Caring Houston Divorce Lawyers
The divorce process can be stressful on everyone involved and spouses often enter the process with a lot of confusing emotions, which can easily lead to a lot of conflict. One of the best ways to make things easier on all involved is to seek legal representation from a dedicated Houston divorce attorney that can help you through the process. With the help of a divorce attorney and their skills in mediation and negotiation, you and your spouse may be surprised at what you can achieve.
Unfortunately, it is extremely rare that people enter the divorce process on the same page regarding things like the division of assets, child custody, and spousal support. These are the most contentious topics and having a skilled divorce attorney on hand is often crucial.
Small mistakes and conflicts can leave divorcing spouses with a lot of costs. If court involvement becomes necessary, you will have to wait for hearings for each issue, and this means expensive court costs.
At The Farias Law Firm, we handle divorce and family law on a daily basis, and we have helped countless spouses through the divorce process. We know how important the decisions made in the divorce process are, for both your future, and the future of your family and we will ensure your rights are protected and you walk away with a fair and just outcome.
What Traits Should I Look For in a Houston Family Law Attorney?
For many clients, divorce is the first time in their lives that they have needed to consider seeking legal representation from an attorney, and this can make it seem very overwhelming. The decision is an important one, as the skill of your attorney will ultimately impact your life for the foreseeable future.
We recommend avoiding making decisions based on fancy billboards and tv ads. Many law firms have a good enough reputation that they do not need to advertise. Instead, their caseloads are often full of referral clients.
A good place to start is researching any attorney you are considering working with on AVVO, which is an independent review site. AVVO rates attorneys out of 10, using a wide range of factors such as the years of service a client has, referrals from clients, their accolades and awards, and peer review from other attorneys.
The most important thing you should look at is if your attorney has won favorable outcomes for clients in similar situations. The more experience they have and the more wins they have under their belts, the more robust they will be, and the better equipped they will be to handle your case.
Your attorney should be more than happy to talk about their successes. If they are defensive or unwilling to talk to you about the victories, they may not have that many.
The very best attorneys are skilled at handling their caseloads. This means that if they have a full client list, they will allocate the time each case and client needs and will ensure that they are accessible. You should never expect to have their full attention 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, but when you contact them, they should respond promptly and never leave you in the dark regarding your case.
Divorce cases are extremely personal and may last over a year. During this time, you will be in close contact with your attorney, and may need to discuss personal topics. This means you need to be comfortable in doing so. During the initial consultation, you should make sure that your goals and morals align and that you gel well with your attorney.
Why Is it Important to Hire a Houston Divorce Lawyer?
It doesn’t matter what the series of events were that led to the decision to get divorced, it is an extremely serious decision. The emotion that many spouses carry with them into the divorce process is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. You need to be able to work through your emotions, sit down with your partner and discuss your arrangements.
All of the terms of your divorce need to be agreed upon before a Judge will sign off on the divorce, and anything you cannot agree on, will be decided by the Judge. This can mean the decision is out of both of your hands, and may be one that neither of you are happy with. Not only that, involving the courts means a prolonged divorce process and additional court costs.
By obtaining representation from a law firm that handles divorce, you will have an advocate that can help. They will look at your case and will work tirelessly to move you through the process by using negotiation tactics, and mediation, and as a last resort, they will litigate on your behalf in family law court.
An attorney will handle your paperwork, making sure it is fully compliant, and filed within the deadlines. They will also deal with the other party and their attorney, and will ensure your rights are considered and protected.
Questions to Ask a Family Law Attorney Before Hiring Them
These are the questions we think should be answered in your initial consultation:
- What is your level of experience?
- Have you dealt with similar cases to mine in court?
- Who is your typical client?
- What is your legal specialization?
- When can I expect communication?
- Can you show me testimonials from your previous clients?
Farias Law Divorce and Family Law Practice Areas
As a family law firm, we handle all disputes that can arise in the family setting. This includes divorce, custody, and support payments.
Some of the most common issues we handle include:
In a divorce involving children, the biggest issue is usually the child custody agreement. Spouses may have fallen out of love with each other, but parents will always love their children, and this can make it exceptionally difficult to come to an amicable agreement.
Both the family law court and Judges that preside in Texas, and the many family law firms across the state will always put the needs of children first. This means decisions must be made that are in their best interests above all else.
