When Is My Divorce Final?

When Is My Divorce Final?

Divorce is not an easy experience and no one really wants it to draw out any longer than is necessary, especially since it will only cost more, add stress, and make you feel as though you are stuck in limbo. You might be wondering when your divorce is officially considered final, so you can move forward with a new chapter in your life. Here is what you need to know about the final step in your divorce:

  • The Divorce Decree: Your divorce decree contains all of the important information about your divorce settlement, whether it was reached through litigation or negotiating with your spouse. It is essentially everything you have worked for over the course of months or even years, depending on your specific circumstances.
  • The Divorce Certificate: Not to be confused with the divorce decree, your divorce certificate is not a court document, but rather a document that is issued by the state for record-keeping purposes. It will not contain the details of your divorce settlement. It basically serves to prove you are divorced from your spouse.

Your divorce will officially become final once a judge signs your divorce decree. It will be sent to your attorney and he or she will send you a copy. The date on your decree is the date of your divorce.

Divorce Attorney in Katy, Texas

Deciding to get divorced is never easy, but it is sometimes necessary. If you and your spouse have chosen to call it quits, you will need skilled representation on your side. At Adams Law Firm, we have proudly represented countless clients throughout the past 35 years, assisting in obtaining favorable resolutions to their divorce proceedings. Let us do the same for you.

Contact our office today at (281) 391-9237 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our Katy legal team.


Why You Should Stay Off Social Media During Your Divorce

Social media is no longer the rarity it once was when it began. Nowadays, just about everyone is plugged in, sharing their thoughts, pictures, and even the smallest details of their lives with friends, family, and acquaintances. While this is generally not a problem for most, it can pose a major risk for those who are in the midst of a divorce and can ultimately affect the outcome of their case.

You might be wondering how something as seemingly innocuous as social media can negatively impact your divorce. Here is a list of some of the main reasons:

  1. Pictures can say a lot: If you are familiar with the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, then it should be clear that posting pictures on social media can say a lot more than a simple status update. Pictures can reveal your lifestyle, which might suggest that you are not fit to be a parent if you are engaging in questionable behavior.
  2. It reveals your spending habits: Of course, no one usually posts how much something costs on social media, but if you are posting about lavish vacations or your swanky new electronic device, people might assume you are a big spender and are probably doing well. This in itself is not an issue, but if you are fighting for lower spousal or child support payments, posts that hint at your expenses or income are only going to make you look like a liar.
  3. Your friends might out you: Chances are you share plenty of mutual friends with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, especially if you had a relatively lengthy marriage. Some of these friends are going to feel the need to choose sides, which means those that are loyal to your ex-spouse might share information that you post on social media with him or her. Since you cannot know for certain which friends are loyal to you or to your ex, it is best to simply not post anything that might be incriminating.

If you absolutely cannot stay off social media, carefully consider every post you make. If you would not want a judge to see it, then do not post it at all. Too much is at stake, so do not gamble with your future.

Katy Family Law Attorney

If you and your spouse have decided to move forward with a divorce, now is the time to obtain the skilled and experienced representation you need to smoothly navigate you through this emotional and complex process. At the Adams Law Firm, our legal team has over 35 years of experience, which we will put to use for you to ensure that your interests are protected.

Contact us today at (281) 391-9237 to get started.


What Is Contempt of Court?

Contempt of court is what happens if a person defies a court’s authority, disrespects a court, or prevents the court from doing its job. Someone who does any of the above could face civil or criminal contempt of court. In cases of divorce, most instances where a spouse might cause a disturbance or ignore a court order will incur civil contempt of court.

A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in court to defy court orders. Indirect contempt of court, for example, could happen when a spouse is ordered to turn over financial records within 30 days and fails to do so.

Civil contempt sanctions aim to either restore the rights of the party who was wronged by the other party’s failure to comply with a court’s order or move an underlying proceeding along. These sanctions usually end when the party in contempt complies with the court order or when the case is resolved.

If someone refuses to comply, he or she could be incarcerated. However, unlike those charged with criminal contempt, people held in civil contempt are not given the same constitutional rights. They must be given notice of the contempt sanctions and an opportunity to be heard, but they are usually not guaranteed a jury trial.

