parties quite a bit of time and money.

Third Stage: Finishing & The Final Decree of Divorce

Once the parties have all the information they need, the final stage of the Divorce process is achieved either through the parties reaching a settlement on their issues or trying the case before a judge or jury. Once the decision or an agreement is reached, the parties will have to convert the agreement or decision into a Final Decree of Divorce. In addition to the decree, the parties may need a number of additional documents to be drafted and executed to effectuate provisions of the decree, such as transferring the title of a vehicle or transferring money from retirement. Finally, the court will also require that additional documents be submitted with the final order, such as a medical support order for children.

There are an infinite number of issues that could arise, and this article is intended only to give an overall idea and not to contemplate every possibility. To learn more, contact Ramos Law Group to consult with an attorney about your case.

About Divorce

Tackling a divorce is one of the greatest challenges any person will ever face. Separating spouses often have to deal with a host of emotional, financial, and logistical issues both during and after divorce proceedings.

From coping with the loss of a marital relationship to determining visitation schedules and managing new budgets, divorce takes exes-to-be on a mental rollercoaster ride, often accompanied by physical manifestations of stress. Making the process even more difficult, many separating couples face an additional trial: talking to their kids about the divorce.

Questions in an Uncomfortable Conversation

Breaking the news of a divorce to children is often the most grueling experience for parents in the midst of a split. Figuring out how to approach the situation can be overwhelming. When is the right time to tell the kids? What is the best way to explain the cause of the separation? How can the children be spared from thinking the divorce is their fault? How can they be comforted and assured that they are loved, even if their parents are no longer in love?

When it comes to sharing the news of a divorce with children, it can seem like there are more questions than answers. However, there are some tried and true methods recommended by pediatric professionals for approaching this tricky situation. Following these steps can help ensure the most positive outcomes for both parents and children.

Have Age-Appropriate Conversations

When telling your kid about divorce, there are a number of factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the age of the child. Your child’s perception of the world, their ability to manage emotions, their aptitude to understand complex ideas and situations are all very dependent on their age and development. How you approach talking to kids about divorce should vary greatly depending on whether that child is 4 or 14 years old.

Advice for Toddlers

Young babies and toddlers are unlikely to be able to truly comprehend anything about the divorce process. But, as children reach preschool age, their cognition will develop to the point where simple concepts can be understood. Although limited, children between 3 to 5 years old have some ability to understand cause and effect, as well as express their feelings.

Children at this age are still highly reliant on their parents and tend to have a very self-centered worldview. As such, when talking to kids about divorce, parents of children in this age group need to remember that young children often think that the world revolves around them. Divorcing moms and dads must make assurances to preschoolers that the divorce is not the child’s fault. It is also important for parents to offer young kids as much stability and normalcy as possible. A focus on regular meal times, play times, and bedtime routines are key to achieving the best transition.

Advice for Preteen Children

For children between the ages of 6 to 12, it remains critical for parents to offer a sense of stability. Kids within this age group are beginning to develop greater independence and are capable of more complex thoughts, but intricate matters such as divorce can still be hard for them to fully understand and address.

Parents also need to be aware that even though their children might have the ability to comprehend certain concepts related to divorce, they may still be reluctant to talk about their feelings. Children within this age range may also assign blame or be upset with a particular parent whom they believe to be at fault for the breakup of the family.

When telling your kid about divorce, try to distance your child from your decision to separate. Emphasize that the choice to divorce was made by adults and that the child is not responsible for choosing sides or trying to remedy the situation.

Advice for Teens

Many parents find explaining divorce to their teenage children to be the most difficult, often due to their more developed sense of independence. They may feel the need to choose a side or attempt to distance themselves from both parents. Make it clear that you and their other parent are still willing and eager to cheer them on during sports, attend graduation, prepare them for dances/prom, and other activities important to them, even if it means seeing your former spouse.

Although teenagers do not have legal rights to decide which parent to live with following a divorce, it is important to make their wishes and opinions feel valued and appreciated.

Prepare for a conversation about your divorce with your teenager by getting a sense for what their “new normal” will look like. Explain that your divorce might mean seeing their other parent on alternating weekends & holidays, how their school schedule could be affected, and how their college tuition will be paid for.

