The skilled divorce attorneys at the Evans Family Law Group in Austin and Bastrop, Texas have a deep understanding of the often devastating psychological, emotional and financial effects divorce can have on those considering it. That’s what enables us to minimize the toll on your family on your way to doing what’s right for your family
For the clear, caring, and practical legal guidance you need to do what’s best for you and yours, get the help from Evans Family Law Group today.
Or, if you’d like to find out more about the types of divorce cases we handle, and about our approach to getting the best results for our clients families, please read on.
Our Philosophy: Make Divorce as Civil as Possible
James W. Evans, lead attorney at our firm, stands by the central philosophy that, “just because you are able to do it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.” Not all cases should be litigated through the court system. We don’t believe in costly litigation, simply because the option is available. There are many more affordable and effective alternative options to resolve your case. We explain those alternatives on our agreed divorces, mediation and collaborative law pages. We understand the process, and we know that you need closure to move on with your life.
Types of Divorce Cases We Handle
Experienced and reliable legal representation is needed, whether your case is mediated, negotiated in the office, or litigated for a judge to decide. Our knowledgeable attorneys take an aggressive, yet passionate approach in working with our clients until they are fully satisfied. If you or someone close to you is either considering or going through a divorce, our divorce lawyers in Bastrop and Austin can help. We are a well-known Texas divorce law firm offering representation in areas including, but not necessarily limited, to the following:
- Agreed Divorce
- Contested Divorce with Property, Children, or Child Custody Issues
- Contested Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce
- High-Net-Worth and High-Asset Divorces
- Divorces without a Prenup
- Mediated Divorce
- Military Divorce
- Divorce Decree Modifications
- Collaborative Divorce
- Valuations for Property and Assets
- Spousal Support, Alimony, or Child Support
- Protection for Community or Separate Property Rights
- Asset Tracing
- Collaboration with Business Evaluation Experts and CPA Professionals
- Financial Analysis
- Property Analysis
Contested divorce can get ugly in some circumstances. At minimum, it’s often a long, drawn-out and unpleasant battle. You can be assisted throughout that process with thoughtful guidance by one of our firm’s experienced Texas divorce attorneys. We will work with you closely until and amicable agreement is reached. A contested divorce can refer to a couple of different scenarios.
- One party to the proceeding does not believe there are sufficient grounds for a divorce. In this scenario, one party or the other does not want the divorce. A contested divorce will require the services of a competent attorney. After the petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed, either party can request a court hearing to dispute or formalize the grounds for divorce.
- One or both parties do not agree to the terms of the divorce. In this scenario, both parties have agreed the proceedings should take place, but they believe the terms are unacceptable. Disputes may include alimony, property ownership, child custody, joint business ventures, or other disagreements. This scenario is the most common type of contested divorce.
Any type of contested divorce proceedings can take months, if not years, to resolve. You should never attempt to represent yourself in these types of proceedings. A knowledgeable lawyer from Evans Family Law Group has years of experience in representing both petitioners and respondents in these types of cases. We will do our utmost best to seek an outcome that fully satisfies the needs of our client while reducing the stress and burden that comes along with a contested cause of action.
How to Get a Divorce in Texas
No one enters a marriage expecting it to end in divorce. Unfortunately, for many couples, that is exactly what happens. If you find yourself in the position of needing to get a divorce in Texas, it’s important to know what to expect. Below are the basic steps you need to take to get a divorce in Texas.
Initiating the divorce
To file for divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Texas for six months or longer. You will also need to have lived in the county where you plan to file for 90 days or longer. Once you’ve met these residency requirements, you can file for divorce by submitting a Petition for Divorce to your local district court. This document tells the court that you want to get a divorce and why. Once the petition is filed, your spouse will have 20 days to respond.
Temporary Orders (if necessary)
If you have children, the court may issue temporary orders while the divorce is pending. These orders will determine things like child custody, visitation schedules, and child support.
Once your spouse has responded to your petition, both sides will begin gathering evidence to be used in settlement negotiations or at trial. This may include financial documents, records of any property or assets owned by either spouse, and any other relevant information.
