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Divorce Q&A

How long is the divorce process?

Generally, the divorce process can take no less than 61 days.  The length of any divorce case highly depends on the legal issues.  For instance, do you have a lot of property, are you fighting for custody, and have you requested a jury trial.


Is there such a thing as legal separation?

In Texas, we do not recognize legal separation.  Once the divorce process starts you will be advised by your counsel not to purchase any big-ticket items because they will be considered community property.  Even if you and your spouse have been separated for years, you are still recognized in Texas as being married.


Who is required to leave the martial residence?

Neither of you is required to leave the marital residence until a Judge orders one party to leave.  As a general rule, I advise my clients if they can get along, then save cost.  If you cannot get along, then inform your attorney that way they know to file a temporary restraining order with the original divorce petition and get a hearing date.


How is the property divided in Texas?

In Texas, there is the presumption that anything purchased or acquired during the marriage is considered community property unless you received it by gift, devise, or inherit.  Then depending on the facts of the case, the court will generally divide the property equally.


What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce means that both parties are not fighting over property, custody, or any other issues.


How much will a divorce generally cost me?

Here at the Vitelli Law Firm, we generally charge $3500.00 for an uncontested case.  If the case is contested, then we charge $250/hour.  In my practice, I have seen contested cases cost as much as $30,000.00 on the high end.


My spouse just served me with papers. Can I oppose this divorce?

Absolutely.  The bottom line is that the divorce will still happen.  The courts cannot force someone to stay married. If your spouse wants out, it will happen.


What happens if I refuse to sign any of the divorce papers?

The party seeking the divorce will have other options, such as a default divorce.  Remember, if you don’t sign the papers, the other side could ultimately ask the court for items you never would have agreed to.  It is in your best interest to read and respond with counsel to any papers you are served with. 


Do I really need an attorney for my divorce?

Yes.  As an experienced attorney, I have seen so many people get taken advantage of without counsel to help them.  They don’t know the law and could easily lose property which the other side was never entitled to.  Don’t be fooled, attorneys for your spouse are not required to help you nor do they look out for your best interest.


My spouse moved out of the residence and took our children with him/her.  Now my spouse won't let me see our children until court.  Is this legal?

Yes, it is legal, but it is not right.  At this point, you could storm into the spouse's house and remove the children, but that is not advisable.  Keep the children’s best interest in mind at all times.  In Texas, neither parent has more rights to the children than the other.  If one spouse has removed the children from the residence, try to work out some type of visitation in the interim.   If that is not plausible, then wait until your day in court.

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