Texas Divorce Law 123

Pro Se Divorce

Today, many marriages are ending in divorce. However, not all of these couples are ready or willing to pay large attorney fees or feel that it is necessary to have their battles displayed in a courtroom. Many couples feel that they may divorce amicably and feel that they can agree upon the terms of their divorce amongst themselves. These couples may choose to initiate a Pro Se Divorce, which means that they will represent themselves and not have an attorney.

Most people feel that there are both pros and cons to representing yourself throughout a divorce. First, one of the benefits may be that if you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, and have a clear understanding of the legal forms required to petition the court, you may be able to have your divorce finalized very quickly, as well as inexpensively. The negatives are simple to understand. There is a very good chance that you may make a drastic mistake since you are not a qualified attorney.

If you are considering filing Pro Se because you fear that you cannot afford an attorney, then you may want to consider choosing legal aid. Based upon your income, you may qualify for services. If however, you find that you don’t qualify for services you can always schedule a free consultation with an attorney. The consultation is a great time to discuss your case and determine if they could help you. Some attorneys even offer a flat rate for their services. If after meeting with the attorney, you still feel confident in representing yourself then you should.

You may want to take advantage of the Texas State Law Library and conduct as much research as possible. You can also download the forms that you need for free.

If you do need to appear in court, it will be expected of you to know how to act civilly. You should always dress appropriately. Women should wear a loose fitting dress, skirt, or pants, with conservative and modest hemlines. Men should wear suits, jackets, and ties or a shirt with a collar.

Using proper etiquette will help you prove your case more effectively. This includes speaking clearly and not interrupting your spouse or the judge. Never chew gum in court, and refer to the judge as “Your Honor.”

You will need to be prepared to discuss Community Property, Child Support, Custody and Visitation arrangements. The first step that you will need to take is to file the petition for divorce. There are legal requirements that must be met before you file a petition for divorce. First, you and your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months. You will also need to file the petition in the county where you have lived for the past ninety days. You will also need to choose the grounds for divorce. Since Texas is a “No Fault” state, it may be simplest to file No Fault. You will need two extra copies of the Petition for Divorce.

You will file the original with the Clerk of the Circuit court and then you will send one of the copies to the respondent. After you have paid the appropriate fee and have filed the petition, you will receive a case number. You will then need to notify your spouse of the proceedings according to the terms of the law, and follow all procedures set forth in the divorce process. Even though you are representing yourself, you will still be subject to the 60-day waiting period before your divorce can become final.

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Regarding Property Division

When a couple is married they begin to acquire a lot of possessions. As the family grows, they share children, real estate, businesses, furniture, cars, beach homes, trusts, bank accounts, and more. It is wonderful while the marriage is thriving to share your belongings with each other, yet when a couple decides that it is time to get divorced, it doesn’t take long to realize that both parties want to own the property.

In Texas, property that was acquired during a marriage is considered to be Community Property. It is possible to have Separate Property throughout a marriage as well. Separate property consists of items that belonged to the spouse before the marriage, as well as gifts, inheritances, or trusts that were left or given to the individual. When it comes to divorce, the court deals with Community Property and seeks to divide the property in a way that is just and right. It should be noted, however, that just and right does not mean equal.

Some divorces seem that they are easy to finalize. There may have been no children, little or no property acquired throughout the marriage, and both parties are in agreement of how to dissolve the marriage. In fact, this type of divorce may be finalized without ever needing to go to trial or attend court. Yet, it can be stated that the more property that is acquired throughout the marriage, the more complicated the divorce process will become. It is often impossible for both parties to equally distribute the community property by themselves, and the counsel of attorneys and the court is imperative in reaching closure.

It is a wise idea to document and prove throughout your marriage what is your separate property; otherwise it may be distributed as community property during a divorce. Community property must be disclosed to the court as well. It is against the law for one spouse to hide property from the other spouse or the courts.

Since even spouses with the best intentions will find property division a reason to argue, it is imperative that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced divorce attorney to ensure that the property is divided fairly and justly. Often, the court may determine the value of the marital estate then divide that in half. Each party will receive items that are equivalent to their share of the estate. However, it is important to realize that the court may choose not to divide the marital assets at an even 50/50 split.

The court will take other issues into consideration. For instance, the court may look at who was at fault or responsible for the marriage to end. Also, if there are children that have special needs, the court may award more to the parent who is supporting the child or children. The judge will also take into consideration the earning capabilities and the educational status of both parties. The best thing for any couple to do that is involved in a divorce that involves Community Property is to contact a divorce attorney that specializes in property division.

