Divorce Attorney in Dallas
Providing Passionate Guidance for 20+ Years in Dallas, Denton & Collin Counties
Divorce can be an incredibly painful and challenging event for both parents and children. For more than 20 years, Dallas divorce attorney Ellen Schutz has passionately guided clients through the legal steps involved in divorce. She works with her clients to help them understand the specifics of their situation, as well as to set up specific goals and strategies to obtain fair resolutions.
What Happens In a Divorce?
A divorce legally dissolves a marriage. However, it can also require division of community property and debt, as well as child custody, visitation, and child support arrangements. Divorce proceedings may also involve determining alimony payments and orders regarding contact between former spouses.
In Dallas, most divorces are “no fault,” which means there is no requirement to present evidence that a party was at fault to file for divorce. Instead, only a conflict needs to exist between you and your spouse that cannot be resolved and will not result in a repaired marriage where you get back together. A “no fault” divorce can be granted even if your spouse doesn’t agree to it. This type of divorce doesn’t require a detailed description as to why the marriage needs to be dissolved.
The grounds for an at-fault divorce include a spouse who has committed adultery, committed acts of cruelty, abandoned you for at least one year, has a felony conviction, has been living apart from you for three years, or has been committed to a mental institution. An at-fault divorce may result in more community property given to the spouse alleging fault.
Filing for Divorce
If you’ve lived in Dallas County for 90 days and have been a Texas resident for at least six months, you are eligible to file for divorce.
There are three main elements of a divorce filing:
- The petition, which begins divorce proceedings and generally tells the court information about your marriage and why you want to dissolve it.
- The citation, which is the formal notice to your spouse that you wish to end the marriage. This citation is formally served by a Dallas County Constable’s officer or a certified civil process server. Additionally, a waiver of citation can occur when your spouse signs a form stating he or she has no objection to a divorce decree.
- The decree of divorce, which officially grants the divorce and determines child custody and support. The decree also divides marital property, such as homes, cars, debts, clothes, furniture, books, etc.
The divorce will not be granted until at least 60 days have lapsed since the petition was filed. This is to give time for a couple to possibly reconcile or to reach an agreement regarding specifics of a divorce. During a contested divorce, this period is usually substantially longer.
When both parties agree to the terms in the divorce decree, it is known as an uncontested divorce. During this type of divorce, the spouses agree to the marriage dissolution, child custody arrangements, and the division of marital property and liabilities. Once the final divorce decree is signed by both spouses, they enter into a “prove-up” and ask the judge to sign the decree granting the divorce.
The Contested Divorce Process
A contested divorce occurs when neither party can reach an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. Because this type of divorce is usually contentious, it often requires a longer legal process and is much more costly.
During the contested divorce process, a spouse files a petition for divorce with their county courthouse. Once the judge signs the petition, your spouse will be served with an official notice informing them of your desire to divorce. This will prompt your spouse to hire a divorce attorney to represent them.
Once the divorce has been filed, the contested divorce progresses to the temporary orders process. This process is where you present evidence and have witnesses to verify why the divorce is necessary and how child support and custody arrangements shall be granted. Temporary orders are put in place to protect your financial status and your children’s ability to see both parents awaiting divorce.
After temporary orders are instated, the mediation process begins. During this stage, an appointed mediation attorney will meet with each spouse separately until agreements are made upon various contested topics of the divorce decree. If complete negotiation is met, the divorce can be finalized. However, if both parties are still unable to come to reach a consensus, they will need to face each other in court.
During trial, both parties, with assistance from divorce attorneys, present evidence to support their desired outcomes. The judge will hear both sides and then make a final decision regarding matters such as division of assets, child support, or child custody.
Considering or Facing Divorce? We Can Help.
At The Law Office of Ellen Schutz, your case becomes a personal matter. Having gone through the divorce process herself, Ellen understands the complicated emotions involved in divorce cases. That is why she dedicates herself to providing confident, compassionate, and trustworthy family legal services in the Dallas, Collin, and Denton counties.
If you’re looking for an aggressive yet compassionate divorce attorney in Dallas, call (214) 301-3418 today.
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