Divorce is an uncertain time, but the more specific you can be, the easier it will be for your teenager to accept. A lingering sense of the unknown is often the most difficult to deal with.

Minimize the Child’s Exposure to Conflict

Divorce can be as hard on kids as it is on the parents. As caregivers for the collateral damage of a marital split, it is incumbent upon parents to protect children from any unnecessary trauma associated with divorce. If there is any acrimony between parents, children must be shielded from it. When talking to kids about divorce, emphasize your intention to make the divorce transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.

One easy tactic to help keep the environment calm for kids during a stormy divorce is by making sure to limit communication with your ex when exchanging the children or attending joint functions. Furthermore, children should not be used to transmit messages between feuding spouses. Although it might sometimes be inevitable, parents should make it a priority to avoid using their children as messengers, particularly if those communications are harmful or aggravating.

Respectful co-parenting will go a long way towards giving your child much needed peace of mind during a turbulent divorce. Even though it might not be your initial inclination, taking opportunities to show respectful behavior towards your ex will allow you to show your child your best self, and might also help establish the foundation for a drama-free existence with your co-parent. Seemingly insignificant steps, such as dropping off and picking up your child on time shows respect for your former spouse’s time and can help forge a better parenting relationship in the future.

Utilize Therapeutic Resources

Utilize Therapeutic

Fortunately, there are myriad therapeutic tools available to assist you in telling your kid about divorce. Books and other media that address divorce and alternative family structures can be very helpful for young to pre-teenage children. These options are useful for demonstrating to children that they are not alone in what they are experiencing, as well as showing ways that other children and families have learned to cope with their new circumstances.

For children that have difficulty adjusting to a parental split, professional therapy could be a good option. Approximately 25% of children whose parents go through a divorce struggle with emotional and behavioral challenges. As such, all children should be given the opportunity to speak with a therapist or counselor when dealing with divorce.

Therapy may be a particularly appealing option for older children and teenagers. The ability to vent and receive input from a neutral third-party can be cathartic for young adults who may not feel comfortable expressing their feelings to their parents. Professional counseling may also be a helpful resource for parents who are having difficulty talking to kids about divorce on their own.

You Are Not Alone

If you are going through a divorce and are looking for help in talking to kids about divorce, the legal team at Ramos Law have the resources and experience to help. Contact Ramos Law Group today for compassionate and experienced legal counsel to guide you through the entire divorce process. Start with your initial consultation and get on the path to recovery for you and your family.

Every order that requires one party (Obligor) to pay child support to another party (Obligee) will outline how the Oblligor is to make payments.  It will say the following:

Payment – IT IS ORDERED that all payments shall be made through the state disbursement unit at Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, Texas 78265-9791, and thereafter promptly remitted to OBLIGEE for the support of the child.

As parties go through the process of a divorce, parentage action, or modification, they often soon learn, that it can take some time for the wage withholding orders to take effect.  As such a transition period often stretches the financial situation of both parties, the delay in receipt of child support can be a concern. Sometimes OBLIGORs take it upon themselves, to pay or give the child support directly to the OBLIGEE in an effort to make things smoother, to not be counted late, or to make sure that the parent with primary custody has the funds necessary to provide for the children. However, every order that obligates one party to pay child support will include the following provision:

No Credit for Informal Payments-IT IS ORDERED that the child support as prescribed in this decree shall be exclusively discharged in the manner ordered and that any direct payments made by OBLIGOR  to OBLIGEE or any expenditures incurred by OBLIGOR during OBLIGOR’s periods of possession of or access to the child, as prescribed in this decree, for food, clothing, gifts, travel, shelter, or entertainment are deemed in addition to and not in lieu of the support ordered in this decree.

So, by doing what the OBLIGOR thinks is the “right” thing- i.e. paying the OBLIGEE directly, the OBLIGOR has put him or herself in danger of not receiving credit for the child support paid directly to the OBLIGEE.  By the time money starts coming out of their checks, the State Disbursement Unit will have the OBLIGOR already in arrears in their records. In order to get proper credit for the payments that were made directly, the OBLIGOR now has to rely on the OBLIGEE to execute an affidavit acknowledging that he or she has received the child support that was not paid through the Disbursement Unit and to send it with the proper information to the proper location.  Additionally, the OBLIGOR then has to rely on the Office of the Attorney General to properly credit the account in a timely manner. While all of this is happening, the Office of the Attorney General has the ability to take a number of actions to collect what in the eyes of the State is unpaid child support, including, but not limited to, the garnishing of your tax refund or placing a lien on property you may own.

