Category: Divorce

Adultery in Texas Divorce

Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?

Every divorce is 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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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., in Houston can help you navigate your best path forward. Our experienced divorce attorneys are here to help, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Best divorce lawyer in Houston

Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas

If you’re going through a divorce, 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.

How do I begin the divorce process?

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).

Can I obtain a legal separation?

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).

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.

Must one of us be at fault?

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.

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.

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.

How is community property determined?

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 timeframe, 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 divorce, you are bound to have questions, but the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston 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 contact 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 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 always 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.

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 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 timeframe 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.

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.

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

At the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, 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 contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

High Asset Divorce in Texas

High Asset Divorce: What You Need to Know

High-Asset Divorce: Unique Complications

While every divorce is 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., in Houston, 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 contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.

Houston Divorce Process

Texas Divorce: The Basics

Today’s blog post from The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. will discuss the fundamentals of divorce in Texas.

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, 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.

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, 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.

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., in Houston, have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help guide your divorce toward its best possible resolution. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.