Contested Divorce in Houston, TX

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What is a “contested” divorce?

A divorce is contested when the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues such as child support, custody, visitation or property division.

How much will my divorce cost?

Each case is unique and the cost may vary greatly depending on the issues. As a general rule, divorces Houston divorce lawyerinvolving children and high net worth estates tend to be more expensive. Some divorces require little help from an attorney and can be done without incurring a huge expense. The more issues that can be worked out between the parties the more time and money will be saved. Mediation is another useful tool that helps the spouses reach an agreement without the need for a costly trial.  It is important to retain a divorce attorney that knows Texas divorce law inside and out.

What is Mediation?

As detailed in our blog article, “Why Mediation is Better than Trial ” mediation is a form of “alternative dispute resolution” that employs a neutral third party to help divorcing spouses reach an agreement.   More and more courts are requiring mediation once a Houston divorce is filed.  Each spouse will appear at mediation with their attorney.  The parties are usually separated and a third lawyer (the mediator) spends time with each side looking for common ground.  Mediation is a great resource for families as it facilitate custom agreements that the courts would not otherwise order.   The terms of the divorce can be agreed upon in mediation and the lawyer can then begin the process of finalizing the paperwork. As a seasoned divorce lawyer, Mr. Rudisel can evaluate and prepare your case for mediation.

How long will my divorce take?

Once an Original Petition for Divorce is filed, parties must wait a minimum of 60 days before their divorce can be granted. This 60 day period is generally referred to as a “cooling off” period.. Some divorces may take longer if the parties are negotiating the terms of the divorce, such as property division, custody of children, etc. If a settlement cannot be reached at the end of 60 days, either a party or the court may schedule a hearing. At this hearing the judge or jury will hear from each side and decide the issues that are not agreed to. An average Houston divorce takes between six and nine months when there are issues that cannot be agreed upon. Uncontested divorces are generally complete at the 60 day mark.

How will my husband or wife be served with the divorce papers?

Legal papers are usually served by a Constable or a private process server. Here at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. we use only the best private process servers in an effort to make sure all of our client’s cases are handled in an expedited manner. We can have a party served day or night, at work or at home. We work closely with our clients and process servers to insure children are not present when papers are delivered and that each service is handled in a respectful and professional manner. If a spouse agrees to sign the required papers, we can send them in the mail, saving time and money for our clients. There are also methods for serving spouses who you are unable to find or are avoiding contact with you. Visit our page on missing spouses and divorce for a more in depth discussion.

I have been served with lawsuit paperwork. What do I do now?

If you have been formally served with a lawsuit, it is imperative that you contact an a Houston divorce attorney immediately. Once served, a party must take action within a specified amount of time or face a possible default judgment. Such a judgment may severely affect one’s rights. Remember, sometimes service may be had via the mail. If you receive any legal documents in the mail referring to a lawsuit, contact an attorney immediately.

What are Temporary Orders?

Once a divorce is filed, parties may need a hearing for Temporary Orders.  This hearing determines the “ground rules” they must abide by until the divorce is final. Temporary Orders generally address matters such as: temporary child custody and support, who gets to reside in the marital home, what visitation schedule the parties will follow, who pays the marital bills, temporary spousal maintenance and any other issue in dispute. We will assist you in determining whether or not Temporary Orders are necessary.

I just moved to Texas . . . when can I file for divorce?

Before filing for divorce, at least one of the parties must be a Texas domiciliary (i.e. resident) for at least six (6) months and a resident of the county where he or she files for divorce for at least the preceding 90 days.

Who gets the house and who has to move out?

Property division in a Houston, TX

You and your spouse should decide who leaves and who stays. If you cannot agree, then the only legal option is to file for divorce and let a judge decide.  It can take several weeks to get in front of a judge once a divorce petition is filed . A Texas family court judge will generally not force someone to move out of the house without a hearing. There are exception in cases involving family violence. This means that for a few weeks, you may be sharing the house with the spouse you are divorcing. This can be very awkward and even dangerous

It might be best to temporarily move out and stay with a friend or family member until your court hearing. If you do so, the Texas family judge can order that your spouse move out and allow you to move back in. In virtually all cases, the judge will order that one of the spouses will have exclusive use of the house on a temporary basis while the divorce is pending. The house will be awarded to one of the spouses or sold when the divorce is final.  Visit our blog and read the following articles for more detail:

Need a Houston Divorce Lawyer?

The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. will skillfully represent you or a member of your family in a contested divorce or uncontested divorce. We understand that no one “wins” a divorce and a costly, nasty court fight can make sure everyone involved loses.  Mr. Rudisel and his staff have the experience to navigate the toughest divorces resulting in the best possible outcomes for his clients.