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5 Surprising Reasons to Contest Your Divorce in Texas: What You Need to Know

A gavel with a book that says family court in the background.

If you’re thinking about an uncontested divorce in Texas, you might unknowingly forego some important benefits that can surely affect the final terms of your divorce. Contested divorces may seem more difficult, but they provide a structured way to deal with disagreements about various topics such as property, children, and support. Choosing a contested divorce allows you to look closely at each person’s contributions and rights, which is helpful when there’s a substantial disparity in income or finances. In a contested divorce, you can present and question evidence, ensuring all important facts are considered before making a final decision. This process may result in fairer outcomes compared to simpler, uncontested divorces.

By partnering with Skillern Firm, you gain access to experienced professionals with 160 years of combined experience who can guide you through contested divorces in Texas. Our team understands the importance of a detailed examination of each aspect, ensuring your rights are protected and a fair resolution is reached. Do not miss out on crucial advantages that can impact the final terms of your divorce.

Take the first step towards a well-informed and equitable divorce process by contacting us at 713-229-8855. Our compassionate team is ready to assist you, providing the support and experience you need during this challenging time. Let Skillern Firm be your trusted ally for a favorable resolution in your contested divorce.

Understanding the Differences: Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

When deciding to end a marriage, spouses have the option to pursue either an uncontested or contested divorce. The choice between these two paths can significantly impact the divorce process, duration, and emotional toll on both parties. Exploring all options with a qualified family law professional will provide the guidance needed to make informed decisions effectively.

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all the major issues, such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. This type of divorce is typically faster and less expensive than a contested one because it avoids a lengthy court battle. Uncontested divorces can often be completed without a trial, and the couple may never have to appear in court. While an uncontested divorce may appear to be the path of least resistance due to its simplicity, it often overlooks the opportunity for a thorough examination of major issues, potentially leading to inequitable solutions that may not be apparent until much later.

Contested Divorce

Conversely, a contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues. This leads to a more intricate process that involves court intervention to make decisions on the couple’s behalf. Contested divorces require a trial in which evidence is presented in Court, and both spouses may need to testify. Engaging in a contested divorce, while more complex, can be a positive step towards achieving a fair and equitable resolution. This type of divorce allows for a thorough legal process, including discovery, motions, and court appearances, which ensures that all aspects of the case are carefully examined and addressed. This comprehensive approach can ultimately lead to a more satisfying outcome for both parties involved.

Ultimately, the choice between an uncontested or contested divorce depends on the couple’s ability to collaborate and resolve their differences outside of court. Understanding the implications of each can help spouses make an informed decision that aligns with their situation and goals.

1. Maximizing Your Share of Marital Assets

In Texas, the division of marital assets during a divorce is guided by the community property model, which means all assets acquired during the marriage are eligible for division. However, the division is not always as straightforward as an equal 50/50 split. The property division is expected to be conducted in a way that is deemed ‘just and right’, which takes into account a variety of factors, as per Texas divorce laws.

One such factor is whether there are any fault grounds for the divorce. Evidence of adultery, for example, can impact the division of marital assets and can be substantiated through various means, including:

  • witness testimony
  • text messages
  • emails
  • other evidence demonstrating a spouse’s involvement in an extramarital relationship.

You can dispute the character and valuation of community property by:

  • Properly characterizing property as community or separate
  • Submitting appraisals or professional valuation assessments
  • Addressing equitable distribution issues

Such methods help to ensure a fair distribution of marital assets. In all these steps, a divorce attorney plays an indispensable role. A skilled divorce lawyer from Skillern Firm can help you maximize your share of marital assets and ensure your financial goals are protected.

2. Ensuring Fair Child Custody Arrangements

Contesting a divorce can also significantly influence the fairness of child custody arrangements. In Texas, child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child and take into account factors such as:

  • Parental involvement
  • Parental cooperation
  • The child’s emotional and physical needs
  • The relationship between each parent and the child

In a contested divorce, these factors can be examined more thoroughly, allowing for a more comprehensive consideration of the child’s well-being and the parents’ rights. A divorce attorney will advocate for your rights as a parent and ensure the custody arrangements are equitable and ideal for the child.

Furthermore, Skillern Firm offers the following services in family law:

  • Adoption
  • Child custody
  • Divorce
  • Mediation
  • Modifications
  • Enforcements

We adopt a personalized approach to family law, aiding parents in forging agreements that align with their family’s specific needs. In instances where modifications to child custody arrangements are necessary, we facilitate an agreement between the parents, always prioritizing the child.

3. Protecting Your Long-Term Financial Stability

Contesting a divorce is not only focused on the short-term resolution. A contested divorce focuses on your long-term financial stability too. In a contested divorce, there is an opportunity to properly address spousal support, hidden assets or debts, and other financial matters that could have long-term implications for your financial health.

Spousal support payments can be critical remedies in ensuring long-term financial stability post-divorce. A family law firm will assist in obtaining spousal support by establishing a security interest for the payments, enforcing court orders, and modifying spousal support agreements if there are changes in circumstances.

