Do we have to have a jury trial to get divorced?
If we do need a jury trial, can you help me?
Don’t you make more money if you handle a divorce that’s hard, messy and contested?
Why do I need a lawyer?
Do you fight for your clients?
Can I represent myself?
We filed for divorce. Now what?
Can we get a divorce out of court?
What is “Separate Property”? Is Texas a Separate Property state? What does that mean?
What’s the difference between an “attorney” and a “lawyer” and a “counselor at law”?
What is “Community Property”? Is Texas a Community Property state? What does that mean?
What do I need to do to prepare to get divorced?
I’m thinking of getting a divorce, what should I do?
What do I need to do to prepare for our initial meeting?
I’m thinking of getting a divorce, what should I NOT do?
Can you represent both me and my spouse or do we each need our own attorney?
I just moved to Texas, can I get divorced here?
How do we split up our property?
What happens to our kids during the divorce?
What happens to our kids after the divorce?
What’s the Texas Standard Possession Order?
Should I just “go with” the Texas Standard Possession Order?
Isn’t the judge just going to order the Texas Standard Possession Order?
The Texas Standard Possession Order won’t work for our situation, is there anything I/we can do? Can we get something else?
Can we write our own customized possession order?
Who is supposed to do the driving to pick up or drop off the kids?
Isn’t there a form on the Internet that I can fill out to get divorced?
My spouse is not represented by an attorney, does that mean I don’t need one either?
What’s the difference between a separation and a divorce?
What is alimony? What is Spousal Maintenance?
Can I get alimony from my spouse?
How is child support determined or calculated?
Does the mother automatically get the kids and receive child support.
How is our property split up?
How long does it take to get a divorce?
Can I keep my wedding ring?
I inherited money, does my spouse get any of that if we get a divorce?
Can I cancel my spouse’s insurance after we file for divorce?
Can I cancel the electricity or cable bill after we file for divorce? Do I have to keep making payments on things in my spouse’s name?
What happens to my credit during and after a divorce?
My spouse has threatened to file for divorce and lock me out of the house. What can I do?
Can I lock my spouse out of the house or get a court order that allows me to do that?
My spouse has threatened to take and hide my kids from me. What can I do?
My spouse has an alcohol and/or drug problem. What can I do to protect myself and my kids?
My spouse hit me. What should I do?
What is a geographic restriction in a possession order?
What is a “morality clause”?
What’s a Standing Order?
What are Temporary Orders?
What is a Temporary Order hearing?
Is it better to have a Temporary Order hearing or to agree to Temporary Orders with my spouse?
What are Final Orders in a divorce?
What is a SAPCR?
Should we get a “Pre-Nup”? (Pre-nuptial agreement)
Can we do a “Pre-Nup” after we get married?
What’s a “Post-Nup”? (Post-nuptial agreement)
My spouse has violated our existing possession order. What can I do?
I don’t like our existing possession order. Can I get it changed?
How long do I have to pay child support? How long do I get to receive child support?
How long do I have to pay child support or get to receive child support if my child has a handicap?
My spouse isn’t spending the child support money on the kids. What can I do?
What can I spend my child support money on?
Who has to pay for the insurance for the kids?
I hate my spouse and I want revenge. What can I do?
How much does it cost to get a divorce in Texas?
Do I need to update my will after we get a divorce?
Should I file for divorce first to “beat my spouse to the punch”?
I hit my spouse. Can my spouse take my kids away from me? There have been allegations of abuse in our marriage. What’s going to happen if we file for divorce?
I’ve cheated on my spouse. Does that mean I’m going to lose my kids?
I’ve cheated on my spouse. Does that mean my spouse is going to get all my stuff?
My spouse cheated on me. Does that mean I automatically get custody of the kids?
I do not want my cheating spouse’s lover/boyfriend/girlfriend around my kids. What can I do to stop them from being around my kids?
My spouse has supported me for years. Now we have to get a divorce. How am I going to support myself?
I take great care of my kids when I have them. When it’s my spouse’s turn to take care of the kids, they are seriously neglected. What can I do?
One of my kids made an outcry against my spouse for sexual abuse. What should I do?
In a “hard” divorce, what types of things happen?
Someone is trying to serve me papers. What should I do?
Should I accept service if a process server is trying to serve me papers?
Should I sign the papers a process server is serving me?


Do we have to have a jury trial to get divorced?

No, not at all. You might have one, but it’s rare. In fact, in the Texas fiscal year 2010 (9-1-9 to 8-31-10) for all the district courts in the entire state of Texas there were 227,120 divorce cases filed, but only 147 of them reached a final judgment by jury trial. That means you statistically have right about a 1 in 1,545 chance of having a jury trial. It’s highly unlikely.


