Standard Possession Order

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When parents are involved in a divorce that includes children, they often times do not understand the Standard Possession Order visitation schedule.  It is important to keep in mind that, under certain circumstances, and depending on the age of a child, a Judge may alter the standard possession order in any way that serves the best interest of the child.  It is important to speak with your attorney about changes that can be made to the standard possession order, and the ones that each judge is most likely to make.

The following is the standard possession order for a parent who lives within 100 miles of their child under the Texas Family Code.

IT IS ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties, and, in the absence of mutual agreement, it is ORDERED that the conservators shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in this Standard Possession Order.

(c)        Parents Who Reside 100 Miles or Less Apart

Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, when Possessory Conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. Weekends—

On weekends that occur during the regular school term, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m) on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after the weekend (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).

On weekends that do not occur during the regular school term, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday.

  1. Weekend Possession Extended by a Holiday—Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, if a weekend period of possession by Conservator begins on a Friday that is a school holiday during the regular school term or a federal, state, or local holiday during the summer months when school is not in session, or if the period ends on or is immediately followed by a Monday that is such a holiday, that weekend period of possession shall begin at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the Thursday immediately preceding the Friday holiday or school holiday or end on that Monday holiday or school holiday at the time school resumes after that school holiday, as applicable.
  2. Thursdays—On Thursday of each week during the regular school term, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m.) and ending at the time the child’s school resumes on Friday (or at 8:00 p.m. that same day).
  3. Spring Break in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed on the day the child is dismissed (or at 6:  p.m.) from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at the time school resumes after that vacation (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).
  4. Extended Summer Possession by Possessory Conservator

With Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator gives  Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty days beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation in that year, to be exercised in no more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, as specified in the written notice, provided that the period or periods of extended summer possession do not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend. These periods of possession shall begin and end at 6:00 p.m.

Without Written Notice by April 1—If Possessory Conservator does not give Managing Conservator written notice by April 1 of a year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession for that year, Possessory Conservator shall have possession of the child for thirty consecutive days in that year beginning at 6:00 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on July 31.

Notwithstanding the Thursday periods of possession during the regular school term and the weekend periods of possession ORDERED for Possessory Conservator, it is explicitly ORDERED that Managing Conservator shall have a superior right of possession of the child as follows:

  1. Spring Break in Odd–Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school’s spring vacation and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation.
  2. Summer Weekend Possession by Managing Conservator—If Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year, Managing Conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the following Sunday during any one period of the extended summer possession by Possessory Conservator in that year, provided that Managing Conservator picks up the child from Possessory Conservator and returns the child to that same place and that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s Day Weekend.
  3. Extended Summer Possession by Managing Conservator—If Managing Conservator gives Possessory Conservator written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Possessory Conservator fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Managing Conservator may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending no later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Possessory Conservator shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Possessory Conservator’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.

(e)        Holidays Unaffected by Distance

Notwithstanding the weekend and Thursday periods of possession of Possessory Conservator, Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. Christmas Holidays in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed(or at 6:00 p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
  2. Christmas Holidays in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after that Christmas school vacation.
  3. Thanksgiving in Odd-Numbered Years—In odd-numbered years, Possessory Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed (or at 6:00 p.m.) on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at the time the child’s school resumes after that Thanksgiving holiday (or at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday).
  4. Thanksgiving in Even-Numbered Years—In even-numbered years, Managing Conservator shall have the right to possession of the child beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Thanksgiving holiday and ending at 6:00 p.m. on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
  5. Child’s Birthday—If a conservator is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child on the child’s birthday, that conservator shall have possession of the child and the child’s minor siblings beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m. on that day, provided that that conservator picks up the child from the other conservator’s residence and returns the child to that same place.
  6. Father’s Day Weekend—Father shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Father’s Day, provided that if Father is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, he shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place.
  7. Mother’s Day Weekend—Mother shall have the right to possession of the child each year, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day and ending at 6:00 p.m. on Mother’s Day, provided that if Mother is not otherwise entitled under this Standard Possession Order to present possession of the child, she shall pick up the child from the other conservator’s residence and return the child to that same place.

