Year: 2018

Divorce Attorney Houston Texas

Divorce In Houston Texas: An Overview

Important Factors to Consider in a Texas Divorce

Every divorce proceeds along its own unique path. Some divorcing couples are able to keep things relatively calm and to follow the path they initially set out upon, while others find that their divorce proceedings become very complicated very quickly. Suffice to say, however, that no divorce is easy. Not only is every Texas divorce unique, but each state has its own set of unique divorce laws – and Texas is no exception. It can help to familiarize yourself with the Texas divorce basics. Keep in mind, however, that divorce is usually complicated and can affect nearly every aspect of your life for years to come. For this reason, it’s essential to retain a Houston divorce lawyer to represent your rights.

Please view the following article for useful information on your initial meeting with a Houston divorce lawyer:

In Texas, There Is No Legal Separation

When couples drift apart, they sometimes think that they can live separately and that sooner or later their new lifestyle will amount to a legal separation. In the State of Texas, however, there is no legal separation – no matter how long you live on your own. Failing to understand this fact can have serious consequences for your financial future.

Let’s consider an example: If you and your spouse live separately for many years, and your spouse lives the high life while you pinch your pennies, you remain tethered to that spouse’s financial situation. No matter how frugal and careful you may be, your spouse’s financial recklessness might as well be your own. To make things more complicated, your careful financial planning will benefit your spouse and help offset his or her own financial carelessness.

Naturally, there are further complications to consider:

• If your spouse purchases a home, you are a co-owner by default – and vice versa. This can obviously have significant tax implications.
• If your spouse starts a business, you are again a co-owner by default (and vice versa). Running a business can be a lucrative proposition, but it can also be a financial burden that racks up debt. The tax implications for a business are notoriously complicated.

All told, living separately from your spouse can leave you with more problems than benefits. Consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney before you make important decisions that could negatively affect your financial future.

There Are No Quickie Texas Divorces

Divorce is always a momentous decision, and the State of Texas doesn’t take it lightly. As such, there are no expedited divorce options in Texas. As you approach the divorce process, it’s important to recognize that it’s going to take some time. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. If you’re divorcing, you naturally want to put the entire messy ordeal behind you as quickly as possible, but it’s important to proceed with caution and to make sure you’re making the best decisions for you throughout. Rushing through a divorce, while it may feel like a relief in the moment, is never a good idea. There are a lot of details to consider, and the fact that Texas doesn’t allow you to expedite a contested divorce allows you the time to carefully consider all of your options with the assistance of an experienced Houston divorce lawyer.

While the timeline for every divorce is different, there are several important factors to keep in mind:

• At least 60 days must elapse from the time you file the Petition for Divorce until your divorce is finalized. In other words, even if you and your divorcing spouse have all the details tied up with a bow when you file your Petition for Divorce, you must still wait the full 60 days before your divorce can be finalized.

• In reality, very few divorcing couples are in total agreement on every issue – especially when it comes to child custody and the division of assets – so hammering out a settlement is likely to take some time. You can expect the process to take about six months to a year.

• If your divorce does become more and more complicated or contentious as it proceeds, the process can extend much longer than a year.

When you’re heading into a divorce, it’s important to be realistic about the time frame that you are probably looking at, and a divorce lawyer will be able to give a good idea as to how long your divorce will take.

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Your Texas Divorce Is No Time to Fly Solo

It’s clear that divorce is complicated, that emotions run high throughout the process, and that the financial and emotional consequences of your divorce are likely to reverberate far into your future. Given this complex arrangement, it is almost never a good idea to tackle a divorce on your own. In fact, there are several excellent reasons not to:

• When you are going through a divorce, your emotions are almost certain to be running on overdrive, and that can color your decision-making process. It’s challenging to separate your initial emotional reaction to an issue from a response that will serve you best in the long run. Your experienced divorce attorney will help you distinguish between the two.
• The details in a Texas divorce matter – including child custody issues, child support, the division of your assets, and tax repercussions – and chances are that you have neither the experience nor the expertise to adequately attend to these issues that will almost certainly affect the financial future of both you and your children. A dedicated Houston divorce lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and skill to help.

