Category: Divorce

When to File for Divorce in Texas

Houston Divorce Lawyer

When Is the Best Time to Seek the Advice of a Divorce Attorney in Houston?

Although no two divorces are exactly alike, it is fair to say that if you are considering the possibility of a divorce or are facing an inevitable divorce, it’s time to consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney. The fact is that it’s never too early to obtain professional legal counsel. Consulting with an attorney will help you better understand the divorce process and will provide you with critical information related to how best to protect your rights in your upcoming divorce – if it comes to that.

If You are Considering Filing for Divorce

If you are considering divorce, you have a reason for doing so. It’s important to remember that speaking with a divorce attorney does not necessarily mean that you are taking one step closer to an inevitable divorce – a step you may not feel ready to take. Instead, speaking with a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer will provide you with the opportunity to share your legal concerns with an objective and dispassionate sounding board. Divorce isn’t something that anyone takes lightly, and arming yourself with information will help provide you with the tools you need to make the best decision for you.

Don’t Ignore the Issues

If you are preparing to file for divorce or you believe your spouse might be, you may be inclined to ignore the situation until you no longer can. Doing so, however, is not in your best interests. Even a divorce that begins amicably can become very heated very quickly. Further, even the most straightforward divorce can be legally complicated, and putting off obtaining legal counsel puts you at a disadvantage.

Once your divorce gains momentum, it’s very likely that the stress inherent to the process will make it that much more difficult for you to make important decisions in the protection of your rights. While ignoring your impending divorce until you can no longer do so may buy you a bit of time in the run-up to divorce, it won’t do you any good in the long run. Schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston divorce lawyer today.

Your Personal Experience is Important

You have no doubt spoken to other people about their divorce experiences, and sharing in this way can help with the emotional upheaval that’s so closely associated with divorce. It’s important to recognize, however, that no two divorces are ever alike and that your divorce will follow its own unique path according to your own unique circumstances. Consulting with a divorce attorney early on will provide you with insight about what divorce is likely to mean for you. Because being forewarned is tantamount to being forearmed, obtaining a professional assessment regarding what your divorce will likely entail and how best to proceed can be invaluable and will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are well informed and are proceeding with purpose.

Preparing to Move Forward with the Divorce Process

Preparation is often key to keeping divorce proceedings on track, and the earlier you begin to prepare, the better off you’ll be. Your divorce attorney will help you see the big picture and focus on what’s most important. Getting your financial documents and other important paperwork together early on can make all the difference. Once a divorce hits its stride, it can push perfectly reasonable people into doing extremely unreasonable things, which can include making it difficult for you to obtain the documents you need. It is almost always more expedient to gather the necessary information and documentation – and begin organizing it – at the outset. Your attorney will guide you in the process and will help alert you to potential pitfalls. Divorce is a legal process, and as such, organization is key.

If Your Spouse Has Already Filed for Divorce

If you have already been served with divorce papers, you may well be going through a bit of shock. You are almost certainly experiencing a variety of competing emotions that makes it difficult to know how best to proceed. Fortunately, you are not alone. A skilled legal professional will help you get a handle on the divorce process and will help carefully guide your case toward its best possible resolution. You are not expected to travel this rocky path on your own – nor are you advised to do so. Instead, your divorce lawyer will make sure that you understand the proceedings every step of the way and will help ensure that you are well prepared to make the important decisions that comprise your divorce case.

Moving Forward with Your Texas Divorce

Once your divorce papers have been filed, timelines come into play. Legal cases have rigid deadlines that must be observed. Missing deadlines or being poorly prepared can have dire consequences and will undoubtedly leave you at a distinct disadvantage. Working closely with a dedicated Houston divorce lawyer will give you a broader, better-informed view of what likely lies ahead; will help you prepare and organize yourself for the divorce process in Texas; and will help ensure that you remain timely within that process. While consulting with a divorce attorney is not a definitive signal that you are preparing to move forward with a divorce, it is the best way to protect yourself if you do decide that divorce is inevitable. If you are already facing a divorce, consult with a knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer today.

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If You Are Considering Divorce, It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

Only you know if divorce is right for you, but an experienced attorney will help you better understand your options and your best path forward if you ultimately decide to proceed with divorce. Divorce is difficult and involves a complicated legal process, but the dedicated divorce lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to help. Our experienced legal team has the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help you find the answers that are right for you and to help you move forward with confidence. Your case matters, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 to schedule a free consultation today.

Texas Divorce and Your 401(k)

Houston Divorce Lawyer 401k

Dividing a 401(k) in a Texas Divorce

If you are going through a divorce in Houston,Texas you naturally have concerns about your assets, including your 401(k) and any other retirement accounts. Other than child custody and visitation arrangements, the division of marital assets is typically the most contested issue in any divorce. Because your 401(k) is likely – in some part, at least – a component of your marital property, it’s critical to your financial future that you pay careful attention. To help ensure that your finances are well protected, you need the professional legal services of an experienced Houston divorce lawyer.

