Top Rated Austin Divorce Attorney, Eric M. Willie Will Help You Move On With Life Starting Today
"We recommend Willie & Dasher all the time. We tell all of our family and friends about our wonderful experience with the firm. They are awesome.!" JS, Austin, TX
Under Texas law, a suit for the dissolution of marriage includes divorce, annulment, and a suit to declare a marriage void. Only a qualified Austin divorce attorney can help you prepare your case from start to finish so that you have the best possible chance at getting the exact outcome you need. Austin family law lawyer Eric Willie has been family law for 12 years, and has worked with hundreds of clients to help them achieve great results.
Under Texas law, certain residency requirements must be met in order to file for divorce. First, either of the parties must have lived in Texas for at least six months before the petition for divorce is filed. Additionally, either party must be a resident of the county in which the petition is to be filed for at least 90 days prior to its filing.
There are two types of divorce, no-fault and fault. A no fault divorce means that the marital relationship has become unsupportable because of personality conflicts and discord which have destroyed the legitimate ends of the martial relationship, thus making reconciliation impossible.
Either party to a fault divorce may allege other grounds (reasons) for the divorce. Under Texas law, the fault grounds are:
- Cruelty - The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.
- Adultery - The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.
- Conviction of a Felony - The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse has been convicted of a felony, has been imprisoned for at least one year in a Texas penitentiary, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state, and has not been pardoned.
- Abandonment - The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse: (1) left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and (2) remained away for at least one year.
- Living Apart - The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital - The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed: (1) the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, in Texas or another state for at least three years; and (2) it appears that the hospitalized spouse's mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.
On the other hand, if the parties have not reached an agreement on all issues, the divorce is said to be contested. It takes much longer for a contested divorce to be finalized.
Whether the divorce is fault or no-fault, contested or uncontested, there are certain procedures that must be followed. Once the petition for divorce is filed, it must be served upon the other spouse by the sheriff or a private process server. Once the petition has been served, the opposing spouse has a certain number of days to respond. If the opposing spouse fails to file an answer, the court cannot grant a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
Because there are many complicated and emotionally charged issues involved in a divorce, it's imperative that a party to divorce understand the the long term impact of how these issues may be resolved. It's not unusual for a party to decide, years after the divorce, that he or she is unhappy with the terms and seek a modification.
However, judges are reluctant to go back after the fact and second guess the intention of the parties. Here's an example:
- In 1995, a couple got a divorce. The wife had an attorney, but the husband chose to represent himself. After attending mediation, the parties reached a settlement of all issues. The parties agreed that the husband would continue to pay child support as long as the children were attending a four year college or until they reached the age of twenty-two. The oldest child is now twenty and the youngest is seventeen. The oldest child attends a four year college and the youngest is college-bound. The husband recently filed a petition to modify the provision requiring him to pay child support while the children attend college. The judge denied his petition on the grounds that the parties entered into the agreement freely and voluntarily. She noted that there was nothing in the record to indicate the husband did not understand what he was doing. On the contrary, at the hearing on the husband's petition for modification, both parties testified that the husband offered to continue paying child support as long as the children attended a four year college or until they reached the age of 22.
This example illustrates the importance of understanding the long term implications of a divorce decree. The husband obviously did not contemplate how he would feel about paying child support once his children reached the age of majority.
A good attorney would have advised him that he has no obligation to support a child once that child reaches the age of majority. A good attorney would have advised him to consider agreeing to pay for one-half of the children's college expenses, reminding him that he had no legal obligation to pay for his children to attend college.
There are a number of issues which may arise in a divorce. These include:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
- Division of property
"Honest, Trustworthy & Dependable. "
"We won our case. Mr. Willie's demeanor helped ease the tension and his knowledge helped us to make good choices. Even the secretary went out of her way to drop paperwork off at my home. That's going beyond the expectations!"A.S., Austin
"We Recommend Willie & Dasher All The Time."
"We recommend Willie & Dasher all the time. We tell all of our family and friends about our wonderful experience with the firm. They are awesome.!"J.S., Austin
"Eric returned my phone call the same day--that says it all...I wish I would have met Eric sooner."
"The Law Office of Willie and Dasher was straightforward, supportive, friendly, personable and provided prompt information. They are a small firm and not intimidating to work with. From the day I first contacted their offices, Eric was polite, and made me feel comfortable that I could talk to him. Also, Eric returned my phone call the same day--that says it all. Eric is very comfortable, respectful and good in court. I wish I would have met Eric sooner. When people have asked me who to use for a lawyer, I brag about being comfortable with an attorney I trust. For legal advice I recommend Eric highly. He's a great guy and cares about his clients."M.M., Austin
"Eric listens - how rare is that?!-and then provides information, options and sound guidance. I never thought I’d be a person to need a lawyer, but such is life-and I’m pleased the one I have a relationship with is Eric."
"Mr. Willie is professional, organized and responsive. Our experience was totally positive-Eric was very clear about his part, my part-what needed to be done, how to do it, what it would cost-there were no surprises. Even though I engaged Eric for a simple matter (he helped my son change his name)-Eric never treated it as anything less than important-which of course it was to us! I always felt that I had Eric’s full attention. Eric listens - how rare is that?!-and then provides information, options and sound guidance. I never thought I’d be a person to need a lawyer, but such is life-and I’m pleased the one I have a relationship with is Eric. The Law Office of Willie & Dasher couldn’t possibly do better. Don’t waste your time going anywhere else."N.G., Dripping Springs