The end of a relationship is challenging, especially when you file for divorce. You have spent time and energy investing in this relationship and building a family. Suddenly your family dynamic, residence, and finances are hanging in the balance. The emotional toll is enough to let your spouse take everything and move on, but you do not need to face these challenges alone. When it is time for a divorce, you must speak with a lawyer in Fort Worth.
Some divorces are amicable; all you need is for the court to sign off and make your divorce official. Other divorces have contentious issues at every turn. There are different types of divorces our firm handles, and some factors can complicate matters. Divorce topics we handle include:
Divorces that are high conflict are also very contentious and complex. When the two parties cannot agree on a single thing, you will need a game plan and an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your best interests. Saying “I do” is easier than saying “I don’t,” and you need someone with no emotional ties to the situation.
Under Texas law, you must meet specific requirements before filing for a divorce. Do not worry because our divorce lawyers have decades of experience determining who is eligible for a divorce and how to proceed in family court. There are two residency requirements in Texas. First, you must be a resident of Texas for a minimum of six months, and second, you must also be a county resident where you are filing for 90 days. To start a Texas divorce, one spouse must file a petition with the family court.
After you file a petition with the court, you must make service of the filing to your spouse. There are different ways you can send your spouse notice, and your divorce lawyers in Fort Worth, TX, can inform you of your options. If the divorce is uncontested, there is a waiting period before you can finalize it with the court. A contested divorce takes more time.
Litigation is costly and requires extensive legal assistance. If you have a contested divorce, you might worry that you will have to go to court and undergo a lengthy trial. There are alternatives to resolving divorce, like arbitration, collaborative law, and mediation. Alternative dispute resolutions can help you resolve faster and are more cost-effective. These methods are confidential, and there is no public viewing or access.
Meditation is beneficial in cases where there are high-profile individuals, sensitive topics like business, and high-asset divorces. The confidentiality aspect appeals to parties who do not want the details of their divorce leaked or who have business trade secrets that cannot get out to the public as it will dismantle their entire life. Collaborative law is best when there are child custody matters and involves both parties working with trained professionals to reach a parenting and financial resolution. You will get a mutually beneficial solution.
Finding the dispute solutions that work for you is challenging with so many options. Contested divorces can go to trial or require public court hearings. Do not worry because the best divorce lawyers can help you resolve your divorce using the most beneficial method to your circumstances.
Before you exchanged vows, you agreed to specific terms if the relationship were to dissolve. You can also have a postnuptial agreement outlining the same topics. In either case, these agreements will impact your divorce outcome. Property and finance distribution are the main topics in these arrangements. These are binding legal contracts, and upon divorce, they take effect. So if you agreed that one spouse would get the house in your prenup, they would get the house upon a divorce. Prenups can also come into play if one spouse dies and they do not have a will.
Prenups and postnups cannot address issues of child custody and support. They only involve marital and separate property division upon dissolution of marriage. Divorces can get contentious even when the two parties agree to these contracts. Emotions are running high, meaning what you agreed on before the marriage is not what you want now. Discuss how your prenuptial agreement will affect your divorce with a family law attorney in Fort Worth, TX.
When you are ready to start your divorce, you need a divorce attorney to help you through the process. We can prepare your petition and file it with the respective court. You need to include the grounds for divorce and other personal information within your filing. Since each divorce is unique, speak to your divorce lawyer in Fort Worth, TX, to determine what you must include in the initial filing. Some matters we will address are:
You can file a contested or uncontested divorce depending on what terms you and your former spouse agree on. Even if you agree on all aspects, you need an experienced divorce lawyer to review the agreement and ensure you are protected. If you and your spouse agree on some issues but are having difficulties with others, our divorce attorney can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to resolve them.
It would be best if you had a divorce lawyer for contested and uncontested divorces. If there are children involved, it is crucial that you and your spouse can maintain an amicable relationship moving forward since the children will keep you connected for years to come. If you own a business or have high assets, you must ensure you can protect those, even if you must split them with your spouse.
There are many intricacies, and every relationship is different, so you need an individual approach when a separation occurs. Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Forth Worth Family Law can review your circumstances, guide you on the best options, and begin building a plan for your separation. Complete our contact form to schedule an appointment 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, 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.
If you are considering a divorce and have concerns about the processing dragging out, it is a good option to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer at Mims Ballew to discuss your options and develop a game plan to reduce the time it takes to get you divorced.
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.