When your marriage breaks down, you might consider a legal divorce. But you might not know exactly how a legal divorce works in Texas or what is involved in the process.
A Fort Bend divorce attorney from Parker & Aguilar can walk you through the required steps and explain how legal representation can help you obtain a fair outcome.
We support husbands and wives in Sugar Land, Katy, Richmond, Rosenberg, Fulshear, Pecan Grove, and more cities in the county with a divorce. Let’s walk through the most important steps so that you know how divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas works.
What Is a Divorce in Texas?
The official name of a Texas divorce is a suit for dissolution of marriage. As the name suggests, you pursue a divorce when you want to end the legal marriage with your spouse. The divorce will dissolve:
- Legal obligations arising from the marriage
- Property ownership resulting from the marriage
- Financial relationships created through marriage
A divorce only affects the bonds that exist because of the marriage. It will likely not cover contractual relationships, employment, or business partnerships that existed between you and your spouse beyond the marriage. However, every case is unique, so if this is your situation, we can help guide you toward the right solution for business-related divorce issues.
Most importantly, a divorce does not dissolve the parental relationship if you have children through the marriage. The terms of the divorce may redefine the parent-child relationship, but both parents will still have obligations to their children after the divorce.
Issues Resolved During a Divorce
Before a judge can dissolve your marriage, you and your spouse must wind up your marital relationship. This winding-up divorce process typically involves the following issues.
In many Fort Bend County, TX, divorce cases, child custody is the most contentious issue. Under Texas law, child custody has two forms. Legal custody, referred to as conservatorship in Texas, determines who has the authority to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, including:
- Medical care
- Sports and other activities
Physical custody and visitation, referred to as possession in Texas, determines where the child lives. A court can use a standard possession order, craft its own, or adopt a parenting plan drafted by the parents.
Every parent in Texas has a legal duty to financially support their minor children. Before a judge dissolves a marriage, the spouses must have a financial arrangement that outlines how they will provide for their children’s needs.
During a divorce in Fort Bend County, judges will look to the Texas child support guidelines. These guidelines from the State of Texas inform judges how to calculate each parent’s resources and which parent should pay child support to the other.
Judges have the ability to deviate from the guidelines for many reasons, including:
- The child’s needs
- Each parent’s financial resources
- Time and access to the child
- Actions by a parent to intentionally remain unemployed or underemployed
- Childcare expenses
- Number of children
- Alimony or spousal support received
- College expenses
- Health insurance provided by a parent to the child
- Special needs of the child
Texas divides the marital estate using community property rules. Under this system, the court identifies separate property belonging to one of the spouses and marital property belonging to the married couple.
Almost everything acquired during the marriage qualifies as marital property except separate property, such as:
- Inheritances or bequests
- Personal injury compensation
Separate property also includes property acquired by the spouse before the marriage.
After classifying property as separate or marital, the court divides the estate equally. Community property is supposed to provide a more fair division of property. But it just shifts the battle from the division stage to the classification stage.
Judges in Fort Bend County family law do not automatically grant spousal support, also called alimony. Instead, the spouse requesting support must show they are eligible for support because they will lack the resources to meet their needs.
Many factors impact a judge’s decision to grant alimony, including:
- Each spouse’s financial resources
- The education and job skills of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- The employability of each spouse, including their physical and mental health
- Child support orders
- Financial mistakes during the marriage
- Contributions by one spouse to the other’s education
- Contributions of a spouse to maintaining the home and raising the children
- Domestic violence and marital misconduct, including adultery
If a judge awards spousal support, the judge can order it to continue for a fixed time, an indefinite period, or until certain conditions occur, such as remarriage.
How Can a Fort Bend Divorce Attorney Help?
A family law attorney in Fort Bend County, Texas, can provide assistance throughout your divorce case. Our family law attorneys have knowledge of Texas family law and how it applies to your unique situation. We also have extensive experience in navigating local court procedures.
But most importantly, we know from prior cases which arguments are effective in court and which negotiating strategies are effective during settlement discussions. We can craft the right legal approach to help you arrive at a fair outcome in your case.
Some specific ways one of our Fort Bend County divorce attorneys can help you include the following:
- Drafting and filing the divorce petition to lay the groundwork for your case
- Getting jurisdiction over spouses who live outside the county
- Serving papers on a spouse who does not want to be served
- Investigating the marital finances and uncovering any wrongdoing
- Gathering information from your spouse
- Arguing for a fair child custody arrangement based on your child’s interests
- Presenting evidence to meet the factors for child support and alimony
- Fighting for a fair share of marital property and protecting your assets
Our attorneys can tailor arguments to your specific situation. For example, if you are concerned about receiving support for a medical condition for one of your children, you may need to approach child custody and support differently.
One of our helpful Fort Bend County divorce lawyers will work with you to find a way to argue for an arrangement that fits your needs.
Contact Parker & Aguilar Family Law Attorneys for Help With Your Divorce
Your divorce could be the most stressful and financially consequential experience of your life. After your divorce, your life will change dramatically – from the financial resources you have to the quantity of time you spend with your children.
A Fort Bend divorce attorney from Parker & Aguilar is ready to provide you with compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable representation in your divorce case.
We currently support clients throughout Fort Bend County. If you live in the county, reach out to our law firm to discuss your divorce situation before getting started.
You can reach our Sugar Land office at 281-944-5485 to speak with one of our local divorce family law attorneys. Let’s get started on your family law case to help you arrive at the best possible outcome.