C. Eric Schmidt has 30 + years of experience in Family and Probate Law
Marilyn G Vilyus has 14 years of experience in Family Law
TEXAS FAMILY LAW FIRM SPECIALIZING IN THE FOLLOWING MATTERS:
SMALL ESTATE PLANNING:
FAMILY LAW MEDIATIONS
Marilyn Gale Vilyus and C. Eric Schmidt are Houston Divorce Lawyers who handle ALL kinds of divorces -- from amicable, uncontested divorces, to contested divorces which go to trial -- and everything in between! (We have a proven record for working well with opposing counsel to resolve cases through settlement and/or mediation!!!) However, if conflict resolution attempts should fail, you can rely on us to be strong trial advocates at Court!
Marilyn Gale Vilyus, founding attorney of the firm, conducts family law mediations and continues to be involved in the firm in an advisory capacity. Our firm also includes a network of other attorneys and professionals to perform specialized tasks and legal matters. Whatever type of family law issue you have, we have the EXPERTISE to provide the needed legal service!
Marilyn Gale Vilyus and C. Eric Schmidt are Houston family law attorneys who define the phrase "CONFLICT RESOLUTION," and we are dedicated to helping you keep the cost of your case as low as possible!
We guide our clients through the legal process so that you can make "informed decisions" about your case. After all, it is YOUR life being affected here, and you should be involved in the decision making process. We wll explain the law, and inform you as to your options, along with our recommendations to achieve the best possible result! We will explain the different ways to get divorced -- for example -- and help you decide "which way to go!"
RESOLVING ISSUES BETWEEN THE PARTIES
This is "Family Law!" There is NO insurance company to write you a big check at the end! If you are getting divorced, the less money you spend on attorney's fees, the more money you have to divide between yourself and your spouse!
Whether or not your spouse has an attorney, we have a strong reputation for settling cases without the need for trial. Less time in Court means less money spent in attorney's fees and a higher rate of satisfaction with the outcome of the case, because you know better than anyone (including the Judge) what is most important to you!!!
We use our knowledge and experience as Houston Divorce Lawyers to protect your rights; to make certain ALL issues are resolved; and to make sure that the final Orders accurately reflect the parties' agreements, and that they are written in a way which is legally enforceable and in a manner which will be approved by the Court.
If a couple can agree to use only one attorney, we will represent one of you and then draft all of the necessary documents needed to finalize the divorce. This is what we refer to as an "uncontested divorce." We have a special way of handling this kind of divorce which allows your spouse (the "unrepresented spouse") to remain secure that we are not trying to do "anything tricky!!!" We ask your spouse to sign a Waiver of Service which we customize so that we are NOT able to enter the divorce WITHOUT the signature of BOTH parties!!! He or she maintains the right to hire an attorney at any time.
(NOTE: if YOU have been presented with a Waiver of Service which was NOT prepared by OUR firm, you SHOULD NOT sign it without having it reviewed by an attorney. (Please feel free to call us to provide this service.)
If you sign a waiver commonly used by some other law firms, a Default Judgment could be taken against you!!!
Whether or not you have children, "Friendlier is Cheaper!" We have the knowledge, experience and conflict resolution skills to come up with creative solutions!!! We handle everything from simple property settlements to more complicated ones involving such issues as 401-K's, stock options, bonuses, ESOPS, multiple real properties, oil and gas rights, etc. And, "yes," we can absolutely do this on an UNCONTESTED BASIS!!!!!!
UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSION
We understand how difficult it is to go through a divorce -- even if you were the one who made the decision to end the marriage! Our entire staff is here to support you. We do our best to be efficient and organized -- to be as considerate as we can of your time -- to give you as much notice as possible regarding Court, mediation or other deadlines -- and to be clear about "what information we need from you" and the date by which we need it!
We regret that we cannot make this process painless -- but we will do our best to get you through it without our adding to your stress!!
WHILE THE DIVORCE IS PENDING....
