As a family law firm, we have worked with numerous clients. Some of them are at the beginning of their journey and are only just beginning to consider divorce; others are further along, and are ready to begin the process, but need help in doing so.
Being stuck in a toxic or unhappy marriage can be extremely difficult, especially if you are dealing with problems with your other spouse. Extramarital affairs, financial problems, mental illness, and simple irreconcilable differences are all reasons that people have come to us for a divorce.
Sometimes the fault lies with one spouse, and sometimes both spouses are equally to blame.
Here at Skillern Firm, as a Houston divorce and family law firm, we have worked with countless clients to help them get through their divorce as quickly and as conflict-free as possible without sacrificing their rights or needs.
We have worked with toxic and abusive partners, utilizing mediation when face-to-face meetings are no longer productive and viable. This allows couples to overcome impasses and come to amicable agreements, reducing the need for court involvement. This saves you time and money and protects your relationships as much as possible. This is the healthiest way to end the marriage, especially if you have children involved.
If you are considering divorcing your spouse and need help and advice regarding the divorce process, get in touch today at 936-213-8479.
The Legal Grounds for Divorce
There are seven legal grounds for divorce in Texas:
This is the main reason given for divorce in Texas. Insupportability means that you can no longer live together, make decisions together, or that you have a “discord or conflict of personalities” that has prevented any “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
Some marriages end naturally, with two spouses growing apart, but it often happens when a marriage becomes toxic due to one spouse, meaning the other spouse can no longer cope with the marriage and the behavior that the other spouse is exhibiting.
If you have told your husband they need to change and they refuse to work with you through channels such as marriage counseling, you can use insupportability as your reason for divorcing him.
Your Husband has Cheated on You
The biggest sign of disrespect to you and the commitments that you have made together is if your husband has cheated on you. If they have, you may need to consider the fact that they are toxic and have no respect for you and your marriage.
Adultery is one of the legal reasons for divorce in Texas.
Your Husband has Abandoned You
If your husband has abandoned you and remained away for at least 12 months, this is a legal reason for divorce in Texas. Abandonment is defined as the act of one spouse leaving the marital home with no intention of returning. This can also include leaving without providing financial support for an extended period and refusing to communicate with their spouse.
Your Husband has Committed a Felony Crime
If your Husband has committed a felony crime, then under Texas law, you can seek a divorce. In this case, you would have to provide evidence of your husband’s crime. This could include a copy of the criminal conviction, as well as any other relevant documentation. The court must also find that the felony was committed against you or that it significantly harmed your relationship.
Your Husband has been Confined to a Mental Hospital
This requires that your husband has been confined in a state or private mental hospital for at least three years plus the mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if an adjustment occurs, relapse is probable.
You and Your Husband have been Living Apart
If you and your husband have been living apart for a period of 3 years or more, then you can divorce for this reason under Texas law. This means you have not been living together as husband and wife. You must be able to provide proof, such as witness testimony or documentary evidence, to a court of law that you and your husband have been living apart for at least 3 years.
If your husband has been abusive, mentally or physically, then you have grounds to divorce because of their behavior. Cruelty is defined as treatment that endangers the physical or mental well-being of the other spouse. This must be verified by providing evidence, such as medical records, police reports, or witness statements.
Signs of an Unhappy or Toxic Marriage
If your husband is exhibiting toxic behavior, and you can no longer trust them or come together to make important decisions, it is likely you are in a toxic marriage.
A toxic marriage can be characterized by a constant level of conflict and argument, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or manipulation by one or both parties, a lack of intimacy, both emotionally and physically, and a lack of respect.
Toxic marriages can range in their severity and may start with small issues, such as poor communication, jealousy, and unhappiness in the relationship.
Here are some of the signs:
You no longer feel safe and secure in your relationship
You fear for your safety, or the safety of your children
You or your spouse cheated
You no longer feel attraction or love towards your partner
You don’t trust them anymore
Chronic substance abuse
Reasons For Divorce
If your husband is engaging in toxic behavior, you may feel guilty about the feelings that begin to arise. You may begin to feel slightly anxious or find them less attractive than you used to, or you may wish to spend more time apart.
As a result of working with countless women both before, during, and after the divorce process, here are some toxic behaviors that your husband may be engaging in that validate your reasoning.
