All people are equal before the law. However, a good attorney makes a significant difference.

Unwavering Help Through Texas Contested Divorce

Not every relationship ends amicably. The same can be said for divorce. It is essential to hire the right attorney to deal with the minutiae of a contested divorce and, to the extent possible, keep raw emotion out of the decision-making process.

If you and your spouse contest the major issues of your divorce, Sralla Family Law PLLC can advocate for you. Our divorce attorneys have served clients in the San Antonio for 18 years. We treat you like a member of our family and ease you through the difficulties of a traumatic divorce.

What Should I Know About Contested Divorce Trials?

This type of divorce is much more complex than an uncontested divorce because the parties cannot agree on the issues. Common areas of dispute involve:

  • How to divide the community property between the parties
  • How to allocate the community debt
  • Whether to award spousal support or alimony
  • How much child support should be ordered
  • Who will get primary custody of the children
  • What the terms of visitation should be
  • Whether visitation should be supervised

In the case of a contested Texas divorce, the parties must prepare for and attend a trial to litigate all unresolved matters in front of a judge. The trial involves witnesses giving testimony and attorneys offering evidence and arguments for the court to consider before issuing a ruling or jury verdict. Once the judge decides the outstanding issues and hands down a ruling or verdict, the parties are officially divorced. Like an uncontested divorce, either party must wait 30 days before attempting to remarry.

Standing Up For Your Conservatorship Rights As A Parent

Some of the most bitterly fought divorces involve disputes over custody, visitation and support of the children. The standard in Texas is to appoint joint managing conservatorship. This means that they each enjoy virtually equal rights when it comes to decision-making and access to medical and school records for the children. In extreme cases, one party may seek to sole managing conservatorship. This means that the sole managing conservators will have the exclusive right to make most, if not all, critical decisions regarding the children. This remedy is for cases when one parent or the other has demonstrated some kind of serious parenting shortcoming or represents a danger to the children. A party seeking this relief in the context of a contested divorce must come to court with appropriate evidence proving the reasons why that parent believes they should receive sole managing conservatorship.

If the court goes with a joint managing conservatorship, it will appoint one spouse as the conservator with the exclusive right to determine the primary residence of the children. Usually, this spouse also will have the exclusive right to determine where the children attend school and maintain the exclusive right to receive child support on behalf of the children. This basically means that the children will live with the primary parent during the school week and visit the possessory parent on a schedule set forth in a standard possession order.

What If I Need To Seek Primary Conservatorship Status?

The parent seeking primary status must bring evidence to show why it is in the children’s best interest to live primarily with that parent as opposed to their spouse. Divorce often gets ugly when the gloves come off and each parent attempts to prove they are the better choice to be the primary managing conservator. This often involves presentation of evidence to show misbehavior by the other side that could potentially harm the children.

Determining which parent has primary status is one of the most difficult decisions that courts have to make. Most cases involve this decision cutting firmly in one direction or the other. It is usually winner-take-all when it comes to the battle over primary conservatorship. All is not necessarily lost for the party not designated primary. That parent usually still gets visitation. In some cases, that visitation can approach something fairly close to a 50/50 possession schedule.

Getting The Visitation Arrangements Best For Your Kids

If the call on primary is a close one, the parent not getting primary status may elect to have an expanded standard possession order that governs that parent’s possession and access to the children. This expands the visitation periods with the children. Many times, litigants will fight over this option, but unless there is some compelling reason not to give the possessory parent more time, the court will usually allow the possessory parent to elect this option. The only catch is the possessory parent has to be prepared to transport the children to and from school on the days when they have the children.

Sometimes, spouses will argue over whether the court should impose supervised visitation on the other party. This position is typically met with resistance from the spouse facing the possibility of limited access. To obtain this type of extreme relief from the court, the party seeking to limit their spouse’s access must demonstrate why supervised visitation is in the children’s best interest.

Other issues like child support and property division involve number-crunching and more technical arguments. The party not in possession of the children will almost always be ordered to pay child support and the court will divide all the parties’ community assets and debts in a manner that the court deems just and right.

The Bottom Line: We Have Your Back

The bottom line is when it comes to contested divorce, both parties typically win some battles and lose others. Neither gets everything they want nor loses every issue. The key to successfully navigating through a contested divorce is to manage the risks, present your best evidence and fight your battles with the assistance of a competent attorney. This will ensure a favorable outcome, a fair division of community property and adequate time with the children.

What Questions About Contested Divorce Do You Have?

What are the stages of separation?

There are no stages of separation. In fact, Texas does not recognize legal separation at all. Parties are either married or divorced, and they remain married until they are formally divorced in Texas.

Who gets to stay in the house during separation?

It depends on the agreement of the spouses or, if the parties cannot agree on who occupies the marital residence, the order of the court. Either spouse can petition the court at any time for exclusive use of the marital residence.

How do you know a marriage is over?

This is a uniquely personal decision that varies from couple to couple. When making the decision to file for divorce, the party should consider his or her physical and mental health as well as the well-being of any children involved.

How long should you stay separated before divorce?

There is no requirement in Texas that parties separate before divorce.

Can my wife throw me out of her house?

Generally speaking, a party cannot force a spouse to leave the marital residence without a court order.

What happens at a contested divorce hearing?

A contested divorce hearing generally involves the presentation of evidence to the court to induce the judge to make decisions about the welfare of the children, temporary requests from either spouse or the division of the marital estate.

What questions does a judge ask during a divorce?

A judge typically does not ask questions of the parties during a divorce hearing. However, the judge may ask any question they choose. The extent to which a judge will question the parties or witnesses depends on the nature of the dispute before the court and the extent to which the court feels the attorneys involved did not sufficiently address all matters before the court.

Can you be separated but still married?

Yes. There is no legal separation in Texas. Parties, even if physically living apart, remain married until their divorce is finalized.

Is it illegal to lock your spouse out of the house?

No. While every situation is different, it is usually advisable to obtain a court order for the exclusive use of a marital residence before changing the locks on the house.

What happens when one person wants a divorce and the other doesn’t?

Either spouse can seek a divorce at any time, with or without the consent of the other spouse.

How do I fight a contested divorce?

Consult a lawyer and prepare to testify, call witnesses and present evidence against your spouse.

How do I prepare for a contested hearing?

It is always best to consult your lawyer and follow his or her legal advice prior to a contested hearing. Preparation techniques vary from case to case depending on the circumstances surrounding the matters before the court, but generally include the assembly of evidence to use against your spouse. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to financial records, medical records, phone logs, emails, text messages, social media posts, photographs, videos, audio recordings and other documents or tangible things that help to develop the case at hand.

Contact Us About Contested Divorce In Texas; Free Consults

You do not have to face a divorce on your own. Work with us at Sralla Family Law PLLC and we will advocate for you. Please call our San Antonio office at 210-600-9565 or send us an email for a free initial consultation.