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You or your partner has finally said the big words: “I want a divorce.” In Texas, the law provides a straightforward legal process for this to happen. But you’ll need a guide, an experienced attorney who can take you through the process successfully.

At Ramos Law Group we specialize in divorce and will work hard on your behalf to get you a good result. To get started, you’ll need an initial divorce consultation with us. That’s where you’ll speak with a qualified family law attorney to understand the legal process and personalize it to your situation.

Answering Your Major Questions

After the first words “I want a divorce,” there are a few major questions that come up again and again with our clients.

Are You Financially Dependent on Your Spouse?

If your spouse is the one who makes most of the income or otherwise controls most of the assets in your household, divorce can be especially traumatic. Perhaps you had chosen to support the relationship or children over your own career. Now you’re facing the prospect of going up against your ex and being vastly outspent by them in the divorce proceedings. You’re probably afraid of being left with nothing, and asking yourself: “Will I have someplace to live?” “How will I survive?”

These are the kinds of fears that keep people in an abusive relationship far too long. No one should have to live with that kind of trauma, and you are right to commit to getting a divorce. When you’ve said “I want a divorce,” in Texas, you have the options to make it happen even if you are dependent on your partner.

Fortunately, divorce courts rarely split up marital property and assets in such a way that it causes severe financial hardship for either spouse. If you presently have no means of providing for yourself, spousal support and maintenance is a definite possibility. Through a combination of keeping property (like the house) and receiving regular payments, spousal support provides you with a helping hand so that you can get a job and get back on your feet without ending up homeless or hungry.

Let Ramos Law Group Guide You Through a Successful Divorce

You’ve already taken the biggest step. You’ve said, “I want a divorce.” In Texas, you need an experienced family law attorney to help you take the next steps of actually getting the legal process underway.

Contact Ramos Law Group today to begin the journey of a successful divorce, so that you can get past this stressful time and move on with your life with a fair division of property and custody.

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“Joint custody” in Houston, Texas is a very broad term. It doesn’t necessarily mean a 50 / 50 split of actual possession of the children. It is a form of child custody arrangement that addresses how certain rights and duties when it comes to raising their children are assigned as well as how time with the children is divided.

Even in a very equal ruling, the split may be closer to 53/47, with the primary or custodial parent getting 53% of the time with the child and receiving child support.

How the rights and duties and possession schedule are decided is a matter of each individual case, but is often a variation of the standard possession order. Parents who have less custody of their child (or are named as the “Possessory Conservator” per the Texas Family Code) are often ordered to pay child support, exercise a possession order schedule and may have less rights and duties than the other parent (the Primary Conservator).

The opposite of joint custody is “sole custody,” where one parent retains all exclusive rights regarding their kids. The courts don’t like to award sole custody unless there is a very good reason. For example, a history of substance abuse or neglect.

How Is Custody Decided?

It is important to understand that, no matter how much you dislike your ex, and no matter how messy the divorce is, these things by themselves don’t necessarily mean that sole custody is a good outcome for the kids. Instead, when making decisions on sole or joint custody in Houston, Texas, the courts look at the best interest of the children. Some of the most important questions include:

  • Can each parent take care of the kids, both physically and financially? (If you have been a stay-at-home parent, don’t worry: This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker; you might be awarded spousal maintenance to give you time to reenter the workforce.)
  • Will the kids have a safe and stable home with each parent?
  • Has each parent been involved in their children’s lives so far?
  • Will the kids’ daily lives be severely disrupted in some way (for instance, by moving far away)?
  • What arrangement do the children themselves desire (if they are 12 years or older)?
  • Is either parent dangerous or a bad influence on the kids?
  • Is each parent willing to accept that the kids might wish to maintain their relationship with the other parent?
  • The answers to these questions will help determine the specifics of your arrangement for joint custody in Texas.

Texas-Sized Terminology

In Texas, the legal name for custody is conservatorship. There are two types of conservatorship:

Possessory conservatorship is more commonly known as “physical custody.” It refers to where the kids will live and what sort of possession schedule will be awarded.

Managing conservatorship is more commonly known as “legal custody.” It refers to the power to make decisions about the children’s education, healthcare, and so forth.

