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Frequently Asked Questions For Houston Divorce Attorneys

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Have divorce or family law questions?

This page contains answers to the most common questions we receive. If you want to learn more about family law, visit our blog for more detailed questions and answers.

Adoption

Who is eligible to adopt?

In Texas, anyone who passes a background check and has the financial ability to support the child. Keep in mind, that a detailed pre-adoptive homestudy will be conducted which includes the following areas:

  • Interview of adoptive parents
  • Verification of legal documents
  • Letters of reference from friends and family
  • Confirmation of financial status
  • Criminal history check
  • Child abuse check
Can I adopt more than one child?

Yes. In the majority of the cases involving multiple children, siblings are adopted together. It is preferable that children of the same family remain together. Therefore, the court gives special attention to those types of adoptions.

What is an open adoption?

It is an adoption where both the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parents are made known to each other and have some type of contact throughout the process. In open adoptions, the birth and adoptive parents determine the level of contact. In some cases only names are exchanged.

Can I provide financial assistance to the birth mother?

The state of Texas, limits the expenses an adoptive parent can pay for on behave of the biological parents to medical and legal expenses relating to the adoption.

Divorce and Family Law

How long does it take to finalize a divorce?

In accordance with Texas Laws, a waiting period of 60 days is required. However, the divorce may take longer if the parties are trying to work out the terms of the divorce, such as custody of children, child support, property division, etc. If an agreement is not reached, either party may schedule a hearing at any time after the 60 day waiting period.

Who will get custody of the children?

Both parents should agree on which party will get primary custody and which will get visitation. If both parties are unable to come to an agreement a judge will rule based on the evidence presented and the best interest of the children.

Both parents have the same legal rights to the children until there is a court hearing. Until that hearing, each parent has the right to be with the children. A temporary restraining order is usually issued automatically by the court when a divorce petition is filed that will forbid the parents from changing the kids’ residence or hiding them from the other parent. A temporary restraining order, however, does not award anyone custody.

What happens to our property?

When it comes to divorce, some states recognize property between a husband and wife as community property. Only certain states permit this type of joint ownership, and Texas is one of those states. This means that both you and your spouse have an undivided one half interest in all the property that you’ve acquired and the income you’ve earned during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the ownership papers or who earned the most money. Basically, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the property deemed as community property wll be divided equally (50-50) by the court in most cases.

What is separate property?

Generally, separate property is property that was either owned by the spouse before marriage, acquired by gift / inheritance, or certain kinds of recoveries for personal injuries.

What is community property?

All property acquired during marriage by either spouse is presumed to be community property, and a spouse who asserts that particular property is separate property must prove its sole ownership.

How is child support calculated?

Every state establishes numerical child support guidelines. Child support is based on a percentage to the non-custodial parent’s income. It is from this percentage that the child support is calculated. The percent of net resources will be 20% for 1 child, 25% for 2 children, 30% for 3 children, 35% for 4 children, and 40% for 5 children. There are caps and other considerations on child support amounts that may affect some individual payors.

What are the child support guideline percentages?

The following percentages are presumed to be appropriate under the Texas Family Code:

Child Support Guideline Percentages
Number of Children Percentage
1 20% of the obligor’s net resources
2 25% of the obligor’s net resource
3 30% of the obligor’s net resources
4 35% of the obligor’s net resources
5 40% of the obligor’s net resources
6 or more Not less than 40% of the obligor’s net resources
Are there any requirements to getting a divorce in Texas?

A suit for divorce may not be maintained in this state unless at the time the suit is filed either the petitioner or the respondent has been: (1) a domiciliary of this state for the preceding

six-month period; and (2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed

for the preceding 90-day period.

What this means is that in order to obtain a divorce, for example, in Houston, Texas, there are certain residency requirements that must be met. Using the above scenario, in order to get a divorce in Houston, Texas you must show that not only are you living in Texas and have lived in Texas for at least six months prior to the filing of the divorce, but that you have also lived in the county with which you have filed for divorce (and since you’ve filed for the divorce in Houston, that means you have to have lived, at the very least, in Harris County for the last three months).

What are the grounds for a divorce?

Texas law recognizes both “no-fault” and “fault” divorces. A no fault divorce is a divorce that is granted without the spouse who initiates the divorce having to allege and provide marital misconduct on the part of the other spouse. On the other hand, a fault based divorce is a type of divorce in which the spouse who initiates the divorce provides a very specific reason for the divorce such as cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, or confinement in a mental hospital.

Reasons for choosing to do a “no fault” vs. a “fault” divorce is with fault divorces, if one party is at “fault” for the breakup of the marriage, the court may take that into consideration in determining what is an “equitable” division of the property. For that reason, the other spouse may want to plead fault grounds in their petition. Otherwise, insupportability would be the grounds for divorce for those opting to do a “no-fault” divorce. Declaring insupportability renders a finding of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

My spouse just asked me for a divorce and I am unemployed.

While the divorce case is pending, temporary spousal support is certainly one option. Temporary spousal support may be awarded at a temporary orders hearing. While there are no guidelines with regards to setting temporary spousal support, the party seeking support should be prepared to show what his/her needs are and what resources are available to the other spouse to meet those needs

After the divorce, what happens to my last name?

If restoring your last name to what it was prior to your marriage is what you want, you may request to do so in the divorce decree. It is important to know that a change of one’s name does not release that person from liability incurred by the person under a previous name or defeat a right the person held under a previous name.

What is the difference in divorce and annulment?

Essentially, in a divorce the marriage is valid contract while in an annulment the marriage becomes an invalid contract.

What are the issues that are involved with a divorce?

There are a wide range of issues involved in a divorce including child custody, child support, visitation rights, and property division to name a few. The key to a successful divorce is to remove emotions and considering the divorce process as a business transaction.

If my spouse is pregnant can I still file for divorce?

Yes, you can still file for divorce but you will not be able to finalize the process until the child is born and a determination of paternity is made. This delay allows the court to include the appropriate order for visitation and child support if applicable.

Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a formal settlement session in which a neutral person trained in dispute resolution meets with the parties and gets them to talk about the case and their differences. Mediation is preferable to litigation in many circumstances for a number of reasons. Mediation is seen as much less aggressive, saves considerable amounts of money and time for most individuals who choose it over litigation.

What is the role of the mediator?

A mediator is there to clarify the issues that you and your spouse need to resolve; establish the ground rules for your mediation; set an agenda for your discussions, and most importantly, keep the discussions moving forward. Again the mediator won’t take sides with you or your spouse, or provide opinions; rather the mediator is to act as a consensus builder, facilitator, and even at times a referee.

What happens after mediation?

If mediation is successful, then the mediator prepares a written document that details everything the parties agreed upon including applicable signatures of the parties and their attorneys. Afterwards, copies of the agreement are then given to each attorney to be added to the final divorce decree and filed with the court. After the decree becomes approved by the court, each party becomes legally bound to comply with all the terms agreed to during mediation.

Our Client Testimonials

Superb Law Firm

The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.

Worth Every Penny

"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."

Custody case won

"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "

Divorce Attorney

"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "

Highly recommend

"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "

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