If we do need a jury trial, can you help me?

Absolutely. If a jury trial is necessary, we certainly will represent our clients zealously!


Don’t you make more money if you handle a divorce that’s hard, messy and contested?

The simple answer is yes and no. If a divorce is messy and contested it costs that client more money. But the better we prevent that and the better we serve our clients, then we build a relationship with that client for life. When our clients are happy, they send all of their friends, family and acquaintances to us when those people are in need. Almost all of our business comes from personal relationships from people we know and who know us and who trust us to handle their cases to take good care of them. The lifetime value of a client is many, many times higher than however much money we would make from that client directly.

Also, making money is not the only focus for us. The money comes and there is plenty of work for us to do. But we aim to provide our clients with a Soft Divorce®. We are happier when we are able to return money to our clients or especially to play a part in saving a marriage.

We do realize that sometimes divorces are messy and contested and we are always happy to help our clients with that, but our number one goal is make this divorce as soft as possible and make divorce not so hard for our clients.



Why do I need a lawyer?

Most people would not normally empty their bank account, take all their money and the deeds to their homes and automobiles and everything else they own to Las Vegas and risk it all betting on the roulette wheel. But in Vegas, there is the possibility of reward. If you win in Vegas, you get more than you risk. If you are facing a divorce, you might lose everything you own. You also risk your relationship with your children. In Vegas, if you bet $10, you might win $20, and you only lose $10. In a divorce, you bet $10 and at most all you get back is that $10.

If you’re not the type of person who would risk everything you own, you need a lawyer to protect you.

But there’s more than that. Your divorce decree is going to establish the rules that you must live by for the rest of your life. You are not only risking what you now have, you’re jeopardizing the structure of the rest of your life. You need a lawyer to protect you. You need a lawyer to help you find a healthy way for you to live that is customized to your particular circumstances. We do this for a living, as our passion. Do not try to do this alone. Take advantage of our help and expertise.

Divorce affects your entire life, not just your property and your money. It can affect your work, your relationships, and everything else you do. With a good lawyer on your side it can help to make this very hard time in your life softer. It can take away the stress of dealing with a legal system that you probably don’t not fully understand. The last thing you need during a divorce is the extra stress of representing yourself. We have often found that people who try to do it themselves create problems that cost them more to fix than just hiring the right lawyer to begin with.


Do you fight for your clients?

Do not be fooled by the name Soft Divorce®. We are here to provide our clients with the help they need. Soft Divorce® does not mean that we are soft on an opposing attorney or party who is trying to take advantage of our clients. It means we protect our clients from that. We fight for clients in whatever way they need us to.


Can I represent myself?

Legally you can, but most of the time it’s a very, very bad idea. Do not risk everything you own and do not risk the structure of the rest of your life by not hiring good legal counsel to help you.

We filed for divorce. Now what?

Now is the most important time. It is time for setting out temporary orders that will determine the arrangements between your spouse and yourself until the divorce is finalized. This is especially important if you have kids or any property that you both own such as your home, cars, boats, rental properties, and your business, to name a few.


Can we get a divorce out of court?

The Texas court system is the legal method that allows you to get a divorce in Texas. Every divorce must go through the courts. A divorce requires a petition to be filed in court and a judgment to end it. Most divorces are agreed and negotiated out but even when everything is agreeable a divorce order is not finalized until it goes to court and a judge signs the order.

What is “Separate Property”? Is Texas a Separate Property state? What does that mean?

Separate Property is property owned solely by one spouse without any rights to that property belonging to the other spouse. Texas is not referred to as a “separate property state“ but there is separate property that each spouse may own. Texas is referred to as a “community property state” because the income that a spouse makes during a marriage is not considered separate property. Income that either of the spouses earns is generally considered community property, even if it’s earned from separate property.

Examples of Separate Property would be things one spouse has inherited from a relative, property owned prior to the marriage, and gifts that the spouse received individually.

Separate Property is an important classification because it is property that is not split between spouses during the divorce. The owning spouse would keep all of their Separate Property and it is generally not divided by the court.

There are many exceptions and very complex rules surrounding separate property and community property and this website in no way has given you enough information to do it yourself. You need a to discuss your property issues with your attorney. It’s very important how you deal with your property in your divorce decree. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement about your property, you need to have your lawyer write and edit your divorce decree and agreement for you. We’re here to help you with that.


What’s the difference between an “attorney” and a “lawyer” and a “counselor at law”?

Short answer: They’re all the same thing in Texas.

What is “Community Property”? Is Texas a Community Property state? What does that mean?