It is possible for arrangements of joint custody in Houston, Texas to involve any combination of both kinds of custody, depending on your particular circumstances.

For example, if one parent has a disability that would make it hard for the kids to live with them, they might have a custody arrangement where they have a limited possession schedule but share joint rights and duties for the children.

Alternatively, a parent who can provide a safe home for the kids but is terrible about planning for the future and saving money might have equal physical custody but limited ability to manage the children’s finances (for example, an inherited estate).

Typically, both forms of custody are shared in an arrangement that the courts or the parties deem to be in the best interest of the children.

What If My Ex Looks Good on Paper but Is Bad for the Kids?

This is a thorny issue that comes up very often in custody disputes. Sometimes, there is a genuine case of one parent putting on a good public face but doing bad things at home. If this is true of your ex, then Ramos Law Group can help you document these parental fitness issues and demonstrate them to the court or a mediator. It is important to do your best to document these instances to provide solid evidence rather than a “he said-she said” situation. Documentation can come from school records, social media, text messages or emails, medical records, etc.

What If I’m the One Being Accused as Unfit for Custody?

If you’re the one being accused of parental unfitness, we can help you defend against those accusations by refuting them if they’re false. It is especially important to consult with an attorney for swift legal action if a protective order has been filed against you.

If there is some truth to the accusations, it is not necessarily a deal-breaker. The court’s primary goal is to preserve a relationship between the child and both parents. It’s still very possible for you to earn joint custody in Houston, Texas or elsewhere, as long as there is nothing that would be deemed harmful to the best interests of the child.

The Ramos Law Group can help you do this by charting a path for you to overcome or minimize any weakness in your fitness as a parent. For instance, if you have anger issues, it will go a long way in court if you can show the judge that you’ve been attending counseling sessions. If you’re bad with money, you can open a savings account and prove that you’re capable of financial responsibility. We may also be able to help you by going through a mediation process rather than litigating everything in court.

Our goal is always to help you get the rights you deserve when it comes to joint custody in Houston, Texas.

What If Things Change Down the Road?

Custody arrangements are not always permanent. A court can modify them if circumstances change as long as the children are under the age of 18. If you’re worried that an upcoming custody dispute will end unfavorably for you, here at Ramos Law Group we can help you prepare both to get the best outcome possible, both today and down the road.

Advice for Dads

There’s a common belief that the courts treat fathers unfairly, giving preferential consideration to mothers when it comes to arrangements for joint custody in Houston, Texas and the surrounding counties.

The good news is that, legally, this is no longer true. In the past, due to stronger views about the roles of men and women in society, and the fact that many mothers stayed at home instead of working, the courts often did grant favorable custody arrangements to women. Today, however, this is illegal and the focus is on the children’s needs rather than traditional gender roles. The courts must consider the rights of each parent regardless of gender. (This also applies to certain other traits, such as race.) And most courts get it right!

The bad news is that old beliefs die hard, and sometimes there is still a prejudice against fathers. However, since it’s against the law, you can fight it. Ramos Law Group offers divorce and custody lawyers for men who can help walk you through the steps you need to take in your proceedings for joint custody in Houston, Texas.

You Need an Experienced Custody Lawyer

Many good parents lose custody rights because they did not properly prepare their case or put on the best possible evidence or legal arguments. Ramos Law Group has a long record of experience in winning custody disputes and getting parents the rights they deserve.

If you’re involved in a dispute for joint custody in Houston, Texas, or the surrounding areas, we can help! Contact us today to discuss your situation and get the ball rolling toward a healthier, happier tomorrow for you and your kids.

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Sometimes you can make it work. And sometimes you can’t.

Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas begins with some serious soul-searching. Oftentimes, people stay in a marriage long after they should. Maybe you still love your partner. Maybe you feel like they can change, and overcome their problems. Maybe you feel like a divorce would ruin your personal life or reputation. Maybe you’re afraid of being alone. Maybe you’re afraid of losing custody of the kids.

The decision to divorce must be yours, but, once you’ve taken that step, this is where Ramos Law Group shines: Our highly experienced divorce attorneys have a long record of winning cases. We can help you get a divorce with terms in your favor.

