Divorce Lawyer in Montgomery County, TX
The day you married the love of your life, it’s not likely you thought your relationship would go awry and you would face divorce. Whether you chose to file, your spouse chose to file, or you suspect the decision to divorce is in your near future, you likely are feeling a range of emotions from anger and frustration to grief and sadness. You might also feel uncertain about what to do next.
Sometimes couples try to fill out paperwork and go through the divorce process alone. They mistakenly assume they will save time, money, and hassle by avoiding lawyers. This does work in rare cases, often when couples have no assets or have only been married a short time. However, in the vast majority of divorces, it’s in a person’s best interest to hire a family dispute lawyer to dissolve their marriage. Even semi-amicable situations can take a bad turn when disagreements occur about asset division and child custody.
Your rights matter when you go through a divorce, and the only way to protect them is to hire an experienced family dispute attorney to represent you through your divorce proceedings. Divorce attorneys have specialized knowledge of the law, giving them the ability to apply the law to each case to protect the interest of their clients. The experienced divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm have extensive experience representing Montgomery County, Texas residents during divorces. We help protect clients in various situations related to their divorces, including protecting valuable assets, businesses, child custody, child support, investments, and the complex division of marital assets.
If you live in Montgomery County, Texas, and divorce is on your horizon, you need to immediately consult with a skilled divorce lawyer. The compassionate legal team at Skillern Firm is here to help. Contact us today online or at 281-915-2674 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss the details of your divorce case and determine the best way to move forward.
Fault Divorce vs. No-fault Divorces in Montgomery County, Texas
Texas couples have the option to choose to file either a fault or no-fault divorce. No-fault divorces are comparatively simpler than fault divorces and typically are quicker and less costly. During fault-based divorce proceedings, the person who filed has to burden to prove their partner did something wrong to damage their marital relationship, which complicates and drags out the process. Sometimes a person chooses to file for a fault divorce because judges have more authority to divide assets unequally based on the specific justification for the divorce. If your partner has filed for a fault divorce or you want to file for a fault divorce, you need an experienced family dispute lawyer to build the strongest case possible against your spouse, protect your share of marital assets, and protect your rights concerning other issues.
Texas law outlines specific situations that serve as justification for the dissolution of marriage. Below, we cover them for each type of divorce.
Grounds for Filing for a Fault Divorce in Montgomery County, Texas
As previously mentioned, filing for a fault divorce in Montgomery County requires proving by clear and convincing evidence to the court that your spouse did something to damage your marriage. Many scenarios can provide grounds for a fault divorce. Although photos and videos serve as proof, so do police reports, medical records, other important documents, and testimony from experts and other witnesses. Montgomery County residents who choose to file a fault divorce typically rely on one of the following grounds:
Cruel treatment is defined as treatment of a nature that renders further living together insupportable. When a partner in a marriage suffers to the point that living together is intolerable, cruelty is often the grounds for a fault divorce. Different people have different ideas of cruelty, so Texas courts review each case’s facts to determine whether cruelty existed in the marriage. Each situation is different, but as a general rule of thumb, most Texas judges will grant a dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty if one partner willfully harmed their spouse emotionally or physically. It is far more than just not liking the person you are married to.
Texas case law defines adultery as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person outside the marriage. If you have clear and convincing proof your spouse was having a physical affair, you could have grounds for a fault-based divorce for adultery. Your spouse also has grounds if they have proof of you having an affair, even if the relationship occurred after filing divorce papers. It’s best to postpone all romantic relationships until after you have finalized your divorce.
The court will accept a variety of items for proof of adultery. They include:
- Photographic evidence
- Bank statements
- Receipts for jewelry, travel, or other gifts
- Lease agreements
- Mortgage documents
- Car loans
Felony Conviction of a Crime
You have grounds for a fault divorce in Montgomery County if your partner has been convicted of a felony crime, and must have served at least one year in federal or state prison, and cannot be pardoned. The exception to this rule is if you testified against your spouse, which led to his or her conviction. You can still file for divorce in these cases, but it’s unlikely a Texas court will grant you one on the fault-based grounds of a felony conviction.
If you or your partner leaves for at least one year, you have grounds for divorce based on abandonment. Although the leaving must be intentional without the desire to return and reconcile. In situations, like military deployment, where a spouse leaves for a year, the other partner does not have grounds for abandonment because the partner does not intend to stay away.
Grounds for Filing for a No-fault Divorce in Montgomery County, Texas
Texas couples seeking a divorce are more likely to choose a no-fault divorce when they have the option. A no-fault diverse typically is not as costly and does not take as long as fault divorce, making it an attractive option for dissolving a marriage. The person who files does not have to provide evidence of wrong-doing, and they can avoid some emotionally charged exchanges that are often part of fault divorces. Even though you need not prove wrongdoing, you still must provide the reason for your divorce to the court. Common grounds for no-fault divorces in Montgomery County, Texas include:
Other states refer to insupportability as irreconcilable differences. Insupportability is the notion that you and your spouse can no longer stomach being married to one another because of conflict. It’s the realization that you have grown so far apart that you cannot reconcile. Insupportability is the most common reason for partners seeking a no-fault divorce when they live in the same home.