Community Property is any and all property owned by spouses that is not classified as Separate Property. Texas is called a “community property state“ meaning that any property owned by the spouses that cannot be proven as separate property is assumed to be community property. This means that all property owned by either spouse that is not proven to be separate property will generally be split between the spouses by the court at the conclusion of the divorce. Community property is subject to division by the court.

What do I need to do to prepare to get divorced?

If you decide that you are ready to get divorced, the more organized you are the better. If you are thinking about divorce or believe that it might happen to you, it is a good idea to be prepared. You should contact our office and we will help you to get the important documents and information you will need. We will give you an information packet for you to complete and the information we request will help you and us get prepared to get your matter handled in the best way possible.


I’m thinking of getting a divorce, what should I do?

Set up a consultation with us through our website softdivorce.com by clicking on the “Free Initial Consultation” text. During your time we can discuss the options that are available to you. We can also recommend a marriage counselor to speak with and various divorce support groups that can help you get through this tough emotional time for you.


What do I need to do to prepare for our initial meeting?

To make your time with us as valuable and efficient as possible you should prepare for your initial meeting by gathering important documents regarding your property. You also want to bring any evidence that is relevant to your children and child custody.

If the act of gathering documents or information would tip off your spouse, you can meet with us without bringing us any of that information. Every situation is different and we certainly have had clients who don’t even have access to any financial information or records because their spouse handles all of those things. The first step is to come talk to us and we’ll figure out the specific steps for you.


I’m thinking of getting a divorce, what should I NOT do?

There are some things you certainly should not do. 1. Do not make any false allegations against your spouse. 2. Do not try to provoke a fight with your spouse in order to cause or justify one of you leaving. 3. Do not cancel any insurance policies, utilities or other services.

Can you represent both me and my spouse or do we each need our own attorney?

We cannot represent both you and your spouse – even if you fully believe that you and your spouse are in complete agreement.

This is because if ever during the representation you and your spouse want something different from each other we are required by our ethical laws to resign and are not allowed to represent either spouse. We are not willing to put our clients through this so it is our practice at Soft Divorce to never represent both spouses. But we DO have a solution for you. Make an appointment, come in and talk to us and we can make an arrangement that is right for you.

I just moved to Texas, can I get divorced here?

You must live in Texas for 6 months before you can get a divorce here, and you must live 3 months inside the same county.

How do we split up our property?

The answer to this question is: it depends. That is why you need to hire an attorney – to figure out what you can do, and to help you decide what are the best options for you.

What happens to our kids during the divorce?

After you file for divorce you, your spouse, and your children are subject to the authority of the court. From the moment you file you must obey the standing orders of the court. (We can provide you with a copy of those for the county you live in.) Very soon after the divorce is filed – usually from 10 to 20 days after the petition is filed, you will need to work out temporary orders or there may be a temporary order hearing. Temporary orders are rules that apply to your life while the divorce is pending. They are temporary because they will be replaced at the end of the divorce process by final orders.

The temporary orders that are put in place determine what happens to your kids during the divorce. This temporary order will lay out when the kids are with which parent, how they are transported, who pays the health insurance, who is allowed to take care of them, and a variety of other terms.

The temporary order is very important because most divorces do take time to be finalized. This is why it is so important to contact us immediately as soon as you are ready to get a divorce. We want to help protect your rights throughout the entire process. If your spouse has served you with divorce papers, you need to set up an immediate emergency meeting with us. Temporary order hearings are very serious and have lasting effects on your life. Often a temporary order hearing is the only hearing you might have. Final orders often are determined based on the results of a temporary order hearing.

To schedule your immediate emergency meeting with us, call 855-SOFT-SOFT, that’s 855-763-8763, and Press 3 for the emergency line. You will be transferred to a member of our staff who is on call and can schedule an emergency meeting with you – even if it is after-hours. There is precious little time if you have been served with divorce papers from your spouse. It is essential that we begin preparing immediately.

What happens to our kids after the divorce?

That depends on either the agreement reached between you and your spouse, or the decision of the judge or jury at a final trial.

What’s the Texas Standard Possession Order?

It is a “standard” order that states how possession of the children will be handled between you and your spouse.


Should I just “go with” the Texas Standard Possession Order?

It is a personal choice that entirely depends on the situation. Sometimes it can be simply a starting point that makes you consider how you really want to share the possession of your children with your spouse. Sometimes it works very well for parents and children. Other times it does not serve a parent or child well. This is something you should discuss with your attorney who can advise you based on your individual situations.

Isn’t the judge just going to order the Texas Standard Possession Order?

No. The judge will do what he or she feels is best for the children. However, sometimes the judge will believe that the Texas Standard Possession Order is what is best for the children. There is no way to know this in advance. You should talk to your attorney for advice and analysis of your individual situations.