(g)        General Terms and Conditions

Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this Standard Possession Order, the terms and conditions of possession of the child that apply regardless of the distance between the residence of a parent and the child are as follows:

  1. Surrender of Child by Managing Conservator—Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the beginning of each period of Possessory Conservator’s possession at the residence of Managing Conservator.

If a period of possession by Possessory Conservator begins at the time the child’s school is regularly dismissed, Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the beginning of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled. If the child is not in school, Possessory Conservator shall pick up the child at the residence of Managing Conservator at 6:00 p.m., and Managing Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Possessory Conservator at the residence of Managing Conservator at 6:00 p.m. under these circumstances.

  1. Surrender of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the residence of Managing Conservator at the end of each period of possession.
  2. Return of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to return the child to the residence of Managing Conservator at the end of each period of possession. However, it is ORDERED that, if Managing Conservator and Possessory Conservator live in the same county at the time of rendition of this order, Possessory Conservator’s county of residence remains the same after rendition of this order, and Managing Conservator’s county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by Managing Conservator, Possessory Conservator shall surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the residence of Possessory Conservator at the end of each period of possession.

If a period of possession by Possessory Conservator ends at the time the child’s school resumes, Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator at the end of each such period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not in school, at the residence of Managing Conservator at [address].

  1. Surrender of Child by Possessory Conservator—Possessory Conservator is ORDERED to surrender the child to Managing Conservator, if the child is in Possessory Conservator’s possession or subject to Possessory Conservator’s control, at the beginning of each period of Managing Conservator’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
  2. Return of Child by Managing Conservator—Managing Conservator is ORDERED to return the child to Possessory Conservator, if Possessory Conservator is entitled to possession of the child, at the end of each of Managing Conservator’s exclusive periods of possession, at the place designated in this Standard Possession Order.
  3. Personal Effects—Each conservator is ORDERED to return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession.
  4. Designation of Competent Adult—Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable. IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned.
  5. Inability to Exercise Possession—Each conservator is ORDERED to give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the conservator will be unable to exercise that conservator’s right of possession for any specified period.
  6. Written Notice—Written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due.
  7. Notice to School and Managing Conservator—If Possessory Conservator’s time of possession of the child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, Possessory Conservator shall immediately notify the school and Managing Conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.

This concludes the Standard Possession Order.

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10 Things You Should Never Say or Do During Divorce Mediation

October 28, 2023

Divorce can be an emotionally and financially taxing process, but mediation can offer a more amicable and cost-effective alternative to courtroom battles. In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical do’s and don’ts of divorce mediation. We’ll also introduce you to experienced divorce mediator and attorney, Dawn Renken, of The Renken Law Firm in Houston, who can help couples navigate this process and make thorough and informed choices when drafting a divorce agreement. Divorce is never easy, but divorce mediation can make the process smoother and more manageable. Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, which often involve lengthy courtroom battles, mediation allows couples to work together with a neutral third party to resolve their differences and create a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. When done right, mediation can save time, money, and emotional distress. However, divorce mediation isn’t a walk in the park. It requires open communication, patience, and a willingness to compromise. To help you navigate this process successfully, here are 10 things you should never say or do during divorce mediation: 1. Refusing to Communicate Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful mediation. Refusing to talk or listen can hinder progress and lead to a more protracted and contentious divorce. It’s essential to be open and honest about your concerns, needs, and preferences during mediation. Dawn Renken, an experienced divorce mediator, is skilled in facilitating constructive communication between divorcing couples. She can help create an environment where both parties feel heard and understood. 2. Letting Emotions Take Over Divorce is an emotionally charged process, but it’s crucial not to let your emotions dictate your actions during mediation. Outbursts of anger or resentment can escalate conflicts and hinder resolution. Instead, try to remain calm and composed. Dawn Renken specializes in guiding clients through the emotional challenges of divorce, helping them focus …

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What Is Typically Included in a Prenuptial Agreement

