Beaumont Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Are you considering divorce, or has your spouse filed papers? If so, contact an experienced Beaumont divorce and family lawyer right away for assistance. Divorce can be a highly complex, emotionally-charged process, and it often raises complicated legal questions regarding childcare arrangements and property division.
Hiring an experienced divorce and family law attorney is critical in ensuring that your rights and interests are protected. At Portner Bond, PLLC, we are prepared to help you with a wide variety of family legal matters, including divorce, division of property, child custody and visitation, alimony and child support, modifications, enforcement actions, and more. Contact us today at (409) 838-4444 or reach out to us online to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced family attorneys today.
Why Should I Hire a Beaumont Divorce Attorney?
Filing for divorce requires intricate knowledge of family and divorce law. During a divorce, both parties will be required to collect and submit a wide variety of documents and petitions. In the legal world, making mistakes when submitting such documents or missing deadlines can have serious repercussions.
Going through a divorce is extremely stressful, and many people struggle to keep track of the legal process while adjusting to a new and often turbulent lifestyle. A lawyer will help you shoulder this burden while ensuring that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Getting a bad deal on a divorce verdict can turn your life upside down. If you do not adequately represent yourself in a divorce, you could lose rights of custody/visitation with your children, as well as your house, possessions, and money. Hiring an experienced divorce and family law lawyer is critical in ensuring that your needs and interests are met in the final divorce arrangements.
Sometimes, divorce arrangements are made outside of court. Your spouse may have hired a lawyer who asks you to sign a divorce settlement agreement in lieu of going to trial. We strongly recommend against signing any legal document during a divorce without consulting a lawyer. Oftentimes, such documents are written in confusing and vague legalese — you may be signing away certain rights without even realizing it. It is very difficult to undo a signature on a legal document.
Why Should I Choose Portner Bond, PLLC?
At Portner Bond, PLLC, we understand the impact that divorce has on an individual. We are passionate about supporting our clients through this difficult time while employing every legal tool possible to get the best outcome. We look at every case individually and never apply a one-size-fits-all legal strategy. Our award-winning attorneys have several decades of combined legal experience and are ready to work hard for you.
We understand that you want to hear from us and get an idea of your legal options before you make the financial commitment to hire a lawyer. We offer a 100% free initial consultation so that you can tell us about your situation, ask questions, and we can give you an idea of your best path forward.
Family Legal Matters We Handle
At Portner Bond, PLLC, our experienced and compassionate attorneys can handle a wide variety of delicate legal issues including:
- Divorce (including high-net-worth and military divorces)
- Community property division
- Temporary orders
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
- Post-divorce order modifications
- Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements
- Protective orders
- Family law appeals
Our team will be ready to guide you through the entire process, and we have extensive experience handling even the most complex of family law cases. Our goal will be to protect you and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.
Initiating the Divorce
In Texas, an individual files for divorce by filing a petition with the court. The contents of this petition will vary depending on your circumstances, such as whether or not you have minor children and the amount of property you and your spouse share. Your lawyer will help develop and file this petition. The divorce case will then be given to a judge who will preside over the entirety of the divorce.
In order to file for divorce in Texas, at least one of the parties must have been a Texas resident for at least six months prior to starting divorce proceedings. The petitioner must also have lived in the county in which the petition is filed for at least 90 days before the filing date. After the divorce petition is filed, it will be at least 60 days before the court finalizes the divorce. The only exceptions to the 60-day timeline are if the other party has been convicted of a crime or if there is evidence of domestic abuse.
No-Fault Versus Fault Divorce
Texas law gives you the option to file either a no-fault or fault divorce. Most divorces in Texas will be filed as “no-fault” divorces. In a no-fault divorce, you simply tell the judge that your marriage is “insupportable” — you have a conflict that cannot be resolved.