Please review the following articles for an in-depth look into property division in Texas:

Texas Divorce Law Is Complicated – Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today

At the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., our dedicated attorneys focus exclusively on divorce and family law, which allows us to offer you the experienced guidance you need to help navigate the always-complicated path toward divorce. Your future is far too important to leave to chance. Going through a divorce is difficult, but we care about you and your claim, and we’re here to help. For a free initial consultation, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

High Asset Divorce in Texas

High Asset Divorce: What You Need to Know

High-Asset Divorce in Texas: Unique Complications

While most Texas divorces are complicated and questions related to finances top tend to top the list of complications, divorces that involve significant assets take things to the next level. Other than issues related to child custody, finances are the single most emotionally fraught – and often contentious – component of any divorce. When you get into the territory of high assets, finances naturally become more complicated. The world of high finance often involves businesses and multiple real estate holdings, which are typically far less transparent when it comes to assigning value for the dissolution of a marriage. If you are facing a high-asset divorce, you need a skilled divorce attorney with experience handling these complex cases.

The Complications that Come with High Finances

As marital estates become larger, they also naturally tend to become more opaque and more difficult to track. The intricacies of business structures and taxation dictate that the more wealth you amass, the more complicated your finances become. This makes obtaining an accurate reading on your marital assets that much more laborious. If you and your divorcing spouse have considerable assets, it is very likely that you will need the highly specialized services of forensic accounting to calculate a reliably accurate valuation for your holdings.

The Division of Property in a Texas Divorce

Texas is a community property state, which generally means that the judge will assess the circumstances of your divorce and will divide your property – both assets and debts – in a way that he or she deems “just and right.” Just and right can obviously mean very different things to different people, and you and your soon-to-be-ex are very unlikely to see eye-to-eye on this matter. There are two factors that often play a determinative role in situations in which assets are divided lopsidedly:

• The spouse with the most responsibility for raising the children may be awarded a larger percentage of the marital property.
• A spouse with significantly less earning potential may be compensated with a larger percentage of the marital assets.

The fact that the State of Texas is not looking to divide your marital wealth evenly down the middle makes it that much more important to enlist a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer to protect your finances throughout the divorce process.

Your Finances

In marriages with high assets, as with many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to play a far more integral role in the family’s finances. This can make determining the value of your estate even more nuanced. If you are not the party with a more active role in your family’s finances, it can put you at a disadvantage, and for this very reason, it is important to bring in an experienced divorce lawyer as quickly as possible.

The fact is that the person who is more intimately involved in your marital finances has some decided advantages when it comes to presenting your assets in a particular light. In other words, he or she likely has the insight and finesse to paint a less-than-accurate financial picture. Your financial future very likely depends upon your divorce settlement, and it is far too important not to protect your rights and to aggressively advocate for the financial settlement to which you are entitled.

Underhanded Tactics

The stress and anxiety associated with divorce are difficult to overstate, and divorcing spouses are often not at their very best when under this kind of pressure. In fact, some divorcing spouses are not above hiding assets, devaluing assets, quietly moving or selling assets – and worse – in an attempt to skew the finances in their own favor in the divorce. If your spouse is more closely involved in your family’s finances than you are, he or she is more likely to have the financial upper-hand, and it is critical that you bring in a dedicated divorce lawyer to not only help determine what your marital assets are but also to help protect your “just and right” share of those assets throughout the divorce process.

If you have reason to believe or suspect that your spouse is engaging in underhanded financial tactics, do not hesitate to share this information with your attorney. The sooner your dedicated legal advisor engages the specialized services of an investigative forensic accountant, the more secure your finances will be.

Matters of Privacy

If you are going through a high-asset divorce, the dissolution of your marriage may be the subject of a good deal of attention. After all, the world of high finance is interesting exactly because the reverberations often affect far more people than just the divorcing couple. In other words, high-asset divorces are often high-profile divorces. As such, your divorce and your financials may well be subject to more public scrutiny than you would like. A dedicated Houston divorce lawyer will endeavor to protect your privacy and to help ensure that your private financial records remain sealed and private.

Your High-Asset Divorce

Every divorce is difficult, fraught with emotion, and utterly unique. When a divorce involves the division of a sizable estate, it makes the entire process that much more delicate. Whether you are simply considering divorce or your divorce is an inevitability, it is never too soon to begin gathering your financial information and documents in the creation of as thorough a financial snapshot as possible. Synthesize the financial information that you have access to and carefully examine it with your legal counsel. A high-asset divorce has an additional layer of complexity that necessitates exacting scrutiny.

