Divorce is a stressful and complex process that can be extremely overwhelming for anyone. What you cherish most and have worked so hard for, your family and finances, is suddenly at risk. Even if you want to end your marriage, the process of doing so can be difficult to go through – and you should never do it alone.
At the law firm of Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Southlake Family Law, we represent clients who are seeking a divorce. Our clients come from all walks of life with many different circumstances to consider in a divorce. Whether you have a relatively straightforward case or face a potentially high-conflict legal battle over high assets, we can help.
Reach out today to learn more about our Southlake divorce attorney and how we might help you.
Your life and circumstances are unique, and your strategy in a divorce should be too.
Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Southlake Family Law is one of the top divorce law firms in Southlake. We have more than 75 years of experience helping clients navigate through the complexities of divorce, and we will work with you to develop a customized game plan for your case and for reaching your goals to protect your future.
Some common issues we deal with in complicated divorce cases include:
If you are considering a divorce, you likely have many questions about what to expect during a divorce and what your future will look like after the divorce. These might include:
Because each marriage is unique, so is every divorce case. We cannot easily answer these questions in detail until we learn more about your situation. Please feel free to reach out for a consultation as soon as possible if you believe a divorce might be in your future.
Texas law oversees divorces in our state, and the law sets out requirements for spouses to legally end their marriages. Unfortunately, getting a divorce is not nearly as simple as saying “I do,” but our legal team will guide you through every step of your case.
Texas requires that you meet certain criteria before your divorce can move forward through the legal system. Our law firm ensures that every client has a valid case before we pursue a divorce.
In order for a Texas family court to hear your divorce case, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Texas for six months or longer. Further, you must live in the county where you file your case for at least 90 days.
To begin a divorce case, one spouse must file a petition with the proper family court. Your divorce lawyer will prepare and file the petition properly, so you do not have to worry about making a mistake.
The petition will need to include grounds for your divorce, which in Texas can be no-fault or fault-based. You should carefully discuss your situation with your divorce lawyer to determine what grounds are appropriate in your case.
In order to obtain a final divorce order, you and your spouse must resolve any of the following issues that apply to your marriage:
Some spouses can agree on all relevant terms, and they might be able to file an uncontested or “agreed” divorce. You still want to have legal representation during this process to ensure your rights and future interests are protected.
If you have not yet agreed on every issue, we can help to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to reach resolutions that work for everyone. We can also stand by you as you engage in mediation or collaborative divorce to resolve your case out of court.
If you still cannot agree, we can represent you in court, as the family judge will need to determine how to resolve the matter for you. We will fight for a fair and reasonable outcome for each and every client facing a divorce.
If you are facing a divorce, it is natural not to know where to start. The first step to easing your stress should be to enlist the help of a trusted divorce law firm serving the Southlake area.
If you need a divorce lawyer, look no further than Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Southlake Family Law. We understand that going through a divorce is often a stressful process for both you and your children, so please contact our Southlake divorce lawyers today to schedule a consultation. We can assess your situation and advise you on what to expect from the process.
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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.