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Will I Pay Alimony Or Spousal Support

When a couple divorces there are many issues to take into consideration. Yet, for some couples, one parent may have stayed home and never entered the work force while the other parent worked and financially supported the family. For these cases, it may be necessary for the spouse who was financially secure to help support the other spouse until he or she is on their feet. In Texas, alimony or spousal support isn’t typically awarded, yet under certain conditions, when it is clear that one spouse may be seriously hindered once the financial support of the other partner is removed, it may be awarded.

Sometimes, spousal support is required for one of the parents to make it on their own. If they have given up their careers, or have no legitimate work skills, they may need the support to make it independently. The support is designed clearly to help the other spouse regain their independence. This support is known as Court Ordered Maintenance, and although it isn’t a formality with divorce cases it can be awarded if certain circumstances and conditions apply.

First, Court Ordered Maintenance may be awarded if the couple was married for at least ten years, and the court has been shown proof that the receiving spouse is unable to work or earn enough income to support the minimum needs. This could be the result of a disability, or due to the fact that the parent stayed home with the children and was absent from the work force. The court may also decide to award the maintenance before the divorce is final, under temporary orders.

Court Ordered Maintenance does have limitations. There is a three-year cap unless a disability is involved. In fact, in the case of a disability Court Ordered Maintenance may continue indefinitely. There is also a financial cap on alimony. The cap is at either $2, 500 or 20% of the paying spouse’s income. It is important to note that the receiving spouse will have to prove to the court that they truly are unable to meet their own minimum basic needs.

There is another instance when Court Ordered Maintenance may be awarded. This involves domestic abuse or family violence. If the paying spouse was convicted of a crime within two years of the filing of the divorce case, or if the paying spouse received deferred adjudication, the court may award the victimized spouse alimony.

It should also be stated that alimony is a tax advantage for the paying spouse. They can write it off on their taxes as well as it is declared and claimed as income for the receiving spouse. A wise divorce attorney can use this to his or her advantage. Since a couple can decide upon their own alimony agreement, the higher earning income spouse may agree to pay alimony as part of the divorce settlement that is worked out through their attorneys. This is referred to as Contractual Alimony since it is based upon a contract between both parties. Since the terms of the alimony are worked out between both parties, there is no financial cap or time limit included with Contractual Alimony.

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What About Custody

Custody of the children is often the greatest concern during a divorce. In the past, it was often believed that custody would automatically go to the mother. Women give birth to children, breast-feed them, and presumably provide the majority of the nurturing in the home. However, we live in a modern world.

The modern day family typically consists of two working parents, and children may spend more time in day care or the school setting then they do in the home. This has enabled more fathers to become as important a caregiver as the mother is. Therefore, more courts are granting primary custody to fathers.

The state of Florida refers to custody as Conservatorship. Some parents choose to debate over who should be the Sole Managing Conservator (or the primary parent) and who should be the Possessor Conservator (the secondary parent). However, it has been shown that fighting over Sole and Possessor Conservatorship may be harmful to the children in the long run.

Often, one parent is seeking to become the Sole Conservator so that they may have full control over the other parent’s contact with the children. This is not only unfair; it is also illegal. Courts generally favor an agreement that is written out by both parents that involves Joint Managing Conservatorship.

In a Joint Managing Conservatorship, both parents agree to work together regarding all issues that pertain to the children. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the children will reside with both parents equally, but it does mean that they will work equally for the benefit of the children. If the court needs to choose Conservatorship for the children, they will more than likely choose Joint Managing Conservatorship unless one of the parents have been deemed unfit.

It is also a good idea for parents to take parenting classes together. This may even be beneficial after the divorce is final. By remaining civilized the children of divorced parents have the best chance at a successful life. Children need to feel loved by both parents, and if the parents are having difficulty working together, then they need to seek outside intervention, for the sake of the children. For Joint Managing Conservatorship to be effective and successful, both parents must be willing to work together and respect each other. They cannot belittle each other to the children or all of their efforts will fail.

Sometimes, beyond all best efforts, situations change and the need for modification to the divorce order may arise. If a new spouse enters the picture, the possibility that the children may not respond positively should be considered. If children begin to exhibit signs of physical or emotional abuse, the courts may determine that it would be in the best interest for the children to reside with the other parent.

