Divorce Attorneys Prepared to Deliver Strategic Results

Houston Divorce Attorneys

The Legal Advocacy You Deserve in & out of Court

Filing for and finalizing a divorce is one of the most complicated things you may ever do - legally and emotionally. Finding a lawyer capable of protecting your rights and best interests in court while dealing with your case empathetically is vital if you want to achieve the best results.

At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston divorce lawyers utilize a meticulous, client-focused approach to divorce that helps clients get what they want.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (713) 766-5355.

The Holmes, Diggs & Sadler Difference

A Tradition of Excellence
  • A Team-Based Approach

    When you hire one attorney at Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, you receive the experience, knowledge and insight of our team.

  • Always Prepared for Trial

    Our attorneys prepare for war so we can negotiate peace. We are not afraid to go to trial if it is in the client's best interest.

  • Strategic Representation

    Each case is reviewed by our team to ensure we are crafting a case strategy that will help you achieve a satisfactory result.

  • We Put Clients First

    At our firm, the client drives our goals. We put you and your needs first while focusing on providing a personalized approach for your unique case.

  • Lawyers of Distinction
  • Super Lawyers Rising Stars
  • Legal Leaders Women in Law
  • Texas Monthly Top Attorneys
  • America's Most Honored Professionals
  • Board Certified in Family Law
  • Houston Top Lawyers
  • Houstonia
  • American Board of trial Advocates
  • IAFL
  • Best Lawyers
  • Avvo 10.0 Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated
  • Super Lawyers

How to File for Divorce in Houston, Texas

If you want to file for divorce in Houston, you must be domiciled in the state of Texas for at least six months and be a resident of Harris County—that is, the county in which you are filing, for at least 90 days.

In Texas, a divorce is handled as a lawsuit, which means filing a petition or a pleading for divorce with the court to begin the process. Then the divorce papers must be served on the spouse, unless service is formally waived, and then the spouse, or respondent, must file a response sometimes called an answer, on or before 10:00 am on the first Monday following 20 days after service. Both parties must make detailed disclosures describing their finances, income, and assets, and these disclosures include and should be backed up with financial documentation. Our divorce attorneys can help you gather the appropriate documents and ensure you don't miss anything.

After all documents and financial information are exchanged, and both parties have enough information, the court will encourage or even order the parties to mediation to try to resolve their disputes and make agreements about property and custody.

Mediation is often the best option for both parties to resolve a contested divorce, but if it's impossible to reach a fair compromise, we may advise you to take the case to court. If so, your divorce will proceed to trial, where your divorce attorney will argue and present evidence on your behalf to seek the results you want.

Uncontested divorce: Divorcing couples sometimes want to have an uncontested divorce, which is certainly possible if both parties are in agreement about the terms. If so, the procedure is largely the same in Texas, except that cooperation and compromise are likely to be more readily achieved and the parties may be able to even avoid the financial disclosures. Some couples may choose to follow the Texas collaborative divorce procedures, although that step is likely not necessary, and could even be more expensive.

Realize, though, that even if you feel that you should be able to have an uncontested divorce, having a qualified divorce attorney prepare the papers and shepherd you through the process will protect you from inadvertent and costly mistakes as well as from any possible underhandedness by your spouse. It is far better to handle your divorce and custody issues right the first time, as it is often much more difficult, even heartbreaking, to fight the uphill battle to correct problems later.

Is Texas a Fault-Based Divorce State?

In Texas, divorcing parties have the option to file for a no-fault or fault-based divorce.

  • In a no-fault divorce, the party filing for divorce states that the marriage is “unsupportable” and that there is no hope for reconciliation. In other words, the marriage is irretrievably broken and divorce is in both parties' best interests.
  • In a fault-based divorce, the party filing for divorce cites a specific reason for doing so, such as cruel treatment, adultery, or abandonment by the other party.

The divorce fault categories in Texas are very general but may encompass many types of fault-based behavior. Domestic violence, for example, may be pled as cruel treatment.

Our approach to fault, as opposed to no-fault divorce, is highly individual and will depend on your particular goals in the case, and the strategy that we pursue on your behalf. Because Texas permits the parties to change their pleadings over the course of the case, it may even make sense to file a case as no-fault and take a wait-and-see approach to fault. It is important to realize that alleging fault will often create a more hostile, high-conflict divorce, however, it is also true that a no-fault divorce is not the same as an agreed or uncontested divorce—in a no-fault divorce, custody and property division are often still hotly contested.