If Your Divorce Involves High Assets; Consult with a Dedicated Houston Divorce Attorney Today

The fact is that divorce is hard, and a high-asset divorce is that much harder. If you’re facing a high-asset divorce, it is critical that you obtain an experienced divorce lawyer with whom you feel comfortable working. At the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. our experienced legal team understands the intricacies of high finance, and we’re dedicated to fighting for your financial rights. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Houston Divorce Process

Texas Divorce: The Basics

What You Need to Know Before You Begin the Texas Divorce Process

The divorce process is never easy, but there are steps that you can take to better prepare yourself for the difficult path ahead and to help mitigate the hardships involved. While no two divorces are exactly alike, they all share certain elements that are important to consider. Take the time to get to know the basics, and you’ll be better prepared to take on your divorce.

Determine Whether Your Marriage Is Truly Over or Not

If you’re considering divorce in Texas, your emotions are inevitably running high. In fact, it can be difficult to make important decisions in this state. If your spouse is insisting upon a divorce, there may not be much you can do about it. If that isn’t the case, take the time to make sure that a divorce is really the answer you seek before rushing forward with the legal process. There are a variety of options when it comes to couple’s counseling – ask a trusted friend or family member for a counselor recommendation, research the services available at your place of worship, or speak with a reputable family law firm about resources in Houston. Even if your spouse isn’t interested in moving forward with counseling or therapy, it can help you personally get a better handle on whether divorce is right for you.

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel 

Even if you don’t end up ultimately pursuing a divorce, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced family law attorney early on. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will discuss what you’re likely to encounter throughout the divorce process with you, including what your settlement might look like. Divorce is scary, but knowing that you have a knowledgeable professional to guide you can help.

Don’t Make Important Decisions Before Discussing them with Your Attorney

If your marriage is beginning to feel unmanageable – or even impossible – you may be tempted to move out of your marital home and to deal with the details of your divorce down the road. Decisions like this one, however, can have dramatic reverberations throughout your divorce – and beyond. Talk to an experienced divorce attorney before you make important decisions that could have consequences you haven’t even considered.

If You’ve Been Unfaithful in Your Marriage, Share the Information with Your Lawyer

If you’ve had an extramarital affair, you may be tempted to unburden yourself of the guilt by telling your spouse or a trusted friend about it. While this is an understandable impulse, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if, instead, you share the information with your experienced divorce attorney – and only with your experienced divorce attorney. Although Texas is a no-fault divorce state – which means you can obtain a divorce for any reason and need not prove your spouse was engaged in wrongdoing – having an affair can still affect your divorce settlement.

Find more information on adultery in the article below:

Consider Your Finances before You Pursue a Divorce

If you’re considering a divorce, carefully consider your finances before you begin the process. Divorce does strange thing to people – even the person you think you know best in the world (your spouse) may surprise you during the divorce process. This can include playing dirty financial tricks. Your family law attorney will help you assess your financials and how best to proceed. While every couple’s financial circumstances are unique, there are things that you can do prior to beginning the divorce process to help safeguard your finances throughout. Having a sound financial plan can help you avoid some common divorce pitfalls.

Consider All of Your Valuables

Ultimately, you’re going to need a financial snapshot of your marital assets and debts. But there’s more to consider than just the financial component. You also own things that are of purely sentimental value, such as photo albums, family portraits, and family heirlooms and keepsakes. Now’s a good time to think about safeguarding those items that can never be replaced.

Your Marital Assets and Debts

After issues relating to child custody, child support and dividing your marital assets and debts is likely to be the most critical element of your divorce. The more you know about your family’s financials, the better off you’ll be. Gather all the financial information and documents that you can early on and organize them into something you can share with your divorce attorney. With a clear picture of your marital finances, your skilled divorce attorney will be able to help guide you in the direction that best protects your financial future.

Your Divorce Goals

If you’re at the point that moving forward with a divorce is an inevitability, it’s important to remember that Texas is a community property state. This means that your marital assets won’t necessarily be divided straight down the middle but that, instead, the court will determine what it considers “just and right” within your circumstances. The court’s version of just and right will likely not coincide with your own.

Further, when it comes to the details of your child custody arrangement, you have a vested interest in carefully crafting the custody schedule that you believe is best for your children. While the court always prioritizes children’s best interests, you obviously know better when it comes to your own children.

The more that you and your spouse can agree upon, the less the court will decide on your behalf. If you and your soon-to-be ex can’t hammer out the details together (with the help of your respective attorneys), a mediator may be able to help you find common ground.  The mediation process is a great way to save on legal expenses.

