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ReflectionDeciding to file for divorce can be arduous and stressful.  Occasionally that is because the filer is not aware of how the process works.  First, when the decision is made to initiate a divorce, there are certain requirements that need to be met.  For example, there are residency requirements in Texas.  Either spouse must live in the state for at least six months before filing.  Also, either spouse must have lived in the county where the suit is filed for the past 90 days.

After meeting with an attorney and discussing the divorce, that attorney will file an Original Petition for Divorce with the District Clerk of your county.  The spouse who initiates the divorce proceedings is called the petitioner and the other spouse is called the respondent.  The petition will list the grounds for divorce, children from the marriage, any protective orders existing against either spouse as well as a list of separate property not to be considered in the division of marital property.

The petition initiates the divorce proceedings in court, but does not notify the other spouse.  That is accomplished by a citation that is issued at the time the petition is filed.  A citation includes the case number, information about the court, addresses and names of the petitioner and respondent and the date when the citation was issued.   It also sets a deadline for the respondent to answer the lawsuit without a judgment being made by the court.


regretsThroughout life, people make mistakes. Occasionally, these mistakes are small and forgotten as soon as they are committed. Other mistakes have long lasting effects and are difficult to move past. Divorce can occasionally cause regrets but it is important to learn from mistakes and try not to make them again.

According to data compiled by Dr. Terri Orbuch, most divorced people cite common regrets from their relationships. The longitudinal study followed over 350 couples who were between 25 and 37 years old. Over 25 years, 46 percent of the couples divorced, and of those Orbuch asked them about the errors they made in their relationships. Mistakes that they realized were contributing factors to their divorce. Dr. Orbuch hoped to use her research as a teaching tool to help others in their marriages.

Fifteen percent of the divorcees responded that they should have given their spouses more positive attention. A kiss, a compliment and other kinds of affection can increase a spouse's mood and strengthen a marriage. Not letting your spouse know that you support them emotionally can have far reaching consequences. Once the feeling of love is gone, then the relationship might be next.


Posted on in Child Custody

LauraUpon filing for divorce in Texas, either party can request the court to enter a temporary order governing a specific matter, such as child support, until the final divorce decree is given. These temporary orders give some sense of order for how visitation and custody will look in the short term and what parents can expect. These short term orders can include details on child support, spousal support, property division, and possession and access.

After final custody orders have been given, many parents hope to be able to modify their custody schedule at some point in the future. Moving forward with plans to change a child custody order should not be done without the assistance of an attorney.

Judges in Texas evaluate the individual situations of each family to determine what custodial situation is in the best interests of the child. It is possible, however, that the situation has changed over time, thus meaning that a new custodial order could truly represent the best interests of the child. There are several circumstances under which parents might modify custody, including the following:


Posted on in Prenuptial Agreements

Although in many ways, the legal impact of same-sex marriage and same-sex divorce are relatively new to the field, a growing area of interest involves whether same-sex couples need prenuptial agreements. Many of the new couples moving toward marriage in the multiple states across the country that now allow same-sex marriage already have established financial assets. Even if these couples have been living together for a long time, the consideration of whether a prenuptial agreement may apply is a worthy discussion to have with an attorney.

LauraSimply put, it's likely that one or both individuals involved in the upcoming union has accumulated some assets over the course of their life. Entering into a marriage is an excellent opportunity to discuss their financial standing and determine whether prenuptial agreement could help to outline the guidelines for their union. Unfortunately, same-sex marriages will not be immune from divorce, and proper planning can go a long way towards reducing agony and financial instability down the line.

One special concern regarding same-sex marriages is when these individuals live in a community property state. In community property states, assets accumulated by the married couple are accessible to creditors of either spouse. In this way it's possible to view the assets of a newly married couple as being exposed to double the amount of potential creditors. For this reason, it can be critical to outline your wishes in a prenuptial agreement.


Going through a divorce is a hard enough thing to do on its own, throw children into the mix and it can become an extremely stressful situation.  Many people give advice on what to say to your kids when telling them about your divorce, "I will always love you", etc.  However, not many people know what you should not say when breaking the news to your children.