Separating Property: Separate vs. Community Property in Texas

Texas is a community property state, which generally means that any financial assets or debts that you accumulated during your marriage are marital property that, in a divorce, must be divided between the two of you in a manner that the court deems “just and right.” As such, any part of either of your retirement accounts that was earned before your marriage is considered separate property (and remains the owner’s), and any part of either of your retirement accounts that was earned during your marriage is considered community property and is subject to division upon your divorce.

Separate Property Must be Protected in Divorce

If part of your 401(k) or other retirement account was earned before you married, you will need to document this for the court. The court’s typical presumption is that all property is marital property, so the burden is on you to clarify via documentation that shows your 401(k) balances both before and after marriage. The goal is to protect your separate property, and the process of obtaining the necessary records can be lengthy and complicated – especially if the account goes back many years. Beginning the process of gathering these records as soon as you recognize that a divorce is in your future will help you better protect your personal assets.

Temporary Restraining Order for Retirement Accounts

During a divorce, the court will typically issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or standard injunction to preserve the marital assets throughout the process. This means that you’ll both be prohibited from cashing out assets like your 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts. Without the court’s express authorization, it is inadvisable to take a loan against or cash out your 401(k) during the pendency of your divorce. If you are experiencing financial hardship or have an urgent need, the court may consider your plight and allow you to move forward with a loan or withdrawal. Generally, however, Texas courts prefer that divorcing couples keep their marital property intact until the final division is determined.

Also read, “Property and Debt Division: What you Should Know“.

The Division of Marital Property in Texas

If you and your divorcing spouse aren’t able to come to an agreement related to the division of your marital assets – either on your own, through your attorneys, or via mediation – the court will make the final determination for you. While the court’s goal is to divide your marital property in a manner that is just and right, your idea of what is just and right may be very different from the court’s idea. In other words, when the division of your marital property is left to the court, it’s difficult to predict precisely what the outcome will be. Work closely with your attorney to help ensure that your personal assets and your share of your marital assets are well protected.

See our related article, “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you Should Know“.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

Sometimes, the court keeps retirement accounts intact in the division of marital assets – if you each have similarly valued 401(k)s, for example. In other situations, however, the court divides such accounts using a legal tool that’s called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Such an order allows the transfer of funds from one spouse’s retirement account to the other spouse’s retirement account – in the amount deemed necessary to make the division of marital property just and right.

When the funds from one spouse’s retirement account are simply rolled over to the other spouse’s retirement account, the tax implications are usually minimal. If, on the other hand, you are interested in cashing out the value the court awards you, the financial and tax implications are much more complicated, and you’ll want to carefully consider your options with your experienced divorce lawyer before making any final decisions.

Your Divorce Case is Unique

It’s important to recognize that your divorce is unique to its own set of unique circumstances. What may be the best path forward for one divorcing couple is not necessarily going to work for you. The division of marital assets and debts is one of the most important elements of any divorce, and if you have retirement accounts that are a combination of separate and community properties, it makes things that much more complicated. Your dedicated Houston divorce lawyer will work closely with you throughout the divorce process to help ensure that you move into your post-divorce life with the best possible financial resolution.

The More Complicated Your Finances, the More You Need an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

Keeping separate property separate and dividing marital property in a divorce can get complicated very quickly. How your marital property is divided in your divorce is likely to correlate closely with you and your children’s financial future, so it’s important that you do everything you can to protect your rights. The dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, is here to help.

Read our related Houston Divorce articles, “High Asset Divorce: What you Need to Know” and “Divorce and Property Division in Texas: What Happens to the Family Business“.

Our experienced divorce lawyers have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help protect your separate property and to help ensure that your rights are well represented in the division of your marital property. We’re here to aggressively advocate for your best interests throughout the divorce process. To schedule a free consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Social Media and Divorce in Texas

Social Media and Divorce Lawyers in Houston, Texas

Your Divorce and Social Media

If you are going through a divorce in Texas, you are going through a lot, and you almost certainly need a way to deal with all the emotional upheaval you’re experiencing. This is a given, but choose your emotional outlets wisely. Posts to social media are being used as evidence more and more often in Texas courts – nearly always to the detriment of the person posting. If you are going through a divorce, you need a shoulder – or two – to cry on, but be sure to turn to loved ones and trusted friends who always have your best interests at heart. Finally, if you are facing the divorce process in Texas, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Houston divorce lawyer.

Your Social Media Accounts

Most of us enjoy the immediacy of social media. It’s a great way to keep everyone you know – and then some – in the know about what you are thinking, feeling, and doing. The timbre of social media, however, changes when you are going through a divorce – especially if the divorce becomes acrimonious, which many do. It’s important to keep in mind that the degrees of separation that one experiences in private conversations are nearly obliterated in the arena of social media. Almost anything you post can come back to haunt you.

Think about It, Don’t hurt your Divorce

Even if you played fast and loose with your social media accounts before you were considering divorce, it’s imperative that you change your attitude once divorce becomes a real possibility. Your posts are a snapshot of who you are, and if your divorcing spouse can use them to paint an unflattering picture of you for the court, he or she may be inclined to do so. Even if you think better of your social media offering and delete it within seconds, it’s impossible to say how many screenshots are out there. If you’re divorcing, you are on an emotional journey, and there’s no reason to make that journey more difficult by expecting yourself to be perfect. Allow yourself the time and space you need to grieve and process the end of your marriage and remember that you’ll find much greater solace when you turn to people whom you trust for support – rather than turning to social media.