What Is Typically Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

October 26, 2023

Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as prenups, are contractual agreements made between two individuals prior to their marriage. They establish the framework for how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled should the marriage end in divorce or due to the death of one spouse. Prenuptial agreements provide a level of financial security and peace of mind to both parties by outlining their rights and responsibilities. When considering a prenup, it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable Prenup Attorney in Houston, like the experts at The Renken Law Firm, to ensure that your agreement is comprehensive and tailored to your unique needs. The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement Prenuptial agreements are not only for the wealthy or those anticipating divorce. They can be invaluable tools for protecting individual assets, managing financial expectations, and ensuring a fair resolution should the marriage end. Here’s a breakdown of what is typically included in a prenuptial agreement: 1. Property Division One of the primary purposes of a prenup is to specify how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, and investments. The agreement can outline whether certain assets will remain separate property, and which will be considered marital property, subject to division. By clearly defining these terms, you can protect your financial interests and avoid potential disputes in the future. 2. Spousal Support Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be a contentious issue during divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement can specify the amount, duration, and conditions under which spousal support will be paid. This allows both parties to have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities, reducing the risk of prolonged legal battles. 3. Division of Debts Debts incurred during a marriage can be a significant source of …

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Exploring the Different Types of Divorce in Texas

Exploring the Different Types of Divorce in Texas

October 25, 2023

Divorce is an emotionally charged, life-altering event. When a marriage reaches a point where it can no longer be sustained, the process of legally ending it can be intricate and emotionally draining. While Texas law provides for various divorce options, understanding the different types of divorce is crucial for making informed decisions. In this article, we will explore the various divorce options available in Texas, from uncontested to contested, mediation, and more. Additionally, we will highlight the invaluable role of an experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken from the Renken Law Firm in Houston, emphasizing how they can help make the process smoother and ensure you don’t overlook important details. 1. Uncontested Divorce An uncontested divorce is often the most straightforward option for couples who have reached an agreement on all significant aspects of their separation, such as child custody, property division, and alimony. This type of divorce is generally less time-consuming and costly than other alternatives, as it minimizes the need for court appearances and lengthy legal battles. An experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken can guide you through the process, ensuring all legal requirements are met. Their role is to make sure that the agreement is comprehensive and that no crucial details are overlooked, thus preventing future disputes or complications. 2. Contested Divorce Contrary to uncontested divorce, a contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or more critical issues. These disputes often lead to court proceedings and can be lengthy and emotionally taxing. In a contested divorce, a skilled attorney becomes crucial in protecting your rights, ensuring a fair outcome, and representing your interests in court. Dawn Renken’s experience in contested divorces allows her to navigate the intricacies of Texas divorce law effectively. Her insight into the legal system can prove invaluable in …

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Questions Your Houston Divorce Attorney May Ask

Questions Your Houston Divorce Attorney May Ask

October 24, 2023

Divorce is a significant life event that can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. When navigating the process of divorce, having an experienced and understanding attorney by your side is crucial. A skilled divorce attorney from Renken Law Firm in Houston can provide you with the guidance and support you need during this trying time. As you prepare to work with a divorce attorney, it’s important to be prepared for the questions they may ask to ensure a comprehensive and successful representation. 1. What Are Your Goals and Priorities? One of the first questions your Houston divorce attorney will likely ask is about your goals and priorities for the divorce proceedings. Understanding what you hope to achieve – whether it’s custody arrangements, division of assets, or alimony – helps your attorney tailor their approach to best meet your needs. Your attorney will work to align their strategies with your desired outcomes, advocating for your interests every step of the way. 2. Have You Considered Alternative Dispute Resolution? Divorce cases don’t always have to be resolved in a courtroom. Your attorney may inquire about your willingness to explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. These approaches can often lead to more amicable and efficient solutions, saving both time and emotional stress. Your attorney will assess whether these methods are suitable for your case and discuss their potential benefits. 3. What Is Your Financial Situation? Financial matters are a crucial aspect of divorce proceedings. Your attorney will ask about your financial situation, including your income, expenses, and assets. This information helps them understand the scope of the financial issues that need to be addressed, such as property division and potential spousal support. Being open and transparent about your finances enables your attorney to develop a comprehensive strategy that …