If a person triggers contempt of court in a divorce case, he or she is unlikely to be looked on favorably by a judge in a court case. A person who incurs contempt of court during a child custody case, for example, will unlikely get full or even partial custody, as they may have demonstrated a lack of personal responsibility by failing to comply with court orders.

Talk to our skilled Katy divorce attorneys if you’re considering a divorce or are facing contempt of court. Adams Law Firm can take a look at your case and offer you experienced recommendations about your best course of legal action.

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


Divorce Dos and Don’ts: What You Should Know

Divorce can be an incredibly stressful experience for most couples. Emotions run high, and you may not understand how your state manages to determine property division, child custody, child support, and other matters included in your divorce agreement. Before you begin, here are a few useful pieces of information to know.

Do

  • Do consult an attorney
  • Do create boundaries for communication between yourself and your ex
  • Do cooperate as much as possible with your ex
  • Do support your children through this process (if you have children)
  • Do research on where to file and what you need to discuss with your ex
  • Do close all joint credit accounts
  • Do get credit accounts in your own name

Don’t

  • Don’t lose your temper with your ex
  • Don’t make plans to take a job out of state or move out of the country until your divorce is final
  • Don’t violate any temporary custody or visitation arrangements
  • Don’t hide assets among friends and family to keep from your ex
  • Don’t start a new relationship
  • Don’t overshare on social media
  • Don’t use your children as pawns or to communicate with your ex

If you and your spouse are thinking of getting a divorce, discuss your options with our skilled Katy divorce lawyers as soon as possible. You have many options for divorcing, including mediation and uncontested divorce, which could save you time and money. Talk to us about your legal goals in a case consultation. Adams Law Firm can offer you more than 35 years of legal experience. Let us use our knowledge and skill to help you and your family through this challenging and emotional process.

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


What to Expect During the Divorce Process

Considering that no two divorces are alike, you cannot truly expect the process to be the same for you as it is for someone else. Depending on how you and your spouse decide to approach this, your divorce could go through litigation or never see the inside of a courtroom. It is all specific to your own set of circumstances. That said, there are some steps that every couple must go through, so this blog will give you an idea of what you can expect. To get a clearer idea of what you can expect, consult with a skilled divorce attorney.

Here are some things you can expect as you move forward with the divorce process:

  • Filing a petition: Regardless of how you and your spouse decide to dissolve your marriage, a petition must be filed, even if both spouses agree to divorce. One spouse will have to file a petition with the court asking for the divorce.
  • Temporary orders: Divorce can take some time, even in the most amicable cases. As such, it is often necessary to request temporary orders, especially in regards to child custody and support. Temporary orders are generally granted within a few days and remain in effect until a full court hearing.
  • Service of process: The spouse who files for divorce also needs to file proof of the service of process, which is essentially the document that proves that a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party. If the desire to divorce is mutual, it is best for the petitioning spouse to arrange for service of process to the other’s attorney rather than having a process server visit the spouse’s place of employment.
  • Response: When the other spouse receives the service of process, he or she will need to file a response to the petition. If there are disagreements regarding property division, child support, child custody, or any other important issues, this should also be stated in the response.
  • Negotiation: If there is a disagreement on all or even some of these issues, both parties will need to attempt to negotiate their differences. In some cases, it is possible for the court to schedule settlement conferences to attempt to move both parties toward a final resolution. If the issue of contention is related to child custody, the court might order mediation.
  • Trial: When spouses are absolutely incapable of resolving issues on their own, they will have to go through litigation. This process can take more time, cost more money, and sometimes has unpredictable results.

Divorce Attorney in Katy, Texas

If you and your spouse have made the decision to move forward with a divorce, you will need to obtain skilled representation as soon as possible to help you navigate the process. At Adams Law Firm, our Katy family law attorneys have represented countless clients over the past 35 years. Whether you are filing for divorce or were handed divorce papers, we are here to help.

Contact us today at (281) 391-9237 to schedule a consultation.


Does Religion Affect Child Custody Arrangements?

If an interfaith couple has decided to divorce, philosophical disparity is likely only the first of their disagreements, and things can get even messier with children involved. When it comes to child custody, the good news is that a court will not show partiality to one parent merely because they hold a particular faith. However, religion does play an important role in raising children and is not irrelevant in the court’s decisions about primary custody, living arrangements, etc.

