When couples tie the knot, they intend to spend the rest of their life together. Some couples will establish pre- or post-nuptial agreements, so if the worst does happen, there is a guideline for splitting assets. Divorces are not all bad, and many couples mutually decide it is time to move on without each other.
However, a marriage is a legally binding contract, and many lifestyle changes come with joining two individuals. You must speak with a divorce attorney in Denton to finalize the details of your separation.
Marriages are between two people who have found a system that works for them. Some couples have businesses, houses, and cars together, and others have an arrangement where one person is the financial provider while the other is a stay-at-home parent. Since your marriage is unique to you, a separation will also be unique. You will need more than a basic formula for a divorce decree. Some factors that can further complicate a divorce include:
Another issue that some couples must address is the education obtained during the marriage. You made sacrifices, and you must address those. Intertwining your lives can make separation difficult, but with the help of a divorce attorney in Denton, you can find something that is fair and works for everyone.
Divorce is more challenging than getting married, and you need a personalized solution. Texas has several requirements to file and officiate a divorce. Residency requirements mean that one spouse resides in Texas for at least six months and within their county for 90 days. One spouse will need to file a divorce petition which an experienced divorce lawyer can help with, so there are no mistakes that delay the process. Texas requires a reason for the petition, which can be fault or no fault but work with your lawyer to determine the best cause to cite in the petition.
If you have an uncontested divorce, you will require a Texas judge to sign off on the decree and make it official. Even if you agree to the terms, you need a divorce attorney to review your agreement and protect your rights. Some couples will agree to some terms but disagree with others, and your attorneys can go back and forth to find a middle ground. There are also alternative dispute resolution actions you can opt for to resolve these matters. Sometimes you will need to resolve your divorce in family court, but there are many options before you get to that point.
Divorce resolutions can take time and are contentious because there are many emotional and life-changing topics to address. Where you live and if you are getting support will determine how you will begin your life as a divorcee. Some issues to include in your divorce are:
Both spouses must agree to the divorce terms unless a judge decides. It is desirable to avoid family court, but that is not always feasible for everyone. Once a decision is made, you must adhere to the guidelines in the divorce, which can require moving, paying alimony, and more.
Even if you both agree it is time to dissolve the marriage, filing first has its benefits. If you go to family court, the petitioner can give opening statements, call witnesses and delay the other party from speaking until they present their case. You will also be the first and last in closing arguments.
Aside from those strategic benefits, both parties have the same responsibilities and rights. As the filer, you also assert your position towards the other party. How the respondent accepts service can also impact the result of the case. Suppose the respondent attempts to avoid service, and the court has to take measures to find and serve them at their workplace; the court can negatively view them.
There are many ways you can serve your spouse with divorce papers. Only people the court authorizes can serve papers, such as a sheriff or constable. You can serve your divorce papers in person or by certified mail. If the initial service does not work, you must ask the court for other options. Under substituted service, you can send divorce papers through email or social media. Do not try to serve papers independently. Serving divorce papers makes it official, which means you can take other actions to move your divorce forward. If you are unsure where your spouse is currently residing, there are options to find them that your divorce lawyer can advise you on. Remember, everything you do is taken into account during divorce proceedings.
When a divorce is uncontested, there is a 60-day waiting period before it becomes final. The period begins from the date you file a petition. The fastest possible resolution is when both parties agree before they file a petition and have to wait for the court to finalize. When the divorce is contested, even if it is one issue, the timeline for your divorce is extended. Children, discovery proceedings, and conflict are all topics that can delay divorce proceedings. Some divorce cases can take upwards of a year to resolve.
Divorce is common among all age groups, and 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, 67 percent in second marriages, and 74 percent in third marriages. Whether this is your first or third divorce, you need competent divorce lawyers to get an arrangement that works for you and is fair. You are handling the emotional aspect of separation, and factoring in the legal ramifications can make the process challenging.
Some divorcees can walk away and never interact with their former spouse again, while others have children and other factors binding them together for life. Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law is here to help all divorcees resolve their concerns. Speak to our divorce attorneys today.
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In Texas, there is a 60-day waiting period before a divorce can become final (unless an exception is granted due to family violence. Even if both spouses agree on everything, there must be at least 60 days from the date you file with the Court until the date the Court grants your divorce. If you and your spouse have an agreement, the divorce attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can help you finalize your divorce on the sixty-first day after filing. This is the fastest possible outcome.
