When one or both spouses are unable to reach an agreement on their divorce decree, then the dissolution is considered to be contested. A contested divorce simply implies that one or both parties are unable to compromise on a portion of the divorce decree. These issues may include topics such as asset division, debt allocation, parenting plans so child support/custody, and spousal support.
In most cases, divorces that are contested are handled outside the court room. Couples who are legally separated but unable to cooperate with each other on a settlement even with the help of alternative dispute resolution may be forced to go to court. The courts will hear from both parties and then decide a divorce decree based on the information they’ve received. In these types of scenarios, it’s not uncommon for one or both parties to be dissatisfied with the outcome as the court will defer to Texas’s laws on dissolution rather than what is in the best interest of both parties.
Contested Divorce Houston Attorney, TX | Dissolution of Marriage
If you’re unable to compromise on your divorce decree, call Horak Law. Attorney Horak and his legal team will do everything in their power to help you navigate this complicated time of your life. We understand how stressful divorce proceedings can be, which is why we want to extend our legal services to you. With Matthew Horak’s experience, knowledge, skills, and resources—you can rest assured everything that can be done for your case is accomplished in a timely manner.
Our team at Horak Law is prepared to stand firm for your interests throughout your contested divorce. Contact us at (713) 225-8000 or simply submit an online contact form to learn your legal options. Our offices are located in The Woodlands and Houston, but we accept clients throughout the State including Fort Bend County, Waller County, Brazoria County, Harris County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County, Texas.
- Duration of a Contested Divorce in Texas
- Issues in a Contested Divorce
- Fault vs. No Fault Divorce
- Additional Resources
Duration of a Contested Divorce in Texas
If a divorce is uncontested, then it’s not final for at least 60 days after the petition is filed. However, there is no deadline or time requirements for a dissolution of a marriage. The reality is that the length of the contested divorce process depends on the situation. For some divorcing couples, the entire process of resolving a contested divorce may take only a few months. High net worth marriages with complicated family dynamics, on the other hand, could take up to 12 months, and in some cases years to finalize.
In order to successfully divorce, both spouses must agree on how they will divide their property. If they have shared minor children, then a parenting plan as well as child custody/support must be determined. Settlement negotiations on these and other complicated issues may take months, and if the parties are unable to agree outside the courtroom they may be forced to go to trial.
Issues in a Contested Divorce
A dissolution of marriage can be contested on a number of issues. These can span as far as disagreements with the child custody visitation schedule to conducting an investigation ensuring no valuable assets have been intentionally hidden by the other spouse. Listed below are some common issues one or both parties may disagree on during dissolution.
- Division of Assets – Probably the most common issue in a contested divorce is how assets are divided between both parties. Couples may argue on the various different types of assets such as an inheritance or a gift, and whether they are vulnerable to division. In rare cases, one spouse may go out of their way to hide assets from the court’s eyes and the other spouse. This can occur by giving the asset to a friend, giving another person a “loan” that they intend to get back, or physically hiding the asset.
- Child Custody/Support – For obvious reasons, one of the most contentious points of divorce involve child custody, child support, and parenting plans. It can be especially emotional if one parent is seeking sole legal custody of the children or child support. Parents who are unable to agree on their parenting plan, visitation, support, etc., may be forced to go to trial.
- Spousal Support – When one spouse has a significant income difference than the other, spousal support may apply to their case. Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, is when one spouse provides payments out of their future income to the other spouse for a period of time. The purpose of spousal support is to provide the other spouse enough funds so they can find the training/education to secure an income to meet their needs.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce
Although most divorces occur on the no-fault ground of insupporability, there are instances where a divorce may be granted on the grounds of one or more “faults.” Listed below are the various types of “faults” that can be used as grounds for a divorce.
- Abandonment – This “fault” is exactly as it sounds. If one spouse has left the other with the intention of abandoning them and has remained away for one year, then it’s considered grounds for divorce.
- Adultery – When one spouse has committed adultery against the other, then it can be utilized as grounds for divorce.
- Conviction of a Felony – Texas family courts may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse was convicted of a felony. That includes any criminal offense that includes imprisonment for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal justice, a federal prison, or any other penitentiary.
- Living Apart – If both spouses have lived apart for three years continuously, then the court may grant divorce in favor of either spouse.
- Cruel Treatment – Texas will grant a divorce in favor of one spouse on the grounds the other spouse was guilty of cruel treatment that rendered cohabitation insupportable.
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital – If one spouse is confined in a State or private mental hospital as defined under Section 571.003 of the Health and Safety Code for at least three years, then it could be grounds for divorce.
Grounds for Divorce | Texas Family Code – Visit the official website for Chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code to learn more about the various different types of grounds for divorce. Access the site to learn more about the grounds for annulling a marriage, how a marriage may be considered void, and jurisdiction and residence qualifications to divorce.
AFCC | Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – Visit the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) website to learn more about their mission and their valuable resources on divorce. AFCC is a premier interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to resolve family conflict and law issues.
Houston Contested Divorce Lawyer | Harris County, TX
A contested divorce can be an extreme source of stress and, unfortunately, can turn into a money pit if the other spouse refuses to compromise. That is why it’s essential you have an experienced Houston divorce lawyer like Matthew Horak of Horak Law on your side throughout every step of the process. Attorney Matthew Horak will have your best interest in mind and can serve as your biggest advocate throughout the entire process.
To learn more about your legal options, call us at (713) 225-8000 or simply submit an online contact form. Horak Law has two offices in both Houston and The Woodlands, Texas.