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          Before you even speak to an attorney, it may be helpful to know what court has jurisdiction over your divorce.  Knowing how the Judge in your case is likely to rule and what their pet peeves are can be incredibly beneficial to the presentation of your case so it is important to speak to an attorney who practices often in the jurisdiction in which you will ultimately file your case.  Read this article before you start reaching out to attorneys to make sure you are scheduling a consultation with an attorney who is going to be knowledgeable in your jurisdiction.

                                                              

           The general rule for jurisdiction in a Texas divorce is that at least one spouse must have been a domiciliary of Texas for the preceding 6 month period and a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90 day period.  This means that if the filing spouse is not a resident of Texas, a suit for divorce can still be maintained in Texas if he other spouse has been a domiciliary of Texas for the preceding 6 month period.  Generally, a person has been domiciled in Texas if they have resided in the state with the intent to make Texas his or her “fixed abode”.   The court will consider many factors in determining a person’s “fixed abode” including where a person spends most of their time, where they receive mail, what address is used to file a tax return, where does a person register their vehicle, whether they have a Texas drivers license, and where a person is registered to vote.  A number of factors are considered in determining whether one intends to make a residence a fixed abode so if you are not sure if you or your spouse has been domiciled in Texas for the requisite period of time, it is best to talk to an attorney. 

 

           There are several exceptions to the general rule outlined in the paragraph above for members of the armed forces.  First, time that a spouse spends in the armed forced outside of Texas is still considered residence in the State of Texas and in the county in which they lived.  If you are not sure whether your spouse was previously domiciled in Texas, look at his or her Military Paystub (LES) and see what it lists as their home state.  This will be a strong indicator that they are a domiciliary of Texas.  Second, a spouse is stationed in Texas can meet the jurisdictional requirements despite the fact that they may not intend to make Texas their permanent residence as long as they have been stationed in Texas for the preceding 6 month period and in the filing county for the preceding 90 day period.  These exceptions provide some jurisdictional flexibility for members of the armed forces and their spouses.

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.

Agreed DivorceAfter working in family law for the past 14 years from an intern in a local family law court to running my own practice, I have decided to expand our Agreed reduced retainer Family law Services. The services we include:

  • Agreed Divorce
  • Agreed Motion to Modify
  • Agreed Child Name Change
  • Agreed Suit Affecting P/C Relationship (SAPCR)
  • Adult Name Change

New coverage areas for our uncontested reduced retainer services include the following cities:

  • Austin
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • San Antonio

At this point, we will only service counties offering electronic filing as it assures that we can finalize the case quickly without the additional cost of hand delivery or the filing pleadings via USPS.  Additionally, we are ONLY offering our services for agreed family law services including uncontested divorces, name changes, adoptions and agreed modifications.   We take pride in a high level of service to both local and remotely located clients.   If you are looking for a law firm that can get the job done at reduced retainers give us call or send us an email.

For more information please visit our uncontested divorce page.

Retainer AgreementAs an attorney, I often hear clients ask, “What is a retainer?”  Potential clients and existing clients of attorneys are often times misinformed when it comes to understanding what a legal retainer is and how it is used throughout the entirety of their legal case.

A retainer is the fee that the client pays when hiring an attorney to act on his or her behalf.  Typically, the attorney sets the retainer fee prior to taking a client’s case. When a client decides to hire an attorney to represent them in their legal dispute, the attorney will require the client to furnish adequate funds to meet the attorney’s set retainer amount.

Once the client pays the retainer fee, the attorney places the funds in the client’s trust account.  As work is performed on the client’s case, the attorney will deduct his or her expenses related to the case from the retainer, thus decreasing the amount of funds in the client’s trust account.  As the deductions from the retainer decrease the amount of the account, the attorney may require the client to replenish their retainer to ensure the attorney has sufficient funds to adequately represent the client.

The practice of law is a service-based industry and an attorney’s time is his commodity. Attorneys use retainers to solidify the fact that once hired, the attorney now represents the client and will operate off of the client’s retainer account. The retainer allows the attorney to provide necessary services to obtain the client’s goals, including determining and executing an appropriate strategy and plan of action in reaching a client’s goals through various functions. For example, it is very likely that the client will be billed for legal research, drafting of pleadings, telephone and in person conferences, drafting and reviewing emails, telephone conversations with opposing counsel, preparation of discoverable documents, investigation of facts, preparation for and appearances in court, correspondence with the court, and other tasks necessary to adequately handle the matter in controversy. The attorney’s time involved in out-of-office representation will be measured from the time the attorney leaves the office until the attorney arrives back at the office.