The Texas Standard Possession Order won’t work for our situation, is there anything I/we can do? Can we get something else?

Yes. You do not have to use the Texas Standard Possession Order. If it does not work for your situation than we can either revise it accordingly or write a completely new possession order that does work for your situation.

Can we write our own customized possession order?

Yes. However, it cannot be stressed enough that you should absolutely not take on writing your own customized possession order without an attorney. We have seen nightmare situations when parents with the best intentions have tried to do this on their own to disastrous results.

Who is supposed to do the driving to pick up or drop off the kids?

This is all determined by the possession order. There are a lot of factors that would affect our answer about this and everybody’s situations are different. But this is an important issue you should definitely discuss with your attorney.

Isn’t there a form on the Internet that I can fill out to get divorced?

You can find a form on the Internet for anything – and they do exist for divorces. However, be aware that these forms cause problems. We would never recommend using a form to get divorced. Too much is at stake and you will put all your property, your children and your future at risk. We’re happy if you attempt to do your own documents – but you should bring them to us to review before you submit them. We often have someone come to us after they filed their own form. We often have problems with those forms that take is a lot of time and money to fix. We have had very knowledgeable, wealthy, well-informed and successful clients who have had very bad experiences with forms. We generally advise our clients to never file any form or document without our review, editing and approval first. When you hire us, we do that for you.

My spouse is not represented by an attorney, does that mean I don’t need one either?

No, in fact it could mean you need one even more. Without the advice of an attorney you and your spouse could have major problems with your divorce.

What’s the difference between a separation and a divorce?

Texas does not recognize legal separation. This means that in Texas if you are separated you are still legally married. The only way to end a marriage in Texas is to get a divorce.

Separation can be a good personal choice if you are not ready to file for divorce. However, you must understand that everything during your separation is still a part of your marriage. Therefore, if during your separation you go buy new property that property may still be split with your spouse because you were married when it was purchased making it Community Property.

What is alimony? What is Spousal Maintenance?

Alimony is payment to a spouse by the other spouse. Alimony is generally not available in Texas, however, this is not an absolute. You should discuss this with your attorney.

Spousal Maintenance is usually a temporary amount paid from one spouse for the support of the other spouse. Spousal Maintenance is available in Texas under certain circumstances. You should discuss this with your attorney.

Can I get alimony from my spouse?

Alimony is not common in Texas. Temporary Spousal Maintenance is more common than alimony in Texas. We will have to determine your unique situation to see whether alimony would be possible.

How is child support determined or calculated?

Child support is determined by the amount of money you or your spouse make, how many children you have (both inside the marriage and out) and can be influenced by a number of other factors. It can also be determined by agreement between you and your spouse. Other factors determine which spouse pays child support and which spouse receives child support. A general rule of thumb is that the parent that has the child more than 50% of the time receives child support and the other parent must pay that child support.

Does the mother automatically get the kids and receive child support.

No. There is legally no preference for a mother or a father. But there is likely going to be a preference for the parent that spends more time caring for the children. It is determined by the best interest of the child standard. We can also get it worked out by agreement. You should discuss your specific situation with your attorney who can help you determine how it is likely to work out in your particular situation. A general rule of thumb is that the parent that has the child more than 50% of the time receives child support and the other parent must pay that child support.

How is our property split up?

In Texas, you’ll have two types of property – separate property, and community property. The separate property usually goes to the spouse who owns that property. The community property generally is most of your property that was obtained during your marriage – including all the income both of you made, no matter who earned it. Your salary is usually community property. Your spouse’s salary is usually community property. A general rule of thumb is that community property is what both of you own together, and separate property is what only you own yourself or what your spouse owns by them-self. A gift given from one spouse to the other is usually the other spouse’s separate property. The property each spouse had before the marriage is usually their separate property. The courts will divide the community property subject to a “just-and-right division”. The courts will confirm that separate property belongs to the spouse it belongs to.

Did you notice the use of the words “usually” and “generally”? Those words were used because the community property and separate property rules are very complex. There are a lot of exceptions and it makes a big difference about what happened to the property along the way. Do not rely on this very basic explanation. This is only enough to give you a general idea. If you try to determine the characterization of your property yourself, you put all of your property at risk. If you wouldn’t go to Las Vegas and bet everything you own on one number at the roulette wheel, then don’t gamble with everything you own without a lawyer to help you!

How long does it take to get a divorce?

In Texas, there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 60 days before a divorce becomes final. The waiting period starts the day the divorce petition is filed. The waiting period can sometimes be shortened, but it is highly unlikely to happen. In order for the divorce to be granted in only 60 days, all issues would need to be resolved, including child custody, support, and property division. Some “hard” divorces can take several years to get resolved.


Can I keep my wedding ring?