If you feel that the other parent is working against you and is not upholding to their end of the divorce agreement, then you should contact an attorney at once. Present your situation to the attorney and see what they recommend. Going back to court may be the best solution.

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Children And Visitation

When a couple decides to get divorced they may have decided that they no longer want to be part of each other’s lives. However, if they have had children together, they will soon discover that they cannot permanently remove themselves from each other’s life. The marriage may be over, but parenting lasts a lifetime.

Unfortunately, many mistakes are made when it comes to divorced parents and their children. It is imperative that when a couple divorces they understand that the children must be the most important focus of the divorce. Some parents are able to divorce amicably and reach their own divorce agreement that is geared with the children’s best interests at heart. Yet, there are also many cases where the parent’s anger, bitterness, and resentment take over reason, and the children become unwitting pawns in the game of divorce.

The state of Texas has looked at the issue of children and divorce carefully and have taken pro-active steps to help ensure that children will be cared for in a loving and positive manner by both parents. The first step that they have initiated is to rule in favor of Joint Managing Conservatorship. This basically states that both mother and father should share joint custody of the children. Though the children will have to have one main permanent residence, it is the will of the court, as well as in the best interest of the child, for both parents to have liberal and frequent access to the children.

Unfortunately, sometimes the best-laid divorce plans go wrong. After the divorce is final, one parent may begin to withhold visitation from the other parent. Not only is this difficult for the children involved, it is also against the law. If you have a divorce agreement or court order that specifies visitation your ex spouse must adhere to the dictates within that order. If they withhold visitation, you should seek the advice of an attorney; you may need to go back to court.

Another situation that may occur is if one parent falls behind in their child support payments, the other spouse may try to withhold visitation. Again, this is not in the best interest of the children and it is also against the law. Child support and visitation are two separate issues. If there is a problem with child support, it should be addressed with the proper channels, visitation should never be used as a weapon against the other parent.

In Texas, orders for visitation are referred to as “Possession”. Texas law also maps out in great detail when the non-custodial parent should have visitation with their child or children. Most courts are in favor of parents that are willing to work together to ensure that the children spend ample time during the week, on weekends, holidays, vacations, and on birthdays with both parents.

There are many times when it may be necessary to modify the divorce order. Sometimes, it may even be in the best interest for children to move their primary residence from one parent to the non-custodial parent. Any time there is grounds for modification, a petition may be filed with the court to modify both the Joint Management Conservatorship as well as Possession.

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Grounds For Divorce

The state of Texas has recently become a “No Fault” state. What this means, is that neither party needs to prove anything beyond Insupportability to be granted a divorce. Insupportability states that the marriage is insupportable, that there is so much dissension, and incompatibility the marriage is no longer viable. The majority of divorces in Texas are filed under grounds of Insupportability, since there is essentially no case that needs to be proved.

There are other circumstances where one party may initiate a divorce under certain grounds. These divorces are usually contested and need to be proved by the person who has made the allegations.

There are different terms and grounds for divorce and if you are seeking a divorce that is not based upon Insupportability but on another ground, you will most likely want to make sure that you hire an attorney who will assist you with the legal groundwork involved.

According to Texas law you can seek a divorce based upon the ground of Cruelty. This may include physical and emotional abuse to mental cruelty. You may also legally file for divorce based upon the grounds of adultery. It is important that you have adequate proof of infidelity before filing based upon this ground. Love letters, emails, eyewitness accounts, and reports from a private investigator can all help prove your case.

If your spouse has been convicted of a felony and/or has been in state or federal jail for over a year, you may file for a divorce. If your spouse cannot be pardoned, you may very well win your divorce case. However, if your spouse was convicted due to your testimony, you cannot use Conviction of a Felon as grounds for a divorce.

Abandonment is another condition where you may be granted a divorce. To file for divorce based upon the grounds of Abandonment, you will have to prove that your spouse has been away for a year or more, and has no intention of returning.

Sometimes, couples separate and never file for divorce. If you and your spouse have been living in separate homes for over three years, you can file for divorce based upon the grounds of Living Apart.

You may also petition the court for a divorce based upon the grounds of Confinement in a Mental Hospital. This states that your spouse has been in a mental hospital for over three years, and there in no indication that they will recover.