What Not to Post During a Divorce

The two most contentious components of any contested divorce in Texas are naturally child custody and visitation arrangements and the division of marital property, and your posts could speak volumes without you even being aware. Before you hit send – every single time – consider whether you would want the judge in your case to read or see the content, because there is every chance that your judge may. As a matter of course, there are certain things that you should never post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Snapchat, LinkedIn, or anywhere else:

  • Do not over-post

Over-sharing – even if the content is innocuous – can have an adverse effect on the outcome of your case. If nothing else, it’s a signal that your divorce isn’t consuming your life. Most people are consumed by the divorce process, and the over-posting of pithy remarks and memes can show a general lack of seriousness. It’s important to remember that your divorcing spouse is also likely in a dark place, and your perceived lack of concern could be the push that he or she needs to take things in a more contentious direction.

  • Do not rant or vent about your divorce on social media

Posting bitter diatribes on Facebook is not the way to go. In fact, leave your divorce out of your posts altogether. No matter how good it might feel in the moment to get things off your chest, the consequences are unpredictable and are very likely to boomerang on you.

  • Do not post about your new relationship

If you have already begun to date or are in a new relationship, this is no time to share the happy news with the world at large. Pictures tell compelling stories, so forego posting pictures of you as a couple – this also applies to pictures that your friends may be tempted to post. Flaunting a new relationship can fuel the flames of acrimony and, in so doing, protract the divorce process. It’s important to keep in mind that, while most Texas divorces are no fault, some divorces are predicated on adultery. Until you are legally divorced, a new romantic relationship is classified as adultery in a Texas divorce.

  • Do not flaunt your spending

Not flaunting your spending while you are going through a divorce should go without saying, but it’s a mistake that many divorcing people make. In fact, now is not the time to be spending in a way that you’d be tempted to flaunt. You’re going through a divorce, and your finances are going to be scrutinized. Keep your spending on the up and up. If you do need to make a large purchase, it’s a good idea to discuss the matter with your experienced Houston divorce attorney beforehand.

You may want to read, “High Asset Divorce: What you Need to Know“.

  • Do not comment about your divorce online

Don’t blog, write, or comment about your divorce online. Divorce is a private matter, and sharing your written narrative about yours could hurt your children and even other loved ones. Your primary concern is naturally your children’s well-being, and the only people hurting more than you and your divorcing spouse are your children. Journaling about your divorce journey can help, but sharing your words online is a bad idea.

If You Are Going through a Divorce, You Need an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

While no one expects you to be perfect when traversing the difficult path toward divorce, your social media exposure can directly affect the outcome of your case. The dedicated divorce attorneys at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to help. We have the experience, compassion, and knowledge to help you avoid common divorce pitfalls, including oversharing on social media. Our legal team is committed to helping you obtain the best possible resolution of your case. To schedule a free consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Readers of this article have also read, “Divorce in Houston,Texas: An Overview” and “Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas“.

Life after divorce in Houston, TX

Life After Divorce in Texas

Tying Up Loose Ends after a Texas Divorce

Divorce in Texas can be hard, but once you’ve made it to the other side and your divorce is final, there are some steps you can take that will help you move into your post-divorce future with confidence. Divorce has a way of making people feel like they’re not quite walking on solid ground. The best path forward, however, is one step at a time. Naturally, you are very glad to have made it through the difficult process that is divorce, but tying up all the loose ends that come afterward is critical to your ability to continue to move smoothly into your new future.

Readers also enjoyed our Houston Family Law Blog article, “Coping with Your Ex: Texas Divorce

Tax Implications and Divorce

Once you have your final divorce decree, it’s very likely that your tax status will change, and it’s important to let the HR department at your place of employment know about this change. Fill out your new tax documents carefully because you want them to accurately reflect your newly single status and any tax exemptions you’ll be claiming. Who will be able to claim the children as exemptions after divorce is an essential component of every divorce involving children. Work closely with your experienced Houston divorce attorney so that you understand this issue and how it will affect your financial future.

Changing Your Last Name

Many women change their last names when they get married, and many women change their last names back to their maiden names after divorce. Texas law allows the judge can grant you this name change during your divorce, but granting such a change does not change your name on important documents, including government records. If you are in this particular situation, you probably have more official name-change maneuvers to make than you realize:

  • Changing your name on official documents at work, including your 401(k) and health insurance plan
  • Having a new Social Security card, driver’s license, and passport issued with your newly changed name
  • Changing your name on insurance policies and other important financial documents
  • Changing your name on your mortgage, credit cards, and other financial tools

Failing to have your name changed in a timely manner on these important documents can create significant difficulties that you probably haven’t even considered. Take the time to carefully go through the process of consistently changing your name across all of these categories, and you’ll make it that much easier to move forward post-divorce.

Your Mortgage

If your ex is staying in your marital home and is taking over the mortgage, make sure to have your name removed from that mortgage (and vice versa, if you are taking over the mortgage). If your name remains on a mortgage, you remain responsible – even if you no longer have anything to do with the home. This may seem like obvious advice, but not all divorced couples get this detail taken care of as quickly as they should, and not doing so can negatively affect your financial future.

