Common Questions About Divorce & Child Custody…
Understanding the Client’s Ordeal…
Houston and Galveston, Texas Board Certified Family law attorney Greg Enos has walked in the shoes of his clients. He has been through his own personal divorce battle involving child custody and property division. Lawyer Enos brings to each family’s case a deep understanding of the fears and questions a divorce client has. Enos’ first priority is always to help each client reach a fair, reasonable settlement without wasting time and money on unnecessary legal fees.
When you have questions about divorce, contact the family law firm that understands –Enos Family Law of Houston and Galveston, Texas.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
All separations in Texas are legal, but a person is still married until a judge officially grants a divorce. People can separate without going to court or filing any papers, but they remain married until a divorce is granted.
You and your spouse should decide who leaves and who stays. If you cannot agree, then the only legal option is to file for divorce and let a judge decide. It can take several weeks to get in front of a judge to decide such issues once a divorce petition is filed.
Except in certain cases involving family violence when a protective order is sought, a family court judge will not force someone to move out of the house without a hearing where both sides can be heard. This means that for a few weeks, you may be sharing the house with the spouse you are divorcing. This can be very awkward or even dangerous, so it might be best to temporarily move out and stay with a friend or family member until your court hearing. If you do so, the judge can order that your spouse move out and allow you to move back in.
In virtually all cases, the judge will order that one of the spouses will have exclusive use of the house on a temporary basis while the divorce is pending. Later, the house will be awarded to one of the spouses or sold.
You and your spouse should decide which of you will get primary custody and which will get visitation. Otherwise, a stranger who does not know your family (a judge) will make that most important decision. The judge’s ruling will be based on the evidence presented and will be determined by what is in the best interests of the children.
Both parents have the same legal rights to the children until there is a court hearing, which means everyone is in something of a “legal limbo” from the time the divorce petition is filed until the time of the first hearing on temporary orders. Until that hearing, each parent has the right to be with the children. A temporary restraining order is usually issued automatically by the court when a divorce petition is filed that will forbid the parents from changing the kids’ residence or hiding them from the other parent. A temporary restraining order, however, does not award anyone custody.
You can continue to use your accounts and credit cards while the divorce is pending, although you may be ordered by the court not to cancel cards, incur debts, or spend money except for living and business expense and for attorneys. For some people, it is prudent to cancel credit cards or get important documents out of a safe deposit box before a divorce is filed and temporary restraining orders are issued that would forbid such actions.
Finances almost always are a problem for people getting a divorce. Most couples are used to living off two incomes and sharing expenses (like paying just one electricity bill). Divorce changes all that. While the divorce is pending, the court may order child support or temporary spousal maintenance (alimony) to equalize incomes and expenses and the parties will be ordered to pay certain debts and bills. This does not mean you both are going to live like you have in the past. Careful financial planning is very important.
You do not have to file for divorce right away. You can wait or let your spouse file. However, if you really want a divorce, someone has to file for it. If there is likely to be a real fight over property or the children, there may be advantages if you file first.
A constable or private process server will usually hand deliver the divorce lawsuit (and perhaps a temporary restraining order) to your spouse at work or home. You may request that the papers be delivered at a specific place or time. Usually, service of divorce papers when children are around is avoided. In some cases, the divorce papers can be mailed to your spouse, especially if he or she will agree to sign a waiver of service.
You can’t get divorced sooner than 60 days after the divorce suit is filed. It can take months or over a year if the two of you fail to agree on the terms of the divorce.