Remember, no matter how small these reasons may seem, your feelings are valid, and you should know that you are not “crazy, silly, or stupid,” no matter what your partner says.
Your Husband Gets Angry with Little Provocation
A toxic husband may flip out and lose their temper with no warning signs or reason. If they are physically abusive or use their size to intimidate you, this can be scary and leave you walking on eggshells around them at all times. This is not good for your mental health, and if you have any children, you may worry about what may happen.
You Have Begun to Suffer From Anxiety, Depression, or Other Mental Illnesses
If, as a result of the behavior your spouse is exhibiting, you have begun to feel anxious or depressed, then you need to consider seeking professional help. A healthy relationship should be a safe place and if it is not and it is causing you harm, you should consider removing yourself from it.
Even if you are not currently suffering from mental illness, if your marriage is exhausting you and you are constantly stressed and tired, you are at a drastically higher chance of developing a mental illness.
You Hide Your Whereabouts from Your Husband
If you feel you have to lie to your husband about your whereabouts because they may get angry or try to control your movements, this is a bad sign as it is manipulative behavior that can very easily become emotional abuse. Often, abuse takes the form of a husband forcefully taking their partner’s phones, credit cards, or car keys.
You should be free to spend time with your friends and away from your husband without their permission, and if you do so, they should be fully supportive of you.
Your Husband Blames You for Everything that Goes Wrong in Their Lives
Toxic people often play the victim in everything that goes wrong, deflecting blame onto their spouses. If your husband blames you for things that go wrong in their lives, this may be a sign that your partner is a narcissist.
You Have to Defend Your Husband to Your Family, Friends, or Colleagues
If you find yourself regularly protecting your husband and hiding, lessening, or defending their actions when you speak to your friends and family, this is a sign that their behavior is unacceptable. Friends and family can see what is happening from an unbiased and outside perspective, so if you are constantly defending your husband’s actions, this could be a sign that something is off in your marriage.
You Go Out of Your Way to Spend More Time With Your Children than Your Spouse or to Spend Time out of the House
You may find you start spending a lot more time with your kids without your spouse. You may take them to the park a lot more or plan activities that do not involve your spouse. If you do not have kids, you may find yourself planning more trips out, or you may find ways to make a small trip to the shop or bank an all-day task to avoid going back to your husband.
If you and your husband no longer spend quality time together or plan for dates and time alone, then this is a sign you may not be in a healthy marriage.
You Do Not Go To Your Husband for Support
Married life should mean that when you need emotional support, you can go to your husband. If, when you go to your husband, he does not listen, belittles you, or tells you your problems are stupid or silly, this shows blatant disrespect to you. It is important to draw the line and be very clear that this kind of behavior is not acceptable.
Your Husband Controls, Manipulates, or Gaslights You
A controlling husband may try to control your movements, your money, your friends, and who you spend time with. They may also manipulate you, by engaging in behaviors such as gaslighting, which is when your husband tells you that your version of events is wrong, making you question your own memories.
This is toxic behavior at best, and at worse, it is emotional abuse.
You Have Given Your Husband Plenty of Chances
If you have already made a stand and have confronted your husband on their behavior or toxicity, and they have promised you they will change but have shown no inclination of doing so, you are only enabling them if you allow this to continue. It is important to be aware of when enough is enough and to set boundaries that you are both clear on. If your husband continues to act in an unhealthy manner, it may be time for you to seek legal advice from a divorce attorney.
Your Husband is Physically Abusing You
Domestic violence is unacceptable, whether it comes in the form of physical abuse or emotional abuse. If you are being abused, or your spouse is being abusive to your children or family, you must reach out for help.
By contacting an attorney, you can ensure that you have a plan of action, which is always important when divorcing an abusive partner. If your attorney knows of their actions, they can make sure the courts know about them too. They can help you file a protection order, and they can ensure that your spouse knows that their behavior has been noted.
If you need advice, call the national domestic violence hotline and seek professional help.
Your Husband is No Longer Intimate
Your husband may no longer ask you about your day, consider your feelings, or engage in other acts of intimacy, and this can lead to resentment and a feeling of inadequacy. If your relationship involved a lot of sexual intimacy and that has stopped, or your partner withholds sex as manipulation, then this is a red flag.
A lack of physical intimacy or emotional intimacy, sexual or not, is a perfectly valid reason for you to divorce your husband, and you should not let them convince you otherwise.
