Divorce Lawyer for Women in Houston, TX
Going through a divorce is painful and frustrating at the very least, even if someone wants to end their marriage. Whether you are filing to divorce your husband, or your husband has already filed papers, you need the right lawyer in your corner. The skilled divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm in Houston provide compassionate yet aggressive representation with the dedication to protect the best interests of their clients.
Women and men often approach divorce differently. For men, divorce works like a business exchange. They want to get the paperwork done and dissolve the marriage as quickly as possible. A divorce attorney for women would want to focus on an outcome that gives their clients emotional and financial security for themselves and their children.
Women also typically face challenges, often more than men, during a divorce. Many are caregivers and have entered and exited the workforce to rear children. Women are also more likely than men to suffer domestic violence at the hands of the spouse. Our experienced divorce attorneys understand the struggles that come with divorce for women in Texas. We are here to protect your rights and help you get the outcome you deserve.
If you are a woman who lives in the Houston area and divorce is on your horizon, contact Skillern Firm online today or at Skillern Firm to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys. You can share the details of your divorce and learn how we can help you through this difficult time. Below we provide more information about the main areas that impact most women going through a divorce: division of marital assets, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
Community Property and Types of Divorce in Texas
While women have made strides over the decades, male privilege is still alive and well in Texas. This often becomes painfully apparent to some women as they go through the divorce process, especially if they are in a marriage where their husband is the primary breadwinner. Community property laws help even the playing field when going through a divorce, even benefiting men whose wives bring in the majority of household income. The skilled divorce attorneys at the Skillern Firm will help you navigate this complicated procedure.
Texas is a community property state, which means that courts equitably distribute assets earned during the marriage to spouses in the event of a divorce. A no-fault divorce typically results in a fairly equal division of assets, and it’s often less expensive, making it the most common choice for many couples.
In a fault divorce, the person who filed the divorce must prove that their spouse behaved in a way that justifies their request for dissolution based on specific grounds such as cruelty, adultery, or abandonment. These elements can impact the division of assets and spousal support because judges have the discretion to stray from the default of equitable division of property in Texas.
Division of Marital Assets in a Houston Divorce
If your husband has already filed for divorce, he might have presented you with an offer about assets, such as who gets the house and which vehicle you get to keep. You should never accept these offers without consulting with a divorce attorney, specifically for women, who can review the situation and ensure you are getting your fair share. This is especially true if he controls the household finances and/or he is the primary breadwinner.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a party to hide assets when they prepare to file for divorce or when they suspect their wife is going to file. An experienced divorce attorney for women can fight for you to get your share of any hidden assets, whether money, investments, or real estate. During the divorce process, you and your husband must fully disclose all financials to one another. Experienced lawyers know how to look for hidden assets and ensure your husband is not withholding money or property from you.
You should also know that even though the law is on your side with community property, you and your husband can petition the court for a specific asset to be separate. This could be something you or your husband brought into the marriage or something you acquired during the marriage, such as real estate, gifts, and other assets. Your husband might attempt to take his perceived share of something that is yours or attempt to withhold a separate asset that should be community property. Your lawyer can investigate the specific assets and fight to get you the outcome you desire.
Marital Assets Women in Houston Must Divide During a Divorce
Divorce is a time of anger, frustration, sadness, and grief, sometimes leaving minds cloudy and people uncertain about the next steps. If you are a woman in Houston seeking a divorce from your husband, or he has filed for divorce, you need the knowledge to protect yourself. A divorce lawyer will compound that protection by making sure all assets and asset types are covered, but here is a partial list of the things you need to consider when a divorce is in your future:
- Your family home
- Any other real estate such as rental properties, a condo in downtown Houston, a ranch in the country, a vacation home, vacation timeshares, etc.
- Vehicles, ATVs, boats, scooters, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc.
- Tools, dishes, pots, pans, and everything inside your pantry, cupboards, etc.
- Personal items, including clothes, jewelry, shoes, etc.
- Artwork, sculptures, photos
- Investments including 401Ks, IRAs, and other types of savings accounts
Getting Your Fair Share of Business Assets During a Divorce
Did your husband start a business while you were married? Did you start a business with your husband, putting in your blood, sweat, and tears? Did you stay at home and take care of children and the home while your husband built a business? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you are entitled to a share of the company’s business value during the divorce. However, you don’t want to hurt the business during a divorce because you, your husband, and your children suffer. Let an experienced lawyer from Skillern Firm help you through your divorce and ensure you get your fair share. They can walk you through the law, explain personal goodwill, and what is actually used to determine the value of a business in the eyes of the law.
