When you have decided to dissolve your marriage, contact a family law attorney immediately. They could provide you with helpful information that influences the way you proceed. The decisions you make before a divorce filing could save you considerable time and money.
An Allen divorce lawyer can explain the divorce process, and our team can help you evaluate the optimum strategy in your case, ensuring you reach your goals with as little stress and expense as possible.
Navigating a Contested Divorce
Many couples cannot agree on every aspect of their divorce and must go through the contested divorce process. One spouse, the petitioner, will file for divorce and serve the petition to the other spouse. The other spouse, called the respondent, must file an answer with the court by 10:00AM on the first Monday after 20 days have passed since the spouse was served. An Allen lawyer can prepare the initial divorce court filings for either party.
Usually, the couple will need temporary orders allowing the spouses to pay bills with marital property, preventing the spouses from disposing of property, establishing where the children will live while the divorce is pending, and providing temporary spousal and child support.
While the divorce is pending, the couple can continue to negotiate agreements. Legal representation can negotiate with the other spouse’s attorney if the couple is no longer at a point where they can communicate well. A helpful tool in many divorce cases is mediation, which often helps lead couples to an agreed upon resolution. If the couple cannot agree on every aspect of their divorce, the court will hold a trial, and a judge will decide the issues.
Resolving Property Division Issues
Texas is a community property state. Pursuant to Texas Family Code § 3.003, anything either spouse acquired during the marriage up to the divorce date both spouses own equally. The only exceptions are inheritances, gifts to one spouse, and some funds from injury settlements. When the couple has a valid marital agreement establishing certain property as separate, courts typically honor the agreement.
Disclosing assets, valuing them, and coming to an equitable division is often a time-consuming and contentious aspect of divorce. A divorce attorney in Allen has considerable experience with this process and access to forensic accountants, business valuation experts, and appraisers who can verify if a spouse’s disclosures are accurate and complete.
Although courts divide marital property as close to evenly as possible in most cases, some circumstances could lead a judge to award a disproportionate share to one spouse. A spouse who attempted to hide assets during the disclosure process might receive less than they otherwise would have due to their attempt at fraud. Fault-based divorces could also lead to disproportionate property division if one spouse can prove the other’s fault.
Developing a Parenting Plan
Divorcing parents with children must establish a plan to determine the physical location of the children, which the state calls possession and access. The plan will also describe who makes decisions for the children, which is called conservatorship in Texas.
Parents can share possession and access equally or nearly equally, but one parent will be the residential parent for school enrollment, medical records, and official purposes. Parents can share conservatorship, leave it to a single parent, or designate certain areas like healthcare or education to one parent or the other. The parenting plan must clearly explain how the former spouses plan to co-parent and should go into detail about visitation schedules and decision-making procedures.
A court must approve a parenting plan to ensure it serves the children’s best interests. An Allen attorney can help a person negotiate a parenting plan or review a plan to confirm it aligns with the court’s requirements.
Contact an Allen Divorce Attorney for Guidance
Divorce is less stressful when you have a capable attorney representing you. Whether you are seeking an amicable settlement or want to fight for your rights in court, an Allen divorce lawyer could provide skilled representation. Knowing what to expect before you file for divorce can ease the process. Call today to discuss your situation with a knowledgeable legal team.