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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.

Each state has its own set of laws that govern the division of property during a divorce or dissolution of marriage. Community property is a term for the assets that a married couple owns together.

There are nine states that recognize the philosophy of community property, including Texas. Which assets are considered separate or community property is what guides the Texas court systems through the divorce process.

What Qualifies as Community Property in Texas Divorce?

Any asset that was acquired during the marriage is considered community property in Texas. This means that any asset earned or acquired during marriage– be it earnings, retirement accounts, real property, personal belongings, etc – are subject to a just and right division in a Texas divorce.

Even if an asset is in one spouse’s sole name, for example, a 401k retirement account or motor vehicle, if it was acquired after the date of marriage then it is considered community property in a Texas divorce.

The nature of community property in Texas divorce does not change no matter who earns the asset or contributes toward the community estate. Even if only one spouse earned community income or all the community assets are under only one spouse’s name, community property law requires that all assets be subject to a just and right division. This means a spouse that never worked or earned substantially less than the other spouse is entitled to a just and right division of the community property.

Assets from Before the Marriage

Any asset that was in existence prior to marriage is not considered community property. An asset that existed prior to the marriage is characterized as separate property.

Separate & Community Property in Texas Divorce

Some property can be characterized as both separate property and community property in a Texas divorce. For example, if a party had money in a retirement account on the date of marriage and continued to contribute after the date of marriage. Then there would be a community property interest and a separate property interest in the same account. Some property, even if acquired during the marriage, cannot be characterized as community property in a Texas divorce. This includes property that was acquired via gift, devise or inheritance. Any assets acquired by those means will remain as that spouse’s separate property.

Proving Separate vs. Community Property

There is a presumption that all property acquired during a marriage is characterized as community property. The burden of rebutting that presumption is on the party claiming the property is separate property.

A court cannot divide or award separate property; it can only address the division of community property in a Texas divorce. To prove that an asset is a separate property, a party must be able to prove the date of inception occurred prior to the date of marriage or that it was obtained through gift, inheritance or devise.

Speak With an Expert Attorney

Given the intricacies of the community property system and the importance of preserving all of your community property rights, it is highly advisable that you consult with a licensed Texas family law attorney who has experience in dealing with the division of community property in a Texas divorce. A licensed Texas divorce attorney with experience in dealing with the division of community property will be able to review the details of your estate and provide advice as to a proposed division.

Call Ramos Law Group

If you are considering a divorce in Texas and have assets to divide, please contact the Ramos Law Group to speak with one of our licensed attorneys about your case.

If you are the first to file for divorce, you will be known as the Petitioner. Ultimately, the differences between who files first are minimal but there are some procedural considerations as you will see below.

The Petitioner May Choose the County

If there are multiple counties in which the courts could have proper jurisdiction, the spouse to file first ultimately chooses the county that the matter will be heard in. If your spouse lives in another Texas county, it may be advantageous for you to file in the county closest to you. In Texas, It is sometimes better to file for divorce first so that the courthouse can be as close to your home as possible.

Control of the First Hearing Date

The party to file first is usually in control of the first hearing date for temporary orders, if temporary orders are requested in their case. Temporary orders may be requested for various reasons, but primarily parties want to establish provisions for conservatorship, child support, interim attorney’s fees, interim spousal support, temporary use of personal property, and temporary financial matters. Additionally, depending on how long your spouse waits to speak to an attorney before the hearing date, your attorney may end up having more time to prepare for the hearing.

Temporary Restraining Orders

If you are concerned that your spouse is wasting community funds or hiding other assets, it is better to file for your Texas divorce first. Then you may get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in place. A TRO is intended to maintain the status quo while your divorce is pending. For example, a TRO will prevent your spouse from selling or transferring any assets, canceling your insurance, or destroying any evidence related to the divorce. A TRO will stay in place for 14 days, and it is recommended to follow it up with a temporary mutual injunction with the same or similar provisions for coverage of the entire remaining time of the divorce proceedings. See this list of standard injunctions for examples.

