5 Divorce Tips for Parents

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5 Divorce Tips for Parents

Going through a divorce can be among the hardest events a family will ever experience, especially when children are involved. It is rare that parents will agree on each aspect of a divorce and issues of child custody, visitation, and child support can be central points of contention. While it is important to consider what works best for each spouse, couples must also keep in mind what is in the best for their children.

Below, our blog outlines advice for divorcing parents to help ensure that the best interests of their family are protected.

5 Tips for Divorcing Parents

  1. Do not fight in front of children: While disagreements and disputes can be an inevitable part of any divorce, it is important to keep this behavior out of your child’s sight. The negative impact of a heated argument or fight can easily leave a lasting impression on a child who may not understand how to interpret the event. Children may feel conflicted or as if they must take sides. When you fight with your spouse, do so at a time and place where your children are not present.
  2. Do not bad mouth your spouse: In most cases of divorce, both parents will continue to play a role in the life of their child. Whether this comes in the form of shared custody or visitation, it is important to preserve the relationship a child has with each parent. Speaking negatively about your spouse can hinder their parent-child relationship as well as the continued healthy development of your child. Divorce can bring feelings of anger and frustration to the surface and parents may not always be aware that they are negatively influencing their children. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to your behavior.
  3. Remain an active part of your child’s life: A divorce can demand much in the way of resources including money, time, and energy. Do not let a legal struggle completely eliminate the time you spend with your child. Continuing to spend quality time with children will help to diminish the negative effects of a divorce and will help you if issues such as child custody become disputed in the courtroom. This can also include keeping up to date with your child’s medical and educational responsibilities. For example, continue to provide support by attending educational events and be aware of upcoming medical appointments.
  4. Provide emotional support: Divorce can take a tremendous emotional toll on children. It is important to continually provide emotional support to children to see that their needs to not become overlooked. As a parent, you can take steps to ensure that children understand that a divorce is not their fault. Children may often feel guilty or conflicted about the disputes of parents.
  5. Do not be afraid to ask questions: Divorce can be both emotionally and legally complicated. If you do not understand an aspect of your case, it is vital to seek clarification. You are not expected to be a legal expert and securing the services of an attorney can help ensure that every party remains on the same page. A knowledgeable family law and divorce attorney can be invaluable in this process, however, in order to receive the best service, potential confusion must be cleared up as soon as possible.

Compassionate Divorce Attorneys

If you are a parent going through a divorce, securing the legal representation of our Katy family law attorneys can make the vital difference in your divorce. At Adams Law Firm, we understand what you are going through and can work tirelessly to see that your needs and that of your children are protected. You do not have to go through this experience alone and our firm can bring more than 35 years of collective legal experience to your case. If you have any questions about how divorce may affect your family, do not hesitate to contact our firm.

Call (281) 391-9237 and talk to an attorney about your divorce today.

Get Ready for Your Divorce with Pre-Divorce Planning

It is no secret that divorce is often one of the most complex and emotional experiences of a person’s life. While nobody ever wants to entertain the thought of a relationship that was once thought to last forever coming to an end, marriages can break down and spouses can drift apart in their desires and values that it no longer seems possible to maintain a positive relationship. Fortunately, there are several ways that spouses can prepare for an impending separation and minimize the stress they experience during this time of transition.

If you are approaching a divorce, be sure to make the following preparations:

