Divorces in Texas
Naturally, a divorce in Texas dissolves the marriage between the parties. However, it also assigns property and debts to the spouses in the final decree of divorce. Furthermore, in the event that there are children of the marriage, parental rights will be established (called conservatorship in Texas) as well as visitation and child support through a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, which will be incorporated into the divorce.
Texas Divorces may be resolved in a number of ways: 1) through informal settlement discussions, 2) through mediation or 3) through a contested trial. Uncontested cases, discussed below, are settlements reached through informal discussions, meaning that mediation was not necessary to resolve the case. Often cases that cannot be resolved through informal discussions can be resolved through mediation. Mediation may be worth the time and cost in order to develop a thorough and detailed final decree of divorce. However in some instances, one party is unreasonable or certain issues may demand a trial.
Texas law does not provide for legal separation. However, temporary orders may be put in place related to a divorce. In some instances, individuals pursue a suit affecting the parent-child relationship prior to a divorce, creating something similar to a legal separation. However, such an approach is ill-advised as it causes community property liability to continue to accrue and forces the parties to return to Court to obtain a final decree of divorce.
An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse have a clear understanding on what shape you would like for your final decree of divorce to take. For example, each of you may take your respective car and retirement then sell your home and split the proceeds from the sale. If you have children together, you and your spouse may want a standard possession order or if you intend to live in the same neighborhood or section of the city, you may decide to agree to a 50/50 custody order. By having a clear agreement, you avoid the cost and inconvenience of Court appearances, contested hearings, and mediation. In fact only one of you will need to appear in Court to answer a few basic questions and then the Court will grant your divorce.
The advantage to hiring an attorney to file the case and draft the final order is that this is what family law attorneys do as a career; you will have an expert in your corner to answer your questions and point out issues that you might otherwise overlook. You will not be going down to the courthouse time and time again trying to get the Court to grant the divorce because you are missing this form or that form required by the Court. Your final order as drafted by an attorney will also include additional provisions in an effort to minimize later modifications needed for the order.
Some attorneys offer to handle uncontested divorces for a flat fee. Krocker Law takes a different approach to account for flexibility in the process while minimizing costs to clients through an entirely refundable retainer. A refundable retainer means whatever funds remain in the retainer account after the case is finalized are returned to the client. Simply put, whatever money I do not earn, you get back. This means when the case is truly uncontested and goes smoothly, some retainer funds are likely to be returned to the client after the final billing. If the case hits a few speed-bumps and some negotiations have to take place, I continue to work the case in an effort to find a resolution. It's not uncommon for there to be a back and forth informal settlement discussion where a few points are negotiated. However, the parties can still avoid the cost of mediation through some informal settlement discussions and resolve the case.