Usually, yes, you can keep your wedding ring because your wedding ring was a gift from your spouse. In Texas, gifts are considered separate property of the individual spouse the gift was given to. The same applies for other jewelry and gifts the spouses gave to each other. However, there can be situations where this does not apply. A pre- or post-nuptial agreement might change this circumstance too.


I inherited money, does my spouse get any of that if we get a divorce?

Usually no. An inheritance is classified as Separate Property of that spouse and is therefore not split between the spouses during the divorce. But, if the inheritance went to both of you then it would be classified as community property and subject to division. For example, if your parents’ will gave “you and your spouse” something after your parents died, then it belongs to both of you as community property. Even if your spouse’s parents gave you something, it doesn’t matter that the gift came from your spouse’s parents – if it was given only to you, then it would be your separate property. Separate property belongs only to the individual spouse that owns the property, not to both spouses.


Can I cancel my spouse’s insurance after we file for divorce?

No. Most counties have standing orders that prohibit this. You can be sure that temporary orders will be in place that prevent this too. Never do this.


Can I cancel the electricity or cable bill after we file for divorce? Do I have to keep making payments on things in my spouse’s name?

No, usually you cannot cancel certain bills at the marriage residence or at your spouse’s residence if they’ve moved out because standing orders or temporary orders are usually in place that prohibit this. But we might be able to get court permission to do so, or able to work this out by agreement. You might not have to keep making payments on things in your spouse’s name only, but you should discuss this with your attorney before you make any decisions on this.


What happens to my credit during and after a divorce?

If you have bills in your name – even if they are also in your spouse’s name – then you are responsible for paying those obligations in a timely manner otherwise your credit will be affected. If your spouse is ordered to pay those bills but fails to do so, then your credit can be affected negatively. These are tricky situations that you should discuss with your attorney. Often people have bad credit during and after a divorce. Smart planning can prevent that. Smart planning is one way that we can help you make your divorce not so hard.

My spouse has threatened to file for divorce and lock me out of the house. What can I do?

You should meet with us immediately. Your spouse might be able to go to court and request a court order to lock you out of your house without you even knowing about it under certain situations. However, if this happens, we can immediately try to undo this order. You will also be entitled to a hearing about this, usually within 10 – 20 days to attempt to get this order removed. If they do it without your knowledge, it can only be a temporary situation; but we need to prepare to fight this as soon as possible.

Can I lock my spouse out of the house or get a court order that allows me to do that?

Under certain situations you can get a court order allowing you to live in your home and preventing your spouse from entering. You should talk to your lawyer if you need to do this. You need to have a good reason for this and your lawyer can discuss your individual situation to see if you would qualify.

My spouse has threatened to take and hide my kids from me. What can I do?

You need to call us immediately and we need to get court intervention immediately. You might need to get the police involved, but we cannot tell you that as a general rule. If at any time your kids are in physical danger you should call the police emergency number 911, then contact us as soon as humanly possible thereafter.


My spouse has an alcohol and/or drug problem. What can I do to protect myself and my kids?

Both during and after a divorce case, a court can order alcohol and drug testing and treatment as a condition of child custody or possession. The court can also order supervised visitation of the children. This is a very complex issue and you should discuss this with your attorney.

My spouse hit me. What should I do?

This is a very difficult issue that is made more difficult by very intense emotions. Violence between spouses is never ok. If you are in physical danger you should remove yourself from that situation and if your safety is in jeopardy you should call the police. We can help you so please call us if you are ever in this situation.

What is a geographic restriction in a possession order?

There are a variety of types of geographic restrictions. Some prevent a spouse from changing the residence of the children outside of a specific geographic location – usually a county or surrounding counties. This protects both spouses from the other one moving far away from each other to make child possession difficult for the other party.

What is a “morality clause”?

A morality clause is an agreement or order that restricts the spouses from having an overnight visit with someone they are dating between certain hours of the day while the children are present.

What’s a Standing Order?

A standing order is an order that applies to every divorce case filed in a particular county. Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin and many other counties all have standing orders that must be followed from the moment that the divorce petition is filed.


What are Temporary Orders?

Temporary orders are court orders that must be followed during the divorce process. They usually expire at the conclusion of the divorce case because they are replaced by the final divorce decree. The final divorce decree is regarded as final orders in the divorce case.

What is a Temporary Order hearing?

A temporary order hearing is essentially a trial at court with a judge but without a jury. At the temporary order hearing a judge listens to and reviews evidence that both sides submit. Often the parties are called to testify under oath during that hearing. Often these hearings are very time-limited so it’s very important to be thoroughly prepared and organized. At the conclusion of the temporary order hearing the judge will issue temporary orders that will be in effect during the remainder of the divorce case until the end of the case when final orders are ordered.