  1. Run your credit report: It is not uncommon for a divorcing spouse to discover that his or her spouse used their name and good credit to secure loans, credit cards, and other debts without their knowledge. Running your credit history or signing up for a fraud protection service can help you identify any suspicious activity. Finding out about these debts sooner rather than later can be crucial to help ensure you are not held responsible for your spouse’s irresponsible financial decisions.
  2. Consider opening a PO Box: If negotiations fail and your divorce leads towards litigation, you may want to consider opening a PO Box to prevent against the possibility of your spouse intercepting your mail. This will ensure your communications with your attorney will be confidential and allow you to more easily provide them with the information they need without interference.
  3. Change your passwords: In the modern world, most people conduct their business on the internet. From bank records to social media accounts, much of the information stored online can be damaging in the wrong hands, especially during divorce. If you are one of the many people who only use a few passwords for multiple accounts, it is important you change your passwords to something new that your spouse will be unable to guess, preferably involving random numbers, letters, or characters. It may even be wise to go the extra mile and suspend or take down all social media accounts and websites until your divorce is finalized.
  4. Change your beneficiaries: While you may be limited in your actions while your divorce is still underway, be sure to remove your soon-to-be ex-spouse as a beneficiary on important documents such as your life insurance plan, your will, living trusts, and other benefit plans. Otherwise, your spouse will likely inherit the majority of your estate in the event of your death.
  5. Open a separate bank account: Many married couples have joint bank accounts which grant both spouses access to the funds held within. To protect yourself against the possibility of your spouse raiding your account and leaving you penniless, withdraw half of your funds and place them in a separate account at a different banking institution. It is important to note that you will be required to pay back any amount that is deemed to be your spouse’s share.
  6. Gather important documents: The process of divorce requires spouses to collect a wide variety of documents in order to determine issues such as asset divisionalimony, property distribution, and even child custody. Identify and make copies of real estate documents, credit card statements, bank statements, several years’ worth of income tax returns, pay stubs, investment account statements, retirement account statements, and loan documents. An attorney will be able to help you identify the exact documents you will need. Generally speaking, the more evidence you have, the better.
  7. Get a physical: Seeking a full medical evaluation is imperative not only to help protect yourself against the negative health effects that the stress of divorce can bring, but also because the courts consider a spouse’s physical health for numerous issues, such as child custody and spousal support.

While these tips can help simplify your divorce substantially, one of the most effective ways to simplify your separation is to retain the services of a knowledgeable advocate. At Adams Law Firm, our Katy family lawyers have been helping spouses pursue amicable solutions for their separations for more than 35 years and can provide the compassionate guidance you need to help you get through this difficult time as smoothly as possible. Backed by an AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for our exceptional ethical conduct and skill, we have what it takes to ensure your best interests are guarded.

Call (281) 391-9237 or fill out an online form today to review your legal options in full.

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A New Texas Law Aims to Bolster Child Support Collection Efforts

Parents who have a track record of missing child support payments will soon find that the State of Texas has augmented its toolkit in collecting funds. A new law, effective as of September 1, 2016, will give the state the ability to reject the renewal of vehicle registration for parents who are more than six payments behind on child support. Texas takes delinquent child support payments very seriously and this law is only the latest legal instrument in Texas’ arsenal.

In addition to denying vehicle registration, the state may also take measures including:

  1. Seizing financial assets such as tax refunds
  2. Placing liens on retirement and insurance accounts
  3. Suspending hunting, legal, medical licenses and permits
  4. Sentencing a parent to time in jail

According to The Office of the Attorney General, this new law may come to impact two thousand parents per month. However, the state does acknowledge that every parent will have a unique situation. While some will have knowingly stopped payments which could be made, others have experienced financial hardship, making further payment difficult. The state plans to notify all parents months in advance of their vehicle’s registration renewal date in an attempt to establish a uniquely tailored repayment plan.

While some anticipate that this plan will work efficiently as a deterrent for missing child support payments, the law is not without its critics. Texas is an exceptionally expansive state and many citizens are dependent on their driving privileges to complete daily activities. Even those living in densely populated cities may face additional hardships as a result of this law. Only time will tell how this new legislation will affect parents across the state.

Legal Representation for Child Support Disputes

Matters of child support and custody are often central points of contention among former partners and parents often find that issues can last long after a legal agreement has been reached. If you are currently involved in a dispute regarding the enforcement of an existing agreement and would like more information on how this new law may affect you, do not hesitate to contact the Adams Law Firm. OurKaty family law attorneys possess more than 35 years of experience and can provide one-on-one service to all who walk through our doors.

Call (281) 391-9237 and discover how our attorneys can help with your child support dispute.

Relocating with Children after Divorce

Life is constantly changing and it can be difficult to know what the coming months will bring. This can be especially true after a marriage has come to an end. A living arrangement which may have been in the family’s best interest at the time of a divorce, may not be the optimal situation moving forward. After a divorce, parents who share joint custody may not be able to make the decision to move alone. When spouses go through a divorce, rules are typically set in place, regulating when and where a parent can relocate.

