Jennifer Espronceda has a passion for helping the families in her community. As a San Antonio divorce attorney, Jennifer wants to ensure that Your rights are protected and that the law is applied fairly.
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Divorce is an unfortunate reality for about half of all marriages in the U.S. If you’re considering or planning a divorce, Espronceda Law is a valuable ally to help you through the divorce process. Whether you want the divorce or are against it, having a family law attorney in your corner will help.
Divorce can be an emotional process and even more so when children are involved.
You deserve to have a strong advocate on your side, someone who understands the legal process and how it impacts your family. You undoubtedly have concerns about how long the divorce will take, how much it will cost, and what kind of outcome you can expect. Jennifer Espronceda can answer your questions while explaining your options, so you can make informed choices. You’ll be talking to your attorney about your family, sometimes in detail. That’s why the San Antonio family law firm you hire needs to be capable, empathetic, professional
Espronceda Law can help with the divorce process, including
Divorce Mediation & Litigation
Sometimes, divorcing couples want to terminate their marriage as quickly and easily as possible.
If they are in agreement on big issues like property division, custody, and financial support, mediation might be a great option. Divorcing spouses often save time, stress, and fees by using a mediation process rather than litigation. By working out their issues with the help of an impartial mediator, going to court can be avoided.
Jennifer Espronceda has helped many couples settle their divorce through respectful mediation.
If mediation is not desirable or possible, divorce litigation may be required. This is where the best divorce attorney in San Antonio can save the day.
If your divorce involves complex property valuation and division, or if you and your spouse disagree on custody, spousal support, or child support, you need an advocate who will fight for you. Divorce can be stressful, but you don’t need to navigate it by yourself. You’re no doubt already concerned about your children, your financial security, your assets, and the future of your family.
The Benefits of Hiring a San Antonio Divorce Attorney
DIY divorces are common, especially for couples who feel like their divorce will be “simple.” If you don’t have children or own any assets, you may be thinking that divorce should be a breeze. Or maybe you were only married for a short time and the divorce is uncontested, so the process should be no big deal. Whatever the reason, perhaps you’re on the fence about hiring a divorce attorney.
And here at Espronceda Law, we get it. You want to save money and move on with your life as quickly as possible.
The problem, though, is that DIY divorces rarely save time and money. In fact, they often end in disaster. Divorcees who hire an attorney can simplify the divorce process, protect their rights, and save a tremendous amount of time in the long-run.
Three reasons to hire a divorce attorney
01Paperwork. Divorce is not a simple process, even for the most amicable of divorces, purely because of the amount of paperwork involved. In Bexar County, the packet for pro se divorce litigants (or people defending themselves) is over 40 pages long! And that’s only the beginning. Furthermore, if you’re unfamiliar with family law, much of the content on those pages will be a mystery. You need someone to translate and help you complete, sign, and file everything correctly.
02Emotions Run High. Even if both parties are ready for the divorce, it’s still an emotional rollercoaster. Heightened emotions like anger, regret, sadness, and fear may give you tunnel vision and cause you to make rash decisions. A caring divorce attorney can help you keep your emotions in check, remind you of the bigger picture, and guide you toward logical decisions that you might not be able to make on your own.
03Legal Options and Communication. If you and your spouse find yourself at odds on a complicated issue, an attorney may be able to suggest options that you didn’t even know existed. In Bexar County, this becomes particularly helpful because our “presiding system” means you could potentially see a different judge every time you go to court. Without legal representation, communication with the courts about contested issues may become a challenge.
Whether you are considering a divorce or have been served with papers, when you call our office to schedule your consultation, there are items you can collect beforehand to make our first meeting more productive and helpful.