If your divorce is "uncontested," you and your spouse will decide between you how to handle matters while your divorce is pending. Of course, we will help you as needed. We will calculate your child support amount, for example. But, you will not need to go to a Court Hearing for Temporary Orders.
If you and your spouse do not agree -- or if your spouse has hired an attorney who does this routinely -- or if we meet with you and determine that your specific case facts warrant it, a Temporary Orders Hearing will be scheduled in Court. (If you have been "served with papers," you probably have a Court hearing set. We will explain how Texas judges deal with issues regarding basic needs while the case is pending such as: who lives where; who pays what bills; who drives which car; and how much spousal support is paid, etc.
If the couple has children, the prime questions are these:
It is important for your kids to know that they are NOT responsible for your divorce! Kids learn alot about life during a divorce:
how to treat the opposite sex,
how to handle anger,
how to compromise,
how to handle disappointment,
how to overcome diversity,
how to forgive, and
how to adapt and make the best out of a bad situation!
Kids will use you and your spouse as role models and, later in life, whenever they face any problems with their own relationships, they will act just like they saw both of you do!!!!
You may each be required to take a parenting class. This is not really about parenting as much as it is about the effects of divorce on kids. We will provide a variety of acceptable classes so you can choose one with the most convenient date, time and location. You can also complete this class online!
Our firm does our best to make you aware of the parenting, job, social and financial "pitfalls" which are a part of the "divorce experiece!"
WHAT IF IT'S DOWNRIGHT UGLY?
Unfortunately, sometimes your divorce will require a tough, aggressive legal approach.
Even in these cases, you can be confident that we will use our negotiating and mediation skills to obtain the best result! We have a reputation with the Court for representing our clients with integrity. We have a reputation with our opposing counsel for being "strait shooters!" Because they can rely on us to "say what we mean" and "do what we say," it makes it easier for us to come to agreements with other attorneys. The Court also knows that they can depend on the information we provide because we are known for being thorough, honest and accurate!
If a Court hearing and / or trial becomes necessary, be assured that we wll fight hard on your behalf!!! We are committed to be knowledgeable, organized and prepared, and to work diligently to get the best possible outcome! We know what we want BEFORE we get to Court, and our "advance preparation" makes the Judge's decisions easier to make and, more likely, favorable to our client!
In those cases in which no settlement was reached, the parties may go to Divorce Mediation prior to final trial. In this situation, we make sure to be "trial ready" when we attend the mediation. (Formal mediations only occur in "contested cases," ie. those in which each party is represented by his and her own individual attorney.)
We always make certain our client understands the process, and we will meet in advance to answer any questions, update needed information and to outline our position and to formulate specific goals and strategies!
This should be differentiated from those situations in which Ms. Vilyus of this firm is hired NOT to represent our client as his or her attorney, but instead to act as the Houston Divorce Mediator herself in order to facilitate an agreement between two spouses and their respective Houston divorce lawyers.
Contact us for a free divorce consultation with an attorney. Your consultation will not be conducted only by a paralegal! At our firm -- even though we are very busy -- we still believe that you are important and should meet with an attorney!
Further, we are still willing to provide this divorce consultation at no cost! Our attorneys are well able to handle all of our client and case responsibilities -- while still finding the time to meet with you directly!!!
CASES OTHER THAN DIVORCE
Of course, our office also deals with other types of Family Law Cases. We would be happy to meet with you for an attorney consultation on any family law matter. We ask that you bring with you any Court Orders, if any, or other documents which might be pertinent to your issues (ex. I.R.S. returns and paystubs -- if your issue is "child support).
Due to the nature of these types of matters, we do require a consultation fee in these cases. Often, you will receive all the legal advice you will need during this single consultation! Please contact us for further fee information regarding consultations, hourly rates, and flat fee divorces -- for those cases in which that is appropriate.
We are located in West Houston in the Energy Corridor and handle cases in Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller, Liberty, Travis, Austin, Galveston and Brazoria counties.
We look forward to being of assistance to you -- or your friend or family member! Thank you for visiting our website!