There are steps that you and your attorney can take to protect or assist you during the transition phase and the time between the reaching of an agreement and the effect of a wage-withholding order.  However, unless you have previously discussed these options with your attorney and are satisfied that adequate protections are in place, send your payment directly to the state disbursement unit at Texas Child Support Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, Texas 78265-9791.

For more information, or to discuss what possible options would apply in your specific case, please consult an attorney to discuss the issue.  Also, the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas has a very informative site that can be helpful and which also contains the forms mentioned in this blog. (https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cs/welcome-to-the-child-support-division) (https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cs/parents-and-guardians)>

The truth is that there are various ways that an order can be crafted to protect the children and still allow them to have an ongoing relationship with their parent that is struggling with alcohol issues, depending on the severity of the issues.  The solution is normally a combination of protections during periods of possession, testing and/or treatment requirements, and injunctions that depend upon the specific facts of the case. 

The court can require or the parties can agree that the struggling parent submit to an alcohol assessment.  Other possible requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. rehabilitation, inpatient and/or outpatient;
  2. breathalyzer testing, before, during, and/or after periods of possession;
  3. ignition interlock and breathalyzer devices; and/or
  4. attending AA meetings

It is important to remember, however, that the options available will depend on the facts of each case, as the court will not require breathalyzer devices unless there is a proven concern. 

As far as periods of possession go, the highest level of protection would be supervised possession and access.  Period of possession can be supervised by whatever party the parents can agree to and/or a court-approved visitation program.  It is important to remember that the parties would have to agree to the supervision or the party requesting that the periods of possession be supervised would have to have enough evidence to convince the court that the safety and well-being of the child require that periods of possession be supervised.  If the problem is not so severe to require all possession and access be supervised, periods of possession could also be limited in time or frequency until the parent completes treatment.  Typically, such a possession order will step up to less restrictive periods or possession in phases and into a standard possession either over time or upon completion of different portions of treatment (Ex: Step One- Supervised possession for a few hours every other weekend, Step Two- Unsupervised possession for a few hours every other weekend, Step Three- one overnight every other weekend, Step Four – standard possession order).

Injunctions are additional protections that could be added to the order that require the struggling parent to abstain from alcohol during possession and for a certain period before and after periods of possession.  Additionally, if appropriate, the court could prohibit the struggling parent from transporting the child in a car. 

Finally, a provision can be included that in the event of a relapse by the struggling parent, that parent begins again at Step One of the possession schedule to avoid the necessity of having to return to court every time there is a relapse in the future.

For more information, or to discuss what possible options would apply in your specific case, please consult an attorney to discuss the issue.

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Very few people seeking a divorce want to see the process drag out longer than necessary. Divorces can be difficult and expensive. If you’re seeking a divorce, you likely don’t want to spend a lot of time and money in the process either. But the answer to how long a divorce takes in Texas will depend on a number of factors. An experienced divorce attorney can typically help you estimate the timeframe during your initial consultation.

What to Expect

Truth be told, there is no such thing as a quick divorce in Texas. Texas requires a minimum 60-day waiting period between filing for divorce and issuing the final divorce decree. The court cannot have a hearing until 60 days after the complaint is filed. This is considered a “cool off” period, and it gives the spouses time to think and decide if they really want a divorce. In cases where domestic violence is involved, the court may waive the 60-day waiting period.

Once the two parties are ready to move forward, the court will be able to schedule a hearing to take place sometime in the future, and how long the divorce takes in a Texas court depends upon the numerous and varied legal complexities involved in the case. Most couples find it takes longer than two months to officially dissolve the marriage.

