The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are highly skilled and knowledgeable in representing clients in divorce suits. They service clients in Harris County, Houston, Northwest Houston, Champions, Spring, Tomball, Humble, Klein, and the FM 1960 area, as well as Conroe and The Woodlands in Montgomery County.
In many cases the first interaction our clients have with the court system is in family court. The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC try to help this confusing and overwhelming process go as smoothly has possible for our clients. Every divorce case we handle is unique and different because each case involves different people with a different set of facts. However, the outline below is a broad strokes overview the divorce process:
Step 1 - Consultation with an Attorney
The first step in a divorce case is to schedule and have a consulting with a lawyer whose practice is focused on family and divorce law. Not many people really want to consult with a divorce lawyer regarding a divorce. The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC get to meet people often at the worst time of their lives and help them.
Many people have do not know what to expect during their initial consultation with divorce lawyer. It might help you to know that from your first call to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC everything you say, including your name and the reason you are calling, will be kept strictly confidential. You do not have to be concerned that anything you tell us will be repeated outside of your office such as your name or information you give us. In fact, providing us with your name is an important step to protect you and any of our other clients. For this reason if you refuse to give your name we might have to stop the conversation. This is because we use name in order to check if there is a conflict of interest (your spouse may have already called us)
Our Divorce Lawyers will take the time to discuss your case with you and provide you with explanation of your legal rights and duties. Our Lawyers will help you sort through the facts in your case and give you guidance as to how the law applies to your situation and what you should expect during the divorce process. During your initial consultation, a lawyer will explain the terms of representation and assist you in estimating the cost of legal services.
Step 2 - Filing for Divorce
After the initial consultation and the divorce contract has been signed. One of the lawyers at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will begin to work on your case. The next step in the divorce process involves opening a file, drafting the initial paperwork. This paperwork usually includes an Original Petition for Divorce and Case Information Sheet. Sometimes it will also include a mutual temporary restraining order (TRO).
Step 3 - Serving the Opposing Party
Once the Original Petition for Divorce has been filed with the Court, the other spouse must be made aware of the divorce action and be brought under the power of the Court. This can be done by either formal or informal service.
If your spouse agrees they can accept informal service. With informal service either you or one of the lawyers at theLaw Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will provide your spouse with a copy of the divorce paperwork and a waiver of service. The Waiver of service basically says that your spouse has received a copy of the paperwork and does not want to be formally served with the paperwork. Your spouse must sign and have the waiver of service notarized. Then it must be returned to the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC so it can be filed with the Court.
If your spouse does sign and return the waiver of service to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC it is then necessary for us to hire a process server to serve your spouse in person with the divorce paperwork. The process server then signs a document saying that they served your spouse and this document is filed with the court.
Step 4 – Negotiation and Mediation
Once your spouse has either signed and returned a waiver of service or has been personally served with the divorce paperwork, one of the attorneys the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC attempts to negotiate terms the parties will abide by during the divorce. These terms usually involves the marital property and the children while. If informal negotiation is not possible we then try and get the other spouse to agree to mediate the case. Most of the courts in Harris and Montgomery Counties in Texas require the parties to attend mediation to try and resolve the case prior to being allowed to have a hearing in Court.
If your spouse will not agree to mediate it is then necessary to set a hearing. If your spouse does not show up to the hearing the court will allow us to go forward with the case if the spouse does show up most of the time the Court will sternly inform the spouse that mediation is required by the Court and to work with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC on complying with the Courts requirement to mediate the case.
During mediation the parties and their attorneys negotiate through the facilitation of a neutral the mediator. The Mediator does not represent either spouse but tries to help the parties find a solution to the disputed matters in the case. Things discussed in mediation process is are confidential. The only thing the mediator tells the Court is whether the parties reached an agreement or if they did not reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached then the next step is a hearing in court be the judge.
Step 5 - Temporary Orders
Texas Temporary Orders hearings are usually held after an unsuccessful mediation. An attorney at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will usually set or already set a hearing with the court. This hearing is the formal way settling the same sort of issues discussed in mediation. However, where mediation requires the parties to agree in order to resolve the issues. In a Temporary Orders Hearing the Judge makes the decision based upon the testimony of the parties any evidence or witness testimony presented.
Step 6 – Discovery
Once there are Temporary Orders in place governing how the parties are to conduct themselves while the divorce is ongoing it is time to start gathering evidence to support your claims and defenses. This process is call discovery. One form of discovery is written discovery that is sent to the other spouse asking questions that they have to answer.
These questions also usually include a request to produce documents that spouse has in their possession such financial account information. Another form of discovery could include an oral deposition of the other spouse and any important witnesses. Depositions often take place after written discovery that way questions asked of the spouse can also be about the documents produced.
The Court also requires each spouse will also be required to complete a sworn inventory and appraisement. A sworn inventory and appraisement describes in detail all the property and debts of the marital estate. A companion document to the sworn inventory and appraisement is the proposed property division. This document describes how one spouse thinks property and debts should be divided.
Step 7 -Parenting Class
The Courts in many counties, including Harris County, Montgomery County, and Fort Bend County, require both parents in a divorce or family law case involving children to attend parenting course. Upon completing the class a parent will receive a certificate of completion that must be filed with the court before the divorce can be finalized. This is not a suggestion by the courts but a requirement. I have a couple clients think it was stupid and ignore this requirement only to find out the court would not let them proceed with their case until they had completed the class. One of the things we do to help you remember to do this step is provide you with a list of places where you can take the class and inform you about the requirement in our initial meeting.
Step 8 –Trial
Sometimes a husband and wife are so far a part in what they want that is not possible to reach an informal settlement agreement or to settle in mediation. In these case just as with the Temporary Orders Hearing is necessary to present their case to the judge. A Trial is similar to a Temporary Orders Hearing in that it is a formal proceeding where the parties present evidence to the court and ask the judge or jury to make a ruling. However, unlike in a Temporary Orders hearing once all evidence is presented, the judge a final decision on how property and debts should be divided once the parties are divorced not just how the property is to be used or debts are to be paid. A judge will also put into place orders regarding the children if there are any. Unlike the division of property and debts the orders regarding can be revisited if there has been “a substantial change in circumstance.” The rulings of the judge will then be prepared by the attorneys into a written order called a final divorce decree to be signed by the judge at a later date.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County,Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.