Understand Your Divorce Decree

When you’re going through a divorce, your life is off kilter, and that’s to be expected. Your divorce decree, however, lays the foundation for how you are intended to move forward related to the division of your marital assets, the payment of child support, the payment of spousal maintenance (where appropriate), and more. Make sure that you understand what your responsibilities are so that you will be able to adhere to them and will know what to expect regarding your ex’s responsibilities. Your experienced divorce attorney should carefully go over your divorce decree with you so that you’ll better understand you and your ex’s respective responsibilities. Knowing what to expect can help ease the anxiety that comes with transitioning from being part of a married couple to living as a single person. In addition, understanding your ex’s responsibilities will help you better recognize if he or she ever becomes non-compliant – and when to seek a legal remedy as a result.

Exchanging of Property

If your divorce involves exchanging property between you and your newly divorced spouse, you will need to schedule and make the hand-off. Sometimes, this property is sentimental in value, and sometimes it has actual monetary value (or a combination of both), but part of moving forward after divorce is taking care of these details. Schedule a time with your ex to make the exchange, and do your level best to keep things as civil as possible. If your divorce was simply too acrimonious for you to feel comfortable meeting and exchanging property in person, choose a spot whereby you can make the exchange by dropping the items with a neutral third party. Everyone understands that divorce is hard, and it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone who is willing to help.

Your Divorce

Every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances, and as such, it’s extremely important that you understand what your divorce decree entails. While you probably won’t be needing your experienced Houston divorce attorney’s skills for much longer, take the time to go over the ins-and-outs of your divorce decree with him or her. Further, make sure that you understand the implications for your upcoming post-divorce life. Having this information will arm you with the tools you need to move forward with confidence and security. Your dedicated divorce attorney is there to help.

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

The divorce process is never easy, but having an empathetic and knowledgeable divorce lawyer certainly helps. The right attorney will work with you every step of the way – from your initial consultation until you are ready to spread your wings and move forward into your new life, post-divorce. The dedicated divorce lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here for you. Our experienced legal team has the skill, empathy, and determination to aggressively advocate for your rights throughout the divorce process. We are here to help, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for more information today.

How long does a divorce take in Texas

Divorce in Texas: Done in 60 Days?

How Long will your Texas Divorce Process take?  

If you are going through a divorce in Houston,Texas or any other city in this state, you very likely want to get through this difficult period in your life as quickly as you reasonably can. While every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances and will follow its own timeline, there are some contributing factors that can help you estimate how long it will likely take to finalize your divorce. Divorce is complicated; if you are facing a divorce, seek the professional legal guidance of an experienced Houston divorce lawyer today.

Read our Houston Family Law Blog articles  “Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas” and “Texas Divorce: The Basics

Key Factors to Consider with Your Divorce

There are six key factors that can all play a significant role in how long it will most likely take you to process through your divorce in Texas.

1. The Mandatory Waiting Period for Divorce in Texas

There is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days after filing for divorce in Texas. Although judges can waive this requirement, they rarely do so – typically only extreme circumstances, such as an imminent deployment, warrant such a waiver.

2. Child Custody Arrangements

If children are involved, it’s likely to slow down the process. Both parents naturally want what’s best for their children, and child custody arrangements are typically the number one issue of concern for divorces involving children. Unfortunately, both parents don’t always agree on what’s best for their children post-divorce. If you and your spouse can’t agree on the matter, the court will do it for you, and this can become a lengthy process because it involves the court ascertaining what it determines to be in the children’s best interests. In Texas, your divorce cannot be finalized until child custody arrangements are addressed.

3. Uncontested Divorce

If you and your divorcing spouse agree about the major components of your divorce, including child custody arrangements, the division of marital property, and other financial issues, your “uncontested divorce” is far more likely to move forward quickly. It’s important to recognize, however, that divorce is fraught with emotion and stress, and a divorce that begins amicably enough can quickly head in a much more contentious direction. If you can hammer out the important details about your divorce with your spouse, you’ll be well on your way to streamlining the process.

See our article, “Uncontested Divorce: Doing it the Nice Way

4. Contested Divorce

While the division of marital property and child custody arrangements are typically the two most complicated divorce issues, there are myriad details involved, and if one or the other of you decides to drag his or her heels or to make waves about minor details, the divorce process could go on for an extended period of time. Contested divorces can be emotional, and it can make otherwise reasonable people do exceedingly unreasonable things. There is only so much that you can control in a divorce, and if your soon-to-be ex takes it upon him or herself to drag things out, there is probably very little you can do about it. Often, choosing your battles and letting go of minor skirmishes is the best path forward. Your experienced Houston divorce lawyer will help you better understand those decisions that matter and those that are less important.

5. Owning an Dividing a Business during Divorce

If you and your divorcing spouse own a business together, it complicates things and will almost certainly slow the divorce process. It’s exceedingly difficult to put an absolute value on a business because there are typically so many variables to consider. It can be more difficult still for both of you to come to an agreement on that value. Further, if one or the other of you is walking away from the business, it can lead to further emotional upheaval. Often, the best way forward is to agree with your spouse about whom to hire as a business valuator and to agree to proceed with the value that’s forthcoming.

