The contractual agreement for a uncontested divorce in Harris county allows you the client the following services:
1. Final Decree of Divorce
2. Waiver of Service
3. Bureau of vital statics form
4. One court appearance
The contract is attached for those interested. You can call into the office for a telephonic interview and I will advise if you meet the requirements to contract for an uncontested divorce
Busby & Associates, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, P.C., 2909 Hillcroft Suite 350 Telephone (713) 974-1151 is employed to perform legal services in connection with the following matter a set forth below:
Uncontested Divorce entitles you to the following:
- Original Petition for Divorce, Bureau of Vital Statistics document
- Waiver of Citation
- Final Decree of Divorce based on an agreement between the parties
- One court appearance
- Power of Attorney for vehicle transfer, Child Support and Medical Support Order
(if required )
- Special Warranty Deed ( if required)
- Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption (if required)
Uncontested Divorce for___________________________in ____________County.
Children and ages: ______________________________________________________________
Who gets primary custody ________________________________________________________
Child Support: Who pays and how much: _____________________starts___________________
House: Separate___ or Community___ Who gets and pays:____________________
Name Change: Yes__ No__ Maybe__
Other Property: Each keeps own ___________________________________________________
Debt: Each keeps own ___________________________________________________________
Publication: Where: _________Children/Property Publication Yes/No What County? _________
Client to review the original Waiver of Citation and Final Decree of Divorce and client will pick up the document from our office or firm will mail to client. Client will have his or her spouse sign and return the papers. If your spouse will not sign the paperwork then there is an additional charge for having your spouse served. If the case becomes contested, then firm will require client to pay an additional retainer of at least $1,500.00 within (7) days of case becoming contested and firm notifying client of such.
If the case become contested and the client wishes to continue the matter, the attorney fees will then be based on the rate of $175.00 for attorneys licensed less than three years and $250.00 per hour for all other attorneys and the legal assistant/ paralegal time will be based on the rate of $95.00 per hour for the paralegal and $65.00 per hour for the legal assistant. Additionally, costs for photocopies and facsimile transmissions will be based on the rate of 20 cents per page and a parking fee of $5.00 will be charged for every trip to the courthouse. Trip Charges to the court house are billed at .55 per mile one way. If the case becomes contested and the client wishes to continue the matter, it is the client’s responsibility to contact the attorney to schedule an appointment to discuss the furtherance of the case and the increase in attorney fees.
Flat Fee for Uncontested Divorce: Total fees are projected at $ __________________ for an uncontested divorce/matter (this retainer is subject to upward revision depending on difficulties encountered such as if the case becomes contested or additional work is necessary). This flat fee includes one court appearance. All fees are considered earned when received and thus NONREFUNDABLE. It is understood that whenever the flat fee becomes insufficient to cover the services and client expenses anticipated,a request for additional advance fees will be requested of the client based on our hourly fee and time expected to complete the case. This fee does not include preparing a Qualified Domestics Relations Order if a retirement plan is being divided between the parties. Any excessive telephone calls or changes to the paperwork will be subject to additional fees.
THERE WILL BE A FEE OF $25.00 CHARGED TO CLIENT FOR ALL RETURNED CHECKS FOR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS OR A CLOSED ACCOUNT. THIS FEE ALONG WITH THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK MUST BE PAID WITHIN 7 DAYS OF FIRM NOTIFYING CLIENT OF SUCH. IF PAYMENT IS NOT MADE, THE ATTORNEY WILL WITHDRAW AS COUNSEL.
My attorney may, at his option, withdraw from the case if client does not pay any fees requested. My attorney is authorized to withdraw from this matter if prompt payment is not made in advance of the service to be performed. My attorney may withdraw as my counsel if the case becomes contested or my spouse refuses to sign the Waiver of Citation and Final Decree of Divorce.
Notice of Dismissal/Trial Setting: Depending on which court the case gets assigned to, if the case extends beyond approximately 4 months after my case is filed, the court will file a Motion to Dismiss/Trial Date/Notice of Scheduling Order in my case. If the client receives a Motion to Dismiss/Trial Date/Notice of Scheduling Order, it is the client’s responsibility to respond as follows:
1) Pay any outstanding fees to attorney, so that attorney can complete the work/documents for client’s spouse to sign.
2) Return the signed, notarize Waiver of Citation and sign Final Decree of Divorce to my attorney prior to the hearing date
3) Schedule a hearing date to get your matter finalized.
4) Schedule an appointment with my attorney/legal assistant to discuss the furtherance of my case and to discuss the service of citation on your spouse and to discuss the increased attorney fees, or
5) Do nothing. If the client fails to do either above, then the attorney is not required to respond to the Motion to Dismiss/Trial Date/Notice of Scheduling Order. If the client does nothing, it will then be determined the client desires the case to dismiss.
Should the client desire to retain a different attorney, Attorney, at his sole option, may sign a Motion to Substitute Counsel once it is received and will assist any new attorney with information regarding the client’s case.