While Texas is a No Fault state, if you file for divorce under one of these grounds: Abandonment, Adultery, Conviction of a Felony, Living Apart, Confinement in a Mental Hospital, or Cruelty, you are basically stating that your spouse is at Fault for the divorce. When you file for divorce based on a “Fault” ground, your spouse has a legal right to defend him or herself. Fault divorces are typically longer and more expensive then No Fault divorces. If you feel that you could file based on a Fault ground, you may want to consult an attorney to determine if it is truly worth filing this way.

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Divorce Terms Glossary

Alimony- support that is paid from one spouse to the other

Answer- a response that has been written to a complaint, motion, or petition.

Associate Judge- an Associate Judge is an assistant to a judge. The Associate Judge handles temporary issues and can make recommendations to the judge. If the overseeing judge agrees, they may enact the rulings of the Associate Judge as an order.

Child Support- state mandated support ordered by the court that instructs one parent to pay the other parent an amount for the child or children’s care. The court determines the amount.

Citation- a legal notice that you have been sued

Community Property- this is property that has been acquired by both parties at the time of the divorce. If one spouse insists that property is not Community, they bear the burden of proving that fact to the court

Contempt- a ruling made by the court that states one party has violated a written order, to be found in Contempt results in punishment

Custody- custody determines where a child will live and who determines the child’s care. Custody may be either sole or joint, but courts generally prefer to choose custody determined on the best interests of the child.

Decree of Divorce-this is the final order written by the court. The Divorce Decree maps out the divisions of property, custody, visitation, supports, etc. All aspects of the divorce ruling are written in the Decree of Divorce.

Deposition- this is a sworn testimony either by court reporter or by videotape. An attorney often takes the Deposition

Discovery- this is how the opposing parties discover information about each other. It may occur through an exchange of written documentation, interrogation, or Depositions.

Dissolution- this is the legal ending of a marriage union.

Filing- filing is when you give all of your legal papers to the Clerk of the Circuit Court

Grounds for Divorce- different states have laws that determine what reasons must take place for a divorce to occur

Joint Managing Conservators- this is mistakenly believed to mean that there are equal periods of possession; this isn’t the truth. Joint Managing Conservators states that by an agreement or court order, the parties will share rights, powers, and privileges and have court ordered periods of possession of the children.

Judgment- this is the court’s final ruling or decision

Maintenance- this is support that is paid to a spouse during the period of time that a divorce is pending

Master- A Master is an Associate Judge; Associate Judge often replaces the term

Mediation- this is a court-designed process where both parties try to resolve their issues and come to an agreement with the assistance of a trained intermediary. The mediator cannot be used as a witness in trial and has no legal power to make independent legal decisions.

Motion- this is a filing or pleading of one party towards the court based upon a specific request

Movant- A Movant is the person who files a motion

Orders-the Order is a document that has been written and signed by the judge. Orders may be temporary or final. The Orders are the legal standing of the judge’s ruling, and both parties must abide by the Court’s orders

Petition for Divorce- the Divorce proceeding begins by one party petitioning, or requesting the court for a divorce

Petition to Modify- This is a written plea or request that asks a court to change an existing final order.

Petitioner- the Petitioner is the party that files the motion

Pleadings- Pleadings are the Requests that are filed with the court. These include petitions, answers, and motions

Possessory Conservator-The Possessory Conservatory is the party that is responsible for paying child support. They also have periodic periods of possession of the children.

Property Division- the court’s ruling that determines how property and debt are distributed between both parties. The ruling must be fair and just, and courts do not award the property of one party to the other.

Reconciliation- Reconciliation is when the divorced parties agree to end proceedings and reconcile their marriage

Respondent- The Respondent is the person who responds to the Petition. The Respondent files an “Answer” with the court. The Respondent may also file a Counter Petition with the court.

Separate Property- Separate Property is property that was yours before you were married, or gifts or inheritances that you received during the marriage. The court may not award separate property to the other spouse.

Service of Process- The delivery of citations that are received by the Respondent. A Private Process Server, Sheriff, or Constable often delivers the Service of Process. The Petition for Divorce, Petition to Modify, Notices of Hearings, Dispositions, and Restraining Orders are delivered through the Service of Process.

Subpoena- A Subpoena is a summons to appear in court at a specified time. You will either be subpoenaed to testify or to present specified documents to the court.

Temporary Hearing- A Temporary Hearing is set by the court and is used for the purpose of the court making determinations that will take effect throughout the duration of the suit or trial.

Temporary Orders- These orders are set by the court after a Temporary Hearing. The Temporary Orders are followed throughout the duration of the suit or trial.

Temporary Restraining Order- A Restraining Order that is issued until a temporary hearing is held.