When it comes to custody agreements, studies have shown that children who have access to both their parents, if both parents are loving and caring, have the best chance of healthy development following a divorce. That means that unless your spouse is a danger to your children, the courts will always want to see an arrangement that allows this to happen.
In Texas, parents have certain basic rights with respect to their children. These rights include:
1. The right to make decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, including decisions regarding education, healthcare, and religious training.
2. The right to access and possess the child, which means the right to spend time with the child and to have physical custody of the child.
3. The right to receive information from any other person who has access to information about the child, such as teachers, doctors, or counselors.
4. The right to consent to the child’s marriage, enlistment in the armed forces, and medical and psychiatric treatment.
5. The right to receive child support from the other parent, if applicable.
It is important to note that these rights can be limited or modified by court order if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child. Additionally, if the parents are not married, the father may need to establish paternity before he can exercise these rights.
Modification of Order
A divorce order contains several agreements that are legally binding. These court orders must be followed by all named within, and neither party can decide they no longer wish to follow them. Even if both parties wish for the order to be changed, until it has been agreed upon by the court, it is still legally binding.
However, a court order can be modified, and to seek a modification, you will need to show proof that a substantial change in your circumstances warrants the change. This may be down to things like losing a job, developing health issues, or relocation.
The other time that a court will hear an appeal for a modification, is if your children are no longer safe. If you have grounds and evidence that your spouse is abusive, incapable of looking after your children, or addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will need to work with your attorney to showcase these reasons to the court.
Seeking a modification can be difficult, and your case will need to be strong in order for a successful appeal. This means you should always work with a good attorney before seeking a modification of a court order.
Child support is a payment made by the spouse who has visitation rights to the child, or to the spouse who has primary custody. This is designed to help them with things like clothing, food, and the additional costs of housing the child.
Married spouses share the legal obligation to meet all of the children’s needs, financial and emotional. When you divorce, you still have that legal obligation, so the needs must still be met. When one spouse has given up a career or education, they will likely need financial support in order to look after the child if they are primary residence.
A skilled Houston family law lawyer will be able to help you in all family-related legal matters, such as calculating the fair and just child support payments that need to be paid.
Many people believe that all marital property will be divided up equally upon divorce, but as Texas is an equitable division state, it means the Judge has the power to divide the assets up in a split they see as fair and just.
This means the court will consider things like your ability to support yourself, the length of the marriage, and your sacrifices if you have given up a career and education. They may also decide to award the family home to the spouse, who will become the primary custodian of their child.
Couples rarely agree on how to split up the marital estate, and this is where a Houston, TX, divorce lawyer will need to work with you to ensure that you receive a fair share.
If either you, your spouse, or both of you own assets that are high-value, the division of these assets can be a lot more complex compared to a normal divorce. In Texas, we follow community property rules, and the division of assets is done on an equitable basis.
In community property states, assets are classified as either community property or separate property.
Separate property is the assets that a spouse owned before the marriage, as well as any inheritance, gifts, and compensation they have been awarded.
Community property is any asset that has been obtained during the marriage. This is what is eligible for equitable division in a divorce.
Mothers’ and Fathers’ Rights
Neither mother nor father gains any special rights or privileges based on their gender. This means mothers have the same rights as fathers, and all cases will be handled based on involvement and ability to look after the child.
As the decisions made in a divorce agreement are court orders, this means they are legally binding and enforceable by the court.
Your spouse will not be able to avoid paying child support or spousal support, for example. Remember, these payments do not go away, so if your spouse has failed to pay their payments, you will receive them eventually.
However, an important thing to remember is that visitation orders are separate from support orders, and this means that if you withhold visitation as a way to retaliate when your spouse fails to make a payment, you are breaching your order.
If your spouse is breaching their child support or spousal support orders, your best option is to tell your attorney. If this is a one-time thing, you may want to discuss the issue with your spouse; if it has become a regular thing, your attorney may need to contact them to explain the gravitas of what they are doing.
As a last resort, your Houston divorce attorneys may involve the courts, who may garnish wages, apply levies and interest, and potentially offer a warrant for their arrest.
Domestic violence is totally unacceptable, but unfortunately, we often handle cases where clients are leaving a marriage where they were abused in some way or another.
The decision to leave an abusive marriage is a tough one and we understand how difficult it must be. When leaving an abusive relationship, it is important to ensure that you have a strong support network around you. We can help provide that.