Responsibility for Drafting a Final Agreement

The responsibility for drafting a final agreement, if one is reached at mediation, will usually fall to the Petitioner’s attorney. This does mean that you absorb some of the additional cost to cover the drafting time, but it also means that your attorney can make sure that the Final Decree of Divorce gets drafted in a timely manner. Additionally, we often experience issues with receiving final decrees from other attorneys who have just let their paralegal draft an order straight from a form generator. Having to revise an order that has not been given the proper amount of attorney attention can often end up costing the client more to revise than it would have for your attorney to just draft the final order themselves.

The Bottom Line

It is better to file first for your divorce in Texas if:
  • You want a divorce court close to home
  • You need to protect joint assets or evidence
  • You want to resolve the divorce process quickly

Call Ramos Law Group

Start the process of your Texas divorce with a call to the family law experts at Ramos Law Group. Reach us at 713-597-7274 or contact us online.
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When going through a divorce in Texas, a main point of contention is often the division of property, especially if the parties own a home.

A Texas divorce court has a few options in dividing a real property asset but each case is different and it would be best to consult a Texas divorce attorney to discuss your specific property concerns.

Contested and Uncontested Divorces

If it is a contested divorce, the parties will first need to agree or the court will order who is temporarily responsible for the monthly mortgage and who has temporary use of the home while the divorce is pending. If at all possible, avoid vacating the residence as the court will consider that when temporarily or permanently awarding the home in a divorce.

In an uncontested Texas divorce, who gets the house and how property is divided will have to be completely agreed upon.

Once a divorce is ready for finalization, all assets, including the community estate’s real property, will need to be divided or awarded. This can be done by agreement or by court order after a trial. The division of real property can be handled in a number of different ways.

An Order for the Sale of the Residence

A Texas divorce court may decide that the best way to effectuate a just and right division would be to order the sale of the residence and then determine how the sale proceeds are divided. If it is an especially contentious divorce, the court can set the terms of the sale, including choosing a broker, setting the listing price, and deciding who is responsible for the upkeep and mortgage on the house during the pendency of the sale.

An Award of Partial Home Equity

The court must take into consideration the entire value of the community estate when handling the award of the marital residence. To resolve the decision of who gets the house during a divorce, a Texas court may award the house to one party, and equity from the home to the other.

A Texas divorce court is often reluctant to order the sale of the residence if one party is able to pay the mortgage. However, it may be necessary in certain cases. The party not being awarded the marital residence, assuming the home is a community property asset and there is equitable value in the home, is entitled to their community property interest in the home.

There are several ways a party can obtain their share of the equity from the marital residence, assuming the house is not ordered to be sold.

  • The party that is awarded the home can be ordered to pay the other party their portion of the equity, often by refinancing or getting a home equity loan.
  • The party that was not awarded the home could be awarded their portion of the equity elsewhere in the property division of the divorce. For example, getting more of a 401k account or being awarded all of another asset that has equal value to the equity value.

How the equity is divided often depends on what other assets are in the community estate.

If the house in contention has no equity or the mortgage is higher than the value of the residence, then the court may just award it and the associated debt to whichever party desires the residence.

Other Property Concerns

When the court decides who gets the house in a Texas divorce, the title will need to be transferred to the receiving party. This is normally done with a special warranty deed, where a party transfers their legal interest in the property to the other party so that the house is titled in only one party’s name.

If both parties are on the mortgage, that needs to be considered and addressed when deciding how to award or divide property during the divorce. A court cannot force a party to refinance as the court has no power over a lending or financing company, but a court can order the party who was awarded the residence to make a good faith attempt to refinance by a date certain. The divorce decree will typically also include language that obligates the party receiving the residence to pay the mortgage.

If the party who is awarded the home is unable to refinance the mortgage in their sole name, a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption is typically executed. This will offer some protection to the party who remains on the mortgage if the party who was awarded the residence defaults on the mortgage.