Child Conservatorship in a Houston Divorce
Full legal custody of a child in Texas is referred to as a sole managing conservatorship. It’s very unlikely that you can achieve full physical custody. Texas courts prioritize the best interest of the child and believe that it’s best for both parents to be involved in a child’s life. You likely also want the best for your child, but if you intend on fighting for full custody during your divorce, you have a long road ahead of you. To completely remove a parent from a child’s life, a Court must terminate their parental rights before they grant you full custody. If your husband does not voluntarily terminate his parental rights, which is highly improbable, a Harris County court might terminate rights in the following situations:
If your husband voluntarily did any of the following, you might have grounds to request and win sole custody on the grounds of abandonment:
- Left your child with someone else and expressly communicated he was not coming to return.
- Left your child with someone else for three months without providing support. This could have occurred if you were a deployed active member of the military who left your child/children in the care of your husband.
- Abandoned you while you were pregnant and after childbirth with knowledge of the pregnancy.
If you can prove any of the following, you might also be able to terminate your husband’s parental rights:
- Your husband knowingly placed your child in surroundings that put your child in emotional or physical danger.
- Your husband used drugs or alcohol in a way that endangered your child’s health or safety and failed to comply with court-ordered treatment or steps towards sobriety.
- Your husband has been criminally convicted for the death or injury of a child.
- Your husband has been convicted of raping you.
Regardless of your situation, you need an experienced divorce lawyer who understands women’s issues related to child custody during the divorce process. The compassionate and committed divorce attorneys at Skillern Firm can help women in Houston, Texas, fighting for custody of their children during the divorce process.
A Note About Violence Against Women and Houston Divorces
Domestic violence is a serious problem in homes throughout the United States, including those in Houston. Partners commit more than 5,000,000 acts of domestic violence against women each year. If your husband is abusing you and/or your children, you need to leave. Domestic violence often escalates and can lead to life-threatening injuries for you and/or your children. If you have no place safe to go, you can contact Houston Area Women’s Center for assistance and resources for housing. Once you are safe, contact us to begin the divorce process, which will include temporary restraining orders for protection.
Child Support in Houston Divorces
Child support is a separate issue from child custody in Houston divorces. Courts use state-recommended guidelines but sometimes adjust amounts based on circumstances. Whoever is the breadwinner typically has to pay child support, even with joint custody. The exact percentage of income varies based on circumstances and the number of children. You can get an estimate here, but typically the amount starts at 20 percent of the adjusted income and increases five percent for each child. However, if he has other children outside of the marriage, they will be considered and the percentage will be reduced. Ultimately, you or your spouse have very little control over whether you pay or receive child support and the amount. However, some husbands might try to collect employment income off the books, hiding the true amount they make from the courts. A divorce lawyer can help ensure your husband discloses all the income he receives, regardless of the source.
Spousal Support for Women in Houston Going Through a Divorce
Texas courts do not like to grant alimony during a divorce; they did not allow spousal support payments until the mid-1990s.. Overall, women earn less income and must learn to survive on far less than what they did during their marriage. Additionally, having children impacts many women, even when they do not stay home with them. Women typically take care of emergencies, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, etc., reducing hours they can work and potentially impacting promotions that would increase their income.
After divorce, women who stayed home with their kids often struggle to reenter the workforce while maintaining their role as the primary caretaker. Although spousal support helps after marriage, Texas courts will only consider ordering payments in certain situations, making legal representation crucial to ensure you have the financial means you need and deserve after a divorce. In Texas, your husband only has to pay spousal support if you do not have the property and income to provide for your basic needs. Additionally, you must meet one of four conditions:
- Your husband was convicted of a crime related to violence against you or your children within two years before filing for divorce.
- You have been married for 10 years or more.
- You have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from supporting yourself.
- You are the primary caregiver of a child who has a mental or physical disability.
It’s always best to reach an agreement about spousal support with your husband if possible. If you go to court, the law does limit ordered payments to the lowest of $5,000 per month or 20 percent of your husband’s gross income.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer from Women in Houston, TX
Women often stay miserable because they are worried about the financial consequences of filing for divorce, or they accept whatever their husband offers when he files. You deserve better, and you don’t have to stay in an unsafe or unhappy situation. Contact the skilled divorce attorneys at Skillern Firm today online or at 281-990-4655 to schedule an initial consultation to learn how we can help.