The Signs that Tell You When to Get a Divorce in Texas

  • If your partner is physically, verbally, or psychologically abusive to you or your children, and you are too afraid to confront him or her, or you have confronted them already and they haven’t changed. In situations like these, you should also consider asking your attorney to file a motion for a protective order.
    (You should get to a safe place if you are in danger. Here are some domestic violence shelters in the Houston area, some of which also serve men or LGBT spouses.)
  • If your partner doesn’t love you, doesn’t show any interest in anything you do, or treats you as an annoyance or a needy pet.
  • If you have stopped loving them, and can no longer give them the support, emotional availability, and enthusiasm they deserve.
  • If your partner has a substance abuse problem or a financial problem that is destroying your family, won’t do anything to get help or change their ways, and the downward spiral is threatening your own safety and survival or that of your kids.
  • If your partner has betrayed you in some way that you cannot forgive. Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas sometimes means being brutally honest with yourself, and admitting what your true limits are.
  • If you’re only in the marriage for practical reasons, such as money or to keep the marriage together for the kids, and it is eating away at you.
  • If the only thing stopping you from a divorce is fear of being sued and losing custody of your children or losing your cherished possessions.

Be Ready with a Plan for the Next Steps

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with a divorce, the best thing you can do is begin planning for a soft landing on the other side. In other words, the best answer to the question of when to get a divorce in Texas is: When you’re ready.

In practical terms, this means making financial preparations for all of your upcoming expenses, including potentially moving.

Financial Preparation

Prepare financially by building up some savings in a separate bank account that only you can access. You will have many expenses coming up. You’ll have to buy new things. And there will be legal fees too. Don’t just plan on putting it all on the credit card. This can trap you in a cycle of debt.

Spousal maintenance may be a possibility, but it isn’t awarded to everyone, and you will likely face significant expenses before it kicks in.

Logistical Preparation

Knowing when to get a divorce in Texas means making practical plans. Where will you live? How will this affect your job? What about your health insurance and other forms of insurance? What will happen to the kids, the pets, etc.? What if you own a business?

You will need to come up with answers to all of these questions. Even if circumstances change and you don’t end up sticking to your plan, having a plan is very important.

Let Ramos Law Group Help

When it’s time to get a divorce in Texas, it’s time to get a divorce attorney too. Your attorney will do so much more than just help you with the legal paperwork. At Ramos Law Group, we will be your champion in the legal system. We will represent your interests in court and in mediation. We can help you with a contested divorce.

We have a record of winning divorces with favorable outcomes for our clients, and we can help you too. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

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Spring Break is quickly approaching, and Texas parents with a custody order (whether from a divorce or suit affecting parent-child relationship) in place may want to know how this affects the normal possession schedule.
First, a reminder that different people may have modified versions of the Texas Standard Possession Order, so if you have questions about your specific order, it is essential to reach out to a qualified family law attorney to help.

Assuming the parties have a Standard Possession Order in place with no modifications, then it reads as follows:

“The possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years.”
As we are now in 2019, managing conservators (i.e., typically the primary conservator) should be exercising Spring Break possession this year, absent a mutual agreement between the parties. It is important to remember that a holiday period of possession, including Spring Break, supersedes any regularly scheduled period of possession.

For example, Houston ISD Spring Break is March 11 – March 15, 2019. This means that the Spring Break period of possession begins at 6:00 p.m. on March 8, 2019, and ends at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, 2019, as school resumes on March 18, 2019. This Spring Break possession period encompasses both the second and third weekend of the month. The possessory parent does not get their normally scheduled third weekend. Spring Break replaces that weekend by operation of law.

If a possessory conservator usually has overnight possession of the children on Sunday nights and returns the children to school on Monday during regular possession, Spring Break changes that. The possession now ends at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and regular periods of possession resume the next day.

Holidays and Spring Break can be confusing for parents and children alike, so if you have any questions about your specific possession schedule, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC.

If you are seeking a divorce in Texas and either you or your spouse owns a business that was started during the time of the marriage, it is likely this is going to become a contested issue in your divorce.

Determining the value of a business is much more complicated than determining the value of real property. While looking at comparable sales in the same area is an excellent place to start, no two businesses are exactly alike. Several approaches to determining a business’ value in divorce must be employed in order to arrive at a final determination.

