Houston Divorce Attorneys
The Houston divorce lawyers of Holmes, Diggs & Sadler have built a reputation as knowledgeable, compassionate, and trusted legal counsel to their clients who are going through a divorce or are dealing with sensitive family matters. We know that this is a trying time in your life, and you need the assistance and advice of someone who understands this process and has navigated it successfully in the past.
Whether you are trying to end your marriage amicably, or if you are anticipating a bitter battle with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, we have the knowledge and experience you need on your side. Many issues need to be resolved before the two of you can move on with your lives, including property division, custody of children, and potential spousal support must be discussed and decided before the process can be finalized. We are there for you every step of the way, and during this difficult time, you can rest easy knowing that our Houston divorce attorneys are actively fighting for your best interests every step of the way. You can call us at (713) 802-1777 or fill out a contact form. We are ready to help you move on with your life, so call us now.
Why Choose Holmes, Diggs & Sadler?
You cannot navigate the tricky waters of a divorce in Texas without experienced legal help. Turn to the team of attorneys that are proud to say that we provide the highest level of service on behalf of our clients. We will fight for your best interests and make sure that you retain what matters most to you. Don’t leave your divorce case in the hands of an inexperienced or unskilled attorney. Trust your case to a team that has a track record of protecting their clients and helping them successfully move on with their lives. Turn to the Houston divorce law firm, Holmes, Diggs & Sadler for help today, and contact us at (713) 802-1777 to get started.
Divorce Cases We Handle
The agreements reached during your divorce can significantly impact the rest of your life, from your financial security to your ability to spend time with your children. Therefore, without a experienced Houston divorce lawyer on your side, you may not be adequately protecting yourself or your future.
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we are prepared to assist clients with the following divorce issues:
- Asset division – The division of assets is often one of the most highly-contested issues a divorcing couple must deal with. It is essential to have an attorney on your side fighting to retain what means most to you.
- Large marital estates – We have experience handling large marital estates and the complicated issues that arise with the complexities of fair asset division
- Valuation of business in divorce – When a business needs to be considered in divorce proceedings, we will be there to help determine the valuation earnings, outlook, and other considerations.
- Preserving separate property – Strong legal representation is often necessary when fighting for property that should be kept separate from the divorce proceedings, whether that is inheritance, gifts, or other property.
- Tax-related issues in divorce – Tax issues can often be complicated, so our team of experienced attorneys and tax experts will assist with any issues that arise.
- Custody – Child custody can be contentious and stressful for both parties, and you need a lawyer on your side, fighting to ensure that you can see your children as much as possible.
- Visitation – If you are not awarded custody, you still have a right to see your children. We will fight to ensure that you remain close to your children, even if you are not the residential parent.
- Alimony – If you need to seek alimony from your spouse, we will work to build a strong case in support of your claim to get you the compensation you are rightfully owed.
- Enforcement of orders – If your ex fails to follow the orders of the court, you may be able to take additional legal action to enforce the agreements that were determined by the state.
- Relocation – If you need to relocate and adjustments need to be made to the arrangement due to job relocation or moving closer to be with family to help with childcare, you need strong legal representation to help you make your claim.
- Jurisdictional disputes – When you no longer live in the same state as your spouse, many complications may arise when it comes to serving divorce papers and other jurisdiction issues. We are here to help you.
- International/Foreign disputes – Navigating the divorce process with a spouse that does not live in the country can be challenging. Fortunately, we have experience with such matters and are ready to help you.
- Grandparents’ rights – Grandparents are often forgotten in the struggle between two parents. We will work hard to ensure that you have access to your grandchildren to keep the oh-so-important bond strong.
- Appeals – When an appeal of the court’s decision is warranted, we are there to help you build the strongest case possible.
- No-fault divorce – While no-fault divorce seems like a more straightforward process, there are still steps that need to be completed before the divorce can be finalized. Let us help you.
- Fault grounds in divorce – There are instances where it is necessary to cite fault in a divorce, and we are here to help counsel you on your options and when this should be utilized.
- Military Divorce – Our attorneys can help you navigate the potential pitfalls that military families might face when pursuing divorce.
Our skilled team of divorce attorneys can help you navigate the legal intricacies of these common divorce issues and more, so contact us today at (713) 802-1777 or fill out a contact form for more information about your rights and options.
How to Start the Divorce Process in Texas
If you want to file for divorce in Houston, Texas, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months and have lived in the county in which you are filing for at least three months. Your divorce can be uncontested or contested. For a divorce to be uncontested, it must meet criteria laid out by the Texas Family Code 6.001-6.201:
- Parties share no children under the age of 18.
