Justia Lawyer Rating
Justia Lawyer Rating
National Bar Association
Fort Bend County Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
HLA
United States District Court of Southern Texas
Texas Supreme Court
Avvo Reviews Badge
Texas Bar College
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Houston

Houston Divorce Attorney: Navigating the Initial Steps of Filing for Divorce

Man signing a divorce Agreement Filing for divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. For those residing in the state of Texas, there are specific steps you need to follow to ensure a smooth and successful divorce filing. In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps and considerations when filing for divorce in TX.

1. Residency requirements

First and foremost, you must meet the residency requirements in Texas to file for divorce. At least one spouse must be a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least six months before filing the divorce petition. Additionally, you or your spouse should have lived in the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least three months.

2. Gather necessary information

Before filing for divorce, take some time to gather all the necessary information. This includes important documents such as marriage certificates, financial records, property deeds, and any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. Having these documents readily available will make the process smoother.

3. Determine the grounds for divorce

In Texas, you have the option to choose either fault-based or no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault divorce, known as "insupportability," means that there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses, and the marriage cannot be saved. Fault-based grounds include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, conviction of a felony, or confinement in a mental institution. Choose the grounds that best apply to your situation.

4. Fill out the divorce petition

To initiate the divorce process, you need to file a divorce petition with the appropriate court. This formal written document will outline your reasons for seeking divorce, desired division of assets, child custody, and any other relevant issues. You can obtain the necessary forms online or at the courthouse. Ensure that all the required information is accurately provided.

5. Serving the divorce petition

After filling out the divorce petition, you must serve it to your spouse. This can be done through certified mail, a private process server, or by asking the county sheriff to serve the documents. Proper service is crucial to ensure that your spouse is aware of the divorce proceedings.

6. Responding to the divorce petition

Once served, your spouse will have a specific timeframe to respond to the divorce petition. They can either agree to the terms outlined or file a counter-petition stating their objections or alternative proposals. If your spouse fails to respond within the given timeframe, the court may proceed with the divorce based on your petition.

7. Negotiations and settlement

If both parties can agree on all aspects of the divorce, such as property division, child custody, and support, then a settlement can be reached. This will save you time and the emotional strain of going to trial. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, the court will decide these matters for you.

8. Finalize the divorce

Once all matters are resolved, you can finalize the divorce by attending a court hearing. The judge will review your settlement agreement or make decisions on any unresolved issues. After the court grants the divorce, it becomes official, and you will receive the divorce decree.

Filing for divorce in Texas can be a lengthy and intricate process. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney who specializes in divorces is highly recommended. They can guide you through the specific requirements in Texas and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the entire divorce proceedings.

Understand The Texas Divorce Laws

Texas divorce laws can be complex and overwhelming, especially for those who are considering or are in the process of getting a divorce. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of these laws to navigate the process smoothly and ensure a fair resolution for all parties involved.

One of the key aspects of Texas divorce laws is the recognition of both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault grounds include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, the conviction of a felony, and living separately for at least three years. No-fault grounds simply state that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that impairs the marital relationship.

When it comes to property division, Texas follows the principle of community property. This means that any assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered shared and will be divided equally between the spouses upon divorce. However, there may be exceptions for separate property, including assets acquired before the marriage, as well as gifts or inheritances received during the marriage.

Child custody is another significant aspect of Texas divorce laws. The court always prioritizes the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. Texas law recognizes both joint custody, known as conservatorship, and sole custody, where one parent is awarded primary responsibility for the child. The court may also consider the child's preferences if they are at least twelve years old.

In terms of child support, Texas uses a guidelines-based formula to calculate the amount. Factors such as the parent's income, the number of children, and any extraordinary educational or healthcare needs are taken into account. This ensures that child support payments are fair and sufficient to provide for the child's well-being.

Spousal support, or alimony, is not automatically awarded in Texas divorces. The court may consider various factors when determining whether to award spousal support, such as the duration of the marriage, the ability to pay, and whether the recipient spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for their reasonable needs.

It is important to note that these are just some of the highlights of Texas divorce laws, and there may be additional complexities depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Seeking professional legal advice from an experienced attorney specializing in family law is highly recommended to ensure that your rights are protected and your interests are represented throughout the divorce process.

Understanding the intricacies of Texas divorce laws is essential to making informed decisions and achieving a fair and equitable resolution. By familiarizing yourself with the laws pertaining to fault and no-fault grounds, property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support, you can approach your divorce with confidence and clarity. Remember to consult an attorney who can guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests, ensuring a smoother transition into the next chapter of your life.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced divorce lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your divorce case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free case evaluation consultation.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
★★★★★
It was a divine power that drove me to call. There are ton of lawyers online but I knew this attorney was the one for me. C.B., Divorce Client
★★★★★
Attention & communication is very good when working with this professional legal team. They are here to help you whenever questions arise and explain details as they go. Thank you for taking the time to accept my case & working with me. P.L.