Options for Business Valuation

Your attorney will discuss options if you’re divorcing with a business involved at the outset of your case, but it is likely that you will want to employ a business valuator to examine the business and provide a professional estimate. You and your spouse might agree to start the process by hiring a joint business valuator and then seeing what their report says before hiring your own expert.

While this may be somewhat costly, the expertise that a business valuator brings to the table cannot be underestimated. Business valuation concepts are incredibly complex, so if your case goes to trial, you will need someone who is an expert in the field to provide testimony to the Judge that explains in clear and precise terms how they determined the value of the business in your divorce.

The business valuator is going to look at the factors outlined in Revenue Ruling 59-60 to start the valuation.

Factors for Business Valuation in Revenue Ruling 59-60

  • Nature and history of the business
  • Economic and industry conditions
  • Book value and financial condition
  • Earning capacity
  • Dividend paying capacity
  • Goodwill or other intangible value
  • Prior sales of the stock and percentage of the business being valued
  • Market price for corporations in the same, or similar, line of business

Relevant Business Documents:

  • Business Tax Returns
  • Income Statements
  • Balance Sheets
  • Sales or Operating Budgets
  • Payroll Data
  • Summary of Inventory
  • Summary of Assets
  • Employment Contracts
  • Intellectual Property
  • Incorporation Documents
  • Financial Forecasts
  • Business Organizational Chart
  • Bank Statements
  • Accounts Receivable Report
  • Depreciation Schedules
  • Summary of Dividends and Distributions
  • Any other pertinent contractual documents (i.e. licensing agreements, nondisclosure agreements, etc.)

Once the business valuator has gathered and reviewed all of the necessary financial documents, they will schedule interviews with the owner spouse and other key executives. After compiling all of the necessary data, and conducting the necessary interviews and onsite inspections, the business valuator will compile a report that will be reviewed by the attorneys for use in court. It will take some time to receive the written report, but the findings contained within will be crucial to arriving at a fair and equitable distribution of the community estate.

Hire a Specialist Attorney

Divorcing with a business involved can be a lot more complicated, and determining the value of a business in a divorce is one of the most complex issues involved in your divorce. Make sure to discuss these matters with your attorney in your initial consultation to make the most use of your time.

For more information on Divorce for Business Owners or C-Suite Executives see these guides:

Divorce For Business Owners
Divorce For CEO & C-Suite Executives

If you’re ready to hire expert representation, give us a call or email today!

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Divorce is a very stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be an obstacle course. The keys to a simple divorce in Texas are careful planning, sound legal representation, the resolve to stay calm, and the discipline to stick to your game plan.

Divorce isn’t quick either, with the shortest path still requiring a two-month legal process. Messier divorces can take much longer, and depending on your circumstances, there may be no getting around this. At Ramos Law Group, our family law attorneys are highly experienced in navigating the divorce process. We have represented clients at all income levels, both men and women, as well as with and without children. Need a simple divorce? Start here.

Uncontested Divorces

The easiest way to get a simple divorce in Texas is for you and your soon to be former spouse to come to a full agreement on every aspect of the divorce, including child custody and the division of assets. With no disputes, there is no need for a protracted legal process, which makes it possible to get what’s called an uncontested divorce.

If you and your spouse are close to being able to agree to an uncontested divorce, but aren’t quite there yet, it is usually worth the effort to reach that agreement—with the help of mediation if needed. An uncontested divorce is usually the fastest and cheapest method in Texas for a simple divorce. It can save both of you (and any immediate family members) a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Even if you are able to get an uncontested divorce, you will still need legal representation. Here at Ramos Law Group, we can advise you as to whether getting an uncontested divorce is a good course of action in your situation. If it is, we can represent you throughout the legal process, help you with the paperwork, and guide you through any steps you need to take.

Contested Divorce

If there are any disagreements that you cannot resolve, you will have to opt for a contested divorce. This is a more formal process, but with good legal counsel, it may still be possible to keep your divorce simple. In Texas, a contested divorce follows a particular process:

Divorce Petition and Temporary Orders

First, you will file for a divorce with the court, and then obtain any temporary orders that may be needed. A “temporary order” is a legal motion that will keep both spouses from taking any one-sided actions that affect your shared property, children, and so forth.

