- The Process of Divorce
- Initial Filing
- After hiring a divorce attorney in a contested divorce, an Original Petition for Divorce is filed on your behalf. Your case is then assigned to a district court in the county in which you live. The Law Office of Chris Arce, PLLC handles contested divorces in Bexar County, MORE county, MORE county. After the Petition is filed, a copy of the Petition is served on your spouse by a process server. If your spouse files the Original Petition, you must file an Answer, as well as a Counter-Petition. It is usually of little legal consequence which party files first.
- Temporary Restraining Orders
- Our divorce attorneys will also advise to serve a Temporary Restraining Order on your spouse at this time. This is a common practice. A Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO, should not be confused with a criminal protective order and does not imply any misbehavior by you or your spouse. A TRO is a series of injunctions that require both parties to maintain the status quo.
- Both parties are enjoined from making any large or unusual purchases, selling any major assets, destroying any documents that may be relevant in the divorce, and changing the children’s school or daycare among other restrictions. The purpose of the TRO is to prevent one spouse from making any large changes without the consent of the other spouse. Your divorce attorney at The Law Office of Chris Arce, PLLC will always try to keep the process as simple as possible. Filing a TRO helps to achieve this goal.
- Temporary Orders Hearing
- In there are any issues that need to be addressed early in the case, for example, if the parties can’t agree who should live in the house, where the children should live, who should pay the bills, a Temporary Orders Hearing may be necessary. At a Temporary Orders Hearing, a judge will hear from the parties and any other witnesses in the case, and make a temporary ruling on issues like use of property, custody, and child and spousal support.
- Our divorce attorneys also advise this method to keep emotions at bay and focus on what is legally best for both parties. This ruling is not final, but will only remain in place until the divorce is finalized. Many people are able to come to a temporary agreement without attending court, and several courts require that the parties attempt to mediate before a Temporary Orders Hearing.
- For many individuals, especially those who have a high net worth estate, discovery is a critical portion of the contested divorce process. During the discovery process both sides are allowed to ask questions and request documents from other party. Your divorce lawyer will work with you to prepare your documents, as well as review and explain the documents provided by your spouse. This allows a fair division of property as it forces parties to disclose all assets and liabilities.
- Many courts require mediation as part of the legal process of divorce. During mediation, a neutral third part mediator will help the parties reach an agreement. Your attorney will be present during mediation to protect your interests and help you negotiate effectively. Agreements reached during the mediation process are binding and enforceable.
- Once a mediated settlement agreement is signed, neither party can change his/her mind. Thus, the divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Chris Arce, PLLC take their time to make certain you are fully aware of the permanency of the agreement and approve of all elements.
- Final Trial
- In the event the parties cannot reach an agreement, a final trial on the merits will be held. At the final trial all of the issues and evidence will be presented to a judge or a jury for a decision. The attorneys at The Law Office of Chris Arce, PLLC are experienced trial lawyers who can help you effectively present your side of the story.
- Contested Divorce
- When a divorce is “contested,” it means the parties involved cannot come to an agreement on an issue. In these cases, the divorce may proceed to a trial setting, where a ruling will be made. While it’s usually best to come to an agreement with your ex, some points are non-negotiable and worth fighting for. A divorce attorney can help you determine which points you are most likely to win and which contentions might not be worth your energy in the long run.
WHEN IS IT BEST TO UNDERTAKE A CONTESTED DIVORCE?
If you have any hesitation at all regarding an agreed divorce and the discussions you have had with your spouse, it is vital to speak with a complex divorce attorney about your circumstances. While it is important to work with an attorney, whether your divorce is contested or not, it is also essential that you do not agree to a particular type of divorce until you have spoken with a divorce lawyer that can handle the complex issues in your specific situation.
It may seem that you can resolve issues of child custody and visitation without the court’s help, but those negotiations require a lawyer at your side. If you have children and your divorce is contested, there could be a difficult and lengthy battle to determine custody of the children. A lawyer who specializes in contested divorces and offers experience as a custody lawyer is an unbeatable ally in court.
The worst action you can take as a spouse who will shortly experience a divorce is to assume your partner will act in your best interests. We often want to think the best of those we love, or once loved, but it is best to remain cautious in all divorce proceedings and particularly when you are experiencing a contested divorce.
What Is a Contested Divorce in Texas?
A contested divorce in Texas means the spouses do not agree to all the terms of the divorce, including concerns like child custody, child support, and property division. With a contested divorce, each spouse needs to hire a Texas divorce lawyer to represent him or her for a chance of getting the desired outcome.
If you’re planning to separate from your spouse any time soon, you need to get familiar with the contested divorce process and then hire a divorce lawyer in Houston who can best represent you. Here’s what you need to know about what happens if a divorce is contested in Texas.
Filing and Serving Divorce Paperwork
The Texas contested divorce process begins when you file an Original Petition for Divorce with the courthouse in your county. At this time, you will need to fill out your reason for divorce in Texas, and then submit any requests along with your petition. For example, if you need a temporary restraining order or need to request a hearing for child support as soon as possible, let the court know now.
Once the courthouse has your paperwork, the judge will sign off on it, and then the next step in the contested divorce process in Texas will occur. At this point, your spouse will be served with the documents, letting him or her officially know you want a divorce. He or she will likely hire a divorce lawyer once this happens.