The parent who wishes to relocate must give proper notification to their former spouse, outlining the details of the proposed move. When both parents are in agreement, they are given the opportunity to decide on the terms of a move on their own. However, if a disagreement exists, the issue may be brought before a judge. When ruling on post-divorce agreements such as relocation or on modifications to existing agreements, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child.

In determining relocation, a judge may consider factors including:

  1. The reasoning for the requested move
  2. The child’s educational opportunities
  3. The ability of each parent to spend time with their children
  4. How the proposed move will affect a parent’s ability to provide for the child

Except for in cases where one parent presents a direct danger to a child, such as with domestic violence, courts favor awarding joint custody which keeps both parents in the life of a child. In order to modify or remove restrictions on relocation, a parent must typically show that a substantial change in their situation has occurred. For example, if a parent gets a new job or is transferred to a position in a different city, allowing them to better provide for their child, a judge may consider relocation. Typically, when a relocation occurs, post-divorce agreements such as child custody and child support must also be modified to better fit the new situation.

Compassionate Family Law Attorneys

The terms of relocation, child custody, and support can come to affect your family for years or even decades to come. Whether you are requesting a relocation or attempting to contest a move, the Adams Law Firm can work tirelessly to protect your family’s interests. The success of your case can be greatly influenced by your ability to communicate precisely how the proposed move will affect your family. OurKaty family law attorneys can fight tirelessly to see that your voice is heard in the courtroom.

Do you have questions about relocation or another legal issue regarding family law? Call (281) 391-9237 or contact us online today.

Coordinating Child Custody During the Holidays

While the holidays are typically a joyous time of family gatherings and giving thanks, this time of year can be a considerable struggle for families of divorce. In addition to being a reminder of relationships that once were, many parents can often encounter conflict regarding how they will share custody of their children during the holiday season. Fortunately, with the right mindset and spirit of collaboration, coordinating holiday custody and visitation schedules can be accomplished with minimal stress.

To avoid conflict this holiday season, consider the following tips:

  • Determine your priorities: Take some time to reflect critically and determine which holidays and dates are most important to you. For example, you may have a greater attachment to Christmas than New Year’s, while your co-parent may instead favor Thanksgiving. Talk this over with your co-parent and be willing to negotiate a compromise. If both of you prioritize the same days, you may want to consider trading off years or, if you live close enough, share the day.
  • Start early: The earlier you start planning, the more time you will have to identify potential areas of conflict and sort them out. Between shopping for gifts and coordinating travel plans, things can become twice as stressful as the actual date approaches. Likewise, since your child will probably be excited about the season, they will want to know where they will be spending the holidays and with whom. Planning early will allow you to focus your energy on creating a memorable holiday for your children rather than battling with your ex.
  • Write it down: While the initial stages of negotiation may be accomplished verbally or via emails, once you have made an agreement, it is important you memorialize it in written form and have it signed by both you and your co-parent. This will not only ensure that both you and your ex understand your agreement, but it will also serve as important evidence in your favor in the event that they should fail to adhere to its terms.

Unfortunately, not all conflicts can be prevented. If your conflict with your co-parent raises legal questions, contact the Katy family law attorneys at Adams Law Firm today. Having been helping clients throughout Texas sort through complex child custody and family law disputes since 1977, our AV® Rated team of professionals can help you understand your legal options and guide you towards the smoothest resolution possible for your situation.

We want to hear your story. Call (281) 391-9237 or contact us online today to get started.

January a Busy Month for Divorce

January has become a surprisingly popular month for divorce filings. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, January is one of the busiest times for family law firms, with divorce filings increasing in January and peaking in March. Online dating profiles also tend to increase in January as well. Sites like eHarmony reported a 21% increase in mobile registrations in the beginning of January. So what accounts for this phenomenon? Our blog takes a look at some important factors that influence a couple’s decision to divorce in January.