Once we know of the abuse, we can ensure the court also knows, and if necessary, we can work with a Judge to place a protection order on your spouse. This may prevent them from seeing you or your children until the divorce has been finalized.
False Allegations of Abuse
While domestic abuse is a real and serious issue, we have seen cases where a vindictive spouse has accused their spouse of abuse when it didn’t happen. This may be a tactic used to obtain custody in their favor.
False allegations are often easy to discredit, and we have experience in doing so. We can work to overturn these accusations, and in the process, we will ensure the court knows of what has happened, discrediting your spouse.
If you have sacrificed your career and the potential to pursue education in order to look after your family home and children, when you leave the marriage, you may be at a disadvantage when it comes to your financial situation.
In these cases, the court may award you spousal support, which is a payment designed to give you financial security until you have retrained or gone through further education and have gained employment again.
Spousal support is hard to obtain without an extremely compelling argument. You will need proof of a huge disparity in income or a serious sacrifice in terms of your career and education.
The Different Forms of Child Custody Arrangement
Child custody arrangements are tricky to handle. With the other areas of the divorce, such as the division of assets or the pursuit of spousal support, both parties are fighting for what they believe is to be in their own best interests. With child custody, you will be fighting for what you believe to be in the best interests of the child.
This means that spouses will fight aggressively and will often forget the importance of keeping their children away from conflict and displacement wherever possible.
Here at The Farias Law Firm, we can help you both when it comes to your agreement. Sometimes it just takes a little reminder that you are doing what is best for the children, not yourselves.
There are three types of child custody arrangements in Texas, they are:
- Joint Managing Conservatorship
- Sole Managing Conservatorship
- Possessory Conservatorship
Joint custody arrangements are the most common and preferred custody arrangement granted in the majority of cases. The only time a family law Judge will consider other forms of custody arrangement is when it can be proven that one party poses a danger to the children involved.
Joint custody means that both parties have equal rights when it comes to making important decisions.
With joint custody arrangements, one spouse becomes the primary residence for the child. They will live there the majority of the time. The other spouse gains visitation rights to see the child on certain days and times of the year.
If sole custody is awarded, it means that the parent has the right to make important decisions in the child’s life, such as their religion, education, and healthcare decisions.
Sole custody is only awarded when one spouse poses a danger to the child. This may be because they have a history of domestic abuse or substance abuse.
Even when sole custody is awarded, the other spouse is usually still awarded visitation rights; even in the most severe cases, they may be awarded supervised visitation.
In Texas, a conservatorship is a legal arrangement that allows someone other than the child’s parents to take legal and physical custody of a child. Conservatorships can be ordered by a court in a variety of circumstances, such as when a parent is unfit, abusive, or neglectful or if the child’s best interests are otherwise not being served. A conservator is appointed by the court and has both legal and physical custody of the child, meaning they have the legal authority to make decisions on the child’s behalf and also the responsibility to provide for the child’s day-to-day care.
This Is A Turning Point In Your Life
The judge’s divorce decree will have a huge impact on the course and the quality of your life. The decree could determine many things, including:
- How your family’s assets will be divided
- Your custody and visitation rights
- What type of relationship you will have with your children in the years ahead
- The course of your children’s lives
- The child support and spousal support you will receive or pay
It is absolutely vital that you have a Houston family lawyer you trust. You cannot afford to have regrets about who you hired to represent you in your divorce.
At some point in the future, there could be changes in circumstances for you and your ex-spouse. If the divorce decree needs to be enforced or modified, we will be there with you.
Judges Frown Upon Drama
Family courts in Texas have full dockets and judges are under severe pressure to quickly move cases through the legal system. As a result, judges do not tolerate courtroom drama from attorneys.
That is why the lawyers at The Farias Law Firm present arguments in a calm, clear and organized manner — so the judge will have a firm understanding of your legal argument and position.
Don’t Let the Stress and Confusion of Divorce Get You Down.
Call The Farias Law Firm and Speak To a Houston Divorce Lawyer Today!
When it comes to your family, we understand that the emotions involved can make it difficult to think straight. Our Houston divorce lawyers are used to handling cases involving conflict between spouses and families, and we are uniquely positioned to help.
With our expertise in the legal system, and our team of attorneys who are skilled in negotiation, mediation, and litigation, we can help you and your family move through this process into a brighter future.
An experienced divorce attorney will ensure your rights are protected and will fight to ensure that you receive a fair and just outcome when it comes to things like spousal support and the division of your marital assets.