The following fees are examples of expenses that will be deducted from the retainer: court fees, duplication fees, filing fees, facsimile fees, and postage fees.  Larger expenses such as travel expenses, long distance telephone expenses, accountant’s fees, appraiser’s fees, consultant’s fees, other professional fees incurred on the client’s behalf (including specialized or local legal counsel), and other disbursements will be in addition to the retainer amount. Thus, the client will have to bear the cost of those fees separately from the attorney’s retainer amount.

The retainer amount and the process by which the attorney’s firm uses or spends the client retainer amount is normally discussed simultaneously with the explanation and signing of the retaining contract for hire with the attorney or the attorney’s firm.  The contract should explain in detail how the retainer will be used, as well as, when and how the client’s money will be drafted from the retainer account.  Retainers are property of the client and the client’s funds only, not the attorneys. The attorney only receives the amount of the retainer in which the attorney earns by working on the case.  Once the case has been resolved, the attorney should return any remaining retainer funds in the client’s trust account to the client.

Quick Example:

If the retainer is $5,000 and the attorney and her staff expend 5 hours at a rate of $300.00 per hour preparing, conferencing, drafting, and filing the original answer and the counter petition then the client should expect that a total of $1,500.00 of work was performed on the case, thus leaving a total of $3,500.00 left in the clients retainer fund. If filing an original petition for divorce, the client must also consider filing fees at around $400.00 and service fees for the process server of approximately $100.00. Those fees would be subtracted from the retainer amount as well, leaving the client retainer fund with about $3,000.00. It is important for the client to understand that the retainer is an initial deposit and will likely have to be replenished before the suit is resolved.

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Ramos Law Ramos Law Group, PLLC, was founded by board certified attorney Mary E. Ramos, founder of Ramos Law Group, PLLC, who is board certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Why should you choose a board certified attorney in Texas over a non-board certified attorney? There are several reasons why choosing a board certified attorney could mean a better experience for the client and a more favorable outcome for their case.

More Experience

Becoming a board certified attorney in Texas requires that an attorney in the state of Texas to have practiced law for at least five years, with a minimum of three years in the specialty area. After passing an evaluation by fellow lawyers and judges the attorney must take and pass a 6-hour written certification exam, the attorney is required to continue ongoing involvement in their specialty area and attend Texas Board of Legal Specialization approved legal education courses.

Higher Standards

The standard that Board Certified Attorneys must meet, shows a level of commitment to their specific field of law and an ongoing interest in learning the current trends in their practice area. A board certified attorney has more knowledge and experience in a certain, specific area of law as compared to an attorney who practices in several different areas of law.

Powerful Reputation

The advantage of a board certified attorney to a non-board certified attorney is more than passing a certification test. A board certified attorney possesses a greater level of experience in a single field, maintains close relations with other attorneys within their specific field, and gains ongoing notoriety amongst their peers in the legal community.

Each of these advantages provide better results for the Board Certified Attorney’s client because experience, close relationships, and notoriety all work together in obtaining the best legal result possible for the client.

Contact Us Today

Mary E. Ramos understands that being a board certified attorney in Texas means staying fully committed to each case along with continued education to provide the best possible outcomes for each client. If you’re looking for an attorney with a higher level of experience, standards, and reputation, contact our team at Ramos Law Group today to schedule your initial consultation.


Video Transcription:

Things not to do during your divorce process. Don’t date. Don’t do drugs. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t use your children as pawns or put them in the middle. Don’t dredge on the past of your divorce process. Let the past be the past. We’re trying to move forward. It’s not gonna be beneficial emotionally or financially for you to focus on the past when we’re trying to get you moving forward. If you need counseling to deal with issues in the past, that’s probably a good idea to seek counseling or a support group in some form or fashion. Let us guide you in the divorce process and make sure you don’t step in any of those land mines in moving forward. We wanna make sure you get through the divorce process in the least financially impacting way and the most beneficial for you family and your situation.