LaraDon't share too many details

Remember that your children are in fact children.  They do not need to be let in on the dramatic details and reasons for your divorce.  In many cases, kids will ask questions about what caused it.  If the questions become too much, you can always tell them that some of the reasons are "adult in nature."  Try to answer their questions without divulging too much information.


The cost of divorce doesn't always just refer to the price tag for an attorney's services. Especially for marriages in which one spouse was the primary earner, the process of sorting out the financials is difficult and sometimes complicated. Oftentimes women get stuck with a financial burden that's too much to bear. Knowing what to do before a divorce is essential for either spouse, but it's especially important that the non-primary earner take steps before a divorce to maintain financial solvency after the split. According to WIFE.org, "divorce is the largest single financial transaction of most people's lives." Important first steps include canceling all joint accounts and opening private accounts that your spouse doesn't have access to. In the same vein, before you separate (especially if the divorce is your idea, it's not necessarily slated to be amicable, and you're not the primary earner) WIFE.org suggests to "use joint funds to repair your automobile and home, buy clothes for yourself and your children, and other family expenses." Starting off the split with joint expenses paid will save arguments down the line as to who should be responsible for paying them.  Maintaining Financial Solvency Through Divorce IMAGE

Having said that, if you didn't prepare financially for divorce before the process was in full swing, it doesn't mean it's too late. According to CNN Money Magazine, the three most important "fixes" to financial insolvency after divorce are to "follow the money, reschedule retirement, and keep renting." To follow the money is to carefully (obsessively, even) track what you're spending and how you're spending it. Adjusting to a single income after becoming accustomed to two isn't necessarily an easy process. You can do "a thorough analysis of cash flow using a program like Quicken," according to CNN.

Retirement plans will likely have to be flexible upon divorce—that may mean working another five years, or planning to put away more into a 401k or other retirement plan each year. Another life plan that may have to be reconsidered is home ownership. For many divorced or divorcing couples it's smarter to keep renting and put the money you may have used on a down payment away for emergencies.


Posted on in Adoption

Rigs Dropbox photoAdoption plays a significant part in the life of Texas families. Adoption creates a parent-child relationship between the child and the adoptive parents for all purposes. Once the adoption is finalized, the adopted child is entitled to inherit from and through the adoptive partners as though the child were their biological child. Obviously, the opposite also holds true. That is, once the adoption is finalized, the adopting parent is responsible for the adopted child as though the child were their biological child. This means that in cases of divorce, the parent may be responsible for things like child support and other costs.

Texas has some specific requirements before an adoption can proceed. The child has to be residing in the state, and the parent-child relationship with the original biological parents is terminated (or in the process thereof). The Texas adoption statute provides for some additional scenarios where adoptions are possible.

Qualified adopting parents commence an adoption by filing a petition, which must meet certain prerequisites. In connection with the adoption, relevant agencies will conduct a pre-adoptive home screening and post-placement report.


Posted on in Spousal Support

LucyMany factors contribute to determining spousal support in Texas. These support payments may also alter other parts of the divorce agreement, such as property distribution. If an agreement on this issue is unable to be reached between spouses in Texas, the District Court will order the spousal support considering many factors before making a final decision. The court must decide the amount, duration, the nature, and the style of the periodic payments that will go from one spouse to the other based on the following factors:

  • The education level and job skills of each spouse
  • The efforts put forth by the spouse seeking support to pursue available employment
  • The ability to meet the personal needs of the spouse who must potentially pay the support
  • The financial resources of each of the spouses
  • The financial resources of the spouse who is seeking the spousal support, including any and all community and separate property liabilities given to that spouse in the divorce settlement, along with that spouse's ability to meet his or her own needs independently, without support
  • The contribution of either spouse as a homemaker
  • The earning ability, age, health condition and employment history of the support-seeking spouse
  • Any contribution that one spouse may have made to the education or earning ability of the other spouse
  • The length of time that the couple was married
  • The division of all of the marital assets
  • Pre-marital property of both spouses
  • Marital conduct of the spouse that is seeking spousal support from the other

If you are going through a divorce, or are considering it, and may have to deal with spousal support, contact a divorce attorney for assistance. Attorneys at the Powers and Kerr, PLLC can help you in Austin, Tex. today.

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