January is a seemingly popular month for divorce most likely because of the following factors:

  • Braving the holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s is a time for fun and festivities. It’s tough to be the one to ruin the holidays by breaking unhappy news to friends and families. This is why many couples will often wait until after the holiday season to get the ball rolling.
  • New year, new outlook: Having a New Year’s Resolution is still very popular with many people. As the new year arrives, many are reflecting on the past year and what they can do to become healthier and happier – even if this includes ending unhappy marriages.
  • Busy court schedules: Courts are busy during December – there are only less than three weeks of availability in the court calendar. Since there is a high chance of a delay, many people end up postponing divorce filings until after the holidays are over.
  • Winter weather blues: The weather may have an effect on divorces as well. The dark, gloomy, and cold weather might leave some people depressed, which can in turn cause friction in relationships.
  • Stress from the holidays: The holiday season is undoubtedly stressful, both financially and emotionally. Some couples go through a hard time during the holidays and eventually decide to call it quits.
  • Taxes: Delaying divorce until January can offer added tax benefits. A couple’s marital status on December 31 is what determines their tax filing status, so this means that couples can still file jointly if they prefer to do so.

Find the Support You Need During Your Divorce

If you are thinking about divorce or have been served divorce papers, contact Adams Law Firm and speak with our Katy divorce attorneys about how to move forward. We can discuss your concerns, evaluate your current situation, and help you work towards a solution that is in the best interests of you and your family. You are not alone in this – we provide personalized support through each phase of the divorce. From negotiation, mediation, all the way to litigation, we’re here for you.

Schedule an initial consultation with a member of our family law firm today

Common Divorce Myths

Divorce can be a difficult time for many people. However, others find it a particularly comfortable experience. Despite the fact that half of all marriages end in divorce and many people know at least one divorced individual, myths are prevalent surrounding the ending of a marriage. We’ve assembled a few of the most common ones to help disprove them.

Myth #1: Divorce Is Always Contentious

It is definitely true that many divorces can be emotionally painful, but this doesn’t mean all partners going through a divorce can never agree on anything. In fact, couples who can agree on most issues in a divorce, such as child custodyalimony, and property division, can get what is called an uncontested divorce. This is usually the easiest and cheapest route to take when getting divorced, as contested divorce often requires hiring attorneys, attending mediation proceedings, or even setting and attending court dates.

Myth #2: Adultery Can Cost You Everything

Even in states that allow at-fault divorces, your part in ending the marriage will only be taken into consideration when the judge considers equitable property division. Likewise, adultery isn’t necessarily an indication you are an unfit parent, and in child custody decisions, all that matters is what is best for the child or children involved. If, however, adultery was combined with a wasteful dissipation of marital assets, you could be forced to compensate your spouse as a result.

Myth #3: Mothers Always Get Child Custody

While this may have been true years ago, the law has updated along with the times. Custody is awarded to whichever parent is most capable of taking care of the children in question. Texas law takes into account several factors when determining custody, including the fiscal earnings of each parent, the relationship between the child and each parent, and even the child’s inclination if they are old enough.

Myth #4: Only Women Get Spousal Support

Like the custody myth, this practice, too, is a relic of earlier times. Alimony used to be awarded to women because they were less likely to be able to support themselves in a male-dominated society. Now, typically both spouses earn an income in order to support the entire family. Likewise, sometimes men become the caretakers if they stay at home with the children while his wife earns an income. Any spouse that is out of the workforce for an extended period of time through the course of the marriage will require some level of spousal support until he or she is able to find a job.

Myth #5: Divorces Always Go to Court

Couples do have to file divorce papers with the court, but this doesn’t mean all questions in the separation must be settled by a judge. More and more couples are opting for what is called alternative dispute resolution. This process involves sitting down informally and discussing the terms of the divorce with a mediator or negotiator present. Mediation is not only faster and less formal, but it is significantly less expensive than attending several court sessions to hash out asset division and spousal support. In some states, an attempt at mediation is even required before legal proceedings can take place.

Myth #6: Assets Are Divided Equally

In divorces where both spouses are on a relatively equal footing, property division is rarely exactly equal. Rather, a judge will look at how both spouses are likely to survive on their own after the divorce. For example, if one spouse has a lower potential for earning income following the divorce, he or she may get spousal support. In another case, a partner who earns more income per year may be allowed to keep the family home because he or she is able to afford the mortgage payments. Property division, while not always divided down the middle, will usually be equitable. Fairness is the goal.