It’s not uncommon for married couples to choose to separate before filing for divorce. Sometimes they might take some space with the intention of working things out. Other times, they know their marriage is over, so they physically part ways. However, couples who choose to live apart also need to end their marriage legally. Once a couple has lived separately for at least three years without any cohabitation, either party can file for a no-fault divorce on grounds of living apart.
Confinement to a Mental Hospital
If your spouse has a mental condition that requires confinement to an in-patient psychiatric facility, you have grounds for a no-fault divorce. Your spouse must reside in the facility for at least three years for a judge to grant the dissolution of your marriage based on confinement to a mental hospital. Your spouse must suffer a permanent condition or demonstrate that it’s likely he or she will relapse.
Residency Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Montgomery County
You must meet certain residency requirements before you or your spouse can file for a divorce in Montgomery County. You or your spouse must be a Texas resident for at least six months and a Montgomery County resident for at least 90 days before you can file for divorce. Texas law has two exceptions to these requirements:
- If you and/or your spouse must leave Montgomery County or Texas for a public service obligation, such as military deployment, it does not cancel your Montgomery County residency. OR
- A person not previously a resident of this state who is serving in the armed forces of the United States and has been stationed at one or more military installations in this state for at least the last six months and at a military installation in a county of this state for at least the last 90 days, or who is accompanying the person’s spouse during the spouse’s military service in those locations and for those periods, is considered to be a Texas domiciliary and a resident of that county for those periods for the purpose of filing suit for dissolution of a marriage.
Spousal Support in Montgomery County Divorces
Alimony, spousal support, spousal maintenance, or whatever other words you want to use to describe financial payments to an ex-spouse is not automatic in Texas divorces. Support is intended to help the recipient meet minimum reasonable needs after a divorce. Judges do not automatically award support. If you are requesting alimony or your spouse is seeking support from you, the court needs the following information before they decide on alimony payments:
- Show domestic violence or child abuse
- Whether the receiving spouse has a disability that prevents him or her from working
- Whether the receiving spouse has custody of a disabled child that makes working outside the home difficult if not impossible
- Whether the couple was married for at least ten years and the recipient of support has the ability and skills to earn a livable wage
Texas courts need evidence that the recipient of spousal support has made a valiant effort to support themselves, or they will assume their partner does not owe them maintenance. If the recipient overcomes this assumption, the court will review the following facts to determine the amount of alimony:
- Ability to pay support
- Skills and education of each person
- Whether one person contributed to the education of his/her spouse
- Whether someone provided property to the marriage
- Whether someone provided domestic services during the marriage
- Length of the marriage
- Age, health, and ability of the recipient to earn income
- Whether either party committed bad acts against the other
A member of Skillern Firm’s experienced legal team can evaluate your situation and give you a better idea of what you can expect in terms of receiving or paying spousal support.
Child Conservatorship in Montgomery County
Child custody is sometimes more contentious than dividing assets in a divorce. Texas law and the judges who apply the law make every effort to put the best interest of a child as the top priority during divorce proceedings involving children. Yet, sometimes custody decisions do not make sense. If you and your spouse cannot decide to co-parent on your own or come to some other conservatorship and visitation arrangement, or you need to fight for custody, our team can help.
Texas requires you and the other parent to take a mandatory parenting class before granting a dissolution of your marriage. Additionally, judges look at the following factors when making decisions about conservatorship:
- Each parent’s home environment
- Each parent’s ability to provide care
- Each parent’s willingness to co-parent
- Each parent’s financial circumstances
- Each parent’s employment situation, especially working hours and out-of-town travel
- The child’s preference if over age 12
Custody battles are emotionally charged and sometimes get ugly. The court wants a child to have both parents in their life, so their default is to award joint conservatorship. Yet, some situations do not warrant joint custody. Courts will not order joint custody when one parent has neglected or abused a child.
A Montgomery County Divorce Attorney Can Help
It’s always smart to consult with a family dispute lawyer if you intend on filing for divorce or your spouse has filed, even if it is a no-fault diverse. Divorce lawyers help their clients in many ways, including:
- The Texas family court system can be complex. Your attorney understands the process and can protect you from costly mistakes by filling out paperwork correctly, meeting administrative dealings, and ensuring you receive fair treatment.
- Going through a divorce is an emotionally exhausting and taxing experience that sometimes leads to irrational behavior. Lawyers are objective parties who help their clients make rational decisions that are not out of revenge, anger, or other negative emotions.
- Family dispute lawyers, like all attorneys, have training and knowledge that makes them efficient problem-solvers. Attorneys review the facts of a case and look at it from all vantage points, sometimes leading to settlement options you or your spouse would not suggest.
- Divorce lawyers handle everything related to paperwork, such as creating documents and filing papers with the Montgomery County court. They ensure everything is done correctly, so their clients do not have to deal with delays when the court will not accept the paperwork.
An experienced Montgomery County divorce lawyer can handle the details of your divorce, protect your rights, and ensure you get fair treatment while you try to put your life back together and move on. Contact Skillern Firm today online or at 281-915-2674 to learn more about how we can help you.