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Divorce Attorney for All Families in Houston

Divorce Attorney for All Families in Houston

October 23, 2023

Are you in search of an affordable divorce lawyer located in the Houston area? Allow me to introduce Attorney Dawn Renken, who is ready to provide her assistance. With a focus on family law in Texas, Attorney Renken specializes in divorce cases specifically within Houston, TX. In 2014, she obtained her mediation license through ADR Services International Inc. Since then, she has collaborated with diverse couples seeking divorce, including same-sex couples and those aiming to avoid conventional courtroom procedures. Looking for a Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer Nearby In a time when gay marriage is recognized nationally, it’s important to note that not all family law and divorce lawyers possess expertise in handling same-sex cases. At Renken Law Firm situated in Houston, we stand as allies of the LGBTQ+ community. We acknowledge the unique challenges that can arise in such cases and are dedicated to assisting couples in achieving divorce settlements that cater to their distinct needs. Our commitment revolves around ensuring our clients’ requirements are met and that they receive respectful treatment throughout the entire process. If you’re interested in learning more about the services we offer for same-sex divorces or wish to initiate the divorce proceedings, feel free to reach out to our office without delay. Expertise in Divorce Mediation Services Mediation offers a way to navigate divorce proceedings without the need for public court appearances or prolonged litigation. This private method allows both parties to collaborate in reaching an agreeable resolution, facilitated by a neutral third-party mediator who ensures equitable representation for both sides in the final agreement. The divorce terms reached through mediation only become official when both parties formally accept them, as guided by the mediator. Should either or both parties not agree to the terms, the mediation concludes, and the divorcing individuals may need to resort …

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What Factors Impact Me Gaining Full Custody in My Divorce

What Factors Impact Me Gaining Full Custody in my Divorce?

October 22, 2023

Going through a divorce is undoubtedly a challenging and emotionally charged experience. When children are involved, custody arrangements become a pivotal concern for parents. If you’re contemplating or in the midst of a divorce, it’s crucial to understand the factors that can influence your chances of gaining full custody. In this blog post, we’ll explore these factors and offer guidance to help you navigate the complex world of custody disputes. For expert advice and support, it’s essential to seek the assistance of a seasoned Houston Divorce Attorney at Renken Law Firm. Understanding Child Custody in Texas Child custody laws vary from state to state, and Texas has its unique rules and regulations. In the Lone Star State, child custody is commonly referred to as “conservatorship.” There are two main types of conservatorship: Joint Managing Conservatorship: In this arrangement, both parents share the rights and duties of a child’s upbringing. While it emphasizes shared decision-making, it may not necessarily entail equal physical custody. Sole Managing Conservatorship: This grants one parent the majority of decision-making authority and physical custody, often referred to as “full custody.” This is the focus of our discussion. Factors Impacting Your Chances of Gaining Full Custody Child’s Best Interests The primary consideration in any child custody case is the best interests of the child. Texas law places a significant emphasis on maintaining the child’s emotional and physical well-being. Factors that courts may consider in assessing the child’s best interests include: The child’s age, emotional and physical needs. Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and loving environment. The child’s current living situation, school, and community ties. The physical and mental health of each parent. Evidence of any history of domestic violence or abuse. Parental Stability Demonstrating your ability to provide a stable and consistent environment for your child …

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What You Should Know Before Getting a Divorce in Texas