Myth #7: Children Can Pick Who They Live With

Children are never allowed to choose the parent they live with. The court determines what is in the child’s best interests, whether or not it aligns with his or her desires. However, what the law does allow is for a child at least 12 years of age or older to make his or her wishes known to the judge. According to Texas Family Code 153.009, any party to the suit can make an application, and the judge must interview the child in chambers to determine the child’s wishes. The law further specifies the interview doesn’t diminish the court’s discretion in determining the best interest of the child. While a child may want to live with one parent over the other, living with that parent may be detrimental to the child’s safety, health, or stability.

Myth #8: If You Don’t Pay Child Support, You Can’t See Your Kid

Child support isn’t paying for the privilege of seeing your child. If you neglect your child support payments, your spouse can’t prevent you from seeing your kid. Parents have a right to visitation. The issue of visitation and child support are two separate legal matters. Your spouse can inform the judge of your reluctance to pay child support, and the judge could decide to impose penalties; however, you are still allowed to visit your child. A judge may be forced to impose wage garnishment, liens on your property, or seize your tax refund as punishment, but you will never lose your visitation rights as a result of failing to pay.

Myth #9: Divorce Comes with Social Stigma

Divorce is a highly common occurrence. Earlier in U.S. history, stigma might have been attached to divorce because women were more dependent on men financially. Now, if either spouse gets divorced, they are typically capable of holding a job and earning their own income. Marriage is also more secularized. While some more conservative religions view divorce as morally reprehensible, other faiths are more tolerant. Some marriages were even entered into without regard to any religious institution, meaning the couple has no conservative religious community who will judge them for it. Whatever your particular case, almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce, so it is much more common and socially acceptable.

If you have any questions about divorce that weren’t answered here, give our experienced Katy divorce attorneys a call (281) 391-9237Adams Law Firm has more than 30 years of legal experience in family law, and we can help you work toward a favorable resolution of your divorce proceedings. Let us provide you with the representation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a case consultation.

Should You Get a Prenup? Pros and Cons

prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a contract a couple signs before they get married. An increasing number of couples are signing prenups before they marry, and these contracts are even more popular when couples remarry for the second time. However, they do come with a long history. People have been signing contracts before marriages for years. So, where does the problem come in?

Let’s start with the cons. For years, people have regarded prenups with a modicum of suspicion. If you plan on staying together for the rest of your lives, why do you need a document that will protect your assets during a divorce? People have the strange idea prenups imply mistrust. In some cases, they might, but for people who want to be prepared for the future, prenups are a natural step before making a lifetime commitment. The largest con to prenups, therefore, is stigma. If you ask for a prenup, your future spouse may take it as a lack of trust or an unromantic gesture.

Other cons include a prenup requiring you to give up your right to inherit from your spouse’s estate if he or she dies, and not being entitled to claim a share of a business if you divorce (even if you contributed to its success and growth). Likewise, if you and your partner eventually divorce, the low- or non-wage earner may not be able to sustain the lifestyle to which he or she will become accustomed during the marriage.

However, there are many pros to a prenup as well. Part of the reason prenups have become more popular is they help a couple address more of the financial aspects of marriage before the wedding takes place. Discussing finances before signing any contracts can help couples negotiate financial problems before they become an issue in the future. Likewise, the document is meant to protect both individuals in the event they get divorced.

It’s impossible to predict how the future will proceed. However, you can protect the inheritance rights of your children and grandchildren with a prenup. You can also protect the business that you created before you even met your spouse. If one spouse has more debt than the other, a prenup can also protect the debt-free spouse from having to assume the financial obligations of the other. For those with larger incomes and financial assets, a prenup can also protect his or her financial interests.

If you want to discuss the potential pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement further with a skilled lawyer, call us today. Our Katy family law attorneys have more than 35 years of legal experience to offer you. The Adams Law Firm is fully prepared to provide you with excellent personalized service.

Contact us at (281) 391-9237 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.