Is There Any Chance of Saving Your Marriage?
Deciding to save your marriage when you are going through marital problems should not be a one-sided decision, so the answer to this question most likely depends upon your partner and not you. If you wish to save your marriage, and you have attempted to get your husband to engage in counseling or to correct their behavior, and they have refused to do so, you may not wish to waste your time trying to reconcile.
If you are not making progress with your husband, it may be time to seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer and begin to put a plan in action to leave the marriage. They will be able to help you put your plan together, advise you on your best steps and when the time is right, start the process of divorce.
Making the first steps to file can put you at an advantage, so it may be in your best interests to speak to an attorney before you tell your husband.
How to Leave a Marriage
Ending a marriage is a difficult decision, one that should not be made lightly. However, if you are no longer respected and you are unhappy in your marriage, and your partner refuses to work together on reconciling, you need to consider your own health and mental well-being, as well as your future.
Seeking support is always important when leaving a marriage. Your divorce attorney should be part of your support team but you may also want to speak to a therapist or counselor to help you work through any negative feelings or doubts.
Involving a divorce attorney at the earliest possible moment is massively important for those that are leaving an abusive relationship, as it can provide some modicum of protection.
Create a Plan
You will need to consider your plans for what happens whilst the divorce is going through. If you are worried about your spouse and their reaction, you may not wish to carry on living in the house you once cohabited.
If you are seriously concerned about their reaction and behavior, you may be able to ask your lawyer to file a protection order for you and your children if you have any.
The Divorce Proceedings
Many narcissistic spouses are so oblivious to what is going on or so focused on their own ego, that they cannot comprehend that their spouse may serve them with divorce papers. This means that when you do, their reactions may be unpredictable, and if they are so inclined, they may become aggressive toward you.
They may also try to engage in manipulation while the divorce is going through, fixing their behavior temporarily or trying to win you back.
Avoid engaging with this behavior, as this is the best possible thing to do.
If you have children, you need to make sure that you consider them in your plans. You must be aware that your spouse may try to influence them and alienate you if you decide to divorce him. He may do this by acting like you are the angry, mean one in front of your children and hiding his temper or abuse when they are around.
Unfortunately, your best way to fight this is to not engage in the same behavior. When it comes to your child custody arrangement, your attorney can ensure the Judge is made aware of their behavior, and as the courts frown upon alienation, this may play in your favor.
Qualities To Look For in A Divorce Lawyer For Women
If you are considering seeking legal representation from a divorce attorney, the decision on who to choose is an important one. Many women have never had the need for a lawyer or legal representation before and may not know what qualities to look for. A good divorce attorney for women can help you fight for a brighter future and will reassure you that your reasons to divorce your husband are valid and in your best interests.
Here at Skillern Firm, as divorce and family law attorneys, these are the particular qualities that we aspire to.
Proven Track Record
As a good attorney, we can provide you with a long list of our victories. We have won cases for countless women just like you, allowing them to leave their marriages with the most favorable results for their future.
We always recommend that anyone choosing a potential attorney should not only take their word but check their rating and reviews on AVVO, an independent review site. As attorneys have no control over their ratings on AVVO, this means you can get an unbiased opinion. AVVO rates attorneys based on their years of service, reviews from peers, accolades and awards, and client reviews.
There are a number of attorneys here at Skillern Firm who can boast a score of 10.0, the top score you can be awarded on AVVO. This shows our approach to family law and divorce is simply unrivaled.
Helping you and your spouse come to amicable agreements together through negotiation or utilizing mediation when sitting down together is no longer possible is our top priority, as it saves time and energy.
However, sometimes, this is not possible, and court involvement becomes crucial. When this happens, you need to ensure that your attorney is a skilled and tested trial lawyer, which every attorney on our team at Skillern Firm is. We can protect your rights in family court, have experience with local Judges, and we will fight tooth and nail to ensure you walk away with a favorable outcome.
Skills in Negotiation and Mediation
The time commitment for a contested divorce that requires court involvement on multiple issues can be long. This means avoiding court involvement is always the best approach.
When most women come to us, they are often under the belief that there is no chance of coming to amicable agreements with their husbands due to the conflict they are currently in.
However, our attorneys are all extremely skilled at negotiation practices, helping you and your spouse discuss things in a calm and collected manner, and if that is not possible, we may employ mediation.