These orders make for a much easier and more simple divorce. In Texas, a “temporary order” is different from protective orders that would be granted in situations where one’s safety may be at risk. Protective orders are also an option, if needed.

Discovery Phase

This part of the process involves each side learning the position of the other when it comes to how they want things to be divided up. For example, during the discovery phase, you might learn that your spouse wants to keep the pets or a certain piece of furniture. Collecting this information will set up the next step in the process.

This process can be frustrating because if your spouse says they want something that you also want, it can feel threatening. Remember the keys to getting a simple divorce in Texas: plan carefully and keep a calm head. Discovery is purely an information-collecting phase.

Mediation

Next, there will usually be a mediation process. The State of Texas prefers that, whenever possible, couples resolve their disputes through mediation instead of at trial.

The mediation process is actually quite successful in many cases. With the help of your attorney, your spouse’s attorney, and the professional mediators all working together, it often works out that you will be able to settle many thorny questions that you and your partner could not solve on your own.

Mediation is a give-and-take process. You’re not going to get everything you want. Neither is your spouse. The keys to getting a simple divorce in Texas are to understand this, and be willing to make some concessions. It’s not about winning or losing. Think of it as a business transaction: You’re both going to get value, but at a fair price. We strongly encourage you to give the mediation process the best chance you can.

Final Trial

If there are any remaining disputes after mediation, the final step is to have a trial. Here, the court will hear arguments from both sides and issue a ruling.

After that, and some final paperwork, your contested divorce will be complete.

Ramos Law Group’s team of experienced attorney are here to help you through this process, so that you can get the fastest and most simple divorce in Texas that you possibly can.

Contact Ramos Law Group

If you want a simple divorce in Texas, you absolutely need to have a qualified and experienced lawyer who has gone through this process for many clients.

At Ramos Law Group, we proudly serve clients throughout Houston and the surrounding region. We have handled divorce cases for clients in just about every kind of situation you can imagine, and we can help keep you on track through this difficult journey.

Contact us today to discuss your situation and begin the process of settling your divorce and moving on to better things in your life.

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A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who plan to get married, should the marriage eventually fail (as roughly half of all marriages do). A prenup settles crucial questions such as:

  • Who owned what prior to the marriage?
  • How property acquired during the marriage will be divided upon divorce?
  • What spousal payments will occur after the marriage ends?

The benefits of signing a prenuptial agreement in Texas are extensive, and it often makes excellent financial sense to enter into one of these agreements.

Avoiding a Messy Divorce

If it comes to divorce in the first place, there are almost certainly hard feelings, confrontations, and deep frustration. Add money to that mixture and the dispute becomes explosive. Many divorcees have lamented after the fact that they didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement. In Texas, a prenup is a reliable tool to avoid much of the chaos of a messy divorce, especially a high net worth divorce.

Young Newlyweds Have More Prenuptial Wealth to Protect

When you sign a prenuptial agreement in Texas, you can protect your existing assets and investments, including inheritance rights, business ownership, and other sources of wealth that often become a major point of contention in divorce proceedings.

A growing trend of younger generations is to marry later in life than their parents and grandparents did. With this delay comes a corresponding increase in the wealth they bring to a relationship. The same is true for older individuals entering into a second or third marriage. The more wealth you have prior to getting married, the stronger the arguments for a prenuptial agreement become.

Establish How Assets Will Be Divided

Prenuptial agreements are especially helpful when it comes to dividing co-owned property acquired during the marriage.

Settling the Question of Spousal & Child Support Payments

Known as spousal maintenance, many divorces result in an agreement that one spouse will provide various forms of financial support to the other. These costs can potentially be very significant, which strengthens the case for signing a prenuptial agreement in Texas prior to your marriage.

And while a prenup cannot be used in determining child custody, it can be used to settle the question of what sort of compensation will be provided in the event one of the parents leaves the workforce to care for the kids.

Protection Against Spousal Debt

A prenuptial agreement isn’t just about protecting wealth. It can also provide protection against debt liability if you plan to marry someone who carries a lot of debt. The average American household carries roughly $140,000 in debt. Many of today’s college graduates can vouch for the enormous debt load that comes with their diploma, to say nothing of the debts from home, auto, or business loans.

