San Antonio Divorce Attorney
Getting a divorce can be among the most stressful and challenging times in your life. Sometimes, marriages simply don’t work out, and the time will come that you and your spouse may just have to go your separate ways. But a divorce often presents a series of financial and legal challenges that you will need to navigate and work out.
A divorce can last for many months – sometimes years – and we know from experience that the longer it takes, the greater the emotional damage and stress it can bring to families that are just trying to move on with their lives. Likewise, the choice to get a divorce can be hard, particularly if there are minor children involved.
At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, we completely understand how emotionally and financially draining the divorce process can be, so we strive to make it as efficient and swift as possible while working within the confines of the law. However, we also know that you can’t risk rushing into an unfair settlement agreement.
Whatever you’re going through, our experienced San Antonio divorce attorney can provide sound legal counsel, give your case personalized attention, and help you determine the right solutions for the following issues that you may have in a divorce:
- Uncontested divorce
- Contested divorce
- Complex divorce
- Child custody, support, and visitation
- Property and debt division
- Spousal maintenance
- Temporary orders
- Family violence
- Adoption issues
- Modifications, enforcements, and other post-decree matters
Our San Antonio divorce attorney will handle all the negotiations and paperwork to help ease some of the burdens off your shoulders. Ultimately, we aim to help you make vital decisions that will ensure your rights are protected and, in your family’s, best interests.
Filing for Divorce in Texas
Grounds for Divorce
No-fault divorces are allowed in Texas, which means that the spouse requesting a divorce doesn’t need to provide any proof that the other spouse did something wrong. However, courts can consider fault when making property division and child custody decisions.
If you’re filing for divorce, you can choose to include fault. Texas recognizes the following fault reasons:
- Cruel treatment
- Abandonment for a year, minimum
- Incarceration for a year, minimum
- Estrangement due to living separately for three years, minimum
- Mental hospital confinement for three years, minimum
One of the divorcing spouses must have lived continuously in Texas for six months or longer. You must likewise file in a particular county within the state. In addition, at least one of you must have resided continuously in the county for a minimum of 90 days where you’re filing for divorce.
You and your spouse can agree on how to divide property amongst yourselves. But if this isn’t possible, the court will step in and make decisions for you. The courts in Texas presume that all income and property that either spouse acquired during their marriage belongs to both spouses equally, which means that the court will divide the couple’s property equally and fairly between them. This also means that the court will equally divide all the debts the spouses incurred during their marriage.
The court must also determine which assets or properties are separate, meaning properties that only one spouse owns. For instance, all property you obtained before getting married is considered separate property. However, you will need to provide clear evidence for the court to declare a property separate and not marital or community property.
When deciding on property division matters, the court has the discretion to distribute marital property based on factors they deem important. For instance, it may take into account factors, including each spouse’s overall health, earning potential, present employment, and which spouse would be mainly responsible for caring for the children (if applicable).
The child custody law in Texas supports continuing and frequent contact between the children and parents, parents sharing the duties and rights of raising their children, and a safe, nonviolent, and stable environment for children. It would be best if you and your spouse could create a parenting plan that details relevant custody and visitation matters. The court will accept your parenting plan unless it determines that it’s not in your children’s best interests.
The court must then decide how to resolve any custody or visitation disputes. It must likewise consider any evidence of child abuse (whether proven or falsely reported) and the child’s wishes if they’re at least 12 years old.
The non-custodial parent is normally ordered by the court to pay child support – to be used solely for the child’s needs – to the custodial parent. The guidelines for support amounts include:
- One child – 20% of the parent’s net monthly resources
- Two children – 25% of the parent’s net monthly resources
- Three children – 30% of the parent’s net monthly resources
- Four children – 35% of the parent’s net monthly resources
- Five children – 40% of the parent’s net monthly resources
The net monthly resources are gross income minus any union dues, tax deductions, or insurance payments for the child.
For spousal maintenance or alimony, the court can order payments to one spouse if that spouse doesn’t have enough money or assets to financially support themselves after a divorce. One of these conditions must also be met:
- The recipient spouse is physically or mentally disabled.
- There’s a history of family violence.
- The marriage lasted for a minimum of 10 years, and the recipient spouse can’t earn a decent wage to support themselves.
- The recipient spouse is the custodial parent, and the child requires special or extra supervision, care, support, and accommodations due to a physical or mental disability, making it harder for the recipient spouse to work and earn enough money for themselves and the child.
Considerations for Estate Planning After a Divorce
Even if you think that your marriage will last forever or you have your whole life ahead of you, you must consider having an estate plan in place just to be safe. This is particularly true if you have children to help ensure that they’re provided for when you pass away. Likewise, divorced couples will have to reevaluate their estate plans. There are some crucial things to consider when you’re going through a divorce and are amending or creating an estate plan:
- Prioritize your children (if applicable) above all else. You’ll have to make plans for guardianship and trusts for your children. Keep in mind that getting a divorce will affect these plans.
- Take note that the property you inherit while waiting for your divorce will be considered separate property, which means that it will not be subject to community property rules.
- Unless you state in your will, your ex-spouse and their relatives will no longer be considered your survivors.
Texas Divorce FAQs
What if my spouse does not want to divorce?
It doesn’t really matter. Texas follows the no-fault divorce rules, which means that fault is not needed to file for divorce, and your spouse can’t stop you from filing for divorce as well.
Should I stay or leave home during the divorce process?
It depends on your situation. You must consider many things when weighing your options, including:
- Who will live with the children pending the divorce
- Whether you’re financially capable of keeping the home
- Whether you plan on selling or keeping the house
If you and your spouse can agree on which one of you should stay, great. But if sanity or safety is a concern, staying home might not be the best option for you.
Can I get a legal separation instead of divorce?
Texas doesn’t offer legal separation. Instead, the court can provide you with temporary orders to keep things between you and your spouse as stable as possible while you’re going through the divorce process. These orders can cover custody, support, and visitation, among others.
Will I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
While some divorces don’t require a lawyer, keep in mind that if you represent yourself, the court will hold you to the same exact standard as a lawyer, which means that you must be knowledgeable of the divorce laws that may apply to your case and the courtroom procedures. Likewise, all divorces will require a hearing or two, depending on the issues that need to be resolved.
You need to get everything right in terms of negotiating with your spouse and their lawyer. At the very least, consider discussing your specific case with a lawyer before deciding on going through the divorce process on your own.
Seek Legal Guidance From Our Experienced San Antonio Divorce Attorneys Now
Filing a divorce in Texas can be an overwhelming and complex process. However, if you and your spouse can agree to all your divorce issues, you will save a lot of time and resources. Otherwise, our San Antonio divorce attorneys can provide you with legal guidance. If you’re going through a divorce or considering one, get in touch with Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC.
We represent clients in San Antonio and the surrounding cities. We always try our very best to resolve disputes and issues as quickly as the law and circumstances will allow, but when really needed, our San Antonio divorce attorneys are ready to litigate and fight for your legal rights in court. Please call 210-222-9132 or contact us online to arrange your appointment today.