What if My Spouse’s Religious Activities Are Bad for Our Children?

When making decisions about who will live with whom, which parent will hold certain responsibilities, and other details of a child custody arrangement, the court will always weigh both the rights of the individual parents and the best interests of the child. However, the best interests of the child will ultimately take precedence, and the court even reserves the right to override one or both parents’ First Amendment rights and parenting rights if doing so is in the best interest of the child.

While parents are still free to practice their respective faiths as they wish and parent as they see fit, it can get thorny when one parent accuses the other of engaging in religious activities that are directly detrimental to the wellbeing of their children. In such cases, the court will investigate a parent’s practices and, if they are found to be actually, substantially harmful to the child, the court reserves the right to limit such faith-based activities.

Custodial parenthood significantly simplifies things, because a custodial parent holds the exclusive right to make decisions about their child’s wellbeing. If divorce renders one party a custodial parent and the other a noncustodial parent, the custodial parent will, legally speaking, have the final say and the court will defer to their preferences.

What Constitutes Actual, Substantial Harm?

Interfaith divorce and parenting arrangements are a relatively new legal frontier, so standards for determining custody in relation to religious beliefs vary from state to state. However, there are a few standards that arise regarding what constitutes actual or substantial harm caused by a specific parent’s religious activities:

  • Being exposed to various religions does not harm children. As such, a court is not likely to restrict either parent’s religious practices merely because they are different from the other’s.
  • Strict religious traditions do not necessarily harm children. Abuse of rituals and traditions may result in inappropriate or harmful behavior. However, the court does not view religious customs in and of themselves to be inherently detrimental to the wellbeing of a child.
  • Physical abuse and the threat of abuse do constitute actual or substantial harm. If a parent’s religious activity or sharing of their religious views is found to be directly harmful, such as in cases of deliberate physical harm and threatening behavior, the court can and may levy restrictions on that parent’s First Amendment rights as a condition of their continued involvement in the life of their child.

What Happens When Interfaith Couples Receive Joint Custody?

The court does not consider exposure to two different religions to be inherently harmful to children and, unless there is evidence of a direct threat to a child’s wellbeing, a child’s religious involvements will be up to the parents.

Worried About Your Child’s Future? Talk to a Katy Divorce Lawyer Today.

Contact a member of the Adams Law Firm and let us help you navigate your divorce as smoothly as possible. Call us at  (281) 391-9237 today or contact us to receive your complimentary consultation.


Online Divorce Service in Texas

The average cost of divorce in Texas is just under $25,000. (You read that right.) Major disagreements about property division and child custody can lead to protracted court battles and much larger attorney fees than you would otherwise pay. Even couples without children or any major disagreements can expect to pay at least $15,000 in attorney and court fees.

While the price tag on divorce can be daunting (and perhaps even an incentive to working out your differences with your spouse), sometimes divorce is still the best option for couples who are unable to resolve their differences. Some couples who decide to divorce the cost look to online divorce services in order to save money. However, wanting to save money isn’t what makes an online divorce service a good alternative. In fact, an online service can further complicate your divorce if you aren’t careful.

Risks of Using an Online Divorce Service

If you are considering using an online divorce service, do your research and understand the risks before proceeding. Here are some of the main pitfalls of using an online service:

  • A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for contested divorces or divorces involving children. If you and your spouse have any points of disagreement or conflict at all (as most divorcing couples do), an online service will not help you resolve them. When you sign up for an online service, you are given the basic legal paperwork necessary to obtain a divorce, but you and your spouse are left to work out your differences on your own, which can bring you to a stalemate if you cannot compromise on a certain issue. An online service also does not give you the ability to address child custody and support.
  • Legal counsel is not provided. You may have access to general legal advice and instructions about how to complete certain documents, online services do not provide contextual legal counsel in light of the circumstances of your divorce or any personal assistance completing certain documents properly. There is also no one to look over your shoulder and ensure you are not making any major clerical errors, which can occur and create great difficulty for you once they are included in the final divorce decree.
  • You will likely have to pay additional fees at the end. When you use an online divorce service, the advertised price is always significantly lower than the actual price. You could get stuck pay multiple times the initial price.