How to Create a Parenting Agreement

If you choose to get a divorce and have children from your marriage, then you will be required to create a parenting plan as part of your divorce agreement. A parenting agreement essentially dictates the terms of your relationship as independent adults while taking on parenting responsibilities for your children. This includes things such as visitation and custody terms, rules for communications between parents, and any mutually agreed guidelines for how children will be raised.

Creating one of these plans is a huge undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be difficult, provided you and your spouse come to the table ready to negotiate and work together to create a mutually-beneficial solution that fits your family’s needs. Here are a few tips for creating a parenting agreement from our Katy divorce attorney.

Review All Documents Before Beginning

If you’re in the middle of your divorce or have already begun child custody proceedings, you will want to review all paperwork, you have received from these matters, including any court documents, any correspondence from your attorneys or mediators, any previous agreements, and any reports from school officials, counselors, or therapists who have insight to your children.

These documents have important information regarding the lives of your children and can help you better understand what kind of an agreement can help you stay involved in their lives to the best of your ability while placing their needs and benefits first. The best parenting agreements will always keep their children’s needs at the forefront, ensuring they live the best possible lives going forward.

Consider Using a Mediator

If you and your spouse have worked together well and are on good terms, you may be able to create a parenting agreement on your own. However, it’s strongly advised that you seek the assistance of a mediator who can help you create an agreement that is both fair and enforceable as part of your divorce. Mediators are excellent at making ground and getting seemingly stubborn and unwavering spouses to begin talking and working together without needing a court to intervene.

It will take more than one meeting to complete your agreement. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time in these sessions. However, the best thing you can do is come to the table ready and willing to work with your spouse. Don’t rule out anything that isn’t extremely important to you personally—you may find that you are better off with an agreement that isn’t necessarily what you originally thought.

Add the Agreement to Your Divorce

It’s a good idea to add your completed agreement to your divorce file. When a judge signs off on this agreement, it becomes legally enforceable and you can use it to protect your rights to custody, visitation, child support, and more should your spouse ever begin to act outside the agreed-upon terms. Remember, just because an agreement is signed off on and goes into your final divorce file does not mean you are permanently bound by the terms: you may request modifications if circumstances require you and your spouse to change the terms of your parenting plan.

If you need help creating a high-quality and thorough parenting plan, a Katy divorce lawyer can assist you. The skilled family law team at Adams Law Firm is dedicated to helping you protect your rights and stay involved in the lives of your children, no matter how your family circumstances might change. We place the highest priorities on your input and your time in order to help you achieve the satisfaction and success you are seeking in your family law troubles. It is this unwavering dedication to client service and ethical conduct that has earned us numerous awards, including being named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.

Whether you’re in the middle of a divorce or are considering getting started, call the Adams Law Firmtoday at (281) 391-9237 to schedule your initial consultation!

How to Divorce in Texas

The divorce process varies depending on which state you live in. Some states require you to live in the state for at least 6 months before divorcing, while others might need a shorter amount of time. We’ve outlined the steps to getting a divorce in the state of Texas.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

You and your spouse must have been living in Texas for at least 6 months before getting a divorce. This doesn’t mean you must have been married in the state of Texas. If one of you lives out of state, you can still file for divorce in Texas if at least one of you is still in residence in the state. If neither of you has lived in Texas for at least 6 months, you must wait to divorce until you can meet the residency requirement or you can file for divorce in your previous state of residency.

Step 2: Establishing Grounds

In Texas, you do need to have grounds for divorce. There are 7 reasons Texas will allow you to divorce, including the following:

  • Insupportability
  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Abandonment
  • Living apart
  • Confinement in a mental hospital

Insupportability is the only ground that doesn’t place fault on either spouse. By claiming this reason, you would be saying there are differences in the marriage that can’t be overcome.

Step 3: Determining the County

When you file a petition for divorce, you will need to do so in the county where you or your spouse have been living for at least 90 days. This will be the county in which all of your filings, hearings, and other court appearances will happen. If neither of you has lived in the county for the required 90 days, you will need to wait to file until you meet the requirement.