If fault must be assigned (for example, if one spouse abandons the other), you essentially assert that your partner is responsible for the conditions that have ended your marriage. Texas law establishes specific acceptable fault grounds, which are:
• Felony conviction
• Abandonment for at least one year
• Separation and living for at least three years
• Confinement in a mental hospital
You are responsible for proving these grounds. Some of these categories, such as a felony conviction and mental hospital confinement, are quite easy to prove. Others, however, such as cruelty, are vaguer. Again, assigning grounds are not always necessary to get a divorce in Texas, so in a majority of cases, people will typically file for a no-fault divorce.
In no-fault divorces, both parties are theoretically supposed to split communal property 50/50. In a fault-based divorce, the person at fault for the divorce will generally receive less while the not-at-fault party receives more.
Uncontested Versus Contested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree entirely on the terms of the divorce. This means that they reach an agreement outside of the court on how to divide property, possession, and child custody/visitation. In such a case, one party will go to court and file the divorce petition. After 60 days, you will go together to court, state that you are not contesting the terms of your divorce, and the judge will finalize the divorce, and you will leave the court divorced.
Uncontested divorces are more common among couples that have been together for less than five years, do not have children, and don’t have significant shared property/possessions.
In a contested divorce, parties disagree on the terms of their divorce and usually hire attorneys to represent their legal interests. Contested divorces usually take significantly longer than 60 days, but the length of the proceeding depends on the level of disagreement and complexity of the shared property.
Before the divorce is finalized, your attorney will help you secure temporary orders. Temporary orders regulate all contested aspects of the divorce, such as spousal support payments, custody and living arrangement of children, bill payment, and use of shared marital assets (such as family home, vehicles, etc.) If necessary, a judge may order a temporary restraining order if there has been physical abuse, harassment, or misuse of shared property.
Temporary orders are extremely important. It is difficult to alter temporary orders once they are established unless a situation changes dramatically, or new evidence arises. Furthermore, final divorce arrangements are often very similar to provisions established in temporary orders. For example, family law judges generally try to avoid disruptions to the lives and schedules of minor children, meaning judges often decide to uphold the custody arrangement established in the temporary order.
Hiring an experienced divorce attorney will help maximize your chances of securing optimal temporary orders. If you are unsatisfied with the temporary orders, a lawyer can help ensure that they do not become permanent.
After a judge rules on temporary orders, the discovery process of the divorce will begin. Discovery is essentially the pre-trial gathering of evidence and information from both parties. You will learn the contentions of the other party, and the value and ownership of your assets will be investigated. This process is crucial because it provides you with the necessary information for reaching agreements and/or for a judge to determine how assets should be divided. In terms of property, we work on finding, recovering, and valuing assets during discovery.
Discovery comes in a variety of forms, including but not limited to:
• Written questions given to either party through their lawyer
• Requests for copies of documents such as deeds, vehicle titles, bank account records, credit card statements, tax documents, stocks, farm/ranch records, and telephone records
• Oral questions asked by opposing lawyers in a deposition
After all the information is collected during the discovery process, a Sworn Inventory and Appraisement will be prepared. This is an important document that comprehensively lists all marital assets and property, and guides decisions on how to make divisions.
Finalizing the Divorce
After the discovery process has concluded, the divorce will either be finalized through a settlement or through a trial. A settlement is an out-of-court agreement that is prepared by each party’s attorneys and signed by both sides. There may be multiple phases of negotiation before a settlement is finalized.
If a settlement cannot be reached, then either a judge or jury will make a verdict in a trial. The court will hear evidence, view discovery, and then make a ruling. The standard for custody decisions is what is in the “best interest” of the children, and the standard for dividing assets is what is “just and right.” The ultimate verdict will depend on your circumstances and the evidence both parties presented.
Both parties have the right to appeal a court’s verdict. If you feel that your divorce verdict was unjust, you should contact a lawyer immediately about starting an appeal.
Contact a Beaumont Divorce and Family Law Attorney
Hiring an effective divorce attorney is a critical step in achieving the best divorce outcome possible. At Portner Bond, PLLC, we understand the impact divorce can have on your children, financial situation, and well-being. We are committed to using every legal tool available to help you. Contact us today at (409) 838-4444 for a free consultation.