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Must-Know Facts About Divorce in Texas: Texas Legal

If you're thinking about getting divorced, it might help to know some basic facts about the process. Here are things every person contemplating divorce should understand.

You can file for divorce without having to meet with a mediator or counselor. But if you do want to talk to someone, there are plenty of options out there. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, and others charge fees based on how much time they spend talking with you. There's no waiting period.

In Texas, there's no mandatory waiting period before you can file for divorce. However, you must wait 60 days after signing the paperwork, unless you're married less than six months. This rule applies even if you've been separated for longer than six months, but you still have to wait 60 days. You can't change your mind later.

Once you sign the papers, you can't decide to call off the divorce. Once you file for divorce, you can't take it back.

Divorce in Texas is a Lengthy Process

In Texas, a divorce is never final unless both parties agree to it. This means that there are no legal proceedings — just court filings and negotiations — during the entire process. A divorce cannot be finalized for at least 60 days, even though the couple might live together under the same roof. The divorce is considered "pending," meaning that neither party actually owns anything until everything is settled.

The courts do not require couples to file paperwork or attend hearings while the divorce is pending. During this period, the court simply keeps track of the case and makes sure that each side complies with the terms of the agreement. Once the divorce becomes final, however, the couple must comply with certain requirements. For instance, they must pay off debts, divide property, and make child support payments.

No Legal Separation

Texas recognizes legal separation, meaning that even though you live separately from your spouse, all property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. All debts incurred by either party during the marriage are also considered marital debt. You cannot file for legal separation without having been legally separated for at least six months.

The state requires both parties to sign a written agreement stating how they want their property divided. If one person wants half of everything, the other must agree to that division. Otherwise, the court will divide the assets equally. As long as there is no written agreement, each spouse owns 50% of the property and debt.

If you do decide to separate, make sure you consult with an attorney about what happens next. Your lawyer will help you determine whether you should go forward with filing for legal separation.

“No-Fault” Divorce in Texas

Texas is one of 29 states that allow "no-fault" divorce. In no-fault divorces, neither party must prove fault or wrongdoing on the part of the opposing party. Instead, both spouses file a petition for divorce based solely on irreconcilable differences. If granted, the court determines how much each spouse owns separately and divides it equally.

In addition to no-fault divorcing couples, there are many others who choose to avoid the emotional turmoil associated with traditional divorce proceedings. They simply want out of a relationship without having to go through the rigmarole of proving fault or wrongdoing on the other side. For some people, this option makes sense. But, depending on where you live, it could be difficult to find legal help.

Divorce in Texas is not a DIY job

Getting divorced is a complicated process, especially if there are children involved. Attorneys attend school for many years to learn about the entirely legal system. They must become familiar with everything from the Family Code to the rules governing child custody.

While you can technically represent yourself, it can be a very difficult process and end up costing you time, money, and even stress.

Even if your divorce becomes emotional and you feel like you want to do things yourself, your lawyer can still be an objective party who keeps your best interests in mind and helps you navigate the legal system.

But before you hire an attorney make sure you interview several and let them know what you're looking for in terms of experience and expertise.

Divorce in Texas Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Divorce isn't cheap, even if it's your second marriage. In fact, most people spend about 15% of their total household income on legal costs. And while there are plenty of ways to cut down on those expenses, one of the best things you can do is make sure your lawyer makes sense financially.

That's why it's important to know what you're paying for before signing up for a lawyer. When you use Texas Legal, we'll give you a free consultation where we can explain everything about our plan and answer your questions. Then, once you've signed up, you won't have to worry about hidden charges or surprise bills. We'll bill you for the exact amount of coverage you want every month.

So, if you're thinking about filing for divorce, you don't have to go into debt over it. Instead, let us handle the paperwork and you focus on getting on with life.

An experienced divorce attorney 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 provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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