Divorce petitioners often assume that no-fault divorces are fast and easy. However, while the disclosures may be a by-passed, specific legal requirements must be met for a no-fault divorce to be finalized, just like any other divorce. The no-fault divorce process in Texas involves:

  • Fulfilling Texas' residency requirements for divorce;
  • Completing the correct divorce documents. This will involve a divorce decree and other situational documentation. Factors include whether the divorce is contested, you have children, and a custody agreement is already in place.
  • Taking completed forms to the divorce court and County Clerk;
  • Paying necessary Texas court fees.
  • Fulfilling the 60-day waiting period after filing: A no-fault divorce requires a 60-day waiting period before the court will finalize your divorce. The 60 days begins when your original divorce petition is filed in court.
  • You may arrange to be divorced on day 61, but only if you have all of your paperwork in order, and that includes a final decree of divorce addressing all necessary issues, and other documents depending on whether you have children and whether you have property that must be divided or transferred.

At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston divorce attorneys are here to help you every step of the way in your divorce proceedings.

How Long Will It Take to Finalize My Divorce?

Unfortunately, there's no one answer to this question. Sometimes, straightforward divorces with amicable spouses take just a few months. However, acrimonious divorces or parties with complicated financial entanglements can take much longer. The following are just some of the issues and disputes in divorce that 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.
  • Separate property disputes: If you or your spouse have disputed claims for separate property, that may take more time to resolve.
  • Child custody battles: Arriving at a custody agreement can be a bitter back-and-forth that takes time. Disagreements will delay your divorce, or even necessitate a hearing or trial.
  • Child support disputes: If you can't agree on fair child support payments the case may need to proceed to trial.
  • Alimony: Alimony, or as we call it in Texas, spousal maintenance, can be a source of disagreement between divorcing parties, and may delay the case.
  • Trial: If your case must go to trial to be resolved by the judge or jury, then your case will take longer because you will have to wait for a trial date from the court and take all the necessary steps to prepare.

Tax Issues to Be Aware of During a Divorce

An attorney can make sure you understand how the following variables can impact your taxes and finances after divorce. At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston divorce lawyers work with financial experts to help our clients receive the information they need. While we are not tax specialists, you should know that tax issues may impact the many aspects of your divorce including the following:

  • The tax impact of property division: in Texas, the courts may take the tax impact of the various property division options into account in reaching the final division of the marital property. Certain property will be taxed when liquidated, such as stocks with capital gains or real estate that has appreciated. Money from most retirement accounts will be taxed at the time of withdrawal, but not taxed if the funds are in a Roth IRA. The court may take these tax variables into account
  • Child support: Child support payments are not considered taxable income for the recipient and are not deductible for the paying party.
  • Alimony or spousal maintenance: Once deductible, the law had changed and alimony is no longer deductible for the paying party.
  • Dependent tax deduction: Typically, the spouse who has primary custody of the children will receive the tax deduction for dependents unless the parties agree otherwise.
  • Division of retirement plans: Retirement plans may be divided without being taxed, usually by a document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO.
  • Withdrawing money from a retirement plan awarded in divorce: Once all or part of a retirement plan is awarded and transferred to you upon divorce, you have a brief window to withdraw funds one time before retirement without paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty; but you will nevertheless need to pay taxes on the funds withdrawn.
  • Attorney fees: Generally, attorney fees related to the divorce are not tax-deductible. Potential exceptions may apply, allowing a deduction for certain types of advice.

At Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, our Houston divorce lawyers can help you obtain a better outcome in your divorce. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone (713) 766-5355.

Client Testimonials

Striving to Deliver the Best Possible Result
  • “They are extremely conscientious and smart and are excellent trial lawyers.”

    - Gina F.
  • “I would highly recommend HD&S to anyone needing family law representation in the Houston area.”

    - James M.
  • “HD&S gave me great advice, stayed on top of things, and explained everything very clearly to me.”

    - Chris G.
  • “If your going through any family law issue, this is the firm to call. I would give 10 stars if I could.”

    - Leslie J.
  • “I would highly recommend her and her law firm to my closest friends and family.”

    - R. Thomson

How Much Could Divorce Cost Me?

The cost of your divorce will depend, in part, on the legal counsel you choose to represent you in the divorce process. Bearing that in mind, the price you pay your divorce lawyer usually corresponds with three essential factors:

  1. Complexity, conflict and time: Complex issues, such as cases that involve significant or unusual assets or disputes over potentially complex matters such as separate property, jurisdictional disputes or child custody, may require more work, cause the case to take longer to resolve and result in a costlier divorce.
  2. The experience of the attorney: Our more experienced attorneys naturally cost more per hour, however, you get what you pay for: if the case is unusual or complex, the more experienced attorney who charges more by the hour may actually save you money in the appropriate case. If your case is more straightforward, an attorney with lower hourly rates may be the best attorney to take good care of your needs.
  3. Your approach: We will be there for you when you call on us. Your ability to manage your time with your attorney and to seek out ways to save money with simple steps like organizing documents and information and responding quickly to requests from us for information will save you money on fees.

Contact Holmes, Diggs & Sadler

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