If the case is not proved up at least 30 days prior to any Trial/Dismissal Setting, there will be an additional $250.00 flat fee charge to prove up the divorce, up until the day before the Trial/Dismissal setting.
If the divorce has to be proved up at the Trial/Dismissal setting, there will be an additional $250.00 charge (in addition to the $250.00 charge mentioned in the preceding sentence) that will have to be pre-paid by client.
Final Documents: Within after your petition is filed with the Court, the final documents will be drafted and completed approximately 5 business days. Please allow attorney sufficient time to review the final documents in order to avoid any future complications or enforcement issues. Once final documents have been fully reviewed by an attorney, the documents will either be mailed to you, emailed to you, or you may choose to come by the main office to pick up your documents. Please be advised that our firm does not represent your spouse in this case therefore we owe no legal duty to that spouse. In order to benefit from a fixed fee arrangement, you are fully responsible to take the final documents to your spouse and to get his or her signature. Should your spouse fail to sign or refus to sign the final documents within (14) days from the date you received your final documents, service of process must be made on your spouse so that your case may be finalized without his or her signature. Should your case not be finalized within 90 days of the file date due to documents not having been signed or returned to the firm, then you will incur a monthly maintenance fee of $50 for which any balance would need to have been paid in full prior to the divorce finalization.
Representations: Attorney cannot warrant or guarantee the outcome of the case or how long it will take for your divorce to finalize. Client understands that in many cases, hearings may be reset due to conflicts in the attorney’s schedule or the court’s schedule.
Medical Insurance: There is a medical insurance plan for children provided through the Texas Attorney General’s Office and if you qualify you can obtain medical insurance for your children at a lower cost through CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program of Texas) by calling toll free (877) KIDS-NOW or 877-543-7669 or by applying online at www.chipmedicaid.com.
It is public policy that if the child(ren) are on CHIPS or MEDICAID, the Court requires that one spouse maintain insurance coverage for the child(ren) while the other spouse reimburses the State for insurance coverage in the amount of $50.00 or higher.
Required Parenting Class: If your divorce involves minor children it is required that each parent attends one of the following parent education classes before the divorce can be granted: Children Cope 713-952-2673, Families and Divorce 713-942-9500 or Family Education Institute 713-688-9122. If your divorce hearing has to be reset due to non-attendance of the parenting class then there is an additional $250 fee to reset your divorce hearing for another day. If your spouse does not take the class the Judge may order your spouse to take the class or could even dismiss your divorce case. If your spouse refuses to take the class; client needs to schedule an appointment with attorney to discuss serving their spouse with citation.
Child Support, Retroactive Child Support: If child support is going to be an issue in your case you must immediately provide the attorney with copies of 1) the last three month’s pay check stubs for the party obligated to pay child support; and 2) the previous year income tax return for the party obligated to pay child support. If retroactive child support is going to be an issue, you must provide proof of income for all years in question for the person obligated to pay child support. Child support must be paid by the person owing child support from the date of separation.
Employer’s Wage Order: An Employer’s Order of Withholding will also be filed by our office. A $15.00 fee must be paid to the district clerk in order for the wage order to be sent to the employer. It is your responsibility to make this payment and fill out the Notice to Employer. The form and the payment must be given to the clerk in the basement of the FamilyLawCenter at Family Law Intake in order for the notice to be sent to the employer.
Request for No Child Support Order: It is public policy of the State of Texas, that when parents do not support their children, taxpayer end up supporting the children. Should you request no child support, yet your child is on Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC, and/or Public Housing, the Court will almost always deny your request. Typically, the Courts will not require child support if the parents are minors, one parent is disabled, and/or if one parent is in a foreign country. If you insist that you either do not want to pay or do not want to receive child support, based on your facts if the attorney is certain the Judge will not approve, then our firm charges $1,000 to present your request to the Judge. This fee does not include third party ad-litem or amicus attorney fees. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOUR REQUEST WILL BE APPROVED AND THE FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
Publication Divorce: If you cannot locate your spouse and/or there are children involved, the Harris County Family Law Courts will appoint an Attorney Ad Litem to represent your spouse’s and/or children’s interests or try to locate your spouse. Any fees charged by the Attorney Ad Litem appointed to your case are separate from the retainer paid to Busby & Associates, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, P.C. Before your case can be filed you must make an appointment to review and sign a Petitioner’s Supporting Affidavit stating that you have used due diligence in trying to locate your spouse.
Attorney General Order: Client must provide a copy of the Order in Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship so that your divorce can be completed. You may obtain a copy from the District Clerk’s office for a fee. Before your case can be completed the Attorney General must sign off on the decree. This may cause a delay in getting your divorce finalized.
Deeds: Special Warranty Deeds or any deeds prepared must be filed by client with the CountyClerk’s office in the County where the property is located. Client must pay the filing fees that are required.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): In cases involving the division of a retirement plan, military pension, 401K, Keogh plan, Employee Stock option plan, disability plan or other benefits existing by reasons of the spouse’s past, present, or future employment, Federal Law designate the administrator of the retirement plan to determine the qualifications of a QDRO and its value. An additionally fee of at least $400.00 must be paid to the plan administrator so that a QDRO may be presented to the Court for approval and division of the plan benefits at the time when the divorce case is set for finalization.
