“A higher level of service” means that McNamara Law Office will provide you with a variety of realistic options to resolve your divorce. We believe in exhausting all other options, including negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law to settle your divorce before resorting to a Texas divorce trial. If you and your spouse cannot resolve your disputes, we will aggressively represent you in court.
Contemplating divorce is always difficult. Should you conclude that a Texas divorce is necessary, it is very important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney like Brian J. McNamara. Involving a knowledgeable Texas family law attorney as soon as possible in the divorce process is one of the best ways to preserve your own long-term financial and emotional health.
An Overview of a Texas Divorce
Grounds for Divorce
A divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract between two individuals. In Texas, divorce can either be “no fault” or “fault-based”. No fault divorce is a marital termination proceeding where the divorce is granted without either party being required to show fault (show that the other party caused the breakdown of the marriage). Under no fault rules, either party may obtain a divorce, even if the other spouse does not consent to the divorce.
Texas divorces can also be fault-based, requiring one person to give a legal reason in order to get a divorce. In Texas, divorces can be granted on the grounds of:
- incurable insanity
- imprisonment for a felony conviction
- cruel and inhuman treatment
Typically, a fault-based divorce is pursued if the couple cannot reach a satisfactory settlement about property division, child support, or custody, and one party wants the court to consider the conduct of the other party when deciding the issue.
Before a Texas divorce may be granted, there are usually five basic issues that must be resolved::
- Alimony or spousal support
- Property divisionand,if there are children:
- Visitation, and
- Child support.
If a divorcing couple agrees on all five of these issues in writing, they will be granted an uncontested divorce and avoid adversarial divorce litigation.
If there is disagreement, however, the divorce is contested, which means it may end up in trial before a judge or jury, or in another form of dispute resolution. It is important to consult with an attorney before deciding which method is right for your situation.
Divorce litigation involves a series of document exchanges and court appearances. In some instances there are questions or situations that need to be temporarily resolved before the final divorce agreement is reached or ordered by the court. Temporary orders on support, custody or other matters generally remain in effect until the final decision is made at the end of the divorce process. Ultimately, there will be a trial if a settlement hasn’t been reached. Witnesses may include friends, financial experts, and psychologists, as well as providing other types of evidence including financial records. The judge’s final decision provides the court’s rulings on all the issues raised by the parties.
Alimony, Spousal Support & Maintenance
Alimony, also known in Texas as maintenance, is financial support paid by one spouse to another. In Texas, a court awards maintenance in certain limited circumstances. If the court finds maintenance should be awarded, the appropriate amount will be determined by the court based on the factors set forth in the Texas Family Code.
Division of Property
Texas uses the community property system to distribute marital assets between divorcing spouses. Property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property to be divided upon divorce. Under Texas law, the division of property does not have to be equal. The courts are only required to divide the community property between the parties “in a manner that the court claims just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.” If either spouse acquired property outside of the state, a court can also divide that property using community property rules if they divorce in Texas. Individual spouses may also own separate property that is treated differently under the legal rules. Because classification of property and its division can become one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, you need the advice and assistance of a family law attorney familiar with Texas family laws and procedures.
Reaching the decision to end a marriage is enormously difficult. Once you do make the decision, it is in your best interest to approach the divorce process from a rational, businesslike perspective, which is extraordinarily difficult given the emotional issues with which you must also cope. Working with a Texas attorney who is experienced in family law will ease your stress and help you get through the process to begin your new life.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.