By signing a prenuptial agreement in Texas, each spouse can limit their liability to existing debts carried by the other partner, thereby providing considerable protection.

Let Ramos Family Law Help You Shape This Crucial Document

While once written off as cynical and cold-hearted, prenuptial agreements have proven to be valuable instruments of personal protection, and today they are growing in popularity.

Prenups must comply with the Texas Family Code and other applicable laws, and must be written carefully so as to minimize the risk of being invalidated or misinterpreted if challenged.

Ramos Law Group has years of experience in drafting and negotiating these contracts. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

There are seven different grounds for divorce in Texas state law. In order for a divorce to be granted by the court, at least one of these seven conditions must have been met.

There are two types of divorce grounds in the Texas Family Code: a “fault” divorce and a “no-fault” divorce.

Special Note

A “fault” versus “no-fault” divorce is not the same thing as a contested divorce versus an uncontested divorce, where the spouses either do or do not have any disputes about dividing property, child custody, and making support payments.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

A “no-fault” divorce grounds occurs when neither spouse is found not to have actively done anything wrong to undermine the marriage, but the marriage has still failed anyway. No-fault divorces tend to be quicker and less expensive, with a more equal division of shared assets. There are three no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas law:

  • Insupportability
    Also known as “irreconcilable differences,” this is a big catch-all category. In practice, an “unsupportable” marriage can mean almost anything: a lack of shared interests, conflicting personalities, endless arguments, and so on. Generally (though not always), this is the divorce grounds that couples choose when both spouses agree to the divorce on positive, cooperative terms.
  • Living Apart
    If a couple has lived apart from one another for at least three consecutive years, the state will consider this a grounds for divorce. It will also likely figure into the division of property—for example, if one spouse has had the car for all that time, and the other has had the house.
  • Confinement to a Mental Institution
    If one spouse is confined to a mental institution for at least three years, and has a very poor chance of recovery (or a very high chance of relapse in the event of a recovery), this is grounds for a divorce. Bear in mind that the court will likely appoint a guardian to represent the incapacitated spouse’s interests.

At-Fault Grounds for Divorce

In the case of at-fault grounds for divorce, one (or both) spouses is said to be at fault for undermining the marriage. In most cases such a finding will greatly influence the judge’s final ruling against the at-fault spouse when it comes to the division of property, custody, and support payments.

There are four fault grounds for divorce in Texas law:

  • Cruelty
    “Cruelty” covers a broad range of conduct. It can be an action or a pattern of behavior. It can be physical, emotional, or psychological. It can be a single event, such as a physical attack, or it can be years of small insults and disrespect that gradually added up. Some amount of proof must be provided.
  • Abandonment
    Abandonment occurs when one spouse voluntarily leaves with no intention of returning. Abandonment must have lasted for at least one full year before it can be counted as grounds for divorce in Texas.
  • Adultery
    This one is self-explanatory. As with other forms of at-fault divorce, proof must be provided. It is also worth noting that any acts of adultery committed during the divorce proceedings, if they are discovered, can be factored into the judge’s final ruling.
  • Felony Conviction
    If one spouse (or both) has had a felony conviction, the Texas Family Code accepts this as an at-fault grounds for divorce, as the tragedy of a felony conviction can fundamentally undermine a marriage’s trust, as well as its financial stability and its day-to-day viability (as an imprisoned spouse will be absent).

Contact Ramos Law Group to Handle Your Divorce

The judge in your divorce case is the person who will make a final determination of fault or no-fault. They will listen to the arguments from both sides, consider all the evidence, and may end up agreeing with one side over the other—or with neither side.

Ramos Law Group handles all seven grounds for divorce in Texas. We have the legal experience to build a strong case on your behalf. Contact us today for a consultation.

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If your marriage is coming to an end and you plan on filing a divorce petition in Houston, Texas, it helps to understand the process before you begin. Here at Ramos Law Group, we deal with these situations every day, so we’ve written this guide as an informative look at the initial steps of filing for your divorce.

Visit our Divorce Page if you’re ready to speak to an attorney now. Otherwise, read on.

Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Filing for divorce is a legal process, and most of the steps have to be done in a very specific way. The paperwork, in particular, has to be just right. If you make any mistakes along the way, it could make your divorce process longer and more expensive. That is why it’s always best to consult with an attorney at the start of your divorce process.