Owning a business can provide an unscrupulous spouse with more opportunities to hide assets. The intricacies inherent to running a business provide ample avenues in which to obfuscate financially. If you are going through a divorce that involves a family business, you need a skilled Houston divorce attorney who has extensive experience with such cases.

Readers also read the related Houston Family Law Blog article, “Divorcee and Property Division in Texas: What Happens to the Family Business

6. High Asset Divorce in Texas

If you are embarking upon a divorce involving high assets, it’s going to slow the process down considerably, but protecting your rights is far more important than expediency in such a situation. The higher your assets, the more complicated your finances are likely to be, and the more work involved in the division of marital property. In Texas, your marital property won’t necessarily be divided evenly between you, but instead, the court – with its extensive discretion – will determine a division that is “just and right.” Obviously, the court’s determination of what is just and right may not coincide with your own. High assets in a marriage – which often involves owning a business – means that there is more wiggle room for an underhanded spouse to hide assets and to generally make it more difficult for your marital property to be divided fairly. If significant assets are involved, it’s imperative that you work closely with a dedicated Houston divorce attorney. This is no time to be in a rush.

You may also want to read, “Property and Debt Division in Texas, What you Should Know

If You Are Going through a Divorce, You Need an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

Every divorce follows its own path to finalization, and sometimes it’s difficult to predict which divorce will proceed apace and which will falter. If you are facing a Texas divorce, you need professional legal counsel, and the dedicated divorce lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, are here to help. Divorce is never easy, and you naturally want yours to be finalized as quickly as reasonably possible. It’s important to remember, however, that your final divorce decree will have significant implications for you and your children’s financial futures. Work closely with your experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are well protected. Our dedicated legal team has the skill, knowledge, and determination to aggressively advocate for your best interests throughout the divorce process. Your case matters, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 for more information today.

Online divorce in Houston, TX Divorce Attorney

Online Divorce in Texas: Don’t Do It

Online Divorce: Probably Not the Bargain You Think It Is

When you make the decision to end your marriage, it’s only natural to want to pursue the easiest path forward. While online divorces are on the rise and you may be tempted by their seeming expedience and low cost, proceed with extreme caution. A uncontested divorce that begins with both parties in complete agreement on every conceivable point can end up being a contested divorce, and an online divorce has very few mechanisms to protect your best interests. If you are facing a divorce in Texas, consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney.

Divorce and Your Financial Future

The dissolution of a marriage is exceedingly stressful and fraught with emotion. Further, the outcome will likely significantly affect your finances far into the future. You don’t want to leave your financial future to chance, and even seemingly minor missteps in an online divorce can leave you less financially secure. When you’re going through a divorce, you’re going through a lot, and this isn’t the best circumstance for tackling Texas State law on your own.

Texas Divorce Online

While forging ahead with an online divorce may appeal to your desire to expedite the process, keep expenses to a minimum, and move forward with dispatch, it’s important to give the matter some serious thought. Even a relatively straightforward divorce that doesn’t involve children can quickly become complicated. The stress and emotions brought on by divorce can push otherwise reasonable people into extremely unreasonable actions. What begins as an amicable divorce can quickly morph into something far more complicated. Further, if you’ve begun on the path toward an online divorce and end up needing to hire a lawyer in the end – which isn’t uncommon – it could easily cost you more and take longer than it would have if you’d hired an attorney in the first place.

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Common DIY Mistakes

Divorce is complicated, and the law is complicated, and as such, going it alone is rarely a good idea. There are several common mistakes that couples make when pursuing an online divorce:

  • Child Custody Arrangements

Many couples going through what they believe to be amicable divorces assume that they’ll continue to agree about child custody arrangements into the future and that they’ll deal with changes as they evolve. Child custody arrangements, however, are naturally one of the most critical issues for parents facing divorce. After divorce, your lives will change, and it’s very difficult to predict if you will continue to see eye-to-eye regarding these arrangements. You want what’s best for your children; protect yourself by working with an experienced custody attorney from the outset.

  • Division of Marital Property

Many people assume that their marital property will be split evenly down the middle in a divorce. As discussed in our family law blog article, “Property and Debt Division in Texas-What you Should Know” the State of Texas, however, has considerable discretion in the division of community property and takes many variables into consideration in determining a “just and right” division of that property. Things can become more complicated still when it comes to determining precisely what is marital property and what is individual property. The division of your marital assets involves many important details – including tax implications – that can have financial repercussions far into your future; don’t leave it to chance.

  • Tax Implications

After your divorce, the custodial parent of your children – the parent with whom they primarily live – is generally entitled to all the tax benefits that come from claiming your children as deductions. Divorce is complicated, and taxes are complicated – and you may not even want to think about the two in conjunction with one another. The tax implications of your divorce are likely to be significant, and letting the chips fall where they may is not a good idea. An attorney will help you better understand the tax implications of your divorce and what you can do to protect you and your children’s financial futures.

  • Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance – or what you may think of as alimony – is not the norm in a Texas divorce, but there are circumstances in which it plays a role. Spousal maintenance in Texas refers to the money that a higher-earning spouse pays a lower-earning spouse – but only when certain requirements are met. These requirements focus on the number of years you were married, your separate earning potentials, and other factors that contribute to your individual capacities to support yourselves. While it’s far from a given, if you are entitled to spousal support, you don’t want to forego this income. Read our article, “Texas Divorce and Spousal Maintenance” for more information.

  • Consideration of Your Future

The fact is that your life is going to change in fairly dramatic ways after your divorce. You and your ex will be maintaining separate households, and your children will likely be dividing their time between both of them. This is not only more expensive but also more time consuming than the life you share under one roof. It is difficult to comprehend all the changes you are about to experience, and as such, it’s difficult to plan for them. A dedicated Houston family law attorney has the experience and knowledge to help you carefully consider the details of your divorce and to ensure that you pursue a divorce decree that protects your rights and allows you to move forward with confidence into your future.

Every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances. The outcome of your divorce, however, will significantly affect your future, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re doing everything within your power – under the guidance of an experienced family law attorney – to ensure that you protect your rights can be invaluable.

Before Considering an Online Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Lawyer

An online Texas divorce is very unlikely to be in your best interests – there’s just too much at stake not to seek experienced legal counsel. The dedicated lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, have the experience, commitment, and skill to help you pinpoint your priorities and to aggressively advocate on your behalf. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

abandonment texas divorce

At Fault Divorce in Texas: Abandonment

Fault in a Texas Divorce: Abandonment

Texas is what’s known as a “no-fault divorce state,” which means that couples get end their marriages without proving that one spouse was at fault for the breakdown of the relationship. Instead, most divorces in Texas are based on the marriage having become insupportable – the two spouses can find no common ground on which to reconcile their difference. Not every Texas divorce, however, follows this path, and sometimes fault – in the form of abandonment – plays a part. If you and your children have been abandoned by your spouse, seek experienced legal counsel; your financial future could depend upon it.

People also read: Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce

The Legal Definition of Abandonment

You know how difficult it is to cope with your spouse’s abandonment. It’s important to understand, however, that there is a legal definition of abandonment, the elements of which must be met before you can seek a Texas divorce that’s predicated on abandonment. Specifically, there are two necessary elements:

  1. Your spouse left you (and your children if you have them), and his or her intent was to abandon you.
  2. Your spouse has been gone for at least a year.

If these two elements aren’t both applicable to your situation, it doesn’t rise to the level of abandonment. Further, the burden is on you to show that your spouse actually intended to abandon you.

Community Property

Because Texas is a community property state, everything that you and your spouse accrue during the course of your marriage is owned equally by both of you. You shouldn’t take this to mean that your marital property will be split evenly down the middle at the time of a divorce, however. The State of Texas, instead, seeks a “just and right” division of marital property, which allows the court considerable discretion when it comes to dividing your property in a Texas divorce.

Abandonment and the Division of Marital Property

While most divorces in Texas aren’t fault-based, that doesn’t mean that a divorce based on abandonment will proceed exactly like a no-fault divorce. In fact, the issue of abandonment is likely to play a significant role in how the court determines a division of property that is just and right given the circumstances. If you and your children have been abandoned, you have no doubt suffered financial and emotional hardships that were borne of that abandonment. One obvious financial burden is the fact that while your partner was AWOL, your household had to keep going without his or her income. The judge presiding over your divorce will likely give this fact serious consideration in determining a just and right division of your marital property.

Abandonment and Your Children

During divorce, child custody arrangements are of universal primary concern – they typically take precedence over even the division of marital property. If your spouse has abandoned you and your children, you’ve been through an exceedingly difficult time that likely includes extreme financial and emotional setbacks. Caring for your family without the support of your spouse is obviously an overwhelming hardship, and the court isn’t likely to lose sight of this fact.

When it comes to issues related to child custody, Texas courts typically proceed with the presumption that keeping a healthy and ongoing relationship with both parents after a divorce is in the best interests of the children. If one parent has abandoned the family for a year or more, however, it may well mitigate this presumption. In matters of child custody – as in the division of marital property – the judge wields a considerable amount of discretion, and he or she can use this discretion to significantly limit the amount of access your soon-to-be ex will have with your shared children.

Abandonment and Its Effects on a Texas Divorce

When it comes to abandonment, the negative effects are difficult to overstate. Once it’s established that your spouse’s abandonment directly contributed to the dissolution of your marriage and deprived you and your children of the expected continued benefits of that marriage, it will likely guide the court toward a decision that grants you a greater share of the marital property. Further, it will likely color the court’s view of what’s in the children’s best interests. The court considers several factors in evaluating the legally mandated best interests of the children:

  • The stability of your home
  • Which one of you acted as the children’s primary caregiver during the marriage
  • The physical and emotional needs of the children

If a parent abandons the home for an entire year, it represents a strong indication that said parent isn’t likely to shine in any of these categories.

