Must-Know Facts About Divorce in Texas
If you're thinking about getting divorced in Texas, it's worth knowing some basic facts about how the process works. For starters, here are five must-know facts about divorce in Texas:
- You don't have to go to court to file for divorce in Texas. Instead, you can simply fill out a form called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage online.
- Once you've filed, you'll receive a packet of paperwork that includes forms for both spouses to sign. These include consent forms, affidavits, and releases.
- Your spouse doesn't have to agree to the terms of the divorce; however, he or she does have to acknowledge that the marriage is over and give up his or her interest in the property.
- If either party fails to comply with the terms of the divorce agreement, the judge can decide whether to grant a default judgment against him or her. This could mean giving away half of everything owned during the marriage.
- If you're asking for alimony, you'll need to prove that you lack sufficient income to support yourself without financial help.
Texas law requires couples seeking a divorce to file paperwork within 30 days of filing for legal separation. A judge must sign off on the paperwork within ten days. After that, the couple has 90 days to complete the process. During that period, either party can ask for a temporary restraining order against the other, which could delay the case further. Once the court signs off on the paperwork, the divorce becomes final.
The length of the process depends on many factors, including how long the parties have been married, whether there are children involved, and where the couple lives. For example, people living outside of Houston often face much longer delays because of the lack of local family lawyers.No Legal Separation.
Texas law says that even if you live apart from your spouse, the property you or your partner acquire together is still considered community property. And all debts you or your partner incur together are also considered community debts. So don't think you're safe just because you've moved out of state. You could end up owing money to both spouses."No-Fault" Divorce in Texas
Texas law allows for "no-fault" divorce, which means the spouses filing for divorce do not have to prove any wrongdoing, marital misconduct, or fault on the part of the partner seeking the divorce. A no-fault divorce requires both partners to agree to it. If one party refuses to sign off on the paperwork, there is no way around it — the court cannot grant a no-fault divorce without the signature of the other party.
In a traditional divorce, each partner must show some type of wrongdoing on the part of the opposite spouse. In a no-fault case, however, the couple can simply file papers requesting a divorce. The judge will decide whether the marriage broke down irretrievably and whether the divorce is in the best interests of the children.
The judge may consider fault in deciding what a fair distribution of property is, but he or she is not required to do so. This is because Texas courts are guided by the presumption that people remain married for life unless there is good reason to believe otherwise.Divorce in Texas is not a DIY job.
Getting divorced is a complicated process, especially when there are children involved. An experienced family law attorney can help navigate the legal system and provide advice throughout the entire process.
Attorneys attend school for years in order to understand all that the judicial system entails. This includes understanding how courts work, how judges decide cases, and how attorneys present facts.
While you can technically represent yourself, it can be a very difficult process and end up being costly, time-consuming, and stressful.
Even if your divorce becomes emotional and intense, your lawyer can be a neutral party who communicates your wants and needs effectively and navigates the legal system.
But before you hire an attorney, make sure you interview several lawyers and let them know what you want out of your divorce. You don't want to settle for the first one you meet.Contact an Attorney
Even in an uncontested divorce, there are many issues to consider. Divorce law varies from state to state. If you live in one of those states where a judge decides everything, it's important to know what happens next. In most cases, the court will appoint a lawyer to represent both parties during the divorce proceedings. This might mean hiring a family law attorney who specializes in divorce. Or, if you prefer, you could hire a general practitioner who handles divorces as part of his practice. Regardless, make sure to find out how much experience he or she has in handling contested divorces. You want someone who knows the ins and outs of the legal system.
If you don't live in one of those jurisdictions where judges decide everything, you still need to understand the basics of divorce law. For example, you need to know whether alimony is allowed. Alimony is money paid by one spouse to another to help pay for living expenses while they are separated. Some states do allow alimony; some don't. And even if alimony is permitted, there are limits on how much can be awarded.
You also need to understand the difference between child support and child custody. Child support refers to money paid by a parent to provide for the needs of children. Child custody refers to decisions about parenting arrangements. A judge can award joint custody, sole custody, primary custody, or visitation.
Another thing to think about is property division. Property division refers to deciding how assets such as real estate, retirement accounts, cars, household goods, furniture, etc., are divided up. Sometimes couples agree on the terms of dividing up assets, and sometimes they don't. There are several ways to divide up assets. One way is to use a formula based on each party's income and financial situation. Another option is to sell off certain items and split the proceeds equally. Still, another method is to put everything into a trust fund and let the trustee distribute the funds according to a pre-agreed plan.
Divorce is never easy. But having an experienced attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, working on your side can make the whole process go smoothly. Contact us today at Thorntonesquirelawgroup for a free consultation.