Attorney for Women
Divorce Attorney for Women
Thousands of married couples get a divorce in Texas every year. And while on the surface, the state’s divorce laws are gender-neutral, women often face several unique challenges when going through the process. Indeed, many women seek a divorce because they are unequal partners in their marriage regarding financial resources and social standing.
David J. Rodriguez is an experienced San Antonio divorce attorney for women. He has worked on divorces in Texas for 30 years and has developed a reputation as a stalwart advocate for women regarding divorce proceedings. If you are a wife involved in a divorce proceeding, he will tirelessly advocate for your rights in court with understanding and empathy.
Why Do Women Seek a Divorce in Texas?
Marriages fail for many reasons. Not all of them are because of one spouse’s fault or wrongdoing. But there are several common situations where women feel like they need to get out of a bad marriage, such as:
- Abuse: If your husband subjects you to regular emotional or physical abuse, it is unsafe for you to continue living with them as husband and wife.
- Control: Even in cases where a husband’s actions do not rise to the legal definition of “family violence,” they may still subject a wife to cruel and controlling behavior that effectively renders them subservient rather than an equal partner in the marriage.
- Infidelity: It may seem like a cliche, but if your husband is cheating on you with someone else, that is one of the biggest factors driving a wife’s decision to seek a divorce.
- Money: Many couples struggle with financial issues. Not all of them lead to divorce. But if your husband is hiding money or other financial resources from you, that indicates a fundamental breakdown in the marriage that can be just as serious as infidelity,
- Parenting: Many wives and mothers feel unduly pressured by their husbands–and even the husband’s families–to raise their children in a way they do not support or agree with. Over time, this stress can break a marriage apart.
It is important to understand that Texas does not require a wife to allege specific fault or wrongdoing on the part of a husband to obtain a divorce. Texas law does still provide for a fault-based divorce. So you can seek a divorce for adultery or cruelty, for example. But in most cases, a “no-fault” divorce is a better option. This is where a divorce is sought because the marriage is “insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities” between the spouses without regard to fault.
Addressing Domestic Violence in a Texas Divorce
Many women want a divorce due to ongoing domestic violence in the household. Texas law classifies domestic violence as “family violence,” it applies to violence towards a spouse and children. And while family violence is often associated with physical acts–e.g., hitting or kicking–it also covers emotional abuse such as making threats, stalking, or even abusing controlled substances in a way that may injure another household member.
Family violence can often lead to a “Catch-22” situation, where an abused woman feels like they cannot seek a divorce for fear of making an abusive husband double down on their harmful actions. That is why any woman in this position needs to seek professional advice and assistance. Several organizations provide immediate support for victims of family violence in Texas. And you should not hesitate to meet with a San Antonio divorce attorney for women who can outline your options for seeking legal relief as part of a divorce proceeding.
Indeed, Texas courts have the authority to take certain emergency steps when presented with evidence of family violence. A judge can issue a temporary restraining order against your husband, which compels them to stay away from you and your children. Sometimes, a judge can even waive the mandatory 60-day waiting period between filing for divorce and granting a final dissolution of the marriage.
Evidence of family violence can also factor into a Texas court’s decisions on issues such as child custody and spousal maintenance (alimony). Regarding custody, a court’s first responsibility is to protect the child’s best interest. If you can show your spouse has committed family violence–and is likely to do so in the future–a judge must consider that when determining custody and visitation rights.
Are Women Favored Concerning Child Custody in Texas?
A common concern many women with children have regarding divorce is custody. Even in cases where family violence is absent, many women are worried they will lose primary custody or access to their children if they seek a divorce. As previously noted, a court must decide what is in the child’s best interests when making such determinations, which is not necessarily what the parents consider their best interests.
In Texas, custody is referred to as “conservatorship.” There is generally a presumption that both parents should continue to act as joint managing conservators of a minor child following a divorce. This means that both parents must continue jointly making key decisions about the child. But the court will commonly grant one parent primary custody regarding who the child lives with most of the time. The other parent will then have visitation rights, either based on a schedule decided upon between the parents or determined by the court based on a series of state guidelines.
As a matter of law, Texas does not presume that either the mother or the father is the more fit parent. Yet, in practice, courts do tend to favor women when it comes to assigning primary custody. And a court must consider evidence of family violence or other wrongdoing when ascertaining a child’s best interest for custody.
What Steps Should Women Take When Seeking a Divorce in Texas?
Divorce is never an easy process. Even when trapped in a bad or abusive marriage, taking the first steps toward divorce can still feel overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Get a Lawyer: Divorce is not something you want to do alone, especially if you are walking away from an abusive or untrustworthy partner. A qualified San Antonio divorce lawyer for women can walk you through the basic steps of initiating a divorce proceeding and represent you throughout the case until it reaches its conclusion.
- Protect Your Assets: Texas is a community property state. You have a 50 percent interest in most assets acquired during the marriage. You retain 100 percent ownership of any property received before the marriage. Ensure your assets are properly documented and accounted for before entering divorce proceedings.
- Be Skeptical of Initial Settlement Offers: Abusive and manipulative partners often try offering a wife a “quick” divorce settlement. This can take the form of an agreement drawn up by the husband’s attorney proposing a division of property and resolution of other issues such as alimony and child custody. You should only feel pressured to sign an agreement by having your lawyer review it first.
While the divorce process is often messy, it often leads to a much better life for women and their families. So if you want to learn more about seeking a divorce in San Antonio, contact the Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC, today at (210) 716-0726 to schedule a consultation.