Ramos Law Group, PLLC, your family law team of experts.

Video Transcription by Speechpad.com.

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.

divorce definition

A divorce is not something to take lightly. This major part of your life can potentially be devastating, or it can be a positive step toward a brighter future. Whether you are going through an uncontested divorce or a high-net-worth divorce, there are always going to be intricacies that must be handled by local divorce lawyers. There are many reasons why attempting to navigate a divorce on your own could be disastrous. Hiring a divorce attorney is the best way to protect yourself, reduce stress, hasten the process and avoid errors. Here are a few factors to keep in mind as you choose the right attorney for you.

Consider Your Specific Situation

pin on houston on mapAs you choose between the various local divorce lawyers in your area, seek someone who has experience relevant to your situation. For example, if you have children, seek out an attorney who has worked on cases involving custody, child support and other relevant issues. You never want to be the first case of your kind. A good family divorce lawyer will be able to explain to you how their past cases have given them the skills they need to get you the best possible results.

Don’t Underestimate Your Instincts

Sometimes, choosing the right divorce lawyer just involves trusting your first impressions. Keep in mind that your divorce attorney is going to be working with you through a difficult time. You want to be comfortable around them. You want someone who can help you legally and emotionally. Many local divorce lawyers tend to speak in legalese, which can be daunting. Find a lawyer that speaks to you in a way that you really understand. The initial consultation is an excellent indicator of what you can expect, so trust your gut instinct and decide from there whether you want to proceed or not.

Talk to Friends and Family

One of the easiest ways to choose the right local divorce lawyer is to hire a lawyer recommended by someone you trust. If you have a friend, family member or even a friend of a friend who has gone through a divorce, give them a call and ask for a referral. If they were happy with their divorce lawyer’s performance, there is a very good chance that you will be too. Word of mouth goes a long way in all professional fields, and law is no different. A reputable lawyer who is trusted by your peers is naturally going to be a much safer bet than someone you know nothing about.

Read Online Reviews

gavel and block on wood

Aside from family and friend referrals, look up reviews and opinions from past clients. These days, the Internet makes it possible for people to make their opinions clearly known, so use that to your advantage. If there are numerous people claiming that they felt ripped off or that the lawyer was inattentive to their needs, it is probably best to pass that lawyer up. If there is an overwhelming number of positive reviews, you can assume that you will have a similar experience. Do your homework and learn about your local divorce lawyers. This is an important step that will help you avoid regret later.

Go with a Reputable Law Firm: Ramos

Ramos Law Group, PLLC is well-known throughout the Houston, TX area for consistently providing exemplary legal services for many different types of situations. We have years of experience in divorce cases, so please don’t hesitate to contact us to help you go through this difficult process. We go to great lengths to make sure that each and every one of our valued clients is completely satisfied with the results of their divorce proceedings. Give us a call at (713) 225-6200, or fill out our contact form online today.

approved divorce agreement

If you’re facing divorce, it may be tempting to go into it alone. However, it is strongly recommended that you reconsider. Even an uncontested divorce is going to have twists and turns along the way that should be handled by a legal professional. A family divorce lawyer has important skills and experience that will make this difficult time much less stressful and allow you to move on with your life . Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should call a divorce lawyer as soon as you realize that your marriage is unsustainable.

Retain Your Money and Property

retain money and property during divorce

While it may be tempting to save money by navigating your divorce without a family divorce lawyer, it is never a good idea to gamble with your livelihood. Of course, this is especially true for high net worth cases, but many people are surprised when they find out how much of their assets and property they can actually lose and how much debt they can be awarded. When it comes down to it, hiring a divorce attorney is the best way to protect yourself from an unfortunate financial situation. You need someone who will fight to get what is rightfully yours and protect you from property loss.

Avoid Overpaying Support

It is quite common for one spouse to end up having to pay child or spousal support. Without proper legal representation, you may end up paying significantly more than you need to. Those residual payments add up fast, so it is important to have someone on your side who can help you negotiate a fair price. A family divorce lawyer knows what is fair and has the necessary skills to mediate a compromise. You don’t want to be stuck paying substantial fees for the rest of your life, and a good divorce attorney can assist you in obtaining a fair judgment.