Mediation is when you and your attorney are in one room, and your spouse and their attorney are in another room. The mediator will handle all communication between the two rooms. This means the discussions are much less likely to break down and become unproductive.
Here at Skillern Firm, we ensure that every attorney on our team has the skills necessary to mediate and negotiate in even the most high-emotion situations.
Mediation has many benefits, including:
Saves money, as court proceedings are very expensive
Saves time because, without it, you could wait for many months between court dates
Protects children from a long court battle
Helps to foster an amicable relationship between you and your ex-spouse
Gives you more freedom to come to personalized arrangements that are not dictated by a Judge
Here at Skillern Firm, we know the importance of selecting the right attorney to allocate to your case, depending on your specific case and needs.
If you have been suffering from domestic abuse, we have attorneys that have spent much of their professional time handling cases involving conflict and domestic violence. If you have children, we have attorneys who lean more towards protecting family relationships.
If your marital estate involves high-value assets, you will need an attorney who is skilled in the division of such assets.
We are proud of our diverse team of attorneys here at Skillern Firm, as it means you have the right lawyer for the job at all times.
Ensure You and Your Attorney Get Along
It is important that you take the time to get a feel for your attorneys’ personalities. You may find that even the best attorney for the job is not one you feel comfortable discussing your personal life with.
You may be spending a lot of time with your attorney in the coming years, and this means it is important that you are comfortable around them.
Our team understands this and will not be offended if you ask for a different attorney. For example, some women simply prefer to be represented by other women, and we are more than happy to accommodate requests like this. Equally, we will not be offended if you simply dislike our personalities and will be happy to provide you representation from another attorney.
As skilled divorce attorneys, we often have a full caseload and this means we are always busy. However, we always ensure that we manage our caseload in a way that means each client will receive the time their case deserves.
We always take the time to build a relationship with our clients that inspires trust and confidence, and part of that is making sure we respond quickly to your queries, calls, and emails. We also endeavor to keep you educated and informed throughout your case, so you are never left wondering what is going on currently.
So national attorneys will claim that they can represent you no matter where you are. In our opinion, this is not normally the case. In family law cases, having a knowledge of local courts and Judges, as well as knowledge of local attorneys that may be representing your spouse, is invaluable.
A national attorney may not even be able to physically represent you, and they may not have a comprehensive knowledge of the laws of Texas.
We only operate in Texas, and this means that our in-depth knowledge of the local courts and laws puts you at an advantage.
Our practice areas cover Houston, Sugar Land, Fort Bend County, Harris County, Cypress, Katy, and Montgomery County.
Experience in Domestic Violence
If you have suffered domestic abuse at the hands of your husband, it is important that you speak to an attorney that is delicate and compassionate about your problems. It is often scary for women to leave abusive marriages, especially if there are children involved, and we will do everything we can to provide you with the support and help you need to do so.
Our Female Divorce Attorneys For Women
As many women prefer to deal with female attorneys exclusively, we are happy to provide this service.
Our team includes a number of highly skilled female attorneys with unique skill sets, such as:
Robin W. Klein – Senior Counsel
One of our female attorneys, Robin Klein, has dedicated 13 years of her professional career to family law. With numerous achievements, such as Board Certification in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which has only been achieved by 1% of family law lawyers in Texas, she is well equipped to deal with any family law matter.
Robin Klein, as a mother herself, understands with crystal clarity the difficulties that you may face as a woman and/or a mother. She is dedicated to helping women, particularly those that have suffered domestic violence or financial insecurity.
Kathleen has been selected by her peers as a Houstonian Top Attorney in 2018, and as a Texas Rising Star attorney for 2019, 2020, and 2021. She has been involved in the LGBTQ community for a decade and is proud to support her LGBTQ clients through their family law journeys. Kathleen is an avid sports fan and follows the Houston Astros and Texans with enthusiasm, along with her husband, son, and two dogs.
Skillern Firm – Divorce and Family Law Advocacy from a Team You Can Trust
Skillern Firm is proud of its reputation as a trustworthy and successful family law and divorce firm. We have won countless cases, helped numerous spouses negotiate terms of their divorces, and worked with many women who needed our help and support to end their marriages.
We will fight on your behalf to ensure that you can look forward to a happy new future. We won’t settle for less, and we won’t rest until we have secured you a favorable outcome, one where your rights are protected, and your best interests are preserved.