Once all evidence has been gathered, settlement negotiations will begin. This is where spouses try to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues, from child custody to division of property. If an agreement is reached, it will be submitted to the court for approval. If not, the case will go to trial.
Trial (if no settlement)
If your case goes to trial, each spouse will present their evidence and arguments to a judge or jury who will then decide on all disputed issues. Once a decision has been made, it will be made official through a court order called a decree of divorce.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in Texas
In a fault divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse did something to end the marriage. Some examples of behavior that can lead to a fault divorce include:
- Felony Conviction
On the other hand, no-fault divorce means that neither spouse is responsible for the end of the marriage. Instead, the couple or one partner simply decides that they no longer want to be married and files for divorce accordingly.
Texas Divorce Waiting Period
In the state of Texas, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period exists to give couples time to reconsider their decision to divorce and to allow any emotions to settle down.
In some cases, the 60-day waiting period can be waived if there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to seek out the advice of an experienced Austin family law attorney who can best advise you on how to proceed.
Post-Divorce Spousal Support in Texas
In Texas, post-divorce spousal support comes in two forms. The first is court-ordered spousal maintenance. The second is contractual alimony. The difference between the two is substantial. Whereas contractual alimony is negotiated by you and your spouse in mediation or informal settlement negotiation, spousal maintenance can only be ordered by a family court judge.
Spousal maintenance can be a difficult topic to navigate. In Texas, spousal maintenance is only awarded in very specific circumstances. To be eligible for spousal maintenance in Texas, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Your spouse has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for family violence within two years of the divorce suit being filed; OR
- The marriage lasted more than 10 years and you cannot meet your minimum reasonable needs with the property and income from the divorce.
If you meet either of these criteria, you may be eligible for spousal maintenance. However, it is important to note that even if you are eligible for support, the court does not automatically grant it. The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether to award spousal maintenance and how much to award, including but not limited to:
- The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance;
- The education and employment history of the party seeking maintenance;
- The length of the marriage;
- The age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse requesting maintenance;
- The ability of the spouse requesting maintenance to earn income adequate to meet their minimum reasonable needs;
- The couple’s relative incomes and earnings capacities; and
The amount and type (e.g., joint ownership) of property the parties own together or separately.
Contractual Alimony in Texas
In this type of arrangement, the couple will agree to the terms of the alimony outside of court and then put those terms into a legally binding contract. This can be a good option for couples who want to have more control over their alimony arrangements. However, there are also some potential downsides to this type of arrangement that you should be aware of before you decide if it’s right for you.
The Pros and Cons of Contractual Alimony
There are several pros to using contractual alimony in your divorce, which include:
- You can customize the agreement to suit your specific needs, without being bound by court rules. For example, you can decide how long payments will last, how much will be paid, and whether payments will be made in lump sums or installments.
- In Texas, spousal maintenance payments are limited to $5,000 or 20% of the payor’s average income. However, this may be higher if agreed upon through a contractual alimony agreement. This means that you could potentially receive more money than you would through traditional alimony payments.
- With contractual alimony, parties can agree on spousal support without involving the court, which will save you both time and money on attorney fees and court costs.
There are several cons to using contractual alimony in your divorce, which include:
- It may not be enforceable in all cases. The Texas Family Code only enforces contractual alimony to the extent it aligns with statutory requirements. Therefore, if your spouse fails to make payments under the agreement, your options for enforcement may be more limited than they would be with a regular court order regarding spousal maintenance.
- Contractual alimony is that it could end up costing you more money in the long run. If you agree to a set monthly payment that is less than what you would be entitled to under the court’s guidelines, you could end up shortchanging yourself. It’s important to make sure that you fully understand all the implications of your agreement before signing anything.
However, contractual alimony in Texas is enforceable by contract, so you could pursue a civil claim to enforce your rights
Experienced, Understanding Austin Divorce Attorneys
The divorce attorneys at Evans Family Law Group have considerable experience in divorce proceedings. We understand how to assist you no matter how complex or simple your case might be. From cases with children that have special needs, to family situations involving mental health issues, addiction, domestic violence or other issues, we have the experience to properly represent you in every circumstance. We are also well-versed in dealing with relocation issues and international abductions.