Uncontested Divorces

The 60-day period begins to run from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is actually filed with the court. If the divorce is “uncontested”, meaning the parties agree to all divorce terms, then the divorce may be finalized any time after the 60-day waiting period. Usually, these divorces are much more efficient. Sometimes, the divorcing couple decides upon the terms of their divorce before filing, while other couples reach their agreement soon after. In these situations, the divorce may be finalized almost immediately following the 60-day waiting period.

Contested Divorces

A contested divorce will usually take much longer to resolve and require more legal fees. How long an uncontested divorce in Texas takes often depends upon how much information each party needs to gather from the other. Each side will have time to conduct discovery, which is a time when your attorney may demand that your spouse produce certain financial evidence like bank statements or credit card bills. Your attorney should do all they can to determine what you’re entitled to in the divorce agreement, and they should negotiate with your spouse or their attorney to get you a good settlement before facing trial. However, if you cannot reach an agreement the case may go to trial.

Many divorce cases do not end up in a trial, but if they do, they can take several days or even weeks to resolve. At trial, a judge will hear testimony and review evidence about the divorce. At the end of the trial, the judge will issue an order with the terms by which the divorcing couple must comply.

If you have questions about how long your divorce in a Texas court will take, contact Ramos Law Group today for a consultation.

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If you’re considering handling your own divorce paperwork and proceedings, you’re not alone. There are many couples who start the divorce process without representation from an attorney. While this practice is legal, it can be dangerous when people believe in several common myths about divorce before trying to start a do-it-yourself divorce in Texas.

The feasibility of getting a divorce without an attorney can change considerably depending on the details of your marriage, and the type of divorce you will need. This is generally only possible during an uncontested divorce, when both parties agree on every detail, including about how community property will be split. If there are any disagreements, however, you’re in for a contested divorce and should seek representation immediately.

Finding the right Information

You may have friends and family members who have been through a divorce, and may feel like you have a good idea of the process, but every state has their own laws and regulations concerning the requirements for issuing a final divorce decree. These laws can change over time due to new legislation and court rulings affecting Texas divorce. Do-it-yourself attempts at divorce may seem like a money saving move in the short-term, but you stand to lose more in the long-run if you have the wrong information.

If you go into your do-it-yourself divorce in Texas with the wrong information, you may make decisions that could hurt your case. That’s why it’s crucial to seek advice from an experienced divorce lawyer as your first move toward a divorce, or as soon as you are notified of your spouse’s divorce intentions. Your divorce lawyer can tell you the truth about how divorce works and debunk many of the myths surrounding it. Here are the top 10 myths about do-it-yourself divorce in Texas.

1. Divorce can be denied. In Texas, you do not have to prove fault in order to have the court grant the divorce. Therefore, even if you don’t want the divorce and your spouse does, the judge will still grant the divorce. Once all the financial, custody, and visitation issues have been resolved at settlement or trial, a divorce will be granted.

2. If you commit adultery, you’ll lose everything. Some people mistakenly believe they cannot have a do-it-yourself divorce in Texas because adultery is involved. Just because someone has been unfaithful during the marriage doesn’t mean that they’ll lose their home, kids, assets, and rights during the divorce. This can still be used as an argument by the other spouse to try to gain more of community property acquired during the marriage, but this argument is not usually seen as a large factor determining the division of property. If the person who has been unfaithful wastes community assets during the course of committing adultery, that factor will likely be taken into consideration during a property division.

3. Mothers are always awarded custody of children. In the past, there was a legal bias in favor of mothers, but the law has evolved so that both fathers and mothers can have the primary right of possession. The court makes decisions about custody and visitation that are in the best interests of the child. If you’re a concerned father, we recommend speaking to an experienced divorce lawyer for men.

4. You can avoid paying child support. Child support payments in Texas are established by law. Unfortunately, some people have the mistaken impression that they can avoid paying child support in Texas divorce through a do-it-yourself divorce. If you have a minor child and you are not the custodial parent, you will have to pay child support. If you fail to comply with a child support order, both your spouse and the state of Texas can take steps to enforce those orders.

5. I can deny visitation to my ex if they don’t pay the child support we agreed upon. Access to the children and parenting time are not related to the payment of child support. There is a process for enforcing child support obligations, but threatening or denying a parent visitation is not one of them. Initiating a do-it-yourself divorce in Texas does not mean you can decide to withhold visitation from your spouse.