- Neither party is seeking alimony.
- There are no assets to divide.
- No one has an ongoing bankruptcy.
- Both spouses agree to end the marriage.
If you don’t meet these criteria, then your divorce must be contested. A petitioner files the court to begin a contested divorce. Their spouse, or respondent, then has 20 days plus the next Monday to respond. Both parties must file documentation describing their finances, income, and assets. A qualified divorce attorney can help you gather the appropriate documents and ensure you don’t miss anything.
After all documents are submitted and both parties feel they have received enough information from the other, you may enter mediation if there’s not an immediate agreement.
Mediation is often the best option for both parties to dissolve a contested divorce, but if it’s impossible to reach a compromise, your attorney may advise you to take the case to court. Your divorce will proceed to trial, where your divorce attorney will argue on your behalf to get the results you want.
Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Houston Divorce Attorney
At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we understand that a divorce is a life-altering choice, so it makes sense to do extensive research before you hire a family law attorney to represent you. We support your due diligence and are always happy to answer your questions about the process before you choose our firm.
Here are some questions we would advise you to ask when you evaluate potential attorneys:
- How much experience do you have with divorce cases like mine? Each divorce case is unique, but your divorce may have complications like dividing high-value assets or navigating a prenuptial agreement that you require an experienced attorney. If you intend to seek full custody or limit your ex-spouse’s visitation, then you need a lawyer who has been successful in contested child custody cases before. Ask your potential attorney for evidence that they can handle the particulars of your divorce.
- What is your overall success rate? At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, we measure our success by how many clients we’ve satisfied when their divorce proceedings are finalized. Your attorney should be happy to share client reviews with you.
- Are you connected with reputable subject-matter experts? Some divorce cases necessitate attorneys calling in subject matter experts. For example, you may need a child psychologist to provide testimony. Make sure your lawyer has relationships with reputable people who can accurately testify on your behalf if you need it.
- Do you have references? Any family lawyer worth their salt will have clients who provide references for them. You can also check their reviews on Google or other online platforms to see what people have said about them.
How Long Will It Be Until My Divorce Is Final?
Clients at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler often ask how long their divorce will take. Unfortunately, there’s no one answer to the question. At a minimum, there is a 61-day waiting period from when the documents are filed. Sometimes, straightforward divorces with amicable ex-spouses take very little. However, acrimonious divorces or parties with complicated financial entanglements can delay the process. The following may take significant time for your attorney to resolve:
- Dividing assets: If you and your spouse share assets, called community property, and disagree on how to divide them, it can lengthen the divorce process. Your divorce lawyer will help you divide assets fairly so that you can go on with your life as normally as possible after the divorce is finalized.
- Child custody battles: Arriving at a custody agreement can be a bitter back-and-forth that takes time. Disagreements will delay your divorce. A family law attorney can advise you what you can reasonably expect and when to fight back against an unfair offer.
- Child support agreements: If you can’t agree on fair child support payments during mediation, the case may need to proceed to trial. Any legal matter appearing in court will delay the finalization of your divorce.
- Alimony payments: Alimony, or spousal maintenance payments, can also be a source of disagreement between divorcing parties. As with child support, if an agreement cannot be reached before appearing in front of a judge at court, the divorce could take longer.
How Much Will a Divorce Cost Me?
The cost of your divorce will depend, in part, on the legal counsel you choose to represent your interests throughout the divorce process. Bearing that in mind, the price you pay your divorce attorney usually corresponds with three important factors:
- The complexity and of the case
- The experience of the attorney
- The amount of work involved
In an effort to help you understand the kinds of costs that are likely to be associated with your divorce, we have created the following outline to help you understand the basic expenses the Houston divorce attorneys at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler will charge. Even if your partner maintains control over the finances of your household, our firm can help you find the money you will need to pay for your divorce.
The Initial Consultation Fee
When you first come to meet with our team, you will be charged an initial consultation fee. This fee will allow one of our lawyers to provide you with a full hour of confidential, in-person (or telephonic) consultation before you decide to retain our firm. While the cost of your consultation fee will depend on the years of experience a lawyer brings to the table, this fee will be in the hundreds of dollars. You do not need to sign a fee agreement to have a consultation with our firm, you simply pay the consultation fee.
Why is an initial consultation important?