It is paramount to avoid financial pitfalls, such as not thoroughly considering all assets and debts, and failing to update beneficiary designations. Engaging competent professionals at Skillern Firm, setting up separate accounts, and consulting with us for guidance can help you avoid these pitfalls and safeguard your long-term financial stability.

4. Uncovering and Addressing Hidden Assets

Did you know that a contested divorce can also help uncover hidden assets? Hidden assets are any assets or funds deliberately concealed or omitted by one spouse. Such assets may involve:

  • currency
  • real estate
  • investments
  • businesses
  • other significant assets

If a spouse is found to have hidden assets, the court may mandate that they relinquish the innocent spouse’s portion of the assets.

A proficient attorney will reveal concealed assets through a thorough investigation and utilization of investigative tools during the divorce process. This level of scrutiny can ensure a fair division of assets and prevent financial manipulation by your spouse.

Once concealed assets are discovered, various procedures can be followed to address them. Here are some measures you can take:

  • Enlist the services of a forensic accountant
  • Initiate written discovery to request financial documents
  • Depose the spouse
  • Examine bank statements

Such measures will provide a comprehensive view of your spouse’s financial situation, ensuring that you receive your fair share in the divorce settlement, which can be formalized through a settlement agreement.

5. Challenging Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are often seen as ironclad, but did you know they can be challenged? If you believe a prenuptial agreement is unfair or unenforceable, contesting your divorce can provide an opportunity to challenge its validity.

In Texas, the law allows for prenuptial agreements to be contested under certain circumstances. For instance, a prenuptial agreement can be contested if it was not signed voluntarily or if it contains invalid or illegal provisions. These legal justifications can pave the way for a challenge to the prenuptial agreement.

At Skillern Firm, we have experience challenging prenuptial agreements by demonstrating valid legal grounds such as:

  • the agreement itself being invalid
  • one party being coerced or forced into signing the agreement
  • one party not fully disclosing their assets or debts
  • the agreement being unconscionable or unfair

Our experience in this area can be a valuable asset in divorces and we work diligently to protect your interests throughout the divorce process.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Given the intricate legal procedures in contesting a divorce, the need for legal representation becomes even more critical. A divorce attorney safeguards your interests by:

  • Advocating for your rights throughout the legal proceedings
  • Assisting in the gathering and assessment of marital assets
  • Offering valuable guidance to attain the most favorable resolution

Tackling intricate legal procedures is a daunting task. A divorce attorney plays a significant role in this process by:

  • Conducting case assessments
  • Devising legal strategies
  • Handling procedural aspects such as filing paperwork
  • Assisting in resolving issues like child custody, spousal support, and division of assets
  • Providing advice in legal, financial, and emotional considerations

Ultimately, the purpose of legal representation in a contested divorce is to work towards the most beneficial outcome for you. This is accomplished by emphasizing high-quality negotiation and trial strategies, as well as offering support during the divorce process.

How Skillern Firm Can Help You

Contesting a divorce may seem daunting but it can offer several advantages. From maximizing your share of marital assets to ensuring fair child custody arrangements, and from protecting your long-term financial stability to uncovering hidden assets, contesting a divorce can result in a more equitable resolution.

At Skillern Firm, we empathize with the stress and uncertainty accompanying divorce proceedings, especially when it comes to divorce in Texas. That’s why we’re committed to providing dedicated and experienced legal representation to handle not only your contested divorce but also other practice areas including high-asset divorce, child custody, paternity, father’s rights, mother’s rights, and LGBTQ divorce with our offices in Houston, Sugar Land, and Katy, Texas.

We offer negotiation, mediation, and litigation services tailored to your unique situation. Whether your case involves substantial assets, closely held businesses, or child custody matters, our team is prepared to handle it with the utmost professionalism and dedication, ensuring a strong attorney-client relationship.

Feel free to contact us by calling 713-229-8855 for a consultation. Let us be your trusted legal guide in this challenging time. We are committed to assisting you in achieving the most favorable resolution in your contested divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when a divorce is contested in Texas?

When a divorce is contested in Texas, the case will proceed to trial if the spouses are unable to reach an agreement through negotiation or mediation. At trial, a Judge will make decisions about the contested issues after hearing evidence from both parties.

Is it possible to settle a contested divorce outside of court in Texas?

Yes, it is possible to settle a contested divorce outside of court in Texas. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, allow for negotiations between both parties with the assistance of a neutral mediator. If the spouses are able to agree on all contested issues, they draft a settlement agreement that encapsulates the terms. The agreement is then submitted to the court for approval, potentially circumventing the need for a trial.

What factors are considered in child custody decisions in Texas?

In Texas, child custody decisions take into account factors such as the child’s best interests, parental involvement, cooperation, emotional and physical needs of the child, potential dangers, co-parenting ability, and the relationship between each parent and the child. These factors play a crucial role in determining the custody arrangement.

Can I contest the division of property if I think it’s unfair?

Yes, you can contest the division of property in a Texas divorce if you believe it is unfair. The court aims for a division that is ‘just and right’, which may not always mean equal. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, fault in the dissolution of the marriage, each spouse’s income, and future earning capacity are considered. If you feel the division is unjust, you can present evidence to support your claim and argue for a more equitable distribution.