If you want to file your divorce petition in Houston, Texas, Ramos Law Group is proud to serve all of Houston, Harris County, and the surrounding region. We have the legal know-how to handle almost everything for you. With us, you’ll be able to trust that all of these legal steps will be done quickly and correctly.

Visit our Choosing a Divorce Lawyer page to start the process of finding just the right attorney on our staff to meet the needs of your specific situation.

The Harris County Divorce Clerk and Law Library

There isn’t a lot of public help available to guide you through your divorce—another reason you need to hire an attorney—but one excellent resource if you’re filing a divorce petition in Houston, Texas is the Harris County Law Library, which is conveniently located in downtown Houston just a block away from the divorce clerk’s building.

There are excellent legal resources at the Law Library, including a highly knowledgeable staff. They also sometimes have divorce volunteers onsite to discuss your situation. These hours are limited, so you should call ahead and ask. The Law Library staff and volunteers can’t replace your attorney in guiding you through the divorce process, but they are a helpful extra resource.

The Advantages of Being the Spouse Who Files for Divorce

The spouse who files for divorce first is formally known as the “petitioner.” There are a couple of important advantages that come with being the one to file.

Keep Your Divorce Local Greater Control Over Court Dates
If you would prefer not to travel a long distance for your appearance in divorce court, then file your divorce petition in Houston. Texas law allows the petitioner to choose which county to file in whenever there are two or more locations that might claim jurisdiction Filing for divorce first also gives you more control over court dates. If you have a busy calendar or a restrictive work schedule, filing first can make your life a lot easier by giving you this flexibility.

Legal Requirements Before Filing

To file a divorce petition in Houston, Texas, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Harris County for at least 90 days. You must also have had your residence in the State of Texas for at least six months. If either of these conditions is not met, you will either need to file in the proper county, or else wait to file until the time requirement has passed.

The Actual Filing Process

The actual filing process is one of the easier steps in the divorce process. At this point, you’ll have a firm plan in place with your attorney, and they will guide you through the paperwork of filing your divorce petition in Houston, Texas.

Once the petition is filed and accepted, court dates will be set for the next step in the process, which, depending on your circumstances, could be a hearing for a protective order.

Making Modifications to Your Divorce Papers

Divorce is a strange time, with many things changing that used to be constant. Oftentimes, the situation changes so much during the divorce process that one or both spouses may wish to make a modification to the original divorce petition in Houston, Texas. This can range from child custody modification, to modifications on support payments, or other changes.

For the sake of saving time and money, it’s obviously best to save yourself from needing to make modifications down the road, but it’s important to know that this option is available if you need it. You don’t have to go into your divorce with everything completely finalized regarding custody, property, and so forth.

Your Divorce Documents Will Become Permanent Public Records

It’s important to realize that many of your divorce documents, once filed and accepted, will become a permanent part of the public record. Anybody who is so inclined will be able to look them up. It can even be helpful to you later on down the road, if you need to get copies of your divorce papers.

Public records are an important part of a society’s history, and it is very useful for scholars and historians to be able to look them up, but of course, at the individual level most of us value our privacy and would like to be discrete with how much we disclose.

This is another reason why it’s so important to file your divorce petition in Houston, Texas with the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney. At Ramos Law Group, we’ll make sure that all of your documentation is correct, and help you minimize the unintentional disclosure of any revealing information that you’d rather keep private.

Let the Experienced Attorneys at Ramos Law Group Help

At Ramos Law Group we can help you file your divorce petition in Houston, Texas. We will help you get all the paperwork right, and we’ll navigate you through the legal process.

With our years of experience and highly skilled team of family law attorneys, your divorce will be as painless and quick as possible, so that you can put this difficult chapter behind you and carry on with your life.

Contact us to begin the process of filing your divorce petition in Houston, Texas.

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For a dissolution of marriage in Texas, there is a formal legal process to follow.

Separation vs. Divorce vs. Dissolution

In some states, there is a legal distinction between a separation, a divorce, and a dissolution of marriage. In Texas, however, this is not the case.

First, there is no formal legal status for a marriage “separation.” (You can enter into a private contract of separation, but this is not enforceable like a court-ordered divorce is.)