Speak with One of Our Katy Divorce Attorneys Today

It is far more expensive and complicated to change your divorce agreement later than it is to get it right the first time. Having an experienced divorce attorney assist you in filling out paperwork correctly can save you a lot of time, trouble, and money in the long run. It can also give you peace of mind at pivotal points during your divorce, especially when you are resolving important disagreements with your spouse, such as matters of alimony, child support, child custody, property division, and so on.

At the Adams Law Firm, we are committed to making divorce as smooth and straightforward as possible and helping you work toward a divorce settlement you are happy with. And when it comes to cost, we’re willing to work with you and are committed to making sure you know what you’re paying for and what to expect.

Speak to a member of our team about scheduling your complimentary consultation by emailing us or by calling  (281) 391-9237.


How To Talk To Your Children About Divorce

Divorce is a challenging time for the entire family. Many parents worry about how they will announce their divorce to their children, and what to say when they make the announcement. Here are some tips to help you have this difficult discussion with your family.

Talk to the Whole Family

While you may be tempted to have private discussions with each child, you can place an unfair burden on your children. Telling older children first means that they may feel stressed about keeping this news a secret from their younger siblings. Your younger children may also feel hurt that the news was kept from them. For these reasons, it is best to plan a time to have a family discussion when the whole family can be present.

Choose Your Time Carefully

You should choose a time that will allow your children time to process the news. Monday morning before school is obviously not the best option, since your kids won’t have time to work through their feelings and ask questions. Often, the start of a quiet weekend at home can be a good choice. It is important to be available to your children during this time, as well. They may need extra comfort or have many questions to ask you.

Present a United Front

No matter what fighting has happened between you and your spouse, it is important to set it aside before you talk to your children. It is imperative that you do not blame each other when discussing your divorce with your children and that you do not discuss your reasons for getting divorced. Instead, focus your discussion on how people change, and explain that your relationship doesn’t work anymore. Take turns talking, and be sure to avoid pointing fingers.

Support Your Children

There will be a lot of changes that occur during your divorce. Take some time to discuss what may change, and what will stay the same. Preparing your children with some idea of what they can expect can reduce their fear and stress. You also should be sure to remind them that the state of your relationship isnot their fault, and that they will still be loved and cared for, no matter what the divorce may bring. If they have questions, try your best to provide answers.

Get Help From Our Katy Divorce Attorneys – (281) 764-6087

No matter how complex your divorce case may be, our team at the Adams Law Firm is here to help you through your case. Our Katy divorce lawyers are backed by more than 35 years of collective experience in a variety of family law issues, including child custody, child support, and divorces. Learn how our driven, compassionate attorneys can help you by scheduling a consultation to discuss your case.

Contact our offices by calling (281) 391-9237.


What Is the Difference Between Marital Property & Separate Property?

Texas community property laws are the laws that dictate how property and debts are to be divided up when a couple goes through a divorce. These laws can often be confusing, but it’s important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer who will advocate for you and help you get a fair share of your marriage’s assets. You may come across the terms “marital” or “community” property and “separate” property. Understanding what these terms mean is important to helping you end your marriage with a favorable outcome.

Community Property in Texas

Known as marital or community property, this refers to the property that you and your spouse have acquired during the course of your marriage, with some exceptions. Texas is considered a community property state, but that doesn’t mean that you can expect a perfectly even split of your assets. You can expect that the court will be more interested in providing an equitable and fair division.

One way that Texas courts determines the status of contested property is the “inception of title” rule, which relies on the property’s status at the time it was acquired. The state considers all property (with the below exceptions) gained by either spouse during the course of the marriage to be community property. It is on you or your spouse to otherwise prove that a piece of property is separate property.

Separate Property in Texas

According to Texas laws, separate property is any property owned or claimed before the marriage, and property acquired after the marriage by gift, devise, or descent. This means that there are some pieces of property that don’t fall under equitable distribution.