If You’re Considering Divorce, You Need a Dedicated Houston Family Law Attorney

While it’s impossible to predict at the outset exactly how your divorce will proceed, there are some basic steps that you can take to protect yourself along the way. The dedicated divorce attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help guide your divorce toward its best possible resolution. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Selling a home during divorce

Selling Your Home and Divorce

Maximizing Profits on Your Home Sale during Divorce

Divorce in Texas is complicated, and taxes are complicated. The combination of the two can be overwhelming. One of the most critical components of any divorce is the division of assets, and because your family home is likely your greatest asset, the sale of your home in the divorce process can play a significant role. As such, it’s important to have a working understanding of the tax basics as you move forward. Your experienced Houston divorce attorney will guide you through the process to help ensure that you minimize any capital gains taxes on the sale of your home.

ReadFrequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texasfor more information on the divorce process.

Capital Gains Tax and the Sale of Your Home

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may allow you a tax exclusion of $250,000 on the capital gains you receive with the sale of your primary home. If you file jointly with your spouse (even a soon-to-be ex-spouse), you can potentially exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains received in the sale of that home. When you’re divorcing, of course, this can get complicated, and there are plenty of details to take into consideration.

The Home Exclusion Rule

In general, tax rules allow homeowners to exclude any profits made in the sale of their primary home from being taxed as income as long as two major conditions are met:

1. You and your spouse lived in the home as your primary residence for at least two of the last five years.
2. The profits you received from the sale of your home is not more than $500,000.

If your divorce is finalized before you sell your home and it remains your primary residence, the exclusion may still apply, but it will be divided in two, and your cap will be set at $250,000 in profits.

Further Details

As with almost everything else that involves the IRS, there are more details to consider:

• To capitalize on the tax exclusion, you cannot have sold another home and taken the same tax exclusion in the previous 24 months.
• If you remarry before you sell the marital home from your previous marriage, you may forfeit your eligibility for the tax exclusion.

Again, it’s imperative that you work closely with an experienced family law attorney before making any important decisions regarding the sale of your home during a divorce.

Divorce: Throwing a Wrench into the Situation

Divorce has a way of complicating things, and this is never more true than when it comes to your finances. If you’re divorcing, the home-exclusion tax rule continues to apply to either you or your spouse (or possibly to both of you, depending upon who is living in the home as a primary residence), but whether you sell the house during or after the divorce can have an effect. Let’s consider two scenarios by way of example:

1. If you and your divorcing spouse both continue to live in your marital home (as each of your primary residences) until the house sells and you jointly file your taxes that year, you should be able to exclude a total of $500,000 from any profits you make on that sale. If, on the other hand, you file separately, you should each be able to exclude $250,000.

2. Until your divorce is finalized, you and your divorcing spouse can continue to file joint returns, and as long as you both meet the residency requirement, you can both enjoy the tax exclusion. However, if one of you moves out of the marital home (as so often happens during a divorce) the two-year residency requirement (two years out of the previous five) will come into play.

Both of these considerations are important to keep in mind as you move forward with your divorce. If you do get the tax exclusion and your divorcing spouse misses out on the tax break, you may be asked to make up for the financial discrepancy in your divorce settlement.

The Optimal Approach

Optimally, if one of you will not be keeping the marital home post-divorce, it’s in the best interest of both of you to sell your house sooner – rather than later – in the divorce process. If your divorce becomes more financially complicated and/or contentious as it proceeds, the time component could leave you unable to collect on the full $500,000 (combined) tax exclusion. Consult with a skilled Houston divorce attorney to help ensure that you maximize valuable tax exclusions.

Your Divorce: Your Home

Every divorce is unique and uniquely complicated. After issues related to child custody, however, the division of your assets will likely be the most important issue you and your divorcing spouse will face. While your home is very likely the most significant asset you possess, it is also your home, and you may not be inclined to leave it – especially if you still have children at home. There’s a lot to consider. Some couples find a means of keeping the custodial parent in the family home – at least until the children have graduated from high school. Your dedicated family law attorney will help you explore the options that are available to you and will help you find the best resolution for you and your children. Divorce is stressful, but an experienced divorce attorney will prioritize your best interests and will aggressively advocate for a positive settlement resolution.