Connect with an Expert

Who gets the house in each Texas divorce can depend on every factor of the case. Each divorce matter is unique and brings with it a variety of property concerns and financial implications.

It is best to hire a licensed Texas family law attorney with experience in handling property issues who can guide you through the process. If you are considering a divorce and want to discuss your specific property concerns, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC to schedule a consultation.

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Many parties going through a divorce in Texas are concerned about how a divorce will affect their assets, especially a 401k or other retirement accounts. While it’s always best to consult with a divorce attorney, here are several things to keep in mind when thinking about how to protect your assets.

Separate vs Community Property

Texas is a community property state. If any part of a retirement account was earned during the marriage, it is considered a community property asset and is subject to a just division by the court. If any part of the retirement account was earned prior to the date of marriage, that would be considered a person’s separate property and could not be divided by the court.

When going through a divorce in Texas, it is important to have all of the documentation to show accurate balances for any accounts, both before and after the date of marriage so that a party’s separate property interest can be protected. There is a presumption that all assets are community assets, so the party alleging that an asset is a separate property asset has the burden to prove it.

It can be a lengthy process to obtain records, especially if an account was started many years ago, so to best protect your 401k when a divorce is on the horizon, it would be best to begin gathering relevant documents as soon as possible.

Restraining Orders and Injunctions

Typically, during a divorce in Texas, a court will issue a temporary restraining order or standard injunctions. These are put in place to preserve assets during the pendency of a divorce. This means that parties are prohibited from cashing out assets such as 401ks or IRAs.

It is inadvisable to cash out 401ks or take out loans against existing 401ks during the divorce process without express authorization from the court. If there is a financial hardship or urgency the court may consider that and allow an early withdrawal or loan, but typically a court prefers to keep the marital assets intact for a final division.

Changing 401K Account Details During Divorce

A person going through a divorce in Texas should consider the ramifications of altering their 401k contributions. Changing the level of your contributions can have a trickle-down effect, such as increasing income for child support calculations. It is important to discuss how changing the contributions can affect a divorce with a licensed Texas family law attorney.

Dividing 401k Funds

The actual division of the 401k funds during divorce depends on the totality of the community estate. If each party has a retirement fund of similar value, the court may not divide either and each party would be awarded their own retirement. If there is only one retirement fund, the court may divide it. If one party is awarded the marital residence with all of the equity, the other party may be awarded the entirety of a retirement fund to effectuate a just and right division.

Since the division of property is dependent on a couple’s specific facts and circumstances, it is important to discuss your individual case with a licensed Texas family law attorney.

How 401K Funds can be Transferred Between Accounts

Finally, if a 401k is divided in the final Texas divorce settlement, the court uses a legal document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This order will effectuate the transfer or disbursement of the awarded funds from one party’s 401k account to the receiving party’s 401k account, IRA or similar account. There are typically minimal tax penalties or financial concerns if the funds awarded from a 401k are simply rolled over into another investment account. If a party declines to roll the funds into an investment account and prefers to cash out the value, then there will likely be financial and tax implications to consider so it will be important to discuss that option with a licensed Texas family law attorney.

Connect With a Specialist Who Can Help

There are an infinite number of issues that could arise relating to property division, 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.

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Going through a divorce can be a tense and anxiety-inducing experience. Even when a marriage ends amicably, the dissolution still tends to take a toll on separating spouses. It’s no surprise that a divorce due to abuse is a process typically fraught with a number of stressful and worrisome challenges.

If you are contemplating or preparing for divorce with an abusive spouse, it’s vital to contact an attorney with experience in these types of cases. They will file for a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the original petition for divorce. These orders are renewable every 14 days, until a longer-term measure is approved by the court.

If you have been abused or feel that you’re in danger, your attorney will follow up with a protective order enforceable by civil and criminal contempt. A final protective order stays in effect for two years. Your attorney will work with you to put a stop to the abuse and help get you your life back.