Trial- A trial is a hearing that takes place in court before a judge. During a trial, both the petitioner and the respondent get to present their case this includes introducing both witnesses and evidence.

Uncontested Divorce-In an Uncontested Divorce, both parties agree to the conditions and terms regarding the children, support, debt, and property.

Venue- the Venue is the county where the divorce case and proceedings are heard and take place.

Waiting Period-There is a sixty-day waiting period in the state of Texas in which divorce cases must be filed before they can be finalized. Typically, if the divorce is contested, the trial will take place well over the initial 60-day waiting period.

Waiver of Citation- It is important to understand that a Waiver of Citation may have serious consequences on the result of your trial. A Waiver of Citation states that your forfeit your right to be notified or served by a Sheriff, Constable, or Private Process Server due to the Petition of Divorce. However, this also includes forfeiting your right to be notified of hearings, trail and court dates, or any amendments to the case.

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Marriages And Divorce

Not all states recognize or have legal provisions for Common Law Marriages. However, Texas does. A Common Law Marriage is entered into when two people have declared that they are married. The practice of Common Law Marriages dates back to the frontier days. In the state of Texas, there simply were not enough pastors or priests to marry all of the couples who were in love. Despite the fact that clergymen did not marry these couples, the couples lived together as husband and wife and declared in front of witnesses, (family, friends, and their community) that they were married. There were no legal grounds to deny that these couples were married and the union known as Common Law Marriages began to take hold throughout Texas.

Today, the state of Texas still recognizes Common Law Marriages, though they are more commonly referred to as Informal Marriages. Yet, for a couple to be declared a Common Law Marriage certain legal requirements must be met and adhered too. Many times, couples may try to have things more than one way. They may try to claim that they are married for tax or health benefits, yet declare they are single for credit purposes. The law will determine if a couple is in fact married through Common Law, and it is important that couples understand their status and adhere to it.

First, to be declared a true Common Law Marriage in the state of Texas, there must have been an intention or declaration that the couple was living as a married couple. This will need to be proved in court and it is often verified through documents such as tax returns, health insurance forms, leases, and verbal communication through witnesses. It is very important that couples understand the legal issues involved when representing themselves as husband and wife.

Some may think that it is simpler to have a Common Law Marriage then to be officially married and risk the chance of undergoing a subsequent divorce, however many find that Common Law Marriages may be just as messy and emotionally heartbreaking when they end as regular marriages.

So, with the intent of being married and the declaration that you are married by presenting yourselves as married to others, you are considered to be in a Common Law Marriage. If you are cohabitating in the state of Texas, you are in a Common Law Marriage. Now, not all couples who live together want to be considered to be in a Common Law Marriage. These couples would benefit greatly by having a non-marital agreement that defines the terms of their relationship. By creating this agreement, you are both protected should you decide in the future to end your relationship.

However, for those couples that have been living together as husband and wife and they want to end the relationship, a number of issues begin to arise. How will the couple distribute property that they have accumulated? What about the children? Who will determine Possession and Conservatorship? It is very important to realize that once you have been established to be in a Common Law Marriage, the same rules that apply to other legally married couples are applicable to you as well. Because of this, a Common Law Marriage will end in divorce, just as a traditional marriage.

You should never make the mistake of believing that you were in a Common Law Marriage and do not need a formal divorce. If your Common Law Marriage has ended, you should seek the advice of a divorce attorney immediately.

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Civilized Divorce

When one first thinks of divorce, often scenes of intense court battles designed to discredit the other spouse come to mind. However, it is possible for some couples to divorce without the stereotypical “War of the Roses” power struggle. In fact, some couples initiate what is known as a “Civilized Divorce”. In a Civilized Divorce, the couple usually agrees upon the terms of the divorce including issues that pertain to property division, spousal support, child support, Conservatorship (custody), and Possession (visitation). These types of divorces are often much simpler, faster, and easier on all parties involved. When both parents can agree on the terms of the divorce, studies show that the children fare better then when both parties are at odds against each other and all decisions are left for strangers and the court system to make.

It is important to realize that just because a divorce is Civilized, it is still a wise idea to seek legal advice and counsel. More couples are choosing to bypass the counsel of a divorce attorney due to the fact that they are often expensive. However, you can always schedule a free consultation with an attorney and discuss the terms of your Civilized Divorce and hear what the attorney has to say. There are also many divorce attorneys who specialize in Civilized Divorces and they can ensure that you and your spouse have your divorce finalized in the fashion that best meets both of your needs.

