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When you have decided that your marriage is no longer viable, planning how to proceed with an experienced attorney will make this entire process easier. Our experienced attorneys will ensure that you have taken all the necessary steps to preserve your legal rights. From the outset, every move you make will impact what kind of final order is obtained. What is best for the children? Should you move out? Can the other spouse be forced to move out? Will you lose your interest in the marital residence if you move out? In addition, you may ask about access to bank accounts and credit cards, and the use of the vehicles. Call today to set up a free consultation and plan out the steps with experienced counsel.

At DiafiLaw, our Austin divorce attorney understands how disruptive a divorce lawsuit is and the emotional impact it has on your life. Many people become emotional and confused by the process. An Austin divorce attorney at DiafiLaw will take the burden off of you, so that you can get through the process with a minimum of stress. DiafiLaw is dedicated to eliminating unnecessary expenses and delaying tactics in order to resolve your family matter as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

After you have chosen an attorney, the first step is to file the lawsuit. This is called the petition. It can be very general in nature, and typically asks that the Court dissolve the marriage, divide the property, and make orders regarding children, if any, in a just manner. Simultaneous with the filing, in Travis County, an automatic restraining order goes into effect, prohibiting either spouse from certain acts during the divorce. These acts include hiding or secreting the children from the other spouse or removing a child from the jurisdiction of the Court, harassing the other spouse, depleting the estate by withdrawing funds, disposing of or destroying property, and running up debt. This order is attached to the petition that is filed and will be served on the other spouse with the petition. Service is necessary to start the lawsuit, and involves the other spouse being personally handed a copy of the petition by an authorized process server. The spouse who is served is at that time put on notice as to the restraining order and is notified that there is a 20-day deadline to respond to the lawsuit. If you are served with a divorce petition, it is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately, or risk having a default judgment taken against you. After service is effected, it is common to obtain temporary orders at the beginning of the case. The temporary orders will in part outline a parenting plan and make certain orders regarding financial support during the pendency of the divorce. If circumstances change before the divorce is final, the Court can issue new temporary orders. Temporary orders can be made by agreement of the parties, or, if the parties are unable to agree, the Court can decide after a hearing.

After the lawsuit is filed and there is a temporary order in place, the attorneys issue discovery requests for documents and other information. Each spouse will need to gather and organize all documents in their possession and will have to answer written questions. Your Austin divorce attorney will assist you in preparing the responses. All evidence intended to be used at trial must be disclosed. During this period, when there are children of the marriage, it is expected that parents begin learning how to co-parent with the other spouse. If problems arise, it is during this period that the orders may change to reflect in real time any change in circumstances that affect a child or a spouse’s property. Finally, it is during this period that the spouses attempt to reach an agreement for final orders in a process known as mediation. If an agreement is reached, the case is over.

No earlier than sixty days after the petition is filed, a final order of divorce can be entered. The final order will contain orders for the children if any, including visitation, child support and health insurance. It will also order how the marital estate is to be divided, both assets and debts. This includes real property, vehicles, retirement accounts, and business concerns, along with any debt attached to the community. This final order can be reached by agreement, or by order of the Court after a final hearing. In custody cases, a jury trial may be demanded. In addition to the final order, certain closing documents will be prepared and filed. Real property documents, qualified domestic relations orders dividing retirement accounts, wage withholding orders for child and spousal support, and notification to the bureau of vital statistics are examples of closing documents. Once that is all completed, the divorce will be final. You will need an experienced Austin divorce attorney to assist you and protect your rights. Call an expereicned divorce attorney at DiafiLaw today for a free consultation.

Smart Divorce

Whether your divorce is agreed or not will determine the cost of representation. At DiafiLaw, we offer reduced fees for those who qualify for a Smart Divorce. To qualify, you and your spouse must agree to all issues in the divorce, not just on getting divorced. These issues include child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and property division. If ALL of these matters are agreed to, you may qualify for the Smart Divorce option at DiafiLaw. Call for a Smart Divorce quote today!

Common Law Marriage

Texas is a state that recognizes common law marriage. This is a claim that a marriage existed and that the spouse asserting the claim is entitled to all of the benefits of marriage and inheritance. There are three elements to establishing a common law marriage. You must live together as husband and wife (no time limit); you and the other person must have a present agreement that you are married, and there must be a public holding out. A public holding out can be things like tax returns filed as married, deeds to real property bought as a married couple, use of the male party’s last name. These three elements seem simple but can involve a wide variety of proof. If one spouse wants to deny the existence of a marriage, it can be difficult to prove number one and two. This issue is commonly raised in probate matters, such as intestate estate contests. The question should be why a spouse would want to assert such a claim in a family law matter. The existence of a marriage has no effect on custody or visitation, in and of itself. If there is a child, you may still file for child support and custody orders in a SAPCR. The only reason to assert the common law marriage claim is to gain legal entitlement to the estate of the other spouse, and for spousal support so that an order dividing the estate could be issued in accordance with community property laws. Otherwise, a claimant may have no claim over any assets accrued during the time of cohabitation and no right to spousal support. Let us help you determine whether you have a claim or defense with an Austin common law divorce attorney. Call us!