Category: Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorces in Houston Texas

Uncontested Divorce – Doing it the nice way

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

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

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

Not Understanding Your Rights Could Result in Disastrous Consequences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Process for Filing a Uncontested Divorce in Houston, Texas

Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Houston, Texas

Below is a basic outline of the process for completing an uncontested divorce in Houston, Texas:

1. File an Original Petition for Divorce in the proper county.

Generally speaking, the proper county is the county you or the other party (Respondent) have resided in for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce, assuming you have been a resident of the State of Texas for at least 6 months.

The petition names the parties to the suit (yes, a divorce is a law suit), establishes the court’s divorce jurisdiction in Texas to hear the case, lays out the grounds for divorce and asks the court to grant the divorce.

2.  Present a copy of the filed petition for divorce, along with a Waiver of Service, to the Respondent.

The waiver, once executed and filed with the court, tells the court that the Respondent has formal notice of the suit as required by Texas law.  Normally, a party to a lawsuit must be served with legal papers before the filing party can proceed.  A waiver of service does exactly what it says; it is the Respondent’s method of waiving that service thus allowing the filing party to proceed with the case.

3.  File the executed waiver with the Court.

4.  Draft a Final Decree of Divorce

The Final Decree of Divorce sets out the agreement of the parties. The decree includes provisions for dissolving the marriage, child custody, child support and property division.  It is the document the judge will sign that officially divorces the parties.

5.  Go to court after 60 days has elapsed from the time of filing and “prove up” the divorce.

The prove up consists of reciting information about the divorce to the Court so that the Court is satisfied that all of the requirements for a divorce, as outlined by the Texas Family Code, have been met.  If the requirements have been met the judge will approve and sign the divorce.

6.  Get a certified copy of the Final Decree of Divorce.

Once signed, a certified copy of the Final Decree of Divorce with the judge’s signature is usually available from the Court within a few days.  A certified copy is used to complete a name change, establish a child supporaccount or simply prove that you are divorced.

Keep in mind that the outline above for an uncontested divorce in Houston, Texas is just that, an outline.  Each one of the steps is more in depth and requires a sound understanding of the laws that govern divorce.  It is also important to note that many courts have their own set of requirements or rules that cannot be found in the Texas Family Code.

Our readers found the following articles helpful:

Contact a Houston divorce lawyer at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C.  today for a free divorce consultation.

Connect with me on Google+ at +Shawn Rudisel

Uncontested Divorce : What you need to know.

Divorce Lawyer in Houston: Uncontested Divorces

As a Houston divorce lawyer, I litigate hundreds of divorces and family cases each year.  Out of all the divorces I do, only a fraction are considered “uncontested”.

An uncontested divorce in Texas is the easiest and most cost effective way to sever a marriage.  It negates the need for numerous court appearances, costly hourly legal fees and/or mediation (which can be very expensive). For a divorce to be truly “uncontested” the following issues must be worked out between the parties and agreed upon prior to filing paperwork with the court:

  1. Separation (agree to be divorced)
  2. Property division (real and financial; assets and debts)

Many times I have potential clients begin their free consultation by saying things like:

  • This will be an easy divorce.
  • We agree on everything.
  • We have nothing to fight over.
  • I don’t want any child support.

On it’s face, these statements seem to indicate an uncontested divorce is in order…right?…not always. Let’s take a closer look at these commonly used phrases.

This will be an easy divorce:

Easy is in the eye of the beholder, or I should say, the lawyer.  Most people are not familiar with the process and the nuts and bolts of the law.  For instance, if a wife has had a child with another man during a separation from her husband, no matter how long the separation, the law requires that father of that child be included in the divorce for paternity reasons.  We have completed numerous divorces described above and they can be very complicated.

Another common scenario occurs when a spouse is missing and is unable to be located but the client is certain that if we were able to find the missing spouse, he or she would agree to get a divorce.  The law and the courts generally require that an Ad Litem attorney be appointed to represent and attempt to locate the missing spouse.  The Ad Litem will almost always charge an additional fee for their services and quite often we are required to attempt service on the missing person’s last known address which is an additional cost to the client.

We agree on everything:

Sometimes clients assume that other side will agree with their version of a divorce simply because it makes sense.  A problem may be that their spouse has a completely different version of what a divorce should look like and that version may make complete sense to him or her.  Two versions of divorce that are not the same will make for anything but “uncontested”.

We have nothing to fight over:

This is the most common statement we hear in our office and once we begin explaining that each party is entitled to a percentage of the marital estate, the problems begin.  Texas is a community property state which generally means that all property acquired during the marriage is to be split evenly upon divorce. This can be problematic for the spouse who has more retirement or 401K than the other and does not feel they should have to share it. Although we use creative techniques to help craft an agreement that may keep a client’s assets intact, it usually takes a lot of patience, serious negotiation, and yes,  in most cases more legal fees.

I don’t want any child support:

This is an easy one.  The law requires it so don’t try to get around it.  Now, in reality, there are times when child support is waived but it is very rare.  We’ll save that discussion for a later post.

In the end, a determination of whether or not a divorce qualifies as “uncontested” is one that must be made by an attorney after an in-depth consultation with the client.  The good news is that even if your divorce is not completely uncontested, there are numerous ways to keep your costs down to a minimum.  Just because you can’t agree on all aspects of a divorce doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money.

Call today for a free consultation with an experienced Texas family law attorney.

Connect with me on Google+ at +Shawn Rudisel