Divorce Lawyers Orange Texas

Divorce Lawyers in Southeast Texas  October 23, 2013 – 15:43

Southeast Texas Divorce Attorney Sonya B. Coffman Divorce is one of the most difficult and painful events in the life of a family-for both the parents and the children.

In Texas, a divorce typically is based on insupportability of the marriage, also known as “no fault” divorce, although a divorce also can be granted on the grounds of abandonment, adultery or cruelty. However, a divorce will not be granted until two issues are determined: conservatorship (i.e., child custody) taking into account the “best interests” of the children and division of the community property (i.e., the property acquired during the marriage, which is also known as marital property).

A divorce proceeding is initiated by either or both spouses filing a petition with the court. This may be a short document or a lengthy document depending upon the individual circumstances and the relief requested. The case will then be assigned to a specific judge who will preside over the proceeding until concluded. In Jefferson County, a divorce case will be assigned to one of two different courts that exclusively handle family law matters. In Hardin County and Orange County, a divorce case will be assigned to a court of general jurisdiction (i.e., the court will handle general civil and criminal matters in addition to family cases).

Before filing for divorce, at least one of the parties must be a Texas 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 ninety (90) days. A divorce cannot be granted until at least sixty (60) days after the divorce petition is filed. Neither the court, nor the lawyers, can shorten these time periods except in the event the responding party has been convicted of a crime, received deferred adjudication, or is under an emergency protective order due to a finding of family violence. In these instances, the court may grant the divorce before the sixty (60) day period runs.

Divorces may be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses agree to the divorce, agree to the child custody arrangement, agree to the division of the marital property and agree to the division of their liabilities. In an uncontested divorce, one party files the petition to initiate the process. Then the parties wait sixty (60) days, go to court, announce that the divorce is not contested, agree on child custody and the property division, and leave the courthouse divorced.

A contested divorce, however, is a different matter. Each party typically hires an attorney. Depending upon the nature and amount of the marital property and level of acrimony, the divorce usually will take substantially longer than sixty (60) days to finalize.

In a contested divorce, securing the appropriate temporary orders is critical. Temporary orders govern all aspects of the divorce proceeding between the date the petition is filed and the date the divorce is granted, such as spousal support, custody and support of the children, living arrangements of the children, visitation of the children, payment of bills, possession and use of the marital assets–including the family home–payment of attorney’s fees and other procedural matters. In some cases, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be warranted to prevent harassment or prevent the sale or transfer of marital property.

After the temporary orders are entered, the discovery process begins. This is the process where the parties learn facts about each other’s contentions in the divorce proceedings and the nature and extent of their marital property. Discovery is critical in a contested divorce because it affords the parties an opportunity to learn information necessary to evaluate the case. It also is important for discovering, locating, recovering, valuing and dividing marital property. The discovery process cannot be completed overnight. It takes time to thoroughly evaluate the situation and gather the necessary information.

Source: coffmanfamilylaw.com

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