Sometimes, mediation may be involved in the Civilized Divorce process, but often both parties can reach an agreement without the assistance of a mediator.

It is also a good idea to realize that even though you and your spouse will be moving on with your lives, you will always be parents of your children together. Developing a parenting plan that the two of you agree upon is essential to the success and well being of your children.

When a couple agrees upon their divorce, yet they need assistance, they may seek the help of a Collaborative Divorce attorney. A Collaborative Divorce is a civilized divorce that includes the assistance of mediators and attorneys that can help both parties reach a peaceful solution. Sometimes, it is possible for Civilized or Collaborative Divorces to become finalized without the need of going to court. However, it is still a wise idea to see the counsel of a divorce attorney that specializes in both Civilized and Collaborative Divorces.

One of the greatest benefits of these types of divorces is that the divorce may be finalized very quickly. There is a 60 day waiting period after the divorce has been filed in the state of Texas, however a Civilized or Collaborative Divorce may be finalized in as little as 67 days from the first filing.

Whether or not you choose a Civilized or Collaborative Divorce, it is important to realize that at anytime, you may need to have the final divorce orders amended. Yet, you should never enter into an agreement with your spouse on the premise that you can change the orders in the future. By working with your attorney, you can ensure that your Civilized Divorce will best represent your current needs, as well as prepare for any future situations that may arise.

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Choosing A Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be more than an emotional upheaval- it is also a legal battle that if not handled correctly, can leave spouses devastated, devoid of their parental rights, and wreak havoc on the lives of innocent children. Sometimes, couples may choose to divorce quietly and without waging a bitter battle against one another. These divorces are considered; “uncontested” and many couples choose to work out the agreements and terms of their divorce together. These divorces may even be entered upon with out the aid or assistance of an attorney, (however, it is important to realize that divorce is a legally binding contract and should always be reviewed by an attorney) and may be resolved quickly, simply, and with the best interests of the children in tact.

Yet, it is also possible that the divorce proceedings will be “contested”. This means that both parties do not agree upon the terms of divorce, or they cannot come to an agreement. It is vital to ensure that you have an attorney that will represent you and your case with expertise, experience, and keep your best interests at the forefront of the case. However, it may seem very challenging to determine which divorce attorney will best meet your needs. Here are some tips that will help you in your search for a divorce attorney that will help you through this difficult process.

First, it is important to look at the background of any divorce attorney that you are seeking to hire. You should find out if the attorney has a good reputation among the community. If you have a friend who went through a divorce, asking them for personal recommendations is a great way to begin. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising, and finding out if your friends or family members felt comfortable with and trusted in their attorney is a great way to find the attorney who will best represent your case.

Once you have found a few attorneys that were recommended you would need to narrow down your choice until you have selected the attorney to represent you. This is where it will pay off to do your homework. One of the first steps you should take is to schedule a free initial consultation with the attorney. The attorney should make time to sit down with you, listen to your case, and let you know what they can offer you. The first consultation is essential for giving you the information that you need to make a well-informed decision. Make sure to write down the most important questions or points of your case beforehand, so that you take advantage of the consultation wisely.

When you go to the free consultation, be sure to take note of how the office staff treats you. If you don’t feel comfortable or feel as if the legal staff treats you, then there are good chances to believe that the attorney isn’t running their office as diligently as he or she should. Observe how the employees greet you as soon as you walk through the door.

It is also important to note whether or not the attorney specializes in family law. You should inquire about how many family law cases the attorney handles per year. By taking the time to research several attorneys and doing your homework, you can ensure that you will choose a highly qualified divorce attorney who will best meet your needs.

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Child Support Laws

Divorce is a painful process, and it is always a difficult time for the children that were conceived during the marriage union. Child support is a very important issue that affects both parties. For the parent who is providing the majority of the care, child support is often necessary to ensure that the child or children continue to receive a high standard of care and the monetary support from the other parent is often essential to the child’s financial well being. The parent who may not have the child residing with him or her will most likely be responsible for paying child support to the other spouse. There are strict laws in place to ensure that child support laws in Texas are enacted and enforced. It is important to understand that once a judge issues a child support order, you are legally bound to fulfill the terms of that order. If you and your ex spouse have a disagreement, or if the other party refuses to let you see the child or children, it doesn’t absolve you from paying your child support.