At a temporary order hearing the judge will decide what the child custody arrangements will be from that day forward until the case is over. The judge may order child support and spousal support to be paid from one spouse to the other. Property issues are usually not decided at the temporary order hearing, but the temporary orders often award possession and use of certain property to one party or the other – especially use of the marital home and automobiles.

The temporary order hearing will also deal with lock-out requests where one spouse is trying to exclude the other spouse from the marital home.

Is it better to have a Temporary Order hearing or to agree to Temporary Orders with my spouse?

As a general principle, we always attempt to negotiate temporary orders with your spouse or your spouse’s attorney (if your spouse has an attorney) rather than go to the court for temporary orders. That is one of the ways that we make the divorce process not so hard. This one strategy often results in temporary orders that are much better for both sides than what might result from the court process.

What are Final Orders in a divorce?

The final orders are contained in the decree of divorce that is the final step in the divorce process. The divorce decree is the result of the divorce process. The decree contains the terms of the divorce and resolves all issues, including property division, child custody, and child support.

What is a SAPCR?

SAPCR is an acronym for a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship. A divorce between parents also contains a SAPCR. But a SAPCR can also be filed independently without the need for a divorce. Any child custody court case in Texas is called a SAPCR.

Should we get a “Pre-Nup”? (Pre-nuptial agreement)

A pre-nuptial agreement (a “pre-nup”) is usually a good idea, and if used properly it can strengthen your marriage. Some people are afraid of a pre-nuptial agreement and they think that it will be insulting to mention it to your fiancé before you get married; but, for wise and properly prepared couples, this is not the case.

Every couple essentially has a pre-nuptial agreement, just many of them are not written down or thought about – instead they are provided by the default laws of the state of Texas, namely the separate property and community property rules.

A wise couple will discuss how they intend to manage their money and property before they get married and they write down what their agreement is ahead of time so that they have a proper framework for making financial decisions during their marriage.

It is a guarantee that you will talk about money, property, money management, financial planning and property management with your spouse during your marriage. If you are afraid to talk about that before you get married then you are postponing a potentially major problem until after the marriage when it could potentially ruin your relationship. If this topic is going to lead to your divorce, wouldn’t you rather know this before you get married? A pre-nup is a lot – wait, let my try to explain this better – A LOOOOTTTTT more affordable than divorce. In fact, it helps prevent divorce if you discuss these things and make proper plans prior to marriage.

A pre-nup is not about protecting and keeping your stuff in case you get a divorce. It can do that, but many people do not realize that that is not the reason to get one. A proper pre-nup is a tool that helps your marriage run more smoothly because you understand the nature of your property and can manage it more effectively. A wise couple uses a pre-nup as a tool to help them have a better marriage. You can also use it for superior tax planning and wealth management as well.

It’s not about protecting you for when you get a divorce. It’s more effectively a tool to help you live your life more smoothly. Then that peace helps you to stay together.

Can we do a “Pre-Nup” after we get married?

Well, you can get something similar, but technically it is called a Post-Nuptial Agreement, so yes, a post-nuptial agreement is available in Texas.

What’s a “Post-Nup”? (Post-nuptial agreement)

It is an agreement between two spouses that is formed after they have married. It is similar to a Pre-Nuptial Agreement except that it is done after marriage.


My spouse has violated our existing possession order. What can I do?

We can go to court to seek an enforcement order. We can also try to work out the issues without court intervention. The exact right strategy would depend on the unique, specific situation you’re facing so you’ll need to talk to your attorney about this question.


I don’t like our existing possession order. Can I get it changed?

Perhaps. It depends on a lot of factors. Time and substantial changes in circumstances can both sometimes allow a modification of possession. The standard will be based on the best interest of the child. You’ll need to discuss this with your attorney.

One thing to be noted is that the court will only consider the time period since the last order was entered. For example, if the possession order was a final divorce decree, you can’t bring up things from before the divorce was granted. It is presumed that all of those issues were already decided and reflected in the last order.


How long do I have to pay child support? How long do I get to receive child support?

You will have to pay it or get to receive it for the length of time ordered by the court. Usually, child support is paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or longer if the child is still in high school. However, if the child is emancipated from the parents or certain other limited circumstances, child support may be cut off at that earlier date. Child support also might continue longer by agreement, such as through college.

How long do I have to pay child support or get to receive child support if my child has a handicap?

It will depend on the length of time ordered by the court, but special needs children often have customized, specialized orders that take their special needs into account.

My spouse isn’t spending the child support money on the kids. What can I do?

