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Texas Divorce Law: How It Works?

Divorce is a complex legal procedure that involves many different parties, including spouses, children, attorneys, judges, mediators, and others. Although there are several different types of divorces, the majority involve one spouse filing for custody and/or visitation, child support, alimony, property division, and/or attorney fees.

The first thing to do is file a petition or complaint. This document is filed with the court clerk and asks the judge to grant certain relief. For example, it could ask the court to require the other party to pay alimony, provide health insurance coverage, or make payments toward the mortgage.

If the petitioner requests that the court appoint a guardian ad litem, the court must do so within 10 days. A guardian ad litem is usually appointed because parents cannot agree on what is best for their kids. Once the guardian ad litem is appointed, he or she will investigate the case and interview both sides. Then, the guardian ad litem will prepare a report and recommend whether the divorce is granted. If the recommendation is favorable, the judge will issue a decree.

After the decree is signed, the petitioner will likely want to hire an attorney. An attorney will represent the petitioner during the litigation phase of the divorce. During this period, the opposing party will try to prevent the divorce from happening. They might argue that the marriage wasn't valid, that the petitioner isn't fit to raise the children, that the petitioner committed adultery or some other reason why the divorce shouldn't happen. In response, the petitioner will hire an attorney to defend against those claims.

Once the final hearing takes place, the judge will decide whether to grant the divorce. At this stage, each side will present evidence regarding the issues above. The judge will rule based on the facts presented.

In the end, the divorce process is often lengthy and stressful, but it doesn't have to be that way. With proper planning, you can avoid unnecessary stress and keep your family together.

On average, it takes 12 to 18 months from the date of filing to settle a divorce, depending on whether there is a prenuptial agreement, what type of property division is sought, and how complicated the issues are.

The average cost of a divorce in 2019 was $13,100. This figure does not include attorneys' fees, which can range from $2,500 to $20,000 or more. In some cases, such as where one spouse receives primary custody of children, the cost can reach into tens of thousands of dollars.

An experienced family law attorney can provide advice on the best way to proceed during the divorce process. They can guide you through the paperwork involved, advise on the most effective ways to protect yourself financially, and assist you in negotiating a fair settlement.

Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney?

If you're thinking about filing for divorce, you might want to consider hiring a divorce attorney to help guide you through the process. A divorce attorney can provide advice on how to proceed legally and what documents you'll need to file with the court. They can also advise you whether or not you need to hire a family law mediator.

The majority of states require both parties involved in a divorce to retain counsel. However, some states allow either party to represent themselves. If neither party wants to hire a lawyer, they can still go to mediation, where they attempt to negotiate a settlement without involving a judge. But even if you decide to go it alone, it's important to know that you are required by law to file certain papers with the court within a specific timeframe.

What's the Difference Between Marital Property and Separate Property?

Marital property is everything either partner earns or acquires during marriage. It includes things like income, retirement accounts, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, cars, boats, furniture, appliances, furnishings, jewelry, artwork, antiques, collectibles, pensions, insurance policies, annuities, life insurance policies and anything else you've accumulated over the course of your relationship.

Separate property, however, belongs only to one spouse and doesn't include assets acquired during the marriage. This includes things like money inherited prior to the wedding, gifts received before the marriage, inheritances received after the divorce, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, property purchased prior to the marriage, and property purchased with premarital funds.

The rules differ by state, but most states require each party to disclose their financial situation upon filing for divorce. If there are joint debts, it's important to know how much each person owes on those loans.

What's the Difference Between Community Property and Common Law Property?

Community property states don't require spouses to prove anything to determine whether assets are jointly owned. However, there's still some proof required to show how the parties came into possession of the property. For example, if you bought a house together, it could be determined that half of the down payment is yours because you paid for it with your personal funds.

In some cases, courts will award both spouses equal shares of the property. But in others, judges will take into account things like the length of the marriage, the age of the children, and the source of income.

To Conclude

Divorce can be stressful. But it doesn't have to be complicated. There are several things you can do to help ease the burden and ensure a smooth transition into your next chapter.

1. Know Your Options
Before starting down the path toward separation, you'll want to know what types of divorces there are, how long the process takes, and what costs might come along with each option. For example, uncontested divorces are typically quick and inexpensive. However, if you're considering filing for legal separation, you may face additional expenses. You may also want to consider mediation if both parties agree that they've reached a settlement outside of court.

2. Get Advice
If you decide to file for legal separation, you'll likely need a lawyer to represent you during the proceedings. If you choose to go to court, you'll probably need representation throughout the entire process. An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through the process, answer questions about your case, and provide guidance on how best to proceed.

3. Protect Yourself
You may think that once you sign the papers, the divorce is over. Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Divorce attorneys often recommend that clients obtain life insurance policies to cover the potential loss of income while they're separated. Additionally, many states require spouses to pay child support even if they aren't legally married. This could mean paying thousands of dollars per month for children whose parents aren't together anymore.

An experienced divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
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