It is important to realize that in the state of Texas, the term “custody” isn’t used. Instead, custody is referred to legally as “Conservatorship”. Conservatorship involves the rights as well as the responsibilities that each parent has. A Joint Managing Conservatorship involves both parents sharing the rights and responsibilities of the child or children; however there will always be one parent that sustains the child’s main residence. This indicates that the parent that the child resides with is the “Primary”.

“Possession” is another important term that involves child support in Texas. Possession is the term used to describe when each parent has the child or children with him or her. Possession may also be thought of as visitation. Sometimes, both parents are able to agree upon a schedule that includes Possession, as well as child support. However, many judges in Texas are not in favor of both parents agreeing that they should not pay any child support. The court often reassesses this and a new agreement will be entered upon.

The state of Texas takes a number of things into consideration when determining how much child support one parent should pay. First, there is a basic guideline that judges follow. For parents that earn $6,000 per month and less, the guidelines are set up as follows:

Number of Children Percentage of Net Income

1 Child 20%
2 Children 25%
3 Children 30%
4 Children 35%
5 Children 40%
6 or more Children Not less than 40%

There are certain conditions that the judge may take into account that will cause him or her to adjust this figure. For instance, if the support paying parent has other children, that will be taken into account. If the child has special needs, this will be accounted for as well and may cause the child support figure to be adjusted.

The Child Support Disbursement Unit has been established under Federal guidelines to ensure that the primary present receives the court ordered child support from the other parent. The Child Support Disbursement Unit protects both parties. For the primary parent, they have the legal back up should the other parent fail to pay. The other parent receives the benefit of knowing that their payments have been accounted for and will be documented that they were paid. Though each judge may choose to enact support orders differently, it is imperative that you follow the orders that pertain to your case as there are legal consequences for failing to pay child support.

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Legal Separation

Many people in the state of Texas often ask the question if they can file for a legal separation. The answer is no, Texas does not have an option for filing for a legal separation. It is important to understand that every state has their own set of laws and statutes that govern all aspects of family law including Common Law Marriages, formal marriages, alimony, annulments, and divorce. It is also important to understand that if you are involved in a Common Law Marriage in Texas, and move out of the state, you will be under different jurisdictions. Whenever you are ending a marriage, it is imperative that you contact an attorney and find out the rules and statutes that are applicable to your state.

If you are in either a formal or Common Law Marriage, and that marriage is ending, you will need to file a petition for a divorce. Sometimes, people may ask if they could file a legal separation based upon domestic violence. In the case of domestic violence, whether you are in a Common Law or Informal marriage or a formal marriage, you will not need to file a legal separation, but you can file an injunction of protection. In fact, filing for an order of protection is essential in safe guarding the well being of the spouse being abused as well as any children in the household. Do not neglect to seek legal protection in any case of abuse.

As soon as you begin the divorce proceedings, your attorney can petition the court for temporary orders. These temporary orders will serve the same function as a legal separation would in another state. The temporary orders will determine who stays in the house while the divorce is underway.

More issues that will be addressed by the temporary orders include child visitation, support, spousal support, and division of community property. These temporary orders will remain in effect until the divorce becomes final and either the judge amends the orders or sustains them. However, it is important to understand that you are legally bound to adhering to the terms of the temporary orders.

Texas is a No-Fault divorce state. That means that one party can’t use adultery as grounds for divorce. This has led many to mistakenly believe that it is ok to date during the midst of divorce proceedings. It is wise not to date as this can complicate the divorce proceedings, especially if you end up going to trial. It is also important to realize that Texas does not have alimony, but rather they have maintenance. However, there may be a number of requirements that will need to be met for a judge to award maintenance. It is important to discuss all of these options with your attorney so that you are fully aware of what your options are.

Hiring an attorney is the best step that you can take when you are undergoing divorce. Whether you feel that you and your partner can negotiate the terms of the divorce amongst yourselves, or if you are preparing for a bitter legal struggle, an attorney who specializes in family law is your best weapon of defense for ensuring that your needs are represented and met.

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Texas Marriage

Today, many people understand the pain and difficulty that is associated with divorce. From the emotional upheaval to the legal battles, the only thing that both parties may agree upon is the fact that the divorce process is a negative experience. Sometimes, when people are married, they often realize very soon into the relationship that they have made a mistake. Instead of dragging out a long court fight, an easier solution may be to have the marriage annulled.

