The U.S. divorce rate is among the highest in the world. There are currently over 750,000 divorces in the U.S. each year. If you are considering divorcing your spouse, you are not alone. Our law firm specializes in divorce and family law legal issues. We offer more than just legal representation to our clients. Our divorce lawyers will work with you every step of the way to ensure you are not making brash or emotionally charged decisions in your case. Legal separation is not recognized in Texas, so do not waste time waiting to file for a petition of divorce. Instead, reach out to our family law attorneys. We have years of experience representing clients to get them the best results in their divorce case.
When you’re getting a divorce, you’ll need an attorney who is experienced in family law matters. A old college friend who now practices medical malpractice law isn’t likely to be the best choice to handle your divorce. Different areas of the law have different rules and requirements. Attorneys in each practice area have different skill sets. Divorce can be a complex process and it’s essential to have an attorney who knows the nuances of family law and is familiar with your local court’s rules and judges.
Can My Spouse and I Share an Attorney?
The short answer is “no.” The professional rules of conduct governing lawyers prohibit attorneys from representing both spouses in a divorce. This would create a conflict of interest for the attorney, since your interests, rights, and needs in a divorce are adverse to your spouse’s. A single attorney can’t ethically give good legal advice to two people in adverse positions.
While some couples choose to use a single attorney to draw up divorce paperwork, that attorney legally only represents one of the spouses. If your spouse has hired an attorney to prepare paperwork or a settlement agreement, it’s important that you seek advice about your rights from a your own attorney before signing anything.
How Do I Know If an Attorney Is the Right Fit?
You should interview any prospective attorney just as you would someone who was applying to work for you. You need to like your attorney. It’s also important that you have confidence in your lawyer’s abilities and respond well to communication style. Some lawyers pride themselves on an aggressive demeanor, while others highlight their ability to collaborate and settle most divorces without a drawn-out courtroom battle.
Your needs, your personality, and your spouse’s demeanor in the divorce will also affect the type of attorney best suited to your case. For example, if you and your spouse want to compromise and settle your divorce economically and quickly, you may want to avoid a “bulldog” type of attorney, meaning one that never gives in. Additionally, certain attorneys have collaborative law certifications and will commit to helping resolve your case rather than racking up legal fees.
The impact of domestic violence can be fairly negative on the physical and emotional well-being of any person. Therefore, courts take charges of domestic violence very seriously.
Protective Order: Also called a restraining order in some states, the victim of domestic violence can file for “Domestic Violence Restraining Order.” The victim may ask for a temporary or permanent Protective Order. These orders majorly include two types of orders from the court:
Stay-away orders: This implies no contact with the victim in any manner or restrained from being within a certain distance from the victim at home, at work, or at any other place the victim is known to visit often. These are also called ‘stay away’ orders.
No contact/Limited contact with children: The court may also direct the abuser to not contact or have limited/supervised contact with the children. Further, the custody of children may be exclusively granted to the victim in order to keep the children safe from abuse or being a witness to such abuse.
Child Custody: The first and the most important impact of domestic violence in a divorce proceeding is on child custody. If there is a consistent behavior showing domestic violence, then that spouse is less likely to get child custody. Further, if extreme allegations of domestic violence are proven then some judges may even order a complete prohibition on visitation. In other cases, the courts may order supervised visitation, or visitation only in public places, and even prohibit overnight visitation. The decision is made based on a child’s best interests. If it is proven that being a witness to domestic violence or being close to the abuser negatively impacts the child’s growth, then the court will consider domestic violence as a prominent factor in determining the custody rights of the child.
Division of Marital Assets: Courts usually take into account a spouse’s behavior during marriage to decide the division of marital assets. A larger share of marital assets may be awarded to the victim of domestic violence. If the domestic violence was related to economic or financial abuse, then the division of the assets will be more favorable to the victims of such abuse. For example, if the domestic violence consisted of mental abuse that impacted the victim’s ability to make or earn money, or caused a job loss to the victim, then the courts will usually award a larger share to the victim.
Alimony: Usually, a victim of domestic violence gets an upper hand in many aspects of the divorce proceeding. Similarly, in determining the amount of alimony, the court will look at the relevant allegations of domestic violence. If the domestic violence includes aspects related to economic or financial abuse, such as not letting the victim work so as make them financially dependent on the abuser, then the courts may grant higher alimony. Sometimes, even if the victim’s earning capacity was not affected, the courts may decide to grant alimony to victims of domestic abuse.
In divorce cases that domestic violence is present, it is especially important to work with an experienced divorce attorney that you can trust. Our team will help you to navigate this difficult time in your life while taking steps to legally protect you from further violence with your spouse. If you are interested in speaking with one of our attorneys to discuss the specifics of your case, schedule a consultation with Renken Law Firm in Houston today.
Best Divorce Attorney in Houston
Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.