What You Should Know Before Getting a Divorce in Texas

October 19, 2023

Texas is a state that’s known for its strong independent spirit and willingness to do things its own way, even when it comes to divorce. While the basic divorce process is similar across the country, there are some unique aspects of getting a divorce in Texas that you should be aware of before you start the process. Getting guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Texas divorce laws can make a big difference. Here are three important ways that divorcing in Texas differs from other places: Reasons for Divorce: In Texas, you don’t need a specific reason to file for divorce. Either spouse can initiate the process without having to prove fault. This means that neither party is blamed for the marriage ending. However, Texas also provides six reasons for divorce based on fault, including things like adultery, cruelty, and felony convictions. Fault-Based Divorces: If you’re filing for divorce based on fault in Texas, it can affect how property and alimony are divided. Unlike some other states, where factors like adultery might not impact property division, in Texas, the court might take fault into account. This could encourage someone to opt for a fault-based divorce if they want a specific outcome. Community Property: Texas follows a unique rule when dividing property in a divorce. It’s one of the few states that follows community property guidelines. This means that all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are considered jointly owned. Even if one spouse earned more income, both partners are seen as equal owners. Many other states use a different method for dividing property. Remember, even if both you and your spouse agree on getting a divorce, consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can be really helpful. These professionals understand the complexities of divorce …

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Filing for Divorce in Harris County Texas

Filing for Divorce in Harris County Texas

July 17, 2023

Time to File for Divorce in Harris County and Houston If you’re considering filing for divorce in Harris County, Texas, it’s crucial to understand the specific requirements and options available to you. The divorce process varies from state to state, making it essential to do your research or seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney in Houston, Texas. Residency Requirements for Divorce in Texas Before you can file for divorce in Texas, you must meet certain residency requirements. At least one spouse must have lived in Texas for six months prior to filing for divorce and must have been a resident of the county where the suit is filed for at least 90 days. These residency requirements aim to prevent individuals from seeking favorable courts or judges by moving to another state or county. Grounds for Divorce in Texas Texas allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. In a no-fault divorce, the court doesn’t require either spouse to prove the other’s actions as the cause of the divorce. Fault-based divorces, on the other hand, require one or both spouses to demonstrate that the other’s actions led to the failure of the marriage. No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas No-fault divorces are faster and more straightforward, as there’s no need to prove fault or bad acts. The two no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas are: Insupportability of the marriage: The marriage is no longer sustainable due to conflict or discord, and reconciliation is unlikely. Living apart: The spouses have lived separately without cohabitation for at least three years. Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Texas In fault-based divorces, one or both spouses must present evidence to the court proving that specific acts led to the divorce. These divorces are typically more contentious, expensive, and time-consuming. The fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas are: …

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Memorial Houston TX Divorce Lawyer

Divorce Mediation Lawyer Serving Memorial Houston

July 13, 2023

If you and your spouse are considering divorce and are open to working together to reach an agreement, divorce mediation might be an option worth exploring. Rather than going through the typical court process, mediation involves a neutral third party called a mediator who helps facilitate communication and negotiation between both spouses, allowing them to make decisions about their future. Divorce mediation offers several advantages, including privacy and affordability. Unlike public courtroom proceedings, mediation gives couples more control over the final decisions made during their divorce. It promotes a cooperative and collaborative approach to resolving issues. Dawn Renken, a family law attorney and licensed mediator, can provide valuable legal guidance throughout your divorce case. She can assist in resolving disputes, developing a child custody schedule, determining child support payments, dividing property, and addressing other important matters. At what point in the divorce or custody process do we have to go to mediation? Do we have to file suit first? You can go to mediation before or after you officially file your petition for divorce. The court may order you to go to mediation once you have filed, or you and your spouse may decide to attend mediation before your divorce decree is finalized. If you decide to attend mediation once your case has started, you, or your lawyer, will need to let the judge know of your decision. Do both parties have to abide by the mediated settlement agreement in a divorce? A mediated settlement agreement for a divorce is binding if both parties agree that it will be binding. The agreement must: state, in bold typeface, capital letters, or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation, be signed by both parties, and be signed by the party’s attorney, if any, who is present at the time the …