Second, there is also no distinction between dissolution and divorce, which means that those two terms are interchangeable.

What Does the Process Involve?

The steps for a dissolution of marriage in Texas are similar to those in the rest of the country:

Getting an Attorney

First, as soon as you or your partner decide you want a divorce, you should get a qualified family law attorney. Getting an attorney doesn’t necessarily mean trouble. In fact, just the opposite: The role of a family law attorney is to help guide you through this process so that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Your attorney will help you file for divorce and go through the initial steps. You and your spouse should have separate attorneys, because you need someone who will be 100 percent on your side.

Settling Disputes

The next step in your dissolution of marriage in Texas is to settle disputes. If at all possible you and your spouse should resolve any outstanding issues when it comes to the terms of the divorce. If you are able to fully agree on everything, you can opt for an uncontested divorce, which is much quicker and less expensive.

Otherwise, you will have to proceed with a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, your team and your spouse’s team will figure out what you each want in terms of dividing up your shared assets, and you will share this information with each other.

After that is a process of formal mediation. The idea here is resolve as many disputes as possible without needing the courts to intervene. Mediation often succeeds, partially or fully, making it much easier to finalize your dissolution of marriage in Texas.

If there are any remaining disputes after mediation, there will be a trial. After both sides have presented their arguments, the court will issue its ruling.

Dividing Up Property

Who gets the house and car? What happens to your bank accounts and retirement savings? What about the pets? And that clock you both like?

The first thing to understand is that you are going to have to make some concessions. You won’t get everything exactly the way you want it. Having said that, here is where it really makes a difference if you hire a less experienced attorney versus a Board Certified expert like Mary Ramos, or the many qualified lawyers working with her at Ramos Law Group. A good attorney will help you get the best deal you can.

The second thing to understand is that dividing property in a dissolution of marriage in Texas can be very difficult—not only because you and your spouse may not agree on how to split things up, but because disentangling shared property is just an incredibly difficult and complicated process. There are legal pitfalls and risks you likely aren’t even aware of. And if you overlook something by accident, it can come back to bite you.

Deciding Who Gets Custody

In marriages with children, custody is often one of the major sticking points in completing a dissolution of marriage. (In Texas, child custody is formally called “conservatorship,” but it means the same thing.) The problem, of course, is that property can be divided up, but a child can’t. Only their time can be divided.

And that’s usually what happens: joint custody. The State of Texas recognizes that, as a general rule, a child is better off if both parents are a part of his or her life. Even if one or both of the parents wants sole custody, that doesn’t usually happen. Instead, custody disputes usually end with joint custody.

Sole Custody

For one parent to win sole custody in a dissolution of marriage in Texas, there typically has to be special circumstances. The court will always make these decisions primarily on the basis of the child’s best interests. Sole custody will not be awarded unless one parent is unable to properly or safely care for the child. Here are a few of the questions that the court will consider:

  • Can one parent not afford to feed, clothe, and shelter the child?
  • Is one parent physically or psychologically unable to care for the child?
  • Does one parent pose a threat to the child’s safety?

Other factors, such as disruption to the child’s daily life, plus their personal wishes (if they are old enough) may also be taken into consideration.

Read more of our blogs on child custody in Texas.

Do Fathers Lose Out on Custody?

There is a common misconception that the courts favor mothers in child custody cases involving a dissolution of marriage. In Texas, this myth used to be true: Mothers were broadly favored for custody. Today, however—and for quite a few years, now—the courts are blind to gender in custody decisions. They look solely at each parent’s ability to serve the best interests of the child.

However, because these myths persist, if you’re a father and you’re involved in a custody dispute, you should speak with an attorney who is experienced in answering questions from others in your position. For more information, see our Divorce Lawyer for Men page.

Contact Ramos Law Group for Help

The attorneys at Ramos Law Group are highly experienced in all aspects relating to the dissolution of marriage in Texas. From answering your questions to representing you in court, we are here to help make this stressful and exhausting process as smooth as possible, while protecting your interests to the fullest extent.

Ramos Law Group serves clients throughout the greater Houston area and in the surrounding regions. Contact us today for a consultation, and take the next step in reclaiming your life and moving on to better things.

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