If You Are Facing Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce, in and of itself, is difficult. When you compound the issue with the sale of your home, things become even more complicated – financially, logistically, and emotionally. In fact, most of us have much more invested in our family homes than simply a dollar amount. If you are facing a divorce and are likely going to have to sell your home, you need the professional services of a Houston divorce attorney. The dedicated legal professionals at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, focus exclusively on divorce and family law, and we’ll help you better understand your options and help you find a resolution that works for you. For a free initial consultation, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

For more information on Divorce in Texas, check out the following articles:

Uncontested divorces in Houston Texas

Uncontested Divorce – Doing it the nice way

Uncontested Divorce? It’s Still a Good Idea to Retain a Houston Divorce Lawyer

When many people hear the word “divorce,” they immediately picture spouses who are involved in ongoing disputes and can no longer stand to even be in the same room. While it is certainly true that many divorces are extremely adversarial, there are also couples who both recognize that it’s their best interest to get a divorce and attempt to work together to resolve the issues they need to resolve before their marriage can be over. Though this article focuses on uncontested divorces, our article, “Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested divorces: What you Need to Know” outlines the differences between the two.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are your spouse are getting along and seem to agree about how to resolve these issues, it’s understandable that you’re considering handling your divorce on your own. It’s important to understand, however, that It’s always advisable to consult with an retain a houston divorce lawyerattorney during the divorce process. Even if you don’t retain a lawyer to handle every aspect of your divorce in Texas, it’s important to understand your legal rights and to be prepared to fight for them in the event that a dispute arises.

Not Understanding Your Rights Could Result in Disastrous Consequences

When you’re getting divorced , it’s critical that you understand your legal rights and the divorce process in Texas. If you don’t, you could make concessions in your settlement agreement that you don’t even know to question. To understand how this may work, it’s helpful to consider a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that your spouse started a business during your marriage. The business was entirely his or her idea, and you never worked for it or on it. At the time of your divorce, the business really hasn’t taken off and has no real value. Because you never contributed to the business, you don’t feel like you have any ownership interest in it and frankly don’t care as it’s not generating any income or worth anything. As a result, when you and your spouse are going through your assets, you have no objections when your spouse says “I’m going to keep the business, okay?” Five years later, long after your divorce is finalized, your spouse sells the business for $10,000,000.

In this hypothetical scenario, you potentially walked away from $5,000,000. How? Because your spouse started the business while you were married, it was considered marital property. This means that, absent other circumstances, you likely had a 50 percent interest in the business, even though you did not work for the business or participate in its formation.

While this is an extreme example, it goes to show how important it is to fully understand your rights. The most effective way to ensure that your divorce agreement is your best interest and does not result in unforeseen consequences is to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney as soon you realize that your marriage is ending.

Your Amicable Divorce Can Turn Adversarial in the Blink of an Eye

It’s also important to keep in mind that while you are your spouse maybe getting along just fine right now, that may not continue to be the case. Even if you agree that the marriage needs to end, emotions can be unpredictable, and suddenly you and your soon-to-be ex may be unable to communicate constructively. Fortunately, if you’ve already retained an attorney to represent you, he or she can jump in and communicate with your spouse on your behalf. An emotionally uninvolved party can often negotiate more effectively than someone with an emotional stake in the outcome of a dispute. In addition, the participation of an attorney will let your spouse know that you are serious about enforcing your rights, which can significantly strengthen your bargaining position.

Things You Say and Do Can Affect While Your Divorce is Pending Can Affect its Outcome

Another reason that it’s highly advisable to retain an attorney while you’re involved in a seemingly uncontested divorce is that your actions while your divorce is pending can have a significant impact on its outcome. For example, if you are your spouse have amicably separated, you may want to celebrate your newfound freedom by starting to date again or going out more often with your single friends. Unfortunately, these kinds of seemingly innocuous actions could affect your legal rights in the event that your divorce became contested at a later date. Texas judges are allowed to consider infidelity when they make determinations about the way that marital property is divided and may not look favorably upon a spouse who couldn’t wait until the divorce was final to start a new relationship.  Similarly, if going out with single friends tends to involve drinking alcohol at bars and clubs (as it often does), a judge may question your ability to effectively parent any children you and your spouse may have.

You may want to read, “Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?” for an in depth discussion of infidelity and its effect on divorce in Texas.

The guidance of an attorney through the divorce process can be invaluable, whether it’s amicable or not. At the Rudisel Law Firm, we represent clients in both uncontested divorces and contested divorces and are dedicated to finding solutions whenever possible. In fact, in some instances, we are able to assist both spouses in their divorce, allowing the couple to save time and money. To find out if this option may be available to you, call our office today.

Call The Rudisel Law Firm Today to Schedule a Consultation with a Divorce Attorney in Houston
If you are considering divorce or have already started the process, it’s highly advisable to retain a Houston divorce lawyer as soon as you can – even if you and your spouse are getting along. Divorces that start off amicably have a way of getting adversarial pretty quickly, and it’s only prudent to make sure that you are ready to protect your legal rights. To schedule a free case evaluation with Texas attorney Shawn M. Rudisel, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Please read the following articles for more information on divorce in Texas:

Meeting your divorce lawyer for the first time

Meeting your Divorce Lawyer for the first time. What to expect.

Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Houston Divorce Attorney

You’ve made the decision to end your marriage and have set up a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston, which is a great first step if it’s time to leave your current relationship. If you’re like most people, this is the first time you’re going through this process and are unsure about what to expect. Here are five things that you should do to prepare for your first meeting with your divorce attorney to help you get as much out of your meeting as possible.  This first meeting is crucial to the process of divorce in Texas.

1. Relax

Meeting with a complete stranger to discuss something as intimate as divorce is understandably a stressful experience for many people. It’s important to understand that divorce lawyers are professionals who work with people in your situation on a daily basis. In addition, keep in mind that anything you tell your attorney is confidential and that he or she has an ethical duty to be on your side. Your lawyer is never going to judge you or question your version of events, so there’s no reason to stress out about your first meeting

2. Be Prepared to Ask Questions

During your first meeting with your lawyer, he or she will undoubtedly have many questions for you about your situation. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that your initial meeting is also an opportunity for you to ask your attorney questions. Divorce in Texas is a complicated legal matter, and part of your lawyer’s job is to help you understand the process you are about to go through and your legal rights. Understand, however, that your attorney can’t guarantee any results, so don’t expect to get answers to questions like “am I going to get the house?” or “how much alimony am I going to receive?” Some examples of questions you may want to ask at your first meeting with your Houston divorce lawyer include the following:

• What are your fees?
• Can you estimate the total cost of my case?
• Based your initial impressions, will I be able to receive temporary spousal support?
• How long do you take to respond to emails or phone calls?
• Will anyone else in the office be working on my case?
• Do you settle or litigate most of your divorce cases?
• How long does your average divorce case last?

These are just a few of the questions that you may want to ask during your first meeting with a lawyer. Don’t hesitate to make a list of questions that come to mind in the days and weeks leading up to your first meeting and bring it in with you. You should walk out of your appointment with a better understanding of the divorce process and feeling confident that you’ve chosen the right lawyer to represent you.

3. Gather Important Financial Documents

You should bring basic financial documents to your first meeting in order to allow your attorney to get a basic overview of you and your spouse’s assets and liabilities. These are fundamental when discussing property division in a Texas divorce. Examples of the documents that you may want to bring in include:

• Bank statements
• Credit card statements
• Business operating agreements
• Brokerage account information
• Investment account information
• 401-K and other retirement account statements

Bring as much information as you can, and keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if an account or an asset is your name or your spouse’s name only. Whether assets are community property or separate property is often a complicated legal question, and the name on the account or title is often irrelevant to that determination. If you can’t find important information, don’t worry too much about it, as your lawyer will be able to obtain anything you need for your case during the discovery process.

Please see our article “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know” fore more information on assets and liabilities.

4. Be Ready to Discuss Personal Details about Your Life

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about your first meeting with a Houston divorce lawyer is the fact that you’re going to discuss details of your personal life that you may not be comfortable discussing with a friend, much less someone you’ve never met. Remember, it’s important for your attorney to know as much as possible about your situation and your marriage as possible. Holding back information can only hurt your case, it can never help. Some of the more uncomfortable issues that may arise include the details of your financial circumstances, substance abuse, infidelity, domestic violence, or mental health conditions. While it may be difficult to discuss these kinds of issues, you need to be prepared to do so, as they could have a significant impact on your rights and the outcome of your divorce.

5. Make a List of Your Goals In Divorce

Finally, it’s important to communicate your goals to your attorney. For example, if you really want the house, it’s essential that your attorney knows that fact when he or she starts developing a negotiation or litigation strategy. Likewise, it will have a significant impact on the way your attorney goes about advocating for your rights if you really don’t care about the house, as walking away from the marital home can be used as a strong bargaining chip in negotiations. Make a list of everything you’d like in regard to your assets, your children, and your future financial obligations or rights and share that list with your attorney. The more your lawyer knows about what you want, the better he or she can represent you.
To Schedule a Free Consultation with a Houston Divorce Attorney, Call The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. Today.

