New Braunfels, Texas Contested Divorce Lawyer
Experienced Divorce Attorney in Comal County and Guadalupe County
Most couples who have been married any length of time have acquired or accumulated property such as houses, cars, or retirement accounts, and have incurred debts such as vehicle loans, mortgage loans, and credit cards. According to the Texas Family Code, both community debt and property must be divided in a just and right manner. In some cases, the divorce itself may be a source of contention, especially if the petitioners allege adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or some other ground.
The assertive team at The Bettersworth Law Firm aggressively stand up for your legal and financial rights, both in the courthouse and around the negotiating table. Our approach is to seize the initiative as early as possible, to keep our opponents on their heels. In fact, we are never satisfied with anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances.
Grounds for Divorce
Although the vast majority of Texas divorces are based on insupportability or irreconcilable differences, an evidence-based divorce is appropriate in many circumstances, whether or not it is uncontested. Many petitioners have legitimate personal or religious reasons for an at-fault divorce. Other people have legal reasons because, in Texas, fault in the breakup of the marriage is relevant for property division purposes. Some grounds for divorce include:
- Cruelty: The emotional, physical, or verbal cruel treatment must be of such a nature that it "renders further living together insupportable."
- Adultery: This term is not defined in the Family Code, but most courts limit it to sexual intercourse with a partner who is not the person's husband or wife.
- Abandonment: The spouse must express an intent to abandon the relationship and remain away for at least a year.
- Felony Conviction: The person must spend at least a year in prison.
- Separation: A judge can grant a divorce if the parties have lived apart "without cohabitation" for at least three years; there is some dispute as to whether or not time period must be uninterrupted.
- Mental Disease: The person must be confined in a state or private hospital for at least three years and be unable to adjust to life on the outside.
The petitioner has the burden of proof to establish grounds by a preponderance of the evidence, which means "more likely than not."
It is not at all unusual for courts to divide property unequally and consider it a "just and right" division. The judge must base the distribution on a number of different factors, including:
- Relative age, education, and health of the spouses,
- Fault in the breakup of the marriage,
- Economic and non-economic contributions to the marriage,
- Custody of minor children,
- Length of the marriage, and
- The separate property awarded to the spouse.
Most judges also give a great deal of deference to agreements between the parties, as long as they are not manifestly unfair.
A contested divorce nearly always involves complicated issues. For a free consultation in this area, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404. We represent individuals and families throughout South Central Texas.