Use this divorce checklist
- Individual and business income tax returns: local, state, and federal
- Prenuptial and separation agreements
- Proof of current income for both you and your spouse
- Bank, trust, and retirement account statements
- Stock portfolios and options
- Mortgage details
- Credit card statements and other loan documents
- Insurance policies: life, health, homeowners, and vehicle
- Property appraisals
- Wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents
- A list of property owned by each spouse before the marriage
- A list of property owned jointly
- A list of personal property inherited or gifted to each individual spouse during the marriage
FAQs About Divorce in San Antonio, TX
Some divorce costs are standard, such as the filing fees at the Bexar County courthouse: $293 for a divorce without children and $344 for a divorce with children. Beyond the basics, though, every divorce is different. For your specific situation, we can prepare a budget after your consultation. We’ll determine the needs and complexity of your divorce, and then establish the most cost-effective solutions possible.
If you want to file for divorce in San Antonio as a pro se litigant, meaning without legal representation, you must go to the Bexar County Courthouse and have your paperwork reviewed by the Office of the Staff Attorney for the Bexar County District Courts. The Staff. You may arrange for this by visiting their office at 100 Dolorosa St., Suite 2.16, San Antonio, Texas 78205. The review process is not a guarantee of any kind of relief and does not mean that you will see a judge on that same day.
If you have a divorce attorney representing you, there is no need to go through the review process with the Staff Attorney. Your attorney will complete the proper paperwork on your behalf and set the case for a hearing, depending on the specific needs in your case.
There are three ways to get copies of your divorce decree.
First, you can visit the Paul Elizondo Tower and retrieve a copy of your divorce decree in person. This allows you immediate access to your records.
Second, you can mail order a copy of your decree by sending a request letter to the following address: 101 W Nueva, Suite 217 San Antonio, TX 78205-3411
The letter must include a postage-paid envelope for return shipping and a check or money order. You’ll need to call the Bexar County Clerk’s Office to find out exactly how much the copies will cost by mail. It will take seven to 10 days for your records to be sent to you via USPS.
Third, you can call our office for assistance in retrieving a copy of your decree.
You are not required to have legal representation to file for divorce in Texas, although it is highly recommended.
First, most divorces are not simple. Rarely does a divorcing couple agree on every aspect of the separation. Having a third party help you with negotiations and difficult conversations is in everyone’s best interest.
Second, you don’t know what you don’t know. The law is complex and divorce is no exception. Without legal representation, you can easily miss something important or receive unfair treatment under the law.
Third, it will save you time. The “do-it-yourself” divorce packets are over 40 pages long and may take hours, if not days, to decipher. With a lawyer’s help, the process will go much quicker.
If you recently moved to San Antonio from another state, you’ll have to wait until either you or your spouse have been a resident of Texas for at least six continuous months. Additionally, at least one of you must be a resident of Bexar County for at least 90 days.
The divorce petition must be filed at least 60 days before the divorce can be granted by the courts. However, other factors often lengthen the time before the divorce is actually final. Our goal is always to streamline the process as much as possible so you can get on with your new life.
While your divorce is still pending, you and your spouse will be subject to Temporary Orders. These are either set by the court or negotiated by your attorney and agreed upon by your spouse. The purpose is to establish you and your spouse’s rights and responsibilities while the divorce is being finalized. For example, the Orders will determine how and when you can each access joint bank accounts, how the personal property is to be used, and how debts will continue to be paid. If children are involved, the temporary orders will also include temporary custody and visitation orders.
Normally, paperwork is served by the sheriff, a private process server, or a constable. But if you can’t locate your spouse or the divorce is contested and they don’t want to be found, then you will have to serve your spouse via alternative service, like service by publication.
Q: What Is an Uncontested Divorce? (In the How to Respond to A divorce Summons: Avoid these mistakes)
If you’re one of those rare couples that agrees on all aspects of how to divide the property, child support, and custody, then the divorce is uncontested.
If you have been served for a divorce summons you must respond within the time provided on the summons. A common timeframe for response is 20 days. Learn more about how to respond to a divorce summons with our guide on this topic.
The initiating paperwork is an Original Petition for Divorce, you may also need a Request for Service (if applicable).
Residents of Bexar County must file with the Bexar County District Clerk.
