Supporting Texas Parents Facing A Divorce
As hard as some parents may work to try to stay together for their children, sometimes, it is better for all parties involved if two parents go their separate ways. If you have decided that dissolving your marriage is the right course of action for your family, the quality of legal counsel that you retain can have a huge impact on how efficiently the process concludes and whether your final agreement sufficiently reflects the needs and desires of you and your children.
If you need help protecting your children during your marriage dissolution, you should retain one of our seasoned divorce lawyers from Angela Faye Brown & Associates. In addition to helping you fulfill all the procedural requirements for obtaining a divorce decree, one of our family attorneys can also provide irreplaceable assistance in preserving your parental rights. We are based in Houston and Austin, and our lawyers work with individuals and families in the surrounding communities.
Prerequisites For A Houston Divorce
Anyone who has lived in Texas for at least six consecutive months and, specifically, in Harris County for at least 90 consecutive days is eligible to file for divorce in Houston. This residency requirement may also be met by the non-filing party if they maintain residence in Harris County but their spouse filing for divorce does not.
After the party seeking divorce files an Original Petition for Divorce with the relevant legal authority and serves the petition to their spouse, the non-filing party has the right to file a response to the petition if they so choose. The Original Petition for Divorce can be based on specific fault grounds, such as adultery or abandonment, or the filing party can choose to file on no-fault grounds based on either three years of physical separation or the general “insupportability” of the marriage.
Once a marriage dissolution case is filed, it then proceeds with negotiations over various family and marriage-related matters, such as child and spousal support and custody. A case in which both parties agree completely on all relevant issues is known as an uncontested divorce, while any disagreement between the two parties could result in a contested divorce that requires court intervention. Assistance from a Houston attorney could be essential in mitigating logistical complications with any type of divorce.
Fault-Based Versus No-Fault Divorces
In contested or fault-based divorces, one party claims the other is liable for the divorce. Disputing terms of the divorce regarding things like property or asset division, child custody, child support or more can also lead to a contested divorce.
Texas lists several grounds for divorce, ranging from insupportability, meaning that regardless of fault, the marriage has become insupportable, to cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony and more. No-fault divorces and fault-based divorces are legally recognized the same way in Texas, but with a fault-based divorce, the party alleging the misconduct must prove how this led to the breakdown of the marriage. Our attorneys can advise on everything from how to go about filing for divorce to how to effectively prove the misconduct in your marriage.
Is Litigation Always Necessary?
In short no, many divorces are able to be successfully resolved on amicable terms without going to court. Depending on your circumstances, other methods of reaching an agreement may work for you and your ex-spouse, including mediation, collaborative divorce or arbitration:
- Mediation: As an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, mediation allows both parties to create their own agreement with discussions facilitated by a neutral third party, the mediator.
- Collaborative divorce: This process similarly involves both parties working with third-party professionals to amicably craft solutions to work through each part of the divorce process.
- Arbitration: While somewhat rare in divorces, arbitration involves the parties appearing before a panel of judges – rather than a single judge and/or jury – for a decision on the issues at hand.
Our attorneys can advise which resolution method may work best for you and your circumstances. Of course, in some cases, litigation may be necessary. When we believe this is in your best interests, we will inform you of this and fight for you in court.
What Divorce-Related Matters Require Court Approval?
State courts have a significant amount of influence over the terms of a divorce decree, particularly when it comes to child custody. While parents can independently come to an agreement about their preferred split of custody and visitation rights, any such arrangement must receive court approval, and that approval will be based solely on the court interpretation of the child’s “best interests.”
Similarly, state law establishes strict guidelines for how much child support each parent in a divorce will owe. A lawyer in Houston could provide significant assistance to a parent advocating for a particular outcome in a divorce case.
Contact An Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
No matter how long or short your marriage was, going into divorce proceedings without legal counsel is rarely a good idea. Courts have a great deal of authority to make decisions on behalf of divorcing individuals, and if you try to make a case for a certain arrangement alone, you are likely to have an extremely tough time achieving a favorable outcome.
Hiring an experienced Houston divorce lawyer like one of ours should be your No. 1 priority when trying to protect your family during marriage dissolution. To schedule your initial consultation, call our Houston office today at 713-714-3710 or contact our team online.