Spousal Maintenance

What other states often call alimony, the State of Texas generally refers to as spousal maintenance. Texas courts don’t often grant spousal maintenance. To begin, you must be able to demonstrate that you don’t have enough property and/or income to provide for your basic needs. One of several additional strict parameters, however, must also apply:

  • You were married for at least ten years, and you are the lower earner – who cannot provide for your own basic needs.
  • You are the lower earner, and you cannot provide for yourself because of a physical or mental disability.
  • You are the lower earner, and you have custody of a child you share – a child who has a mental or physical disability that precludes you from working toward your own financial independence.
  • Your spouse is the higher earner, and he or she has been convicted of committing family violence against you or your children in the two years prior to the divorce filing.

If you do qualify for spousal maintenance, the court can take your spouse’s abandonment into consideration in awarding that maintenance.  See our family law blog article Texas Divorce and Spousal Maintenance for more information.

If Your Spouse Abandoned You, Consult with an Experienced Houston Family Law Attorney Today

Divorce is always difficult, but abandonment can make it that much more overwhelming. The dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston is here to help. Our compassionate divorce attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination to advocate aggressively in defense of your best interests throughout the divorce process. For more information, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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Adultery in Texas Divorce

Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?

Texas Divorce and Adultery

Most Texas divorces are difficult, and every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances. If your spouse engaged in an affair during your marriage – or during the divorce process itself – it can make an already challenging experience that much more painful. If you are considering a divorce and wondering if your spouse’s unfaithfulness will play a role in its outcome, you need to speak with an experienced Houston divorce attorney. As discussed in our article, “Meeting Your Divorce Lawyer for the First Time: What you need to Know” it is imperative that you disclose this type of information. In the end, your spouse’s infidelity can affect the outcome of your divorce, but the effects likely will not be as straightforward as you might imagine.

Texas: A No-Fault Divorce State

Texas is a no-fault divorce state in the sense that you do not need to cite fault to obtain a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, insupportability (often referred to as irreconcilable differences) typically stands in as the reason behind the divorce. It is important to recognize, however, that in Texas – unlike in many other states – you have the option of filing a divorce based on fault, including adultery. While most Texas divorces are no-fault divorces and the path toward such a divorce is far more straightforward, there are instances when pursuing a divorce based on fault is the appropriate approach. A dedicated Houston divorce attorney will help you determine your best options as you go through the divorce process.

The Legal Definition of Adultery

For your spouse’s infidelity to reach the level necessary to file for a divorce based on fault, his or her actions must correspond with Texas’s legal definition of adultery. In the Texas Family Code, adultery is defined very specifically:

• A married person who voluntarily has sexual intercourse with someone who is not his or her spouse commits adultery.
• A married person who engages in sexual acts (that are not intercourse) with someone who is not his or her spouse has not committed adultery.

This distinction can be a difficult concept with which to come to terms. For example, even if you discover that your spouse is having a heated relationship, including explicit photographs, on his or her phone or computer, this relationship does not equate with the legal definition of adultery. In other words, even though your spouse is engaging in behavior that you – and most other people – consider a betrayal, it is not adultery in Texas unless it meets Texas’s legal definition of adultery.

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We Were Separated at the Time

Even if you and your spouse were living separately at the time that the adultery occurred, it has no bearing on the legal claim of adultery. In Texas, married couples remain married until they are divorced. Texas does not recognize legal separations, so if your spouse begins a new sexual relationship before you are divorced, he or she is committing adultery. This is true even if you are separated and going through the divorce process.

Proving Your Spouse’s Adultery

To bring a divorce that is based on your spouse’s adultery, you must be able to provide proof of that adultery with evidence that is “clear and convincing.” This is a higher standard of proof than the “preponderance of the truth” that typically applies in civil cases. The necessary proof can be as simple as your spouse admitting to the relationship, but it can also necessitate the compilation of evidence that supports your claim. This means that your divorce is going to be decidedly more complicated and more labor intensive than a no-fault divorce would likely be. Your trusted attorney will help you determine if the additional outlay of work is worth the likely outcome.

Adultery and Your Divorce

In Texas, your marital property is not necessarily divided equally in a divorce but instead is divided in a manner that the court deems “just and right.” This means that the judge who hears your case has considerable latitude when it comes to the division of your marital property, which – other than child custody arrangements – is the primary focus of most divorces. As such, the judge who hears your case can take your spouse’s adulterous behavior into consideration when determining how your marital property should be divided between the two of you. If your spouse committed adultery, you can request that you be awarded a disproportionate percentage. Again, this outcome remains at the judge’s discretion when deciding property division in a Texas divorce.

It is also worth noting that pursuing a divorce based on adultery can have a motivating effect on some spouses. If your spouse is very concerned with his or her reputation, he or she may be inclined to agree to more generous settlement terms with you outside of court. Generally, avoiding court – where the judge will determine your financial future – is better for everyone. For a more in depth discussion of property division during a Texas divorce, read  our article entitled, “Property and Debt Division in Texas: What you should Know.

Some Components of Divorce Are Not Affected by Adultery

While your spouse’s adultery may play a role in how the court divides marital property between the two of you, there are certain aspects of your divorce that it will not affect:

• Eligibility for spousal maintenance or alimony is not affected by adultery. If you are eligible for spousal support, however, the amount and duration may be affected.
• Adultery probably will not play a role in the child custody arrangements that come out of your divorce. This is an illustration of the theory that being a faithless spouse does not necessarily make someone a bad parent. Our article entitled “Texas Divorce and Spousal Maintenance” gives an in-depth overview of spousal maintenance.