If you are considering getting a divorce or think that one may be in your near future, it’s a good idea to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. Whether a contested divorce or uncontested divorce, the process can have an impact on the most important aspects of your life, including your financial security and your relationship with your children, so it’s critical to make sure that your rights are protected along every step of the way. We’re here to help, so please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

For more valuable information, please check out the following articles on Divorce in Texas:

Coping with your spouse in a houston divorce

Coping with your Ex: Texas Divorce

Divorce 101: Coping with Your Ex During a Divorce

When you’re going through a Texas divorce, even making it through the day might feel like a small victory. Once you’re on the other side of that divorce, you’re ready to take your first tentative steps on your own. The fact remains, however, that if you have children or a shared social circle, you now have an ex-spouse whom you’ll very likely have to deal with on at least a semi-regular basis. Unfortunately, exes don’t come with instruction manuals, so it’s a good idea to have a game plane for how best to proceed. In general, tread lightly, but be prepared to protect your best interests when necessary.

Keep Face-to-Face Communications to a Minimum

Every divorce is unique, and while some couples divorce amicably and carry on with a lively friendship post-divorce, this is the rare exception rather than the rule. If your divorce is less of a fairy tale and more like real-life, proceed with caution. If you share children, you’re going to need to confab with your ex, so set some personal ground rules.

As time goes by, you and your ex will likely find that communicating with each other will become more and more comfortable, but until you find this happy place, your interactions are likely to be fraught with emotion. In the early days, which sometimes seem to go on indefinitely, it’s usually a good idea to limit your communications to those that are strictly necessary and to conduct them through the least personal channels possible. If an email or text will suffice, stick to that. When it’s more time sensitive or complicated, make the call. Limiting face-to-face interactions to picking up and dropping off the kids can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

When It Comes to Your Kids, Proceed with Caution

In general, it’s best not to include your children in your chain of communication with your ex. First of all, you don’t want your children to feel like they’re being used as a protective barrier between the two of you – or to feel like they should harbor allegiances (one way or the other).

Sometimes, however, it’s useful – and it makes sense – for your children to negotiate with your ex on their own behalves. There’s a lot of gray area on this one. Families are messy, and children are resilient. There are no hard and fast rules here. But if you have something you need to discuss with your ex, don’t finagle it through your children; go directly to the source.

Post-Divorce Emotional Support

If there’s ever a time that you’re going to need emotional support, it’s after a divorce. Look to your family members and trusted friends whom you know you can count on. That’s what friends and family are for; there are also divorce support groups that can be especially beneficial. Remember, too, that your Houston divorce attorney is there to answer your logistical questions and doesn’t expect you to become a divorce expert overnight.

What you don’t want to do is look to your ex for the emotional support you need. While it’s natural to feel the tug of the familiar – after all you were a team throughout your marriage – it’s rarely a good idea to succumb to that inclination. Foster a community in which you and the other members support each other, and you’ll find yourself back on the road to emotional strength and stability.

Get the Support You Need so You Can Be There for Your Kids

It’s vital that you get the support you need so you can be there for your children. As difficult as divorce is on you, it’s even more harrowing – and confusing – for your kids. If you aren’t taking care of your own emotional needs, you’ll be less capable of supporting your kids during these trying times. And cut yourself some slack, no one is looking for perfection here – do the best you can for both yourself and your kids.

Finally, it goes without saying that you should never turn to your children for emotional support. When times get tough, call a friend or family member.

Court-Awarded Financial Support

If the court has awarded you child support or spousal maintenance, that is money that is due you – it is not a gift and it in no way leaves you obligated to your ex (the payor). If your ex intimates that the payments he or she makes to you according to your divorce settlement give him or her leverage, your ex is mistaken. Don’t be bullied or intimidated into abdicating your rights and responsibilities as spelled out in your divorce settlement. If your court-ordered payments aren’t forthcoming, it’s time to contact your Houston family law attorney. Don’t wait for things to fix themselves; they rarely do. Be proactive, and allow your experienced divorce attorney to outline your options.

Maintaining Friendships with Your Ex’s Family Members

You’ve no doubt heard the saying that blood is thicker than water, and divorce is a prime example. No matter how close you and your ex’s family are, it’s usually a good idea to give them some breathing space after the divorce. If nothing else, they don’t want to give the appearance of not fully supporting their own son/daughter/brother/sister. Give them the time and space they need to heal, and you very well may find your way back to a satisfying and rewarding relationship with your ex’s family – especially when children are involved.

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Divorce Isn’t a Walk in the Park; You Need a Dedicated Houston Divorce Attorney

If you will have to interact with your ex in the future, you should be sure to protect your rights during your divorce. A divorce settlement or decree that is equitable goes a long way in minimizing future conflict. The dedicated legal team at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, focuses exclusively on divorce and family law, and we’re here for you every step of the way. For a free initial consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

divorce and property division

Property and Debt Division in Texas -What you should know.