If you and your spouse do not have an agreement before filing, the time it takes to finalize your divorce depends on many factors including: whether children are involved, whether is there a business to value, whether discovery is needed, and the amount of conflict between spouses. Most cases reach a final resolution through an agreement at some point, but if your case goes to final trial, it can often take more than a year to resolve (especially in larger counties where court dockets are backed up).
While some contested divorces can be resolved in a few months, others can take years to finalize. If your divorce involves significant contested issues (i.e. which parent the children will live with, whether one spouse will receive alimony, who will be awarded the marital home), it is best to plan for anywhere between six months to eighteen months to get to the finish line.
Being the first to file a case (the Petitioner) provides strategic advantages throughout litigation. At trial, the Petitioner makes their opening statement first, calls their witnesses first, can delay the other party (the Respondent) from speaking until after all the Petitioner’s evidence is presented, and in closing arguments speaks both first and last.
While the Petitioner and Respondent have the same rights and often share the same burden of proof, filing first can certainly help with persuading the Court. Letting the Court know your side of the story first can help when it comes to decisions such as why your children should live primarily with you, why you deserve alimony or why the other party does not need it, or who gets to keep the marital home. If there are facts harmful to your case, filing first allows you to get in front of these and take the sting out of the Respondent’s argument.
Aside from benefits at trial, filing first provides an opportunity to send a message to the Respondent and direct how the case proceeds. Your first filing can indicate a desire to be amicable or can let the other side know you are prepared to fight. Your first filing can also be used to obtain a restraining order or set a hearing before the Respondent even knows a case is filed. Even how you notify the Respondent can impact your case, whether it is with a formal process server at their place of employment or through providing them the opportunity to avoid this scenario and voluntarily accept the filing.
Texas is a community property state. This means when you file for divorce our Courts assume that all property you and your spouse have is owned by the marriage and can be divided. However, if you can prove separate property (e.g., what you had before marriage, gifts you received during marriage or inheritance), then you will have property that the Court cannot take away from you in a divorce.
When property is divided, the Court does so in a manner that the Judge deems “just and right,” considering the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. This does not necessarily mean an equal division between spouses. What one Judge believes is “just and right” may differ from what another Judge right across the hall in the same courthouse believes.
At Mims Ballew Hollingsworth, one of the first things we do in your divorce is finding out what property exists for division. We work with you to obtain information on homes, bank accounts, vehicles, business interests, retirement, stock accounts, debts, and separate property claims. If you are concerned your spouse may be hiding assets we will work with you to find this information and ensure all property is accounted for.
After determining divisible property, the next step is valuation. With some assets, it is not as straight forward as looking at an account balance. Business interests can be difficult to value, home prices are constantly changing, and there may be certain tax implications (capital gains) that need to be assessed.
The process of determining what property is divisible and assessing values can be extremely complex, especially in high-asset divorces. The divorce attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth are experienced in dividing high-asset estates and will work with you and financial professionals to protect your financial interests.
A contested divorce or family law case does not require costly litigation in a public courtroom. You can resolve contested issues through alternative dispute resolution, such as collaborative law, mediation, or arbitration.
These alternatives are often more cost-efficient when compared to going to court, and can result in a faster resolution to your case (in large counties it is not uncommon to wait over a year before having a final trial due to the court’s docket).
Alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation, are also confidential and do not take place in a courtroom that is open to public viewing. This can be beneficial for divorces and family law cases involving high-profile individuals (e.g. athletes, celebrities, politicians, etc.) or topics of a sensitive nature (i.e. business trade secrets or high-asset divorces).
Collaborative law is a confidential method of resolving a divorce or child custody case where parties work together through joint sessions with the help of specially trained professionals to assist with resolving financial and parenting issues. The focus is on finding mutually beneficial solutions and sharing information that would normally be kept confidential during litigation. Collaborative law is unique and may not be right for everyone, but for some, it is an effective method to lessen conflict.
Just because your divorce or child custody case is contested does not mean it needs to become high conflict and involve costly public court hearings. The family law attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth can talk you through these options and develop a plan for resolving your case in through alternative dispute resolution.