An annulment basically states that the marriage was never legal or valid to begin with. Though it may seem like a great solution at first, annulment is very rarely used to ward off future divorce proceedings in the state of Texas. There are however certain conditions that must be met that do allow for the courts to grant annulments.
These conditions and situations are usually attributed to the fact that the marriage was entered into under false pretenses, or that one of the parties deceived the other spouse into marriage. It also must be proved that since the deception was discovered or realized, the deceived spouse left the household immediately.

If any of the following situations have occurred in your relationship, and you have left the household since you have become aware of these circumstances, you may be able to have your marriage annulled.

First, if you or the spouse were under the age of 14, the marriage may be annulled. Parental consent must also be given to any spouse who is under the age of 18. If you were married without proper legal parental consent, you can petition the court to have the marriage annulled.

If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and were married you can seek an annulment. However, you will have to prove that after you were married and after you became sober or regained your senses that you did not engage in voluntary sexual relations. nds for an annulment.

If you were married and after the marriage, you discovered that your spouse is permanently impotent, yet failed to discuss this with you, you may seek to have the marriage annulled. Again, you will need to prove to the court that you have not had voluntary sexual relations since you discovered that your partner was impotent.

If the other spouse used force, deception through fraud, or duress to cause the other spouse to enter into the marriage, the spouse who was victimized or tricked may petition the court for an annulment as soon as they learn of the deception. They will also have to prove to the court that they have not had voluntary sexual relations since learning of the trickery.

If there was a lack of mental capacity on the petitioner’s part, an annulment may be awarded. Another circumstance that may lead to an annulment includes a concealed divorce. It there was a concealed divorce, less than 30 days before the marriage; the petitioner may be awarded an annulment. They will also have needed to stop voluntary sexual relations after the concealed divorce was discovered.

If the couple married less than 72 hours after the marriage license was granted, and one of the parties petitioned the court for an annulment within 30 days after the marriage, an annulment may be granted.

It is important to realize that there are legal conditions involved in seeking an annulment, and you should contact an attorney if you have any questions regarding your particular situation.Speaking of sexual relations, this is an area that may also be grou

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Texas Divorce Home

Getting divorced is a difficult time in anyone’s life. In fact, some have considered divorce to be equivalent to death. During divorce, a couple is severing their marriage and it is natural for a period of grieving to take place. If children are involved, the process may become even more emotionally charged. Due to the sensitive nature and high emotional stakes, it is imperative that anyone undergoing a divorce in the state of Texas understands Texas law as it pertains to grounds for divorce, common law marriages, annulments, legal separations, child support, custody, visitation, alimony, spousal support, property division, and Pro Se Divorce (filing for your own divorce).

Though this site does not offer legal advice, we have gathered the most pertinent resources and information that pertain to Texas law and have compiled them for you here. However, we are not lawyers and do not offer legal advice. If you are in the process of, or considering divorce and need legal advice, then you need to seek the assistance of a qualified Texas divorce lawyer.

There are many different reasons why a marriage ends in divorce and it is essential that both parties are equipped with as much information as possible before they enter the court room. Some couples are able to end their marriage in what is referred to as a “Civilized Divorce”. A civilized divorce occurs when both parties are able to agree upon the terms of the divorce and work out an agreement on their own.

However, it is still a good idea to seek the advice and counsel of a Texas divorce lawyer to ensure that the agreement is reasonable to both parties. In fact, some civilized divorces are so favorable, that they never go to trial. Due to the highly stressful nature of divorce, finding a mediator or lawyer who can assist you with a civilized divorce is highly recommended as it will make the process less intrusive as well as quicker.

Sometimes, no matter how hard the parties try to get a long, there simply is no reasonable solution but to seek the assistance of outside help. For some, the result may be a Collaborative Divorce. A Collaborative Divorce is a great solution for those who want an amicable outcome, yet need help communicating with each other. Often, this type of divorce involves the parties and their attorneys meeting with each other until all issues have been formally resolved and agreed upon. It is possible that with a Collaborative Divorce, that you may not need to go to court to have the divorce finalized.

From finding a mediator to ensuring that you have completed divorce forms accurately, getting a divorce requires the assistance of qualified legal help. In the state of Texas, there are many resources available to ensure that even low-income citizens receive the legal aid that they need. Legal aid in Texas is not only available, it is highly recommended for those who are involved in a divorce. Even if it seems that you and your spouse have worked out an arrangement to both of your satisfaction, it is still a wise idea to meet with an attorney to ensure that your rights are being protected.

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