This one hour consultation has tremendous value for you and for your case. Not only do you have the opportunity to interview the lawyer who you may later hire and ask any questions you have, but the lawyer will also gather facts, explain what you should expect, suggest strategies, and discuss the cost of your divorce. After this one-hour consultation, we will be ready to be hired by you when you choose. More importantly, we will be ready to file papers with the court on short notice and at the time you are ready to proceed. To ask questions about what to expect with our initial consultations or to set-up an initial consultation with one of our attorneys in Houston, please call our offices at (713) 802-1777.
A “retainer” is a large payment that you will pay your attorney upfront. Retainers are often in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars—the exact cost will depend on the complexity of your case and the level of experience your attorney possesses. You will be quoted a retainer at your initial consultation and that retainer amount will be in your fee agreement. At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our retainer fees work like a deposit for the costs of your divorce, and we will simply bill against your retainer. As such, any portion of your retainer that is not used will be refunded to you. It should be noted, however, that the retainer is generally not enough to cover the full cost of a divorce, and there is a good chance that you will need to replenish the retainer over the duration of your case.
The Hourly Fees
Our firm charges by the hour, and the hourly fee you will be charged will be listed in your fee agreement. Since our team includes personnel with different levels of experience and knowledge, we will be able to approach your case as team. This means that your lawyer will often be able to “push work down” to a more junior person who can perform certain tasks on your case at a lesser hourly cost to you. The more experienced lawyer, however, will be there to handle the tough issues involved in your case. This approach gives you more than one professional to lean on; if your attorney is in court, for instance, you can still reach others at our office who have worked on your case and who understand your situation.
There are expenses that will need to be paid for in every divorce, and these expenses are charged to you at cost. For instance, you can usually expect to pay any filing or service fees that we have to pay to the court or process server. Additionally, you may also incur other fees such as transcript fees, expert witness fees, and mediator’s fees. That being said, we generally do not charge for things like photocopies, long distance phone calls, postage, or faxes.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce
We are here for each of our clients, and we are always happy to answer questions they may have about the divorce process and their rights. We know that this is likely your first time encountering a legal process like this, so we want to make sure that you are comfortable and understand what is happening. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions, and feel free to contact us at (713) 802-1777 to discuss your case at any time.
Texas is a no-fault divorce state. When would I cite fault?
Specific circumstances or facts may be considered fault grounds in Texas. The seven grounds that are considered fault grounds in Texas are:
- Felony conviction (including incarceration for up to one year)
- Separation for at least three years
- Confinement in a private or state mental hospital for three years
Chapter 6 of the Texas Family Code outlines all of these grounds for divorce, and while many of them are commonly used, the seventh, mental grounds, are rarely used.
What does “no-fault” divorce mean?
Texas does not require divorcing couples to cite grounds for divorce. The courts in Texas have quite a bit of discretion when it comes to the division of marital property, and they typically follow the “just and right” standard when dividing the estate and awarding custody.
Do I have to be a resident of Texas to get a divorce here?
According to the Texas Family Code, one or both spouses must have been a resident of the state of Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce. Also, you must be a current resident of the county in which you file for divorce to meet the state’s residency requirements.
How can an attorney help with my divorce?
Many people underestimate the legal complexities of divorce. Dissolving a marriage requires more than just the separation of property, often necessitating the formation of child custody agreements, child support arrangements, and alimony contracts as well. A dedicated divorce lawyer can protect your rights and interests when developing these agreements in addition to making sure that the divorce process as a whole goes as smoothly as possible.
How do I change my last name after a divorce?
Reverting to your given last name is frequently an important aspect of finalizing a divorce for an individual, and there are a number of ways that you can go about returning to your previous name. Most commonly, your attorney can request that the judge include a formal order restoring your former name in your divorce decree, resolving the issue with no further effort on your part. If such an order is not included in your divorce decree, it will be necessary to seek a modification to your divorce decree. If you have documentation of your prior name, simply using your former name and requesting that it be changed on all personal records is usually sufficient.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today
For over 25 years, the team at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler have helped countless individuals in Houston with their divorces and have helped them start a brand new life. While divorce can be a painful event in life, it may be necessary if you and your spouse just do not belong together. We work hard to help make this difficult transition a bit easier for you, your children, and your family members, and we know what it takes to help you keep what matters most to you.
We are proud of our reputation for excellence, and we are well-known in the Houston community. We view all of our clients as our friends and our neighbors here in this great city, and we strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for them, every time we accept a case.
Schedule a consultation with us by calling us at (713) 802-1777, chatting with us live, or filling out a contact form. One of our Houston divorce attorneys will sit down with you and discuss the details of your specific family situation, and we can formulate a plan that works for you. Your needs matter most, and we are ready to represent them to the best of our ability. Don’t wait. Contact us today.