Separate property may include:

  • Birthday gifts
  • Family heirlooms
  • Property or assets purchased before the marriage
  • Inheritances
  • Personal injury awards (unless the recovery is for lost wages, medical bills, or other shared property)

Still Have Questions? Ask Our Katy Divorce Lawyers – (281) 764-6087

If you’re considering a divorce, you need an experienced legal team on your side. With more than 35 years of experience behind us, the Adams Law Firm is well-equipped to handle even the most complex divorce cases. Don’t wait to get the knowledgeable legal counsel and caring client service you deserve. Our Katy divorce attorneys are ready to address your concerns, answer your questions, and advocate for your best interests today.

Contact our team by calling (281) 391-9237.


Who Gets Fido? Pet Custody After a Divorce in Texas

Our pets are often beloved members of our family, but legally, our four-legged friends are considered property in the State of Texas. This can lead to some serious stress and conflict if you and your spouse end your marriage. Fortunately, many judges are pet owners themselves or understand the deep ties you may have with your pet, so they may be willing to consider your pet’s custody more carefully and rule in favor of the pet’s best interests. Here are some things you should know about pet custody during a Texas divorce.

Write Down Your Custodial Wishes for Your Pet

If you can’t stand the thought of your pet leaving your side, you may want to write down your wishes for their custody. This information can be included in a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or partition agreement. If you’ve already married, a postnuptial agreement can also help.

In child custody cases, the judge will always consider the best interests of the child over the parents’ desires. When it comes to pet custody, however, the law only allows for pets to be treated as property. The judge will need to first determine whether the pet is separate property, belonging to one spouse, or marital property, belonging to both spouses.

If the pet was purchased or adopted before the marriage, it is likely to be considered separate property, and custody will be awarded to the owning spouse. If the pet was gained during the course of the marriage, the pet will be considered community property, and the custody of the pet will need to be determined with the rest of the marriage’s assets and property. If this is the case, the judge is likely to evaluate the roles both spouses play in caring for the pet and obtaining the pet.

What Factors Will Judges Use to Decide Custody?

As with any complex property settlement case, the judge will need to determine the animal’s status as community or separate property before proceeding. If the pet is community property, the judge will delve deeper into the matter. Here are some things judges may consider to determine which spouse is better prepared to care for the pet:

  • Which spouse has been the primary caretaker?
  • Which spouse meets the daily needs of the pet?
  • Has either spouse neglected or abuse the pet in any way?
  • Which spouse has the more pet-friendly work and travel schedule?
  • What are the custody arrangements for any children, and are they close to the pet?

The judge will strive to place the pet in the best household, where its needs will be met properly. If the children of the divorcing couple share a bond with the pet, the judge is likely to place the pet with the spouse who has primary custody of the children.

If there is more than one pet in a divorce, there is a good chance that the judge will split up the pets and award each pet to the spouse who is better equipped to prepare for that pet. Dogs may be awarded to the spouse who will be home more often, while a cat may be given to the spouse who works more or travels more.

Pet Visitation

The judge will not award a visitation schedule for your pet. Unlike your human children, your fur-children cannot legally have a binding visitation agreement determined by a judge. What a judge can do, however, is enforce any arrangements that the spouses can agree upon. Explicit terms spelled out in an agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, can help simplify these issues.

How You Can Protect Your Custody

It can be stressful if you are unsure of your pet’s fate. Laying out your wishes in another agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement, can help simplify these matters. If you don’t have such agreements in place, you’ll need to take steps to prove you are the spouse who should have continued custody of the animal.

You will need to provide evidence that demonstrates your commitment to the animal or animals in your household. This evidence can include:

  • A pet license or adoption application with your signature
  • An affidavit from your veterinarian that states you are the person who tends to the pet’s medical needs
  • Receipts from pet supply stores, grooming, and other pet services with your payment information.
  • Witness statements from neighbors, other dog-park visitors, or friends who can speak to your dedication to your pet’s care and wellbeing.

Contact Our Katy Divorce Attorney – (281) 764-6087

If you’re facing a divorce, you shouldn’t face it alone. At the Adams Law Firm, we’re committed to supporting our clients in every way possible through the divorce process. Our Katy divorce attorneys have more than 35 years of experience under our belts, so you can trust that we’re ready to assist you with your divorce case—no matter how complex.

Begin your case with a consultation. Contact us at (281) 391-9237 today.

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