Divorce is complicated. Ending a marriage is one of life’s most stressful situations, and when done improperly, it becomes even worse. Deciding on custody of shared children, dividing property and assets, and determining financial arrangements such as alimony and child support are difficult to do no matter what, and the stakes are too high to make mistakes.
If you face these issues in a divorce, you need an experienced and empathetic lawyer on your side. Jason Wright and his dedicated staff at the Law Offices of Jason Wright specializes in helping Texas divorcees navigate the issues that come with a divorce and the legal landscape.
Texas Divorce Basics
No one goes into a marriage planning to divorce, but this is an eventual reality for many married couples. Marriage creates a legal entity that establishes a formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. The only way to properly dissolve this legal relationship is through a divorce.
Texas allows for no-fault divorces, meaning that neither spouse needs to cite evidence to prove that the other spouse is at fault for causing the divorce. This statute is typically used when a marriage cannot be supported because of “discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation,” or, in other words, insupportability.
Divorcing couples do not need to cite adultery, abuse or another reason for a split and can say that they can no longer get along. In some cases, one spouse will allege fault for the divorce, which may affect the distribution of property or custody of minor children.
There are mandatory waiting periods and residence requirements for divorces in Texas. A divorce attorney can advise on what these are and how they might affect your situation.
A Guide to Divorce in Austin Infographic
The best way to prevent mistakes, avoid overcomplicating issues, and ensure that you are not taken advantage of in any divorce is to find a family lawyer who will represent your best interests and rights.
Other, less expensive options such as a do-it-yourself divorce or both spouses sharing an attorney come with dangerous pitfalls. It might be tempting to use these services, but it is easy to overlook minor details in a divorce that cause major headaches down the road. Sometimes, saving money upfront can create expensive problems and heartache later. With so much on the line, you need experienced legal representation to fight for you.
The Law Office of Jason Wright handles a wide variety of divorce cases for clients, some of which are extremely complicated. The specialized knowledge of a dedicated divorce lawyer is priceless when it comes to:
Texas requires just and right division of community property in a divorce, not necessarily a 50/50 split between spouses. Community property is anything earned or acquired during the marriage. Separate property, such as assets from before the marriage or an inheritance or gift received by one spouse during the marriage, is not split in a divorce.
Property division is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce and might be affected by things like:
• The earning capability of one spouse over another
• Fault in the divorce, such as adultery or cruelty
• Bad behavior throughout the divorce process
A common scenario is when one spouse stayed home to raise the children and care for the household while the other worked outside the home. Because it is difficult to reenter the workforce after being out for an extended time, especially when education and training have lapsed, the spouse that stayed home might receive a larger share of community property and continuing financial support to maintain some level of lifestyle or provide an opportunity to develop skills to reenter the workforce.
Property distribution laws are complex. A divorce lawyer with knowledge of them and experience fighting for fair settlements in and out of court for clients is priceless.
Easily the most emotional aspect of splitting with a spouse is having to share custody of children. The courts in Texas favor giving both parents access to their children but consider the children’s best interests above anything else.
Unlike some states, Texas does not use the terms legal and physical custody. The word custody is simply a wat if referring to what Texas labels “possession.” Possession refers to the actual day and times that a parent shall have the right to possess (or have physical care over) their child. The term “visitation” is also not used. Parents do not “visit” their children; they are given time to possess and parent their children.
Conservatorship refers to the decision-making power of the parents. In Texas, it is presumed that both parents be named Joint Managing Conservators and that they can make decisions for their children by agreement with each other.
The court will err on the side of equality whenever possible, practicality, and in the children’s best interests when deciding on child custody.
Complex and High Net Worth Divorces
Couples with a high net worth make special considerations when they decide to divorce. Assets and property must be cataloged and valued accurately so they can be split between the spouses fairly. Special appraisers and finance experts may need to be called in to help accomplish this in complex divorce cases.
It can become difficult to determine what is community property and what is separate property. Pre and postnuptial agreements, trusts, real estate, investment properties and retirement accounts can all be involved with complex cases and can make the process much more complicated. A divorce attorney with experience helping high net worth couples is a must to protect your rights and ensure a fair settlement.
Pre and Postnuptial Agreements
Some people’s financial circumstances warrant the practical need for a pre or postnuptial agreement to protect money and assets. One of the most common reasons for this is when wealth has been passed down through a family from generation to generation, but other situations can create this need. Pre and postnuptial agreements can include anything in Texas, including:
• What property will remain separate
• What property will be shared
• Treatment of future gifts and inheritances
• Duration and amount of spousal support
• How death benefits will be distributed should a spouse die
• Division of debts
• Protection of property and assets that a spouse intends to pass on to children from an earlier relationship
In addition to following the terms of pre and postnuptial agreements during a divorce, the Law Office of Jason Wright can handle the creation of these legal documents before or during a marriage. We have successfully helped couples develop legally sound and safe plans while also making them feel comfortable with the process and not like they are planning for their ultimate divorce.
Dissolution of Same-Sex Marriages
In 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges granted same-sex couples the same rights to marry —and divorce– as heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples still face challenges that heterosexual couples do not, especially when they share children.
A law firm that is sensitive to these issues and familiar with the intricacies of LGBT divorce and child custody concerns is an absolute must for a same-sex couple that has decided to end their marriage.
Contact an Austin, Texas Divorce Lawyer
When a divorce becomes a reality, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the emotions involved and the amount of information available about divorce. You might be inundated with horror stories and advice from well-meaning people, and it is hard to know what is best for you. When you hire an Austin divorce lawyer to represent you, they will help you figure out just that.
An attorney will be able to explain the laws and your rights under them. They will ensure that the details of the legal are followed to avoid costly mistakes. Perhaps most importantly, they are there to protect your best interests and help navigate you and your family through a stressful and challenging situation.
If you are going through a divorce without the help of an attorney, are thinking about getting a divorce but have questions before making your decision or are planning to get divorced and are unsure of where to start, contact the caring and responsive team at the Law Offices of Jason Wright. We are ready to help you resolve your divorce efficiently, fairly and with your best interests at heart.
Contact the Law Offices of Jason Wright for a consultation by calling 512-884-1221 or submit the form below. We are committed to zealously working to find the solution that is best for you and your family.