This is a very common question. The general rule is that the money doesn’t have to be spend directly on the children, the parent who receives child support does not have to keep or provide receipts to the other parent (unless they agree to do so in a court order), and there is really no restriction on the money. Generally they can spend it on whatever they want. However, a parent does have an obligation and duty to provide proper care for the children. If this is a circumstance in your situation, you should set up a consultation to talk with an attorney.


What can I spend my child support money on?

The general rule is that the money doesn’t have to be spend directly on the children, the parent who receives child support does not have to keep or provide receipts to the other parent (unless they agree to do so in a court order), and there is really no restriction on the money. Generally they can spend it on whatever they want. However, a parent does have an obligation and duty to provide proper care for the children.

We can say, however, that if you’re using child support to buy yourself luxury goods and spending it all on yourself, that is not a good idea. It will damage your relationship with your children – they’re not stupid and this will reflect badly on you. And it will also damage your relationship with your ex-spouse, with whom you have to co-parent your children.

Most parents are not selfish and they spend more money on the children than they receive in child support. They also save money and make wise decisions that help the children and support them for the present and the future. Generally that is a very good idea and helps both parents have better relationships with the children – that’s always to be desired.


Who has to pay for the insurance for the kids?

This is determined in the divorce and usually will be specified in the temporary and final orders. You cannot cancel the insurance for the children during the divorce.

I hate my spouse and I want revenge. What can I do?

If you have to get a divorce, this is difficult, but you should try your best to forgive your spouse – for your own benefit. You have to let go of your desire to punish the other person. If you’re going to get a divorce but you’re holding on to your desire for revenge, then you’re not moving on and you are hurting yourself more than you are hurting them. The way to healing is not through revenge. If you want revenge you’re focused on negativity and living in the past. Instead you should focus on being healthy. Please come talk to us so we can help you. But if you are entering into the divorce process in order to get revenge on your spouse, we will likely give you the names of other credible attorneys who would be a better fit for you.

You should also be warned, the courts can see when a person is using the divorce process for revenge – and they do not like it. That is why we are very well equipped to defend you against your spouse if your spouse is trying to use the divorce process to get revenge on you.

How much does it cost to get a divorce in Texas?

This is completely dependent on each situation. If you have a lot of property, then there are likely to be a lot of documents that we need to draft. For example, if you have a home, four cars, a summer home and other real estate and you’re taking half of the property and your spouse is taking the other half, there will need to be real estate and property transfer paperwork to be done. Often we find that our fees are significantly less than real estate commissions would be on that property.

During your first meeting with one of our attorneys they will give an estimate for what they think your divorce will take. This estimate is our prediction based on the information you provide.


Do I need to update my will after we get a divorce?

It is recommended that you update your will after you get divorced. This is because you do not want any confusion with your will that would cause it to need to go before a Probate Court and delay it being carried out. By operation of law in Texas your former spouse would be excluded from any inheritance in the event of your death even if your spouse was included in the will you had before you were divorced.

It is best for you to execute a new will after your divorce is finalized. You can even have the documents drafted before the divorce is finalized so you do not necessarily need to wait until the divorce is final to begin that process. We no longer draft wills or estate planning documents, but we have several local attorneys we can recommend for you.

Should I file for divorce first to “beat my spouse to the punch”?

Divorce is not a race dependent on who files first. As a general rule we do not encourage a client to file for divorce in order to beat your spouse to the punch. However, we do recommend that you begin preparations for your case if you anticipate that either you or your spouse will file for divorce. You should file for divorce when you are ready not simply so your spouse does not do it first. It is also better to be properly prepared before you file instead of trying to scramble to put everything together in a short time because you’re in a rush to file.

I hit my spouse. Can my spouse take my kids away from me? There have been allegations of abuse in our marriage. What’s going to happen if we file for divorce?

First, and most importantly, do not hit your spouse. But if you have, you need to call us immediately. If you hit your spouse or your spouse hit you, that is considered family violence and it can very seriously negatively affect child custody.

An abused spouse may also obtain a protective order against the aggressor spouse. That can result in exclusion from the marital home (a lock-out order) and other negative consequences.

I’ve cheated on my spouse. Does that mean I’m going to lose my kids?

Probably not at all. Your possession of your children will not be lost because you cheated on your spouse. This factor goes more towards the division of community property; however, this factor is also not as important as it used to be in the past.

However, you may be prohibited from allowing someone you’re dating from staying the night with you while you have your kids.


I’ve cheated on my spouse. Does that mean my spouse is going to get all my stuff?

Probably not. Cheating goes to the issue of fault. While Texas does not always divide community property 50/50 because community property is subject to the “just-and-right division”, generally that just-and-right division tends to reflect a 50/50 split, even when fault due to cheating is involved. However, this is only a rule of thumb. You should discuss your specific situation with your attorney.