Step 4: Determining Your Type of Divorce

There are two types of divorce you could get in Texas—uncontested and contested. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse can agree on all the key issues in a typical proceeding. However, you are only eligible for an uncontested divorce if you have no children together under the age of 18, you both want to end your marriage, you do not have an ongoing bankruptcy case, you do not own property together, you have no retirement benefits to divide, and neither of you is seeking alimony. If you don’t meet these requirements, you will have to proceed with a contested divorce.

Step 5: Hiring an Attorney

While people have proceeded with divorces without the assistance of an attorney, divorce lawyers can help couples navigate through the often complicated process of dividing property and determining custody. If you and your spouse have a hard time agreeing on anything, or your spouse is trying to get more out of the divorce out of spite, a skilled advocate can help build your case and protect your interests. If you decide to hire an attorney, make sure to do your research. Talking to friends, family, and coworkers about their recommendations is a good way to get in touch with a lawyer. There are also online search engines designed to help people find the right lawyer for their particular case. Once you find a good candidate, talk to him or her in an initial consultation. This will help you get a feel for the attorney and his or her style of communication. Ask him or her questions you have about the process and how his or her billing process works. You will want to consult an attorney with a good track record of handling divorce cases.

Step 6: File Your Petition

To start the process, you will have to prepare a petition for divorce. This is a court document you will have to fill out that asks the court to rule on and finalize your divorce. Your local court will likely have a physical copy available at the court or a website with all the paperwork available. This petition will ask you for your personal information, what level of discovery you will need, how you are going to provide legal notice to your spouse, dates of marriage, grounds for divorce, and information regarding your children, any history of violence, and property questions. It will also have space for a request for judgment, which asks the court to accept your divorce. Once you fill out the paperwork, you will need to file a copy with the court clerk, get it signed, and pay a fee. If you have an attorney, he or she will help you with this process.

Step 7: Giving Legal Notice

State law requires you to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. If your spouse is aware of the divorce, or you are filing for an uncontested divorce, your spouse can sign a waiver and file it with the petition for divorce. If your spouse is unaware of the divorce or doesn’t agree with it, you will need to send a sheriff or other qualified person to serve your spouse with the papers. If you cannot find your spouse, you can notify him or her through publication, which involves publishing your notice of divorce. Your spouse then has an opportunity to answer the claims in the divorce.

Step 8: Wait

After you file your petition for divorce, you are required to wait 60 days before the divorce can be finalized. During this time, you and your spouse can go through mediation if the divorce is contested. Mediation can help you finalize the details of your divorce before your hearing. There could also be interim court hearings for important and immediate issues, such as temporary orders for child custody or restraint. If you and your spouse have kids, you both may also have to go through specific classes discussing divorces and children during this time.

Step 9: Finalizing the Divorce

The last legal document you will have to prepare and file is a decree of divorce. The document verifies all of the final decisions made by you, your spouse, and the court, including decisions on custody, money, property, and support. You and your spouse will then need to attend a divorce hearing, which is the final step. If your divorce is uncontested, the judge will look over the divorce decree, and he or she will sign it if it is satisfactory. If the divorce is contested, the judge will listen to both sides and decide how to end the marriage, which could include how property will be divided and who gets child custody. The judge’s decisions will be formalized in the divorce decree, and the judge will sign it.

If you’re interested in discussing your particular case with a skilled Katy divorce attorney, don’t hesitate to call us. Adams Law Firm has more than 35 years of legal experience to offer you and your family. We understand this may be a difficult and emotional time for you, so we do our best to make our clients feel comfortable calling us at any time. Our lawyers are also highly rated and have built a strong reputation for excellence in family law and civil trial representation. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (281) 391-9237 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.

The Adams Law Firm Difference

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More Than 35 Years of

Since 1977, our Katy divorce attorneys have served clients throughout the greater Houston area with dedication and skill.

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Top Family Lawyers
by H-Texas Magazine

Recognized as leaders in the field, we have been voted top lawyers in family law for the Houston area. We are known for skilled, dedicated advocacy.

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AV Preeminent®

Our firm has garnered this top peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell® due to a reputation for meeting the highest standards in ethics and legal excellence.

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Our firm has garnered this top peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell® due to a reputation for meeting the highest standards in ethics and legal excellence.