Temporary Orders Hearing
Now that you have begun filing for divorce in Texas, the next phase of the Texas contested divorce process is to prepare for the temporary orders hearing. This is when you will need to present evidence and have witnesses testify to show the judge that you should get the outcome you’re hoping for, whether it’s child support or a specific child custody arrangement.
The point of temporary orders is to ensure you can pay your bills and your children can see both parents while waiting for the contested divorce process to end. Expect to rely heavily on the legal counsel of your divorce lawyer at Moffett Law Firm while preparing for the temporary orders hearing.
The Negotiation Stage
As you go through a contested divorce in Texas, you will need to try to negotiate with your spouse in a process called mediation. At this stage, you and your spouse will sit in separate rooms in the same building, and an independent, unbiased mediation attorney will go back and forth between you and your spouse until you come to an agreement on various topics within the divorce. This way, you don’t have to face your spouse, but you can still communicate until you achieve an agreement you are both satisfied with.
If you’re able to agree during negotiation, your contested divorce is over and you don’t have to move on to the next step, which is trial.
Going to Trial
If you and your spouse cannot agree during mediation, you’ll head to trial. This is when you and your divorce lawyer will present evidence to support the outcome you want, and your spouse will present his or her side with help from a lawyer. Once you both make your arguments in court, the judge will decide on the issues you couldn’t agree on, such as division of assets, child custody or child support.
Now that you know what to expect from the process for a contested divorce in Texas, it’s time to hire an experienced divorce lawyer in Houston. When you come to Moffett Law Firm for help with your contested divorce case, you can expect to meet with a compassionate, knowledgeable legal team. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
- Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce does not mean that the couple has no disagreements. Instead, it means that they are able to work out the details of the separation outside of a trial. In most cases, these divorces apply to people who have been married a short time, have little joint property and no children. However, an uncontested divorce can benefit couples outside those circumstances if they can agree on the more complicated issues. For example, they would need to see eye-to-eye on matters such as dividing marital assets and developing an agreement as to how custody and visitation will be arranged.
These cases move quickly through the legal system because there is no need for a judge to make a decision about custody or anything else. Instead, the paperwork is merely filed with the court and the divorce is finalized once the documents have been approved.
Why an attorney is helpful
It may appear as though a couple could simply draw up the paperwork themselves and submit it to court. However, there could be issues in doing so. First of all, tasks such as property division are not always as simple as they seem. There should be a valuation process, and both parties need to factor in any tax implications. Texas law requires that this division is done in a manner that is “just and right.” An attorney knows how to ensure that the separation of assets is fair.
Attorneys can also be useful during a divorce that is not contested in the following ways:
- Calling attention to issues that may otherwise get overlooked
- Filing paperwork accurately to avoid any unnecessary delays
- Determining technical issues such as child or spousal support
Most people are not familiar with the court system, whereas an experienced family law attorney knows what is expected from a couple ending their marriage. The lawyer would be able to prepared all the necessary documents, including the final decree.
Qualifications to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
In order to file for divorce in Texas, at least one party must have resided in-state for the past six months and in the same county for 90 days before filing. You must also have an estate valued at less than $250,000 to qualify for an uncontested divorce.
You must also meet additional requirements including:
- Both parties agreeing to the divorce
- Being willing to sign paperwork without being served
- Agreeing to work with one lawyer
It should be noted that you will not qualify for an uncontested divorce if:
- Either spouse disagrees on any issue in your divorce
- You are not aware of what assets or debts you and your spouse have
- You are concerned that your spouse may be hiding assets
- You or your spouse want a customized visitations schedule
- There are grounds for divorce because of cruel treatment or adultery
- You or your spouse has a bankruptcy case pending
You or your spouse has had a child while married but with a third party
What Are the Steps for an Uncontested Divorce?
First, the parties need to reach an agreement on all issues prior to retaining our services. Next, one spouse completes all the paperwork and our contract for an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, only one party may have an attorney. An Original Petition for Divorce is drafted and filed with the court. The non-filing spouse must sign a waiver of service before a notary public indicating that they are waiving the right to service and that the divorce may be finalized without notice to the non-represented party.
After the petition for divorce and waiver of service are filed with the court, we will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce. Both spouses sign the Final Decree. The Final Decree can be presented to the court for approval 61 days after the Original Petition for Divorce was filed, which is required by state law.
After the required time has passed, one spouse must appear in court to present the Final Decree of Divorce to the judge. The Final Decree of Divorce and any other supporting documents are presented to the court electronically. Once the judge reviews all the documents and hears brief testimony from the spouse, the judge determines if the divorce will be granted.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Texas?
For a divorce in Texas, you must wait 60 days as the standard waiting period. Even if you filed for an uncontested divorce, the state requires 61 days for everything to be finalized. Be sure that all your paperwork is completed properly and that you attend the last court hearing before a judge. A Final Decree of Divorce will be signed and you will be on your way.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Texas?
Under state law, an uncontested divorce is not final for at least 60 days after the petition has been filed. Depending on the complexity of the issues at hand, divorces may take years to complete. Uncontested divorces are more attractive in the sense that they rarely go past the 60 day mark.
- Uncontested Divorce
- An uncontested divorce is a situation in which both parties are in agreement about how the separation should be carried out. While you may agree on the big picture issues, the implementation of your separation can be difficult to negotiate. Your divorce attorney can come to fair terms with your ex or their attorneys.
- Even if you and your spouse agree on most terms of your divorce, it is still in your best interest to retain legal representation. With the right lawyer on your side, you’ll be position to success in the future. Our clients know they can count on us to protect their rights and interests.
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