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Divorce can be an emotionally and financially taxing process, but mediation can offer a more amicable and cost-effective alternative to courtroom battles. In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical do’s and don’ts of divorce mediation. We’ll also introduce you to experienced divorce mediator and attorney, Dawn Renken, of The Renken Law Firm in Houston, who can help couples navigate this process and make thorough and informed choices when drafting a divorce agreement. Divorce is never easy, but divorce mediation can make the process smoother and more manageable. Unlike traditional divorce proceedings, which often involve lengthy courtroom battles, mediation allows couples to work together with a neutral third party to resolve their differences and create a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. When done right, mediation can save time, money, and emotional distress. However, divorce mediation isn’t a walk in the park. It requires open communication, patience, and a willingness to compromise. To help you navigate this process successfully, here are 10 things you should never say or do during divorce mediation: 1. Refusing to Communicate Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful mediation. Refusing to talk or listen can hinder progress and lead to a more protracted and contentious divorce. It’s essential to be open and honest about your concerns, needs, and preferences during mediation. Dawn Renken, an experienced divorce mediator, is skilled in facilitating constructive communication between divorcing couples. She can help create an environment where both parties feel heard and understood. 2. Letting Emotions Take Over Divorce is an emotionally charged process, but it’s crucial not to let your emotions dictate your actions during mediation. Outbursts of anger or resentment can escalate conflicts and hinder resolution. Instead, try to remain calm and composed. Dawn Renken specializes in guiding clients through the emotional challenges of divorce, helping them focus on their long-term interests rather than short-term emotions. 3. Failing to Prepare Preparation is key to a successful mediation. Failing to gather and organize your financial documents, legal papers, and other relevant information can lead to delays and misunderstandings. Dawn Renken can help you prepare for mediation by ensuring you have all the necessary documentation and information at your fingertips. 4. Being Inflexible Mediation involves compromise, and being too inflexible can hinder progress. While it’s crucial to protect your interests, it’s also essential to understand that some give and take will be necessary to reach an agreement. Dawn Renken has extensive experience in helping clients find middle ground and make compromises that are fair and reasonable. 5. Bringing Up the Past Dragging up past mistakes, hurts, or grievances during mediation is counterproductive. It can create tension and prevent a positive resolution. Dawn Renken can help keep the focus on the present and the future, guiding couples toward constructive discussions that lead to productive solutions. 6. Playing the Blame Game Blaming your spouse for the divorce or trying to make them feel guilty won’t help during mediation. In fact, it’s more likely to create animosity and impede the process. Dawn Renken can act as a neutral mediator, keeping discussions on track and preventing blame from becoming a roadblock to resolution. 7. Disregarding Your Children’s Well-Being If you have children, their well-being should be a top priority during divorce mediation. Failing to consider their needs, feelings, and interests can lead to contentious custody battles and long-term emotional repercussions. Dawn Renken is well-versed in helping divorcing parents create a custody and visitation plan that prioritizes their children’s needs. 8. Making Unrealistic Demands Mediation is about finding realistic and mutually beneficial solutions. Making extravagant or unrealistic demands can lead to an impasse. Dawn Renken can provide insight into what is legally and practically achievable, ensuring that both parties understand the boundaries and possibilities of their divorce agreement. 9. Hiding Assets Concealing assets during mediation is not only unethical but also illegal. It can result in severe legal consequences and damage your credibility in the eyes of the mediator and the court. Dawn Renken can help ensure full financial transparency during mediation, preventing disputes over hidden assets.