Quicken the Divorce Process

Nobody wants to be stuck in limbo longer than is necessary. In the state of Texas, divorces can take quite a long time to finalize. Even an uncontested divorce takes at least 60 days – and that is assuming there are no issues whatsoever. Of course, two divorcing spouses rarely see eye to eye on every single issue, so that time frame is usually extended quite a bit. With a family divorce lawyer on your side, you can be sure that all paperwork goes through as quickly as possible, that all deadlines are met and there are no unnecessary delays. Even if you consider yourself a punctual person, a divorce can be an overwhelming amount of work for one person alone.

Keep Stress Levels at a Minimum

peace of mind sign

Your family divorce lawyer has been through this kind of situation before. Working with a lawyer simply gives you peace of mind. If you have questions, ask. If you feel overwhelmed, your lawyer can help you work through legal issues. Trying to handle your emotional affairs while also coping with the technical aspects of a divorce is more than most people can handle. A good divorce lawyer allows you to concentrate on the important things – the well-being of yourself and your loved ones.

Choose Ramos Law Group, PLLC

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why a divorce lawyer is essential. However, not all attorneys are equal. You need someone with the skills and experience to handle your affairs exceptionally. Here at Ramos Law Group, PLLC, we take tremendous pride in our reputation. Our clients are consistently pleased with the results we get, and we are confident that you will be too. To arrange a consultation, fill out our online contact form, or simply call (713) 225-6200. Take this important step to protect yourself and your family today.

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A divorce is a pivotal time in a person’s life. It is a turning point that can be a positive step, but it can also get messy. During this trying time, it is essential that you have a good divorce lawyer to help you deal with the legal hassle, as well as assist you in getting and keeping what is rightfully yours. Finding the top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX can be challenging if you don’t know where to start, so hopefully this guide will assist you in finding the right divorce lawyer for your needs.

1. Do They Have Experience?

When it comes to your livelihood, there is no room for gambling. It is imperative that you avoid settling for the first attorney that you find. First of all, you need a lawyer who is specifically experienced in family law and divorce cases. Someone who is familiar with the proceedings will be able to provide much better assistance than someone who merely dabbles in family law. Do some research to learn about how long they have been practicing family law, and choose someone who is clearly comfortable and skilled with divorce negotiations. Never settle for less. Choose only the top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX.

2. Do You Feel Comfortable With Them?

A divorce is inevitably going to be a very personal matter, so it is very important that you feel comfortable with your attorney. The top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX got to where they are not only because of their expertise, but also by their ability to help a client to open up. You want an attorney who will speak to you in plain English, not in technical legal terms. A divorce can be a lengthy ordeal, so you want to be sure that the person who is helping you through it is someone with whom you can confide and feel at ease..

3. Are They Reputable?

Even terrible lawyers can present themselves as the top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX. For this reason, you should try to seek out a candidate that can be researched. If you have friends or family members who have gone through a divorce, talk to them about their divorce lawyers. A recommendation from someone with firsthand experience goes a long way. The internet is another valuable resource. Check websites that allow people to review their experience with various businesses and professionals. Do your homework and choose someone that has received positive reviews.

4. What Do Your Instincts Say?

The top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX may look great on paper, but that does not necessarily mean that they are going to be a good fit for you. When it comes down to it, you are better off choosing someone who you click with rather than someone who has all of the finest credentials. As you go through this emotionally trying process, it is crucial that you have the right person on your side. Everyone is different, and only you know what is best for you. Trust your gut instinct and choose the attorney that makes you feel most confident and at ease.

5. Are You the Right Client for Them?

As you seek out the best possible candidate for you, it can be easy to forget that you might not be the right candidate for them. Do some research to learn about the lawyer’s previous clients, and the kind of cases that they usually work on. For example, if your attorney consistently works on high-profile celebrity cases, you may not be the best fit. Try to find a lawyer who has worked in similar cases with people that you feel like to whom you can relate. This common experience is inevitably going to benefit your case.

Hire Ramos Family Law

Our clients are consistently pleased with our exemplary service. If you want to hire the top divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, give us a call at 713-225-6200. We are confident that we will be able to help you through this difficult process. You owe it to yourself to hire a divorce attorney who can help you navigate this experience, so you can start the next chapter of your life on a positive note. Call us today for a consultation.

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