Don’t Wait to Leave and Abuser

Many spouses hesitate to divorce an abusive husband or wife because they fear retribution or other consequences of leaving their tumultuous marriage. Concerns of financial ruin, reputational damage, physical violence and other distressing factors often lead victimized spouses to remain in untenable situations for longer than they should.

Yet, most survivors of abuse will attest that leaving an abusive relationship is the first necessary step towards dramatically improving their lives. It may be necessary to divorce an abusive husband or wife if your spouse:

  • Touches you in a harmful manner
  • Attempts to limit your communication with others
  • Restricts your use to vehicles, monitors your schedule
  • Destroys property
  • Engages in other abusive behavior.

No one should have to remain in a relationship where they are being harmed or are unable to act freely.

Texas Laws to Protect Abuse Victims

If you have a partner who is physically abusive, there are Texas laws in place to help you safely escape the relationship. Similarly, if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship with a person who is controlling or who attempts to manipulate and coerce you, there are legal options to assist you with leaving. When seeking a divorce due to abuse, understanding your legal protections is key to walking away stronger and more secure once and for all.

Texas laws offer protective orders for abused spouses, which restrict contact and communication from their abusers. For mothers and fathers who are concerned that an abusive spouse may attempt to hurt or abscond with their children, supervised visitation is also available. In some instances, complete termination of parental rights might even be in order. An experienced family attorney can provide you with a detailed plan to protect yourself and your loved ones when initiating a divorce with an abusive husband or wife.

The Process of Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)

TRO’s are filed when needed with the original petition for divorce and are renewable every 14 days. If needed, an attorney will visit the court every two weeks to extend the TRO until such time as a temporary order is in place. It can take 1-2 months to schedule a temporary order hearing before the court. After the hearing, an attorney will get at least one week to draft and review the orders. Reviewing and entering temporary orders typically take about two weeks from the hearing, and local rules in Texas require that the reviewer get 5 days to review.

You Are Not Alone

Taking steps to leave an abusive relationship can be intimidating. It is easy to feel alone in your struggle, but you are definitely not alone. Within the United States, twenty people per minute are abused by their partners. Domestic abuse is a pervasive problem that affects countless families across the spectrum.

When you have decided it is time to initiate a divorce due to abuse, the supportive team at Ramos Law is here to help. Our experienced attorneys and staff are ready to usher you through every phase of the divorce process and will make sure that you receive every protection offered by the law along the way. Contact Ramos Law today for further information on how to divorce an abusive husband or divorce an abusive wife.

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Domestic abuse is a prevalent problem within intimate and familial relationships. According to surveys, roughly 25% of divorcees cite abuse as a contributing factor to their divorce. In 25% of physical violence cases against women and nearly 15% of those against men, this abuse will escalate to severe violence leading to critical harm or injury. In its worst forms, domestic abuse may end in death as it correlates with higher rates of suicide and homicide.

Behaviors such as hitting, choking or kicking are simple to classify as abusive. But there is a more surreptitious form of domestic abuse that is often overlooked: emotional abuse.

Often, the best-case resolution for domestic emotional abuse is divorce. If the emotional abuse continues through the divorce process, your attorney can help by filing for a temporary restraining order (TRO), which is renewable every 14 days until a temporary order can be put in place with a mutual injunction to prevent such behavior.

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Understanding Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be just as dangerous as physical abuse, and is often accompanied by or escalates to physical abuse as well. Emotional abuse includes methods that weaken and break down victims just as effectively as physical abuse, but without leaving an actual mark. Many abusers instead erode the will, esteem and support systems of their partners in order to control them.

Recognizing An Emotionally Abusive Spouse

If your spouse is emotionally abusive, you’re likely excruciatingly aware of the pain caused by that person. However, you might not be as clear on the specific methods employed by abusers to keep their victims down. Being able to identify the harmful ways by which emotional abusers break your will is helpful in keeping you strong when leaving them.