6. Only Women get maintenance payments. Decisions about spousal support, just like custody decisions, are no longer are based on gender. Women may be ordered to pay alimony following a divorce if they earn more than their husbands. Decisions about spousal support are based on the economic realities of the respective spouses regardless of their gender. Do-it-yourself divorces in Texas are no different. If you are considering a divorce and expect child support or alimony to be a contested issue, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a competent attorney to protect your rights.

7. Children get to decide who they live with. If a child has reached the age of 12 and has expressed a preference as to which parent they would like to live with, a judge may decide to take that fact into consideration in the determination as to custody. The judge is not required to follow a child’s choice and will make their custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child during your Texas divorce. Do-it-yourself divorces are no different in this regard.

8. Divorce always leads to battles. Divorce can often be full of hostility, blame, and finger-pointing, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Do-it-yourself divorces in Texas have the best results when all parties agree, but this is not an effective means of de-escalating the divorce process. Other methods such as collaborative divorce, mediation, and negotiation are all options if you are trying to keep the divorce from becoming highly contested. If you tell your attorney that you would rather focus on resolving conflicts as opposed to starting or escalating them, the attorney can help make your divorce a process of negotiation and agreement rather than argument.

9. Equitable distribution results in equal division. Property in Texas is divided based on what is just and right in light of the circumstances. Property can be and often is divided in an unequal manner based on the many factors that go into a judge’s decisions about property division. Whether that property is divided 50/50 is not one of them.

10. You must have a lawyer. You have a right to represent yourself in your own do-it-yourself divorce in Texas, but it is not always the best option. You could make errors that harm you in the future. Once the judge signs the Final Decree of Divorce, there is nothing about the property division that can be changed. You may also make mistakes regarding your children and child support that could be difficult to change later.

If you’re thinking about getting a divorce in Texas, contact the offices of Ramos Law Group for a consultation. We’re here to help. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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There may be a time when you need to get copies or verification of your divorce records. For example, you may need to show them to an employer or a state organization so that you can give cause for a name change. You may need to show them to a governmental entity so that you can receive some type of assistance. Furthermore, you may need your Texas divorce records so that you take some steps to move on with your new life. Divorce records in Texas are public, so anyone can access them by following a few simple steps. These steps are the same regardless of whether you want to access public divorce records in Texas from your home or in person at the clerk’s office.

What You’ll Need Before Starting

  • In order to access a Texas public divorce records, you’ll first need to gather some important information:
  • The full name of the party/ person you’re searching for
  • The date and place of divorce
  • The relationship with the person
  • The type of order
  • The reason for wanting the information

Obtain a Certified Copy at the District Clerk’s Office

Parties to the divorce (the divorcing couple) may obtain certified copies of their divorce decree from the District Clerk’s office. Since certified copies of divorce decrees are only available in person, you will need to visit the district clerk in the county or district where the divorce was filed.

Obtain a Verification Letter from the Texas Vital Statistics Unit Website

If you’re seeking verification of your divorce, but you don’t need a certified copy of the final decree, you can visit the Texas Vital Statistics Unit for a divorce verification letter. You may request a divorce verification letter online or by mail from the Texas Vital Statistics Unit. Divorce verification letters are different from certified copies of the final divorce decree, and they’re not a substitute for providing a final divorce decree when one is needed for legal purposes.

Verification for divorce decrees is available for divorces that have been filed since 1968. The website for the Texas Vital Statistics Unit contains an index of public divorce records in Texas by year, and you can search these records on the website. These records may be purchased or downloaded for free from the website.

Try an Online Search

Although requesting information by mail is fairly easy, it usually takes much longer to obtain your divorce records by mail as opposed to by online. In today’s world, it’s extremely easy to find a lot of publicly accessible information online. A quick search for “public divorce records in Texas” via popular search engines will reveal websites where you can access Texas public divorce records. Some of these websites may require registration or a fee to access some public records. Even some ancestry research websites provide access to public divorce records in Texas.

If you have questions, or if you’re considering divorce, call Ramos Law Group today. We’re here to help.

