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Chowins Law Firm 
1011 Surrey Lane 
Bldg 200
Flower Mound, TX 75022
Tel: (469) 630-2550

  

Family Law: Divorce, Marriage, Children, Elderly

  • Divorce, Separations & Annulments
  • Divorce Settlement Agreements
  • QDRO orders
  • Guardianships of Minors, Elderly & Incapacitated Persons
  • Paternity
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Adoptions
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements 
  • Child Welfare Cases 
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Name Changes 

Guardianship & Probate Administration

  • Probate of Estates and Administration
  • Will Contests
  • Guardianship of Minors and Incapacitated Persons
  • Guardianship Alternatives
  • Guardianship Litigation
  • Small Estate Administration
  • Intestate Succession
  • Independent Administration
  • Muniment of Title Proceedings
  • Court Supervised Administration
  • Estate Tax Returns
  • Claims Against Estate

Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

  • Estate & Gift Tax Avoidance
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Wealth Preservation
  • Health Care Directives
  • Medical Powers of Attorney
  • Simple and Complex Wills
  • Trust Planning
  • Effective Use of Insurance
  • Planning for Incapacity
  • Charitable Giving & Legacy Planning

 

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

There is often great confusion regarding uncontested divorces.   It is important because lawyers often charge a flat fee for an uncontested divorce.   Attorneys can do that because in an uncontested divorce, the attorney can predict fairly accurately the number of hours he or she will need to devote to the case.  When a case is contested, the attorney can not predict what the other side will do or how long it may take to reach an agreement or even if the case needs to be tried before a judge or jury.

Signs for Cheap "Uncontested" Divorces Often Mislead Divorcing Couples

If you're like most people, you may see cheap yard signs on the side of the road advertising "uncontested" divorces.  Often the stated fees are around a couple hundred dollars or so, far less than what a lawyer would seek to take on a new divorce case.  The first thing you should know is that the advertised fee is just what the person wants to charge you, not your overall cost for a divorce.  In fact, in a divorce case, the filing fees alone often exceed $300.  So, once you realize this, it is easy to figure out these signs are highly misleading.

Next, you should also know that whoever answers the phone is probably not a lawyer, but just a person that wants to sell you forms which you could have gotten for free at a library.  If it is a lawyer that advertises in such a way, for numerous reasons beyond the scope of this

article, it is safe to say that they probably aren't complying with the ethical rules relating to attorney advertising.  In addition, it probably wouldn't give you a lot of confidence in that attorney.  

Furthermore, people sometimes believe that if their spouse wants the divorce as well, then the divorce is uncontested.  Not true.   In fact, whether the divorce will be granted is hardly ever contested since nearly every state offers a form of no-fault divorce.  So, the party doesn't need to prove anything beyond the fact that they want a divorce. 

What is the difference between an Uncontested Divorce and a Contested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs only when both spouses have agreed to all terms relating to the divorce.   This includes several broad categories such as

  • Division of the marital property and debt
  • Amount of any Alimony or Spousal Support to be paid, if any, and by whom.
  • Custody of Children including a Parenting Plan
  • Amount, Duration and terms of Child Support

Until everything is agreed to, the matter is contested.   If the divorcing couple has an agreement, it is incumbant upon the lawyer to fully inform the client of the reasonableness of the agreement and issues the client may not have considered.   Sometimes the divorcing couple may have different ideas about the terms when the agreement is actually reduced to writing.   More often that not, the parties did not consider certain issues such as tax issues, treatment of holidays in a parenting plan, the treatment of retirement plans and unvested interests, the true value of a small businesses. In addition, some assets that are often overlooked such as frequent flyer miles, memberships, deposits, rights to purchase tickets among others.  Furthermore, if either party has separate property, the attorney would evaluate whether there is any basis for the other spouse to claim all or part of that separate property or whether it should be recharacterized as martial property.   

A good lawyer will usually counsel the client regarding the benefits of having an agreement as opposed to fighting it out in court, especially when minor children are involved.  However, the decison on how to proceed is the client's alone.  The attorney needs to be sure the client's decision is an informed one.

Meet the Owner

David W. Chowins

David Chowins

David Chowins is a family law and divorce attorney with over twenty years experience in practice. He established his own law practice in the Fall of 2000 after several years practicing with two of the nation's top law firms.    

"Don't try to be the best lawyer in Texas.  Instead, try to be the best lawyer each day, in each case, for each client.  That way your performance can be measured, learned from, and improved upon.  Trying to be the best lawyer period is simply an aspirational goal that can never be achieved and will do nothing to help one become a better attorney."

David Chowins

David focuses on divorce and family law which includes estate planning, guardianship law, and probate law.  These areas often include litigation of various types including, divorce and child custody cases, probate challenges, guardianship litigiation, among other types of cases.

David also serves as both Attorney Ad Litem and Guardian ad Litem where he is tasked by the court to represent parties that have a stake in the litigation but are not present or to advise the court as to the best interest of those who can not advocate for themselves such as minors, incapacitated persons and others who may not be in a position to advocate for their own best interests.   

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Featured Article

  • Grounds for Divorce In Texas

    When a petition for divorce is filed, the divorce attorney representing the spouse seeking a divorce must allege one or more of the seven grounds set forth in the Texas Family Code.  These include three no-fault grounds of Insupportibility, Living Apart and Confinement to Mental Hospital.  Grounds based on fault can be alleged for Cruelty, Adultery, Conviction of a Felony, and Abandonment.  

    No Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas

    Historically, parties would need to allege and prove proper grounds to divorce their spouse. Otherwise, the divorce would not be granted.  While that is techniqually still true that proper grounds need to be established, Texas, like other states, has recognized the problems with forcing people to stay married when one or both of them simply no longer wishes to be married to the other.   

    As a result, Texas has embraced three no fault grounds for divorce: Insupportibility, Living Apart and Confinement to Mental Hospital.   The latter two no-fault grounds recognize that cohabitation is an essential part of a marriage relationship and three years without cohabitation indicates that the parties are not living as husband and wife.  As such, these grounds may be used to justify dissolving the marriage if sought by either party.  Neither ground implies fault of either party and either could be used on its own to support a petition for divorce provided they could be established with evidence.

    Insupportability, on the other hand, can be alleged as a ground for virtually any marriage with the testimony of the spouse seeking the divorce.   A divorce attorney would simply allege that "the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation."  In theory, the divorce attorney representing a spouse opposing the divorce may allege and try to prove that a reasonable expectation of reconciliation exists.  However, when one of the spouses testifies that there is no chance for reconciliation, it would be near impossible to overcome that testimony since reconciliation requires consent of both parties.  Furthermore, courts have ruled that the legislature intended for the courts to grant a divorce when either party alledges insupportability as a ground for divorce. Because of this, insupportability is almost always alleged as one of the grounds for divorce. 

    Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas

    Texas also recognizes four additional grounds for divorce based on faulth of the other party--Cruelty, Adultery, Felony Conviction, and Abandonment.  Each of these grounds assert that actions or

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