Whether you have a major property issue, a child-custody issue, or a simple problem that can be quickly remedied, dealing with one will be stressful. It is imperative to know that you have the assistance of a skilled attorney that you can trust. You will need a professional lawyer who has experience both in and out of the courtroom. It is important to know that your attorney will provide sound advice and care for your needs, regardless of your situation.
About James Evans
James W. Evans has been practicing since 1995 and he has tried more than 100 jury trials during his tenure. Over the past few years, Mr. Evans has used his extensive experience to focus entirely on practicing family law. He has significant experience in both the courtroom and in negotiations. Our sole goal is to offer the compassionate, experienced, and aggressive representation your case requires. Our team of Austin divorce lawyers and staff members will work diligently to ensure that the rights of our clients are fully protected. We offer free consultations and convenient appointment times. You can put the experience of our law firm to work on your case by contacting us today at (512) 628-2550. You can also contact Mr. Evans directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Divorce Is Hard, But We Are Here to Take the Journey with You
The psychological, emotional and financial effects divorce can have on those considering it can be devastating. It’s important to understand that impact because more than 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
The Evans Family Law Group is a team of Texas divorce lawyers who understand what you are going through. James W. Evans, lead attorney at our firm, stands by the philosophy of, “just because you are able to do it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.” Not all cases should be litigated through the court system. We don’t believe in costly litigation, simply because the option is available. There are many more affordable and effective alternative options to resolve your case. We explain those alternatives on our mediation and collaborative law pages. We understand the process, and we know that you need closure to move on with your life.
Review from Our Divorce Clients
“Jimmy Evans is smart, intuitive, and creative. I am so grateful that a close friend recommend Jimmy for my divorce. Jimmy treated me like a real person–not like a client getting billed (as other attorneys had done in the past). In fact, Jimmy was always careful with how much money I was spending. He provided solid, expert advice. Not to mention, he is very respected in the community, which helped a lot in communicating with my ex’s attorney. I highly recommend Jimmy.” – Jenni Fluhr (see review on Google Maps)
“Jimmy clearly laid out a plan that helped me through this difficult and unexpected divorce. I was able to be in a situation where I could keep my home which was all I had left at this late stage of my life. He was patient and tolerant. His experience was exhibited in his clear understanding of the law and the courts.” – Kimberly Williamson (see review on Google Maps)
“I contacted the Evans Family Law Group to assist with filing a divorce in Austin. At the time, both the ex-wife and myself were living abroad. To add to our complications, COVID-19 restrictions prevented either of us from traveling to Austin to consult in-person or attend the court proceedings. Mr. Evans and his team were able to work through our difference in time zones and COVID restrictions to facilitate a painless and smooth filing of paperwork and completion of the divorce. 100% would recommend to anyone in need of legal assistance.” – Edmund Lee (see review on Google Maps)
“Jimmy and his team are amazing. The depth of experience and ability to advise on my divorce was incredible. It became very clear to me that they work very hard at what they do. The most amazing thing that I continued to notice was how Jimmy could see far down the road and predict what was going to happen based on the TX legal system in conjunction with the personalities of opposing counsel. This was impressive and these are the qualities you want in an attorney that you hire to represent you. Surprises are the most difficult thing when you are going through tough times like this, and Evans Family Law Group does their best to set proper expectations and ease the anxiety of their clients. I would highly recommend their services for any family law related matter.” – Ali Saeed (see review on Google Maps)
“After much research and many referrals, I met and hired Jimmy Evans immediately after our consultation. He is very knowledgable with multi-state divorces and pointed out mistakes my out-of-state spouse made with her divorce petition behind my back. We took advantage of them, locking the case in Austin with a counter-petition. Jimmy gave excellent advice when I asked about using a private investigator. That turned the tide in the divorce negotiations. She asked who my lawyer is and pretty much gave up nearly all of her demands because of Jimmy’s stellar reputation and reviews. Hiring Jimmy was the best decision I made. The judge granted the divorce at an emergency hearing without her presence.” – Craig DeBellis (see review on Google Maps)