Houston Divorce Lawyer for Contested Divorce
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
A divorce proceeding is difficult for everyone involved, from the husband and wife to the children of the marriage. When both parties in a divorce cannot agree, the process is even more difficult. In such situations, it is prudent to seek the advice and guidance of a Houston divorce attorney. By going to court, a husband and wife are able to solve their problems in a more simple and efficient manner. Instead of wasting time and money debating their issues amongst themselves, couples involved in a contested divorce can receive an honest and fair decision in a courtroom.
What is Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce occurs when a husband and wife cannot come to an agreement on one or several issues involved in their proceeding. In most cases involving divorce in Texas, a Houston family law attorney will work with the spouses to determine an agreement over marital matters. If that agreement does not occur, the couple must take the case to court.
What Issues Does the Contested Divorce Process Address?
Since there are several issues to consider during a divorce, it is easy to understand how complications arise. Arguments can arise due to any of the following:
- Property Division – If you and your spouse enter into a written property division, the Courts will approve the agreement. The settlement agreement must include all assets (house, cars, stocks, bonds, retirement, etc.), and liabilities (mortgages, loans, credit cards, taxes, etc.). If the parties cannot agree on a division of property, then the Court will divide the parties’ community property “in a manner the Court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.”
- Spousal Support and Alimony – Texas has adopted “rehabilitation alimony,” which is called Court ordered maintenance. Generally, Court ordered maintenance may be awarded to a spouse if the marriage was of at least 10 years duration and the spouse who is seeking alimony lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs and is unable to support himself or herself.
- Child Support – The Texas Legislature also enacted the following child support guidelines:
- 1 child – 20 percent of obligor’s net resources
- 2 children – 25 percent of obligor’s net resources
- 3 children – 30 percent of obligor’s net resources
- 4 children – 35 percent of obligor’s net resources
- The definition of net resources is quite long. For most people, it means all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services, interest, dividends, royalty income, self- employment income and net rental income, less social security taxes and federal income tax withholding for a single person claiming one personal exemption and the standard deduction. The guidelines apply automatically to the first $8,550.00 of net resources per month. When net resources are above $8,550.00 per month, the Court has discretion to set additional child support. This is based on the needs of the child. The lifestyle of the recipient of child support is not a factor in determining the amount of child support.
- Child Custody and Visitation – In 1973, Texas adopted the Equal Rights Amendment. This specifically provided that in deciding custody cases, the Court shall consider “the qualifications of the respective parents without regard to the sex of the parent.” In 1987, the Texas Legislature adopted the following policy: It is the public policy of Texas to assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child, to provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child, and to encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
- Division of Debts – This includes any outstanding financial liabilities, such as mortgages, tax obligations, credit cards and loans.
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for Contested Divorce in Houston
Houston divorce attorney John K. Grubb is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Fore more than 30 years, he represented spouses with business interests and high incomes seeking uncontested and contested divorces. For more information about the contested divorce process, contact the Houston family law attorneys at John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. today.