If you are seeking to divorce an emotional abuser, you will likely see a number of disturbing behaviors from your spouse kick into overdrive during the process:

Habitual Blaming

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Blame is a tactic commonly used by emotionally abusive partners. Victims of this type of abuse often find themselves at fault for everything wrong in the lives of their abusers. From minor impediments, such as a bad day at work, to overarching shortcomings like failing to achieve financial stability, emotional abusers have an uncanny knack for attributing every mishap in their lives to someone else. The victims of this type of abuse tend to be those in closest proximity to the abuser, often leaving their spouses and partners as the unfortunate recipients of blame, ire, and resentment.

For outsiders, it can be easy to question how or why anyone would ever get involved with an emotionally abusive partner who blames them for all of life’s setbacks. However, attorneys experienced in divorce law know emotional abusers can be very skilled at hiding their deep-seated personality flaws early in relationships. With blamers, their new partners are often exalted in comparison to their exes when first entering a new relationship. But with time, the abuser’s blame will shift to the new partner, and the cycle continues.

If you are always the target of blame in your marriage, understand that using divorce to resolve the emotional abuse is always an option.

Consult with an Attorney

Superiority Complex

Another red flag of emotional abuse is when a spouse treats their partner as inferior. Often, this process is two-fold, with the abuser both boosting themselves while putting down their partner.

An abuser with a superiority complex makes a habit of belittling their victims in order to make himself appear and feel superior. They will draw attention to his partner’s smallest flaws to make them hyper-aware of their insecurities. They will rarely miss an opportunity to embarrass or debase the person they claim to love.

When life with your spouse feels like a competition that you are constantly losing, you are likely dealing with an emotional abuser.


The entitled emotional abuser expects to always receive special treatment, even though such treatment is not actually earned or deserved. This type of person usually does not feel as though they must play by the rules and may feel maligned when expected to abide by the ordinary code of conduct. The entitled abuser has the mindset that everyone is indebted to them, and expects even unreasonable whims to be catered to.

Society will generally not respond positively to this sort of entitled behavior. As such, entitled emotional abusers will likely only be able to exert influence over those closest to them.

This type of emotional abuse tends to show in divorce more often, as an entitled spouse is more likely to seek a greater portion of community property than they are due.


Lastly, control is the primary tool used to effectuate emotional abuse. Abusers seek to make their victims powerless. It is far easier for the abuser to coerce a victim who has no power to leave, get help or fight back. To take this power from the victim, the abuser seeks control over key aspects of the victim’s life.

One of the first means to achieve this power is by taking financial control. A person with no buying power is likely at the mercy of whoever is willing to feed, clothe and shelter them. Abusers are well aware of this fact, which is why they often make a point to control and monitor the spending within their households. This leaves their victims completely dependent.

Abusers are also known to isolate their victims from their support systems. When a person has family or friends who are willing to provide various forms of help, he or she still maintains the power to leave a bad situation. Cutting the victim off from that support system eliminates their opportunity to draw upon help. As such, emotionally abusive people seek to isolate their partners, either by alienating them from their loved ones or by moderating their communications with their network.

Controlling abusers are able to firmly plant themselves within their victims’ lives by chipping away at them mentally, day by day, controlling how their victim sees themselves. Emotional abusers erode their victims’ self-esteem, confidence, independence, and relationships with others until the abused partner begins to feel as though they have nothing in their lives except their abuser. Once getting to this point, abusers will often further exert control over the victim by threatening to withhold themselves. The abuser may even try threatening divorce as an emotional abuse tactic themselves. The victim may find themselves begging for their abuser to stay because they fear being left empty and abandoned.

Divorcing an Emotional Abuser

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Domestic abuse is unlikely to improve over time. In most cases, it only gets worse. Victims married to hurtful partners are encouraged to divorce over the emotional abuse. At Ramos Law, there are knowledgeable family attorneys experienced in emotional abuse affects divorce law, and are to help. End the cycle of abuse while you can. Call Ramos Law Group today.

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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.
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