The Renken Law Firm has worked hard to earn a reputation for efficiently practicing diligent and focused legal services. During the course of our representation, you can expect expert legal advice in the areas of divorce, separation planning, custody disputes, child support cases, grandparents rights, prenuptial agreements, attorney general cases and enforcement actions. Prenuptial agreements, commonly referred to as prenups, are contractual agreements made between two individuals prior to their marriage. They establish the framework for how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled should the marriage end in divorce or due to the death of one spouse. Prenuptial agreements provide a level of financial security and peace of mind to both parties by outlining their rights and responsibilities. When considering a prenup, it’s essential to work with a knowledgeable Prenup Attorney in Houston, like the experts at The Renken Law Firm, to ensure that your agreement is comprehensive and tailored to your unique needs. The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement Prenuptial agreements are not only for the wealthy or those anticipating divorce. They can be invaluable tools for protecting individual assets, managing financial expectations, and ensuring a fair resolution should the marriage end. Here’s a breakdown of what is typically included in a prenuptial agreement: 1. Property Division One of the primary purposes of a prenup is to specify how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. This includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, and investments. The agreement can outline whether certain assets will remain separate property, and which will be considered marital property, subject to division. By clearly defining these terms, you can protect your financial interests and avoid potential disputes in the future. 2. Spousal Support Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be a contentious issue during divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement can specify the amount, duration, and conditions under which spousal support will be paid. This allows both parties to have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities, reducing the risk of prolonged legal battles. 3. Division of Debts Debts incurred during a marriage can be a significant source of concern if the relationship ends. Your prenup can outline how debts will be divided, whether they are considered marital or separate, and who will be responsible for paying them. 4. Inheritance and Estate Planning A prenuptial agreement can address how inheritance and estate planning matters will be handled. It can specify whether certain assets are to be kept separate and secure the interests of children from previous relationships. 5. Business Interests If you own a business or have a stake in a company, a prenup can help protect your business interests. It can outline how the business will be managed and whether your spouse will have any ownership rights in the event of divorce. 6. Financial Responsibilities Your prenuptial agreement can include provisions detailing each spouse’s financial responsibilities during the marriage. This may cover how household expenses will be shared, savings and investment strategies, and other financial matters that will affect your day-to-day life.

Divorce is an emotionally charged, life-altering event. When a marriage reaches a point where it can no longer be sustained, the process of legally ending it can be intricate and emotionally draining. While Texas law provides for various divorce options, understanding the different types of divorce is crucial for making informed decisions. In this article, we will explore the various divorce options available in Texas, from uncontested to contested, mediation, and more. Additionally, we will highlight the invaluable role of an experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken from the Renken Law Firm in Houston, emphasizing how they can help make the process smoother and ensure you don’t overlook important details. 1. Uncontested Divorce An uncontested divorce is often the most straightforward option for couples who have reached an agreement on all significant aspects of their separation, such as child custody, property division, and alimony. This type of divorce is generally less time-consuming and costly than other alternatives, as it minimizes the need for court appearances and lengthy legal battles. An experienced divorce attorney like Dawn Renken can guide you through the process, ensuring all legal requirements are met. Their role is to make sure that the agreement is comprehensive and that no crucial details are overlooked, thus preventing future disputes or complications. 2. Contested Divorce Contrary to uncontested divorce, a contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or more critical issues. These disputes often lead to court proceedings and can be lengthy and emotionally taxing. In a contested divorce, a skilled attorney becomes crucial in protecting your rights, ensuring a fair outcome, and representing your interests in court. Dawn Renken’s experience in contested divorces allows her to navigate the intricacies of Texas divorce law effectively. Her insight into the legal system can prove invaluable in resolving complex disputes and advocating for your rights. 3. Collaborative Divorce Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional courtroom battles. In this process, both parties work together with their attorneys to reach a mutually beneficial settlement. This approach can save time and money while preserving relationships and reducing emotional stress, especially when children are involved. An experienced attorney like Dawn Renken can help you through this process by providing legal advice and ensuring that all legal requirements are met. Their guidance can lead to a more amicable resolution, which is especially important when co-parenting in the future. 4. Mediated Divorce Mediation is another non-adversarial option for couples who wish to avoid the courtroom. In a mediated divorce, a neutral third party, often a certified mediator, helps couples negotiate and reach an agreement. This approach encourages open communication and collaboration while addressing concerns and needs of both parties. Having a divorce attorney like Dawn Renken on your side during mediation can be advantageous. Her legal expertise ensures that your rights are protected and that any agreements made align with Texas divorce laws. Additionally, her presence can provide guidance and reassurance during a potentially challenging process. 5. Default Divorce In some cases, one spouse may not participate in the divorce process or may be unreachable. In such instances, Texas law allows for a default divorce. This process typically moves forward with minimal involvement from the absent spouse, making it necessary to ensure all legal steps are correctly followed. An experienced attorney like Dawn Renken can help you navigate a default divorce to ensure that all legal requirements are met, minimizing the risk of complications down the road. Her guidance can expedite the process and provide you with the resolution you seek, even in the absence of cooperation from your spouse. 6. No-Fault Divorce Texas allows for “no-fault” divorces, which means that neither party has to prove wrongdoing or assign blame for the marriage’s dissolution. Instead, one or both parties can simply state that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities. While a no-fault divorce may seem straightforward, an experienced attorney can help ensure that this process is executed correctly and that the necessary legal documents are filed. Dawn Renken’s expertise can prevent any issues that might arise from improperly handling the paperwork. 7. Fault Divorce Although Texas recognizes no-fault divorces, some situations may warrant pursuing a fault divorce. Grounds for fault divorce in Texas can include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or a felony conviction. This type of divorce typically requires the gathering of evidence to support the allegations of fault. Dawn Renken’s experience as a divorce attorney can be invaluable in building a strong case for a fault divorce. Her knowledge of the legal requirements and procedures ensures that your claims are well-substantiated and your interests are protected. 8. Annulment An annulment is different from a divorce, as it legally declares a marriage void or null from the beginning. Grounds for annulment in Texas include bigamy, impotence, fraud, or underage marriage. An annulment can be a complex process, and having an experienced attorney is crucial to present a convincing case before the court. Dawn Renken’s experience and legal acumen can be instrumental in successfully pursuing an annulment in Texas. Her expertise in the intricacies of the legal system can guide you through the process and ensure your interests are protected.