My spouse cheated on me. Does that mean I automatically get custody of the kids?

You probably get custody of your kids, but your spouse will probably get custody of your kids too. In almost all situations parents share joint custody of the kids and will be entitled to possession of the children at different times. Your spouse will probably not lose possession of the children because of cheating on you. Both of you will most likely be co-parenting your children for the rest of your lives – and it’s important that your children have as good a relationship with both you and their other parent as possible.

I do not want my cheating spouse’s lover/boyfriend/girlfriend around my kids. What can I do to stop them from being around my kids?

The term for your spouse’s lover/girlfriend/boyfriend is “paramour”. Restrictions can be put into the possession order that prevent your spouse’s paramour away from the children – especially during over-night visits.

My spouse has supported me for years. Now we have to get a divorce. How am I going to support myself?

This is a very common and important question. If you are getting a divorce, you have to plan and prepare to support yourself without the benefit of being married to your spouse any longer. Often a spouse that hasn’t worked in years will have to get a job to support him or herself.

In situations like this, temporary spousal support might be awarded to assist the non-employed spouse during the divorce process – especially if the couple was married ten years or longer. It is also common that the community property might be awarded to the non-employed spouse in a way that assists that spouse to make ends meet and sustain that spouse for some period of time. This is an especially important situation that you should discuss with your attorney.


I take great care of my kids when I have them. When it’s my spouse’s turn to take care of the kids, they are seriously neglected. What can I do?

This is a very tough situation. If the kids are in danger, then clearly you must protect your children so court or police intervention may be required. You should absolutely talk to your attorney about this to determine the best way for you to proceed in your specific situation.

One of my kids made an outcry against my spouse for sexual abuse. What should I do?

This is one of the worst situations any parent can face. This presents a situation that might require notification of the police. On the other hand, the allegation might not be true at all and so many different circumstances can apply. We need to bring in experts on this very subject that deal with your unique situation.

One thing we can say, universally, without exception – NEVER, never, ever make up a false allegation against your spouse to get an upper hand in a divorce. This is a nightmare for everyone involved and once the allegation is made it scars your children, your spouse and you forever. It is one of the most horrible experiences you can ever go through. Please, do not ever lie in your divorce proceding. It is very important that you are honest with your attorneys. Let us help you with the bad facts and use the truth to help you. Please, do not ever lie during your divorce.

In a “hard” divorce, what types of things happen?

It has been said that in a divorce, the side that “loses” is the one who runs out of money first. The lawyers bleed the clients dry and when one side can’t pay their lawyers any more money to fight the case, then the lawyers withdraw and they’re left out on their own or they take whatever bad deal happens to be on the table because they just give up.

That is not our approach.

Divorce is not like civil litigation case where it’s just a matter of money. And divorce is not a matter of revenge. There are many, many more factors that must be balanced in a divorce case and if you focus exclusively on money and/or revenge then you wind up with less money and you usually wind up with a lot worse set of other circumstances that you never even considered or realized would happen to you.

Someone is trying to serve me papers. What should I do?

Take them! It’s for YOUR benefit that they are required to give you those papers. If you don’t take them then you don’t know what you’re being sued for and nothing is stopping the lawsuit by you not taking the papers. If you don’t take the papers then they will use substituted service and proceed with the lawsuit against you without you there. That means they get whatever they want and you don’t get your opportunity to defend yourself or countersue them back if that’s called for. Always accept service when someone’s trying to serve you. You don’t have to sign for them, but always take the papers then call your lawyer immediately.

Should I accept service if a process server is trying to serve me papers?

If anyone is ever trying to serve you with papers, always accept them. It does you no good to avoid service because they can get around that by publishing a notice in a newspaper that no one ever reads. Avoiding service only prevents you yourself from knowing what the papers say and from knowing how you must legally respond. It doesn’t stop any action. ALWAYS accept the papers then deal with it appropriately otherwise you’ve made it easy for whoever is suing you to get a default judgment. That means they automatically get whatever they wanted and you don’t get a say. Serving you is for your benefit so that you know what is going on.

Should I sign the papers a process server is serving me?

Don’t sign the papers themselves. It doesn’t matter whether you sign for service or not – that just says that you received them. Never sign any type of settlement papers without discussing it with your lawyer first. In fact, if you don’t feel comfortable signing something, just take the papers from the process server then call us immediately. You don’t have to sign for it – but ALWAYS get the papers. If you do not accept the papers, that doesn’t stop the lawsuit from going on, they will just be able to publish a notice to you in a newspaper that no-one reads and you will have no idea what the papers say and from knowing how you must legally respond. In fact, as a general rule we would advise our clients to never sign anything that we have not thoroughly discussed in advance with them.