Moving Forward with a Fault-Based Divorce

There are situations in which moving forward with a divorce based on adultery is meaningful and situations where it is not. A divorce that is based on fault is typically a more complicated and expensive endeavor, so unless your marital property is fairly extensive, you may be better off going with a no-fault divorce. Again, however, every divorce is as unique as the two divorcing individuals, and a dedicated divorce attorney will help you see the big picture and identify the option that works best for you.

If You Are Facing a Divorce that Involves Adultery, Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is always difficult, but infidelity often makes it that much more painful. If adultery plays a role in your divorce, the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C.,can help you navigate your best path forward. Our experienced divorce attorneys are 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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Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas

If you’re going through a divorce in Texas, you have questions. Here are some answers to questions we often hear from clients when they first come to see us. For more information, call us today to speak with a Texas divorce attorney.  Texas Family Law is what we do.

How do I begin the divorce process in Texas?

The best way to begin the divorce process is by consulting with an experienced Houston divorce attorney, who will file an Original Petition for Divorce on your behalf.  You will be named as the petitioner (the spouse who begins the case by filing the Original Petition for Divorce), and your spouse will be named as the respondent (the spouse who is positioned to respond to the Original Petition for Divorce).

The following articles explain meeting with your attorney in more detail:

Can I obtain a legal separation in Texas?

In the State of Texas, unlike in many other states, there is no legal separation; you remain married until you are legally divorced. If you need to protect your interests related to your property and/or your children during the divorce process, you’ll need to obtain temporary orders.

Does Texas recognize common law marriage?

Yes, Texas recognizes common law marriages when three separate elements are all met:

1. A man and woman agree that they are in a common law marriage.
2. The couple lives together as husband and wife in Texas.
3. The two present themselves to the public as a married couple.

When all three elements are met, and it is determined that you are in a common law marriage, then (in order to dissolve that common law marriage) you must go through the divorce process just like any other married couple.

Where do I file for divorce?

You can file either in the Texas county that you live in as a married couple (if you live together) or in the Texas county where either one of you lives (if you are no longer living together). It’s important to note, however, that the spouse who lives in the county where the divorce is being filed must meet residency requirements, including that he or she has lived in the county for at least 90 days (immediately prior to filing) and has lived in Texas for at least six months (immediately prior to filing).

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What is a Waiver of Service?

Under the Texas Family Code, when one spouse opens a divorce case, the respondent must be notified – usually by a process server. If the respondent is willing to sign a Waiver of Service, he or she waives the need to be served formally.  This is one difference between contested divorces and uncontested divorce.

No Fault Divorce State

No, Texas is what is known as a no-fault state, which means either one of you can file for a divorce based on the fact that your marriage is insupportable. Basically, this means that it’s only necessary for one (or both) of you to want a divorce – whatever the reason is.  As discussed in “Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?” a finding of fault in a Texas divorce can affect property division.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Texas is one in which both you and your spouse come to an agreement on the major issues:

• On pursuing a divorce
• On child custody arrangements, including parental decision-making responsibilities, primary custody, visitation schedules, and child support
• On the division of marital property and debts
• On spousal support

If you and your divorcing spouse are able to come to an agreement on these major hurdles, you are well on your way to hammering out an uncontested divorce that will likely save you time, money, and heartache in the long run. This does not, however, mean that you should settle for less than you are entitled to expedite the process. A knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer will help you find your best path forward.

Please read the following articles on uncontested divorces in Texas for more in-depth discussions:

How is property divided in a Texas divorce?

While you may believe that divorce means that you’ll split everything down the middle, it doesn’t work quite that way in Texas. Instead, the court will determine a division of your community property that is “just and right.” In other words, the court has a good deal of discretion in the matter and can take a variety of issues into consideration:

• Who is at fault in the divorce (even though Texas is a no-fault divorce state, fault can play a role)
• If there is disparity in earning potential
• If there is disparity in separate property
• Each spouse’s physical health and condition
• Either spouse’s unusual spending

The fact is that the court’s determination of what is “just and right” could vary considerably from your own. Besides issues related to child custody concerns, however, the division of property is typically the most hotly contested component of any divorce. Work closely with your Houston divorce lawyer to help ensure that your rights are well protected regarding property division.

How is community property determined in Texas?

Texas, being a community property state, generally considers anything you acquire as a married couple – no matter whose name is on it – to be community property. Property that either of you obtained prior to your marriage (or that you received via gift or inheritance during your marriage) is generally considered separate property that won’t be factored into the division of community property in your divorce.

How long does it take to obtain a Texas divorce?

It’s impossible to know at the outset exactly how long it will take to obtain your Texas divorce, but you must wait a mandatory minimum of 60 days after filing before you are eligible to appear before the court and finalize your divorce. This time frame, however, can be deceptive – unless you and your divorcing spouse are in agreement on all of the major divorce issues, which is often easier said than done.

If You Have Questions about Divorce in Texas, Look No Further than an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a Texas divorce, you are bound to have questions, but the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., is here to help. Our experienced divorce attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the divorce process. For more information, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

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.

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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.