What Is Divorce Mediation? For couples that have come to the decision together to divorce, mediation provides an alternative method than traditional courtroom divorces. Mediation involves a neutral third party: the mediator. The mediator works to help both spouses work through divorce issues and communicate while trying to make decisions that impact their futures. Divorce mediation has become increasingly more popular because it is private, affordable, and allows both parties to have more control over the final outcome of their divorce agreement. Divorce mediation is a great option for divorcing couples where both parties are willing to put their emotions aside and work together to amicably end the marriage. Family law attorney, Dawn Renken is a licensed mediator who can provide helpful legal advice throughout your divorce case. This includes resolving disputes, creating a child custody schedule, settling on child support payments, property divisions, and much more. Why Choose to Mediate Your Divorce? Although judges often order divorcing couples to participate in mediation before going to trial, you have the option of mediating on your own—either before you file for divorce or at any time after. Mediating your divorce has a lot of advantages over litigating it (fighting it out in court). ost. Mediation is much less expensive than a trial. Settling the case. Most mediations end in settlement of all of the issues in the divorce. Confidentiality. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in your sessions. Freedom. Mediation allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas of what is fair in your situation, rather than having a solution imposed upon you based on rigid and impersonal legal principles. Advice still available. You can go to mediation and still choose to have a lawyer give you legal advice. Control. You and your spouse—not the court—control the process. Communication. The mediation process encourages communication between you and your spouse, helping you avoid future conflicts. Successful mediation makes the rest of your divorce easier: Because you’ve done all the hard work of hammering out the details in the mediation, you can file an “uncontested” divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive and faster than litigated divorces (divorces where the couple battles in court). With an uncontested divorce, you’ll save money on attorneys’ fees and the costs of going to trial. Also, many courts fast-track uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance, meaning that a judge will be able to finalize your divorce faster than if you’d gone to trial. There are many reasons that make divorce mediation attractive to couples but it is not for everyone. In order to have a successfully mediated divorce, both parties must be willing to work together and compromise in a civil exchange to come to an agreement. Reaching an amicable divorce can be difficult in relationships where spouses do not share similar goals or ideas about property division, child custody, or other important aspects of their divorce. Additionally, in situations where emotions are high and discussions are strained, mediation may not be the most efficient manner to reach a divorce agreement. There are other options such as collaborative divorce, arbitration, and of course litigation for couples that mediation does not work for. Contact us today to get the answers you are looking for about divorce in Houston, TX and surrounding areas. Experienced Family Law Attorney in Houston, TX Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Our team is dedicated to helping you and your family move forward without legal matters complicating your life. Contact our law office to explore your options for traditional marriage divorce and common law divorce, and find out how we can help you resolve any legal problems you are currently facing.

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