Cooperation of Client: I will work with the legal assistant and any attorney assigned to my case and I promise to be polite and courteous at all times. Any failure to do so is cause for this firm to withdraw from the case with no refunds. Client understands that my attorney handles a large volume of cases. I have requested an affordable and discounted attorney fee and understand that the more time that is spent on my case then my attorney fees will increase. If I am unable to reach someone by telephone promptly, I will fax or mail any questions to my attorney or I will make an appointment to come into the office to discuss my case. I will also advise my attorney of any change of address or telephone numbers immediately. I will provide the proper legal description and Grantor and Grantee names of real property to be transferred and year, make, model and vehicle identification numbers on any vehicles to be transferred.
Attendance at Court Hearing: You must attend a hearing to get a divorce. You need to call our office to set a hearing date but it must be after sixty days from when your case was filed. You must be in court no later than 8:00 a.m. on the day of the hearing.
Divorce cases filed in HarrisCounty are heard at The Family Law Center, 1115 Congress Avenue at San Jacinto Street in downtown Houston, Texas77002 or on the 15th Floor of the Harris County Civil Courthouse located at 201 Caroline St., Houston, Texas22002. Divorce cases filed in FortBendCounty are heard at the courthouse located at 401 Jackson, Richmond, Texas77469. Please confirm with a member of our staff where you will finalize your divorce for the particular county in which we have filed your divorce. Allow time for parking and finding the court.
If you fail to attend court on time, your case may be reset to another day however there is an additional $250 fee to reset the case. It is your responsibility to notify the attorney at least (2) days in advance if you cannot attend the given court date in order for the reset fee to be waived.
Notice to Clients: The State Bar of Texas investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct committed by Texas attorneys. Although not every complaint against or dispute with a lawyer involves professional misconduct, the State Bar’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel will provide you with information about how to file a complaint. Please call 1-800-932-1900 for more information.
Do not make remarriage plans. There is no guarantee that your divorce will be granted by a certain date. In the event that you intend to get remarried within one year of the date of this Agreement you are advised to reschedule the date of remarriage after the point in time that you have obtained a certified copy of final divorce decree. A certified copy of your decree can be obtained from the District Clerk’s office of the County in which your case is filed. State law requires a thirty-day waiting period to get remarried after the divorce is granted.
Copy of Final Decree/Filing of Deeds: You may obtain a copy of your Final Decree of Divorce from the District Clerk’s office in the county of your divorce. Prices for certified copies will vary. You will need to provide the case number, court number, and style of the case. In takes approximately 30 days after a decree is signed before you can get a certified copy of the decree.
Payment Terms: __________________________________________________TO FILE THEN
DIVORCE THEN ______________________________________________________________
within __ days to complete the Waiver, Final Decree of Divorce and attend the divorce hearing.
PAYMENT DATES (Post-dated checks required) Iagree to the payments schedule below. I can make payments before the scheduled dates. If I am unable to make a scheduled payment I will contact the Accounting Manager to re-schedule a payment. Re-scheduling of payment, payments that are declined, or failure to make payments as agreed will result in a financing charge of $25 per event. Attorney will not deposit post- dated checks in the bank before the date on the check. Client to pay $ _________ on the following dates:
CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS: Client authorizes attorney to charge/debit my Visa/Mastercard/Discover card on for the amount and on the dates noted above.
Name of cardholder___________________________ (circle one) MC Visa Discover
Number: ________________________________ Date of expiration_______________________
Disclosure on Referral Services: When you are referred by an attorney or referral program a portion of the attorney’s fee is remitted back to the referral source.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: In the event that the parties to this agreement have a dispute over the terms or the application of the terms of this agreement, including payment or performance hereunder, as a condition precedent to filing or pursuing any legal remedy, including suit in a court, the parties agree to participate in good faith in non-binding mediation at the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston, Inc. conducted by a neutral third-party mediator qualified to perform mediation services in the State of Texas. If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute through mediation, the parties further agree to submit, in lieu of filing or pursuing any legal remedy, including suit in a court to participate in binding arbitration conducted by and under the Better Business Bureau Arbitration Rules by a neutral third-party arbitrator qualified to perform arbitration in the State of Texas.
Client to provide Vehicle Transfer Information Sheet:__ Client to provide Real Estate Transfer Information Sheet:__ Client to provide Retirement Plan (401K) Plan Statement for date of the marriage and a current Plan Statement.
About the Author
Michael Busby Jr. is a divorce and family law attorney who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County. He has been in practice for over 10 years and has tried over 100 cases. He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Houston Texas Divorce Courts. Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks. Please call with your family law or divorce questions for uncontested divorce Houston Texas.
Michael Busby Jr.
6100 Corporate Dr Ste 190
Houston, Texas 77036
Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com