When divorce clients contact me, the first two questions they typically ask is how long will it take and how much will it cost. Of course, there is no single answer for this as no two cases are alike. For example, a young couple with no children living in an apartment with few assets might file an uncontested divorce that will typically take 2-3 months. An older couple with a home and children, perhaps retirement accounts, with a contested divorce could take over one year. A Texas divorce cannot be concluded any faster than 60 days after it is filed.
Separating? Divorcing? Do not sign anything your spouse/partner asks you to sign, no matter how innocent it may appear, without consulting an attorney. Let me repeat: do not sign anything without consulting an attorney. Does that sound self-serving? Sure it does. But let me assure you that (1) words matter, even if what you are signing may not technically be a legal contract, or legally enforceable, and (2) because words matter, signing such a document may cost you infinitely more than an hour with an attorney. The following is one example of a recent case of a mother who did take the time to consult with me before signing an agreement proposed by her husband. We will shortly write about two clients who sadly, did not. Divorce is difficult enough without handcuffing yourself to a document you never should have signed.
According to psychiatrist, Dr. Edward Kruk, parental alienation in divorce involves the "programming" of a child by one parent to denigrate the other "targeted" parent, in an effort to undermine and interfere with the child's relationship with that parent, and is often a sign of a parent's inability to separate from the couple conflict and focus on the needs of the child. Such denigration results in the child's emotional rejection of the targeted parent, and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the life of the child.
Because the divorce process is unfamiliar to most people, the terminology can be daunting. Some terms are unfamiliar, some are often misunderstood. Our firm believes it is important our clients fully comprehend the key elements and language of divorce. The following is a glossary of terms and phrases related to divorce and the divorce process.
If you are male living together with a woman and have a child, what rights do you as an unmarried father have in Texas? To be succinct, the answer is "NONE", without a court order. Even if the father is designated as such on the birth certificate, the father has no enforceable rights. The child's mother is completely within her legal rights to refuse to allow the father to even see the child, let allow visitation or care. This is also true for the father's entire family, so that any grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., would also be unable to have any access without the mother's express permission. However, even if that permission were to be granted, it can be withdrawn arbitrarily at a moment's notice.
Choosing a lawyer can be challenging. First, the need for a lawyer is usually infrequent, less frequent than choosing other professionals like doctors or dentists. Secondly, it is difficult for lay people to assess the technical competence of professionals like doctors or lawyers. We usually make those judgments based on their "bedside manner" and whether we feel we can trust the individual. Finally, the need for a lawyer is frequently associated with a stressful situation, and it is well known that stress and anxiety can affect the quality of our decision-making.