Divorce is a difficult and painful process for almost any couple experiencing the end of a marriage partnership. Making decisions about property division and custody arrangements can be extremely stressful and emotionally-charged for the parties involved. Divorce becomes even more complicated when one party becomes pregnant before the divorce is finalized. Couples who are considering getting a divorce in Texas while pregnant will face some additional steps throughout the divorce process due to the pregnancy.

Waiting Period

Texas requires almost all couples to wait sixty days before finalizing a divorce, regardless of whether or not one of the spouses is pregnant. A divorce in Texas while a spouse is pregnant is unlikely to be finalized until after the baby is born. Courts in Texas typically wait to finalize the divorce until after the birth of the baby so that orders regarding the child can be included in the final divorce decree. (One of the few exceptions to this rule is in the case of domestic violence.) Therefore, if the pregnancy is already a few months along, the waiting period shouldn’t take much longer than the two months already required by Texas law. Even if the divorce is contested, it’s unlikely the pregnancy would delay the process since contested divorces often take longer than the length of a pregnancy.

Paternity Issues

Divorces in Texas involving a pregnant spouse become more complex when the paternity of the unborn child is in question. In this case, the husband will need to file documents with the court denying paternity of the baby. If the biological father will not agree to sign an acknowledgment of paternity, the court will need to order the biological father to take a paternity test. If the paternity test verifies the identity of the biological father, the divorcing husband will need to file for the court to adjudicate parentage so that the court can name the father in the final divorce decree.

 

Child Support

Husbands who are unable to prove they are not the biological father of their wife’s unborn child will still be subject to paying child support since the court views children born during the marriage as being the husband’s children. A husband who strongly believes he is not the father of his wife’s baby can petition the court to order a paternity test. This process may be necessary once the baby is born to determine who the father is.

Although getting a divorce in Texas while pregnant adds an additional layer of complication to the divorce process, it is possible to navigate this complex territory by finding a good Texas divorce attorney. Working with the right legal experts will provide you with the knowledge and guidance you desperately need during one of the most difficult times of your life. If you’re facing a divorce and you need trusted, expert legal guidance, contact Ramos Law Group today to schedule a consultation.

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Military divorces — divorces where one or both of the spouses are active duty military personnel, in the National Guard, or reservists — often require additional steps and procedures to finalize as compared to civilian divorces. Most states, including Texas, have laws and procedures that only pertain to military divorces. There are also federal laws that govern the steps necessary to finalize a military divorce in Texas. This is why it’s important for service members and their spouses to consult with Texas military divorce lawyers to ensure their divorce proceedings are conducted according to all of the requirements found in both state and federal law.

Protection from Military Divorce in Texas

Federal laws exist to protect active duty military members from being divorced by their spouses without knowing an action has been filed in federal court. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and in the discretion of the local court, a military divorce in Texas may be postponed while the service member is on active duty and for an additional 60 days afterward. Active duty service members may waive these protections if they wish to continue with the divorce proceedings as soon as they are filed.

Serving an Active Duty Military Spouse

In order for a Texas court to hear the divorce proceedings involving an active duty military spouse, the active duty member must be served in person with divorce papers. It is also possible for the spouses of military members to file a waiver affidavit not to be served in person, but this is only possible when the divorce is uncontested.

Residency and Filing Requirements

The grounds for filing for a military divorce in Texas are the same as those for civilians. Divorces are usually filed where a couple lives, but this is not always possible for military couples on active duty. Active members of the military may be deployed at any time, and that can cause problems when planning a military divorce. Some couples may not have lived in a state long enough to establish residence. Texas military divorce lawyers can help individuals determine whether or not they meet the residency requirements for obtaining a divorce in Texas. If a divorcing couple meets the residency requirements for a state other than Texas, military divorce lawyers may advise their client to file for divorce in the other state.
In order to proceed with a military divorce in Texas, either the active duty member or their spouse must have been a resident of Texas for at least six months and a resident of their county for three or more months. The active duty service member must be stationed in Texas for these residency requirements to apply. If the active duty service member is deployed or stationed in a different state, then the process may require filing in a different state.