If your divorce goes to court, you should expect to spend some time answering questions on the stand. While most questions will be asked by the attorneys, the judge may ask you some questions too. Usually, questions from the judge are for more clarification. Depending on your situation, the judge may ask basic background questions such as what your name is, your spouse’s name, children’s names, etc. A judge may also ask for confirmation that your marriage is irretrievably broken or that you meet any residency requirements. You may also be asked for details from the judge about anything you or your spouse could agree on as part of the divorce agreement.
Texas is a community property state. Therefore, anything acquired during the marriage is part of the marital estate and must be divided up at the time of your divorce. There is no fast rule that says one party or another should get the house, but if you or your spouse want to stay in the house, you can try to reach an agreement. Instead of selling the home and splitting the proceeds, you can offer to refinance the home so that it is solely in your name. But you must be able to show that you can afford to make the payments. Also, if there is equity in the home, then you may be required to pay your soon-to-be ex half the amount of equity that is in the home.
When you are going through a divorce, it may seem like a good idea for one of the spouses to move out of the home, but this could be your biggest mistake from a legal standpoint. If you leave your home, it could be considered abandonment of your family. Your soon-to-be ex could accuse you of abandoning him/her and your children, which increases the chances that your former spouse could get the house and the kids. When you decide to leave, even if your intentions are good, your spouse can also file paperwork asking for temporary possession of the home, which means that you won’t be able to enter the home anymore until after the divorce is finalized. It’s best to consult with your lawyer before making any sudden moves that could have lasting repercussions on your case.
Abandonment in a marriage takes place when one of the spouses cuts all ties with the family. Some people associate abandonment with one spouse moving out of the family home, but that may not be abandonment unless that spouse also refuses to provide support for the family. If one spouse no longer takes care of financial obligations without a good reason, this is abandonment. In Texas, you can file for a fault divorce and abandonment could be cited as grounds for the divorce.
In Texas, your house is considered community property. If there is a mortgage on your home, it’s in your best interest that you and your soon-to-be ex reach an agreement on who makes the payments. You don’t want your home, which could be one of your biggest assets, to go into foreclosure as you work through the terms of your divorce. If one party is refusing to do his or her part financially, with the help of your lawyer, you could seek temporary orders from a judge.
In Texas, the person who files first for divorce doesn’t necessarily have an “advantage” over their spouse. However, there are some possible benefits to being the first to file. For example, if you and your spouse are separated and reside in different counties, filing first means you determine which county it’s filed in. Additionally, if you have concerns about your children’s safety, child support, or potentially hidden assets, taking the step to file first could help you to get temporary orders protecting your child or any assets.
If you and your soon-to-be ex own a business together, then it’s generally considered as a property of the marriage that must be divided during the divorce. There are three different ways that this is typically divided in a Texas divorce. One option is co-ownership, where both spouses continue to own the business after the divorce. This works best in an amicable divorce. But if you don’t see yourself continuing to work alongside your ex, one of the other options may be best. One of these is to sell the business and divide the proceeds. Alternatively, if one of the parties has enough assets, he or she could buy out the business at an agreed-upon price and take full ownership of it. A professional appraiser may be needed to determine the value of the business.
The state prefers joint custody arrangements after a divorce so that children maintain meaningful relationships with both parents. Texas law presumes that parents should be joint managing conservators over children they have together. This means that both parents are involved in the decision-making process for things like schooling, religion, medical care, etc. However, the best interest of the child comes first. The courts can grant sole custody to one parent if there’s evidence that’s the best option for the child. Otherwise, one of the following arrangements is typically granted: joint legal custody (where the child has a primary residence with one parent and visits the other), or shared custody (where the child has two residences and lives with each parent at least 35% of the year). There is a third, and a less common option called split custody (when there are at least two children, and each parent is awarded full custody of at least one of them).
The judge will consider a number of factors to determine custody in a divorce. The wishes of the parents and the children are taken into consideration as well as the age of the children, each of the parents’ living situations, and their relationship with the children prior to the divorce. If there is a history of domestic abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, or other factors that could be harmful to the children, this will also be taken into consideration.
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Espronceda Law is committed to providing you with the highest quality of legal services, designed to meet the unique requirements of your case. Divorce may be difficult, but the right San Antonio divorce attorney can help you through it.