Divorce represents the official end of a marriage. As such, it’s often an emotional and complex process. For many, it’s also a costly one, which is why if you’re preparing to get divorced, it’s always in your best interest to have a skilled Kaufman County, Texas divorce lawyer in your corner. Contact Harrell & Paulson, LLP today to learn more about the divorce process in Texas and how our firm can help you through it.
Kaufman County, Texas Lawyer Guiding Clients through Divorce
For many, divorce is the single most significant legal matter they ever have to deal with. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone or with an inexperienced attorney. You’ll be best served with a strong, compassionate Kaufman County, Texas divorce lawyer who has fought on behalf of clients facing divorce for decades.
Initiating the Divorce Process in Texas
No two people have the same issues or concerns in divorce. As your advocate, it is important for us to understand you and your concerns. It is also important that we understand the special facts and circumstances of your situation.
The issues you may be concerned about include:
- A parenting plan that includes allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) agreements that preserve your relationship with your children
- Obtaining child support and other financial support
- Parental rights
- Concerns about having to pay spousal maintenance or how to receive maintenance payments
- Accusations of domestic violence or being falsely accused of domestic abuse
- Marital property division, including retirement assets, family-owned businesses, farm assets, and other complex property issues, such as commingling assets
People who are going through a divorce often feel emotionally exhausted and are often anxious to have the process move quickly. It is our job to be objective and to work with you to understand your ultimate goals. If there are emotional difficulties that are preventing you from making the best decisions during the dissolution of marriage, it is our job to make sure we work from an objective point of view. Our goal is to help you make decisions from a position of strength. We will be your courtroom advocates at all stages of the process.
Once you determine the primary issues and your goals, with the help of an attorney, you will file the petition for the dissolution of your marriage, known as the original petition for divorce. To file in Texas, you and/or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months prior to filing and you must file in the county where you or your spouse has lived for the last 90 days.
Serving Divorce Papers
In Texas, once you file the original petition for divorce, you will have to give your spouse legal notice. This means you will either have to get your spouse to sign a waiver of citation or we will have a process server serve your spouse with divorce papers. You should note that at this point, your spouse has a little over 20 days to answer your petition, and your spouse also has a right to file a counter-petition, wherein he or she can also cite fault grounds.
Negotiating Divorce Terms
Courts in Texas won’t grant an original petition for divorce for at least 60 days. During this time, known as the waiting period, you and your spouse will have time to try and negotiate the terms of your divorce, such as child custody, property distribution, alimony, and child support. In some cases, during this period, spouses will even find they wish to reconcile and call off the divorce, though this is fairly uncommon. If you can successfully negotiate all major terms of your divorce, you are in an uncontested divorce. Typically, these divorces are far less time-consuming and costly.
That said, if you can’t agree on these terms, you’re in a contested divorce. Contested divorces are either resolved through mediation (or another type of alternate dispute resolution, such as collaborative divorce) or litigation. Mediation is often a preferred option, but if you and your spouse still can’t agree on your divorce terms even with the assistance of a divorce mediator, you will most likely go through litigation.
Litigation & the Final Decree of Divorce
During divorce litigation, both spouses, along with their attorneys, will present their cases to a judge (and, in some cases, a jury as well) in a final hearing, who will ultimately determine the outcome of their divorce, including who will get to keep certain types of property, their child custody agreement, support agreements, and more. Finally, the judge will issue a final decree of divorce, which is a binding legal document that officially sets the terms of your divorce and concludes the divorce process.
Why You Should Consider Mediation
There’s a reason why litigated divorce is typically a last resort. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce from the start, hiring a mediator may be your next best option. A divorce mediator is an unbiased third party (often an attorney) to help you and your spouse negotiate the terms of your divorce fairly and civilly, and, perhaps most importantly, outside of a courtroom setting. Litigating a divorce in a courtroom often provides for a more stressful (and costly) process. By choosing mediation, you’ll find that you’ll most likely save time, money, and lots of frustration. As long as you believe a compromise between you and your spouse isn’t out of the question, mediation may be the best option for you.
Contact Our Kaufman County Divorce Firm
Whether you choose mediation or are about to face a litigated divorce, you need a competent Kaufman County, Texas divorce lawyer on your side. Our firm is here to help. Contact Harrell & Paulson, LLP today to schedule your initial consultation with our competent and experienced legal team.