Property Division

The rules regarding the division of property and marital assets in military divorces in Texas are the same as those for civilian marriages, but there are federal laws governing the division of military retirement benefits. Division and disbursement of military retirement assets are determined in accordance with the guidelines set by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). In order for a dependent spouse to receive any disbursement from retirement benefits, the couple must have been married for at least ten years while the military member was on active duty. Federal law grants direct partial payments of military retirement to spouses married to a soldier for at least ten years, but military divorce in Texas requires the division of any future military retirement benefits that accrued during the marriage regardless of its length.

Divorcing couples must include a section in the divorce decree that spells out provisions for the Survivor Benefit Plan premiums, if any, as well as the length of the marriage, the time on active duty service and the computed amount of the retirement payments the spouse will receive if any. Health care benefits will also continue for the minor children and, if the marriage lasted for 20 years, the spouse as well, so the soldier will be required to obtain military identification cards for his dependents as needed. Because of these unique circumstances, it is important to consult with a Texas military divorce lawyer who understands the specific requirements for finalizing a military divorce in Texas.

Custody, Child Support, and Spousal Support

The normal Texas child support guidelines, worksheets, and schedules are used to determine the amount of child support to be paid in a military divorce in Texas. Although support orders in Texas are decided according to the normal guidelines for support determination, the support may not exceed 60 percent of the pay and allowances of the active duty member.

Parents who are divorcing in Texas must agree on a written parenting plan or allow a judge to enter an order regarding conservatorship and possession, the terms used for custody and visitation. Military couples must consider what will happen if the active duty member is deployed or sent to another location. For example, in military divorces in Texas, a deployed service member may ask the court to allow extra visitation after they return. Therefore, the parties might agree to include an automatic provision to that effect in their parenting plan. They might also agree to let the child’s grandparents visit with the child while the service member is away.

Starting The Process

With the assistance of a Texas military divorce lawyer, actions filed in Texas are generally the same as most other divorces, with the exception of some specific requirements for the action to proceed within the state. Active duty military members should always work with an experienced law firm that is familiar with military divorces in Texas. It is important during a military divorce to know the best way to handle concerns such as jurisdiction, child custody, and division of property as it applies to a military member to let divorcing couples reach the most favorable resolution for their individual situation.
The board-certified attorneys at Ramos Law Group can help. Contact us to start the process of achieving the best possible result for your case.

New Locations For Ramos Law Group, PLLC.: 

The Woodlands and Sugar Land Offices

The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. is thrilled to announce the opening of two new locations in The Woodlands and Sugar Land. We have been working tirelessly to get these offices operational and we are thrilled that the day has finally come for us to open our doors! Our Family Law attorneys cater to any and everyone who needs help going through divorce, custody concerns and any other family issues.

Houston, TX, March 5, 2018– The Ramos Law Group, PLLC., a Family Law firm, is excited to announce the opening of two new offices located in Sugar Land and The Woodlands. We’ve been working to get these locations open for quite some time and are ecstatic that the day has finally come!

“The most important thing for us is to help our fellow Texans. At the end of the day, if we can help our clients heal, find peace and achieve happiness, then we’ve done our job.” -Mary E. Ramos, Company Founder

Since we have added locations in The Woodlands and Sugar Land, we are more accessible than ever. Our company also operates with 100% transparency. Our rates are all online. Check around on other Family Law websites; this level of openness is unseen in our industry. With a strong staff who only works in Family law, people from all over Houston can come to any Ramos Family Law location and know that they will receive an unparalleled level of customer service. We promise that our Family Law gladiators will fight to make sure that you are taken care of.

“At Ramos Family Law, we offer a ‘Raving Fan Guarantee.’ If our customer is not happy with the service they receive, we offer them up to a $1,000 refund. “ -Alfredo Ramos, Business Futurist at Ramos Law Group

Ramos Family Law, PLLC.  was started in 2004 by Mary E. Ramos who through her efforts and those of her team has grown the organization from a single attorney firm to one with over ten employees and four attorneys.  We are committed to the practice of divorce and family law in Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston and Brazoria County. We have effectively negotiated positive outcomes in complicated divorce, child custody and property division cases while keeping attorney fees under control.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Kristy Tatom at (281)225-6200 or email at info@ramosfamilylaw.com.

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