Family Law

As an experienced divorce attorney, we understand the

emotional roller coaster you are on in dealing with a

divorce and the struggle of maintaining your sanity to

deal with all the issues. We focus first on whether there

is an emergency to protect you, your children or your

assets. Then we help you look at whether reconciliation

is an option. If so, we show you our reconciliation law program. We then help you decide on whether reconciliation law or family law litigation is best for you or your children. There are numerous decisions to make if you’re just THINKING about divorce.  We understand that supporting two households is not as easy as one, and giving up on a marriage in the absence of family violence is not so simple, especially when children are involved. 

 

Reconciliation Law 

Many separated and divorcing couples want to know if they can reconcile.  Reconciliation Law is using the law to give yourself a chance to save your marriage. For example, we can create a post-nuptial agreement with goals for your marriage and provide tools to help you succeed. We file motions for Counseling and encourage marriage skills education. Finally, we can even file an anti-divorce petition.

Collaborative Divorce and Mediation 

The conventional process of divorce or other family law matters can drive parties -already separated from each other – even farther apart. It takes a toll on individual dignity, and often children suffer the most. Collaborative Divorce presents a more humane, respectful choice for Houston divorces. It is a process in which the parties and their counsel agree in writing to make a good faith attempt to reach a mutually-agreeable settlement without court intervention. Working together, they craft a way to keep their marriage together, dissolve their marriage, or resolve any family law matter in a way that considers everyone’s needs and minimizes conflict.

Collaborative divorce allows couples to resolve family law issues themselves without entering a courtroom where a judge or jury determines how an issue will be settled. As such, collaborative law places couples in charge of their own fate, providing them with a forum to discuss and negotiate terms mutually agreeable to all involved. Sapp & Sturgill assists and represents clients throughout the collaborative divorce process to ensure their interests and rights are protected. As your lawyer, we help you evaluate the pros and cons of any proposed settlement, alerting clients to child custody and parenting issues as well as financial issues that could impact you and your children’s future so that you avoid costly, bitter litigation while protecting your interests.
 

Protective Orders

No one should ever have to live as a victim or in fear of family violence. If your spouse has physically assaulted you or your children, or someone whom you have lived with is seriously threatening you, you may need a protective order. You definitely need to consult with a compassionate, skilled attorney, who can help you quickly. The court can issue a protective order on your behalf. A protective order prevents the person from coming near your home, your workplace, or near your children’s school or daycare.

A protective order can help prevent your child from being hurt, deter a dangerous person from owning a gun, and reduce the threat to you. Your no-contact protective order will stop the perpetrator from calling you, writing you, or contacting you at all, except through lawyers. If a person violates any protective order, he or she can go to jail.

There are three steps to most protective orders:

1. An "ex-parte" protective order that can be issued before a hearing;

2. Is the violence so recent that it requires a "kick-out" order, and

3. The hearing itself.  

After the hearing, the judge will rule whether there should be a protective order. 

Injunctions are similar, except that, if violated, injunctions require hearings before the threat of jail can be used. Injunctions are done in most family law cases, and are thus a good option for cases where family violence has not occurred, is not likely to happen again, or is difficult to prove.

Child Custody 

 

A custody trial is the final stage in your divorce case where you and your spouse disagree over who should have the primary residence of your children. In this situation, your case will be decided by a judge or jury. Judge trials are shorter than jury trials and are typically less expensive; however, a jury trial may give you a better opportunity for you to prevail. A custody trial is the culmination of many months of legal fighting that often is stressful, expensive and time-consuming. At the same time if you can afford it AND you believe that the best interest of your children is truly at stake, then it may be your best choice. Custody trials are almost always justified when the evidence is strong that the other parent would provide an unsafe environment or an environment that would seriously endanger the physical or emotional well-being of your children in the long haul.

Traditional Family Law Litigation is when you fully expect for your case to be decided by a judge or jury. We file your lawsuit, serve your spouse with papers, and expect an answer from your spouse, or you get served and we file an answer. A Temporary Restraining Order is often issued with the petition to keep you, your property and children protected. A temporary order hearing usually follows the service. At that hearing, the status quo is normally preserved, unless one of you needs to move out with or without the children. In that case, often a custody hearing is included with the temporary hearing. The judge decides if you get temporary custody of the children, who moves out of the house, who pays what bills, and how much child support you pay or receive. The orders that the judge makes include temporary injunctions, which are similar to temporary restraining orders.

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