Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC provides lawyers who combine skill with sensitivity to guide you through the entire legal process of your divorce. Our Houston divorce lawyers work to resolve cases efficiently so that you can begin to move forward with your life without any further emotional or financial damage. Although we try our best to achieve your desired outcome without resorting to litigation, we have consistently achieved desired results when litigation becomes necessary.
You do not have to have fault grounds to file for divorce in Texas. Texas is a “no-fault” state, so if you want to get divorced, you can file on the grounds of “insupportability”. Insupportability essentially means that the two parties cannot get along. That said, you cannot just get a “quickie” divorce in Texas. In Texas, there are statutory waiting periods for divorce. It takes a minimum of 60 days to get divorced in Texas. In addition, one of the spouses must have been a resident of Texas for a continuous 6-month period before filing for divorce. Furthermore, one of the spouses must also have been a resident of the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the filing.
In Texas, divorces may either be “uncontested” or “contested.” In an uncontested divorce, two parties can file a petition for divorce, agreeing to terms involving asset and property division, child custody, child support and visitation and spousal support. Uncontested divorces also include those in which one party files a petition for a divorce and the other party does not respond. In this situation, the divorce is considered default, meaning the non-responding party has forfeited his or her rights to respond or disagree. The term “uncontested divorce” also refers to those in which one party files a petition and the other does respond, but the two parties ultimately reach an agreement or understanding. Uncontested divorces are generally resolved more economically and more expeditiously than are contested divorces.
Contested divorces can be extremely stressful, drawn out and expensive. The Houston divorce attorneys at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC recognize the often frustrating and emotional nature of contested divorces and work tirelessly to offer our clients a personalized approach, helping them understand the details of their case and how to navigate the legal process. Among other things, we help our clients to resolve the following issues:
- Complex Property Divisions: During a divorce, the marital estate is divided according to Texas community property law. Texas is not a 50/50 community property state. The Texas Family Code requires a just and right division of community property. Judges may divide 55/45 or 60/40 if there are fault grounds (e.g., adultery, cruelty, etc.) or if there is a disparity in earning power. That said, there is a presumption that all property owned by the spouses is community property and can be divided by the courts. If you have separate property, you have to prove it by tracing with clear and convincing evidence. For couples with complex estates, property division in Texas divorce cases can be very complicated. Some issues that may arise include: (1) what happens if one spouse had separate property that earned income during the marriage; (2) what happens if one spouse had an inheritance prior to the marriage but spent it during the marriage on shared assets; (3) the division of business ownership; and (4) the division of pensions.
- High Net-Worth and High-Profile Divorce: The world’s fascination with the wealthy elite can add fuel to the fire in a high net worth/high profile divorce. When significant assets are involved, the process is usually longer, more contentious and more complicated. Determining the value of the different type of assets (investment, real estate, intellectual property, companies, etc.) and whether such assets are separate or jointly owned requires much work and can often lead to drawn out court battles.
- Name Changes: Although a party can change his or her name at any time, if one wants to make a name change it is highly economical to do so during the divorce process. The name change can easily be made in conjunction with the divorce proceeding and will also be reflected in the divorce decree.
We recognize the financial, emotional and legal complexity of the divorce process. Technically, divorce is defined as “the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.” That said, anyone who has been through a divorce knows that the division of finances, assets and property represent only a small percentage of the divorce process. Divorce is a major life transition with many complexities. People are not always functioning at their best or most rational. The Houston divorce lawyers at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC recognize the intensely emotional nature of divorce and utilizes experts from various fields to maximize your likelihood of achieving your desired outcome (e.g., psychologists, social workers, CPAs, forensic accountants, financial advisors).