The Division of Debt Is an Important Component of Your Houston Divorceexperienced houston divorce lawyer

If you are facing divorce in Texas, you are undoubtedly stressed and there is a good chance that you are unsure about how best to proceed. Cut yourself some slack, and remember that – no matter how you’re holding up – you’re not alone. Every divorce is difficult, and every divorce is as unique as the two individuals involved; you need an experienced Houston divorce attorney to help protect your interests. Other than child custody and visitation issues, the division of financial assets is typically the most emotionally fraught issue in any divorce in Texas. The distribution of marital debt is an important component of this division of finances.

Texas Takes a Unique Approach to the Division of Debt

The great State of Texas likes to go its own way a little bit, and this stands true when it comes to the division of debt in a divorce. While some states take a direct approach that simply divides the debt amassed during a marriage between the spouses, Texas courts look at each marriage’s unique circumstances individually. This means that the court considers the debts themselves – and their sources. It’s important to remember that any debt you are allotted in your divorce settlement can play an important role in the financial outcome of your Houston divorce.

Community Property

Texas, along with eight other states, is a community property jurisdiction. In brief, this means that most assets that a couple acquires during marriage are owned equally by each spouse. Notable exceptions to this rule include assets that were owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, gifts to one spouse, and assets that are inherited by one spouse. Marital debt is closely intertwined with marital assets, and as such, can greatly affect the outcome of a divorce. Property division in a Texas Divorce can be complex.

Debt and Your Divorce

Debt is most likely to play an important role in your divorce if you own a business or multiple properties together or if your finances are generally more complicated. If one or both of you entered the marriage with significant debt, it may ultimately be considered community property. Again, Texas courts are looking for what they consider an equitable distribution of debt – and not for a 50-50 division of that debt. A skilled family law attorney with experience in equitable debt division will fight to help ensure that you get the financial settlement you are entitled to.

The Division of Debts

In the course of your Texas divorce, the court will consider your marital debt as a whole and will determine which, if any, specific debts are solely attributable to only one of you. If such a determination is made, that specific debt will be assigned solely to that spouse in the divorce settlement. In a Texas divorce, marital debt isn’t simply taken at face value but is, instead, carefully considered in relation to a few key questions that help the court make its determinations related to whom the debt belongs to:

• Which spouse initially incurred the debt in question?
• Why was the debt originally incurred?
• When was the debt originally incurred?

The answers to these critical questions will help guide the court’s decisions.

Shared Debt in Divorce

Even in Texas, some debts are routinely considered shared debts. Typically, these include debts that were taken on to run your shared household. When the money you owe was used to feed, shelter, clothe, and generally support your family, the debt is considered a shared debt for divorce purposes. But as with so many things in a Texas divorce, there are gray areas. For example, even if you take out a credit card in your name alone but use the line of credit to support your household, the debt will likely be shared between both you and your spouse in your divorce settlement. If, on the other hand, you take out a credit card in your own name for the sole purpose of purchasing luxury items for yourself, it’s likely a different story. Few things in life – or divorce for that matter – are this black and white, and the court will use its considerable discretion in determination of debt responsibility.

The Discretion of the Court

Texas judges have considerable discretion when it comes to the division of debt in a Houston divorce. In fact, the allotment of marital debt in the divorce proceedings is often more complicated than the division of assets. Ultimately, Texas courts aim to divide marital debt in a way they deem equitable and fair. This determination, as discussed, is far from straightforward, however, and you need an experienced Houston family law attorney to help protect your rights.

The Presumption of Shared Liability

In general, the court will take the approach of considering your marital debt as shared debt – until it’s proven otherwise. This means, you may have to build a defense that illustrates why you aren’t responsible for your soon-to-be-ex’s debt. In other words, it’s complicated. And the more complicated your finances, the more complicated it gets. Paying careful attention to the debt in your divorce can help ensure that you get a truly equitable divorce settlement.

Further Complications

Even if the court assigns specific hefty debts to your ex in the divorce, this does not mean that the debtor involved won’t seek you out if the debt goes unpaid (and if your name is connected to it). You don’t want your credit rating to hinge upon debt that you aren’t responsible for and that you have no way of controlling. An experienced Houston divorce attorney can help.

Discuss the Division of Your Marital Debt with an Experienced Houston Divorce lawyer

Divorce is always difficult, and the division of your marital debt may be the furthest thing from your mind. Such debt, however, can play a pivotal role in your financial situation once your divorce is finalized. For this reason, you need experienced legal guidance. The dedicated legal team at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, focuses exclusively on divorce and family law, and we’re here to help you. For a free initial consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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