Divorce

Divorce Attorney & Family Law Attorney

Each person's circumstances are different. Review the general information to help determine if you need legal assistance. If you wish to discuss the matter further, please call to schedule an initial office consultation.

In a divorce, the Court will end the marriage between the parties and dispose of property issues. If children were born or adopted during the marriage, the Court issues orders concerning their conservatorship (custody), child support, visitation, health insurance, etc. The divorce proceeding is initiated by one of the parties filing an Original Petition for Divorce in District Court. After filing, the petition must be delivered to your spouse (the opposing party), this process is referred to as "service."

In some cases, a party may feel a need for the Court to issue temporary orders that are effective during the divorce proceedings. Temporary orders can be put into place to protect the integrity of community property. They can be used to determine which spouse remains in the home during the proceeding and for the payment of bills, conservatorship (custody) of the children and support among other things. Temporary restraining orders may also be used to restrict certain behaviors, in most cases temporary restraining orders will be "joint and mutual" which means that both parties are ordered to restrain from the behavior.

Each divorce is unique. Some couples are able to reach agreement on property issues and issues regarding their children without a large amount of intervention from their attorneys or the Court. However, discovery may be necessary in cases where the divorcing couple is unable to reach agreement on issues. This is especially true when one party may be less than forthcoming regarding financial matters or certain behaviors. Discovery methods are used to obtain a wide range of information such as tax returns, bank records, deeds and vehicle titles. In many cases each party prepares a Sworn Inventory and Appraisement. This document lists all the property and debts of each party and their opinion of values and of claims, including any claims of separate property.

After sufficient information is obtained regarding the issues in the divorce proceeding, the parties should attempt to resolve their case. Resolution of the case by agreement can be obtained through direct negotiation, or mediation may be used to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. If the parties cannot resolve their issues through direct negotiation, mediation or another type of assisted negotiation, the case will go to trial. In Texas, the Court uses a "just and right" division with regard to division of community property. If children are involved the Court will make decisions based on the "best interests" of the children.

A decree of divorce is a written order that ends the marriage and contains the settlement terms that have been reached by the parties or the Court and it must be signed by a Judge to become effective. Even in an uncontested divorce where the parties are in agreement and both have signed off on the divorce decree one of the parties must appear in Court and give sworn testimony. If the judge is satisfied with the testimony and the contents of the decree of divorce he or she will sign the decree of divorce and the divorce takes effect. Call the office today to consult with the attorney regarding your specific circumstances.