What are the Residency Requirements to File for Divorce in Texas?
To file for a divorce in the state of Texas, at the time a divorce is filed, either party must have resided in Texas for the preceding 6 months and reside in the county where the suit is filed for 90 days prior to filing.
If you are participating in the Texas Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACOP), the government will verify that both parties meet this requirement, without revealing your address.
Any time spent outside of Texas during active duty in the United States Armed Forces (USAF) or accompanying a member of the USAF is still considered residence in Texas for the purposes of calculating the 6-month and 90-day time periods.
If you don’t live in Texas but your husband does, and he has lived in Texas for at least 6 months, you can file for divorce in the county where he resides.What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
There are seven grounds (reasons) that a couple can file for divorce in Texas. This includes irreconcilable differences, adultery, cruelty, desertion, incurable insanity, the conviction of a felony offense against children, and refusal or failure to perform parental duties.
However, only the first ground listed below requires one spouse to blame the second for the breakup. The other grounds do require both spouses to blame each other for the divorce.
- Irreconcilable Differences - The marriage can no longer continue due to disagreements or differences that cannot easily be resolved.
- Adultery - One spouse committed adultery during the marriage.
- Cruelty - Both spouses engaged in cruel treatment toward the other spouse.
- Desertion - One spouse left the marital home without permission.
- Incurable Insanity - A spouse suffers from mental illness such that he/she is unable to provide for his/her basic needs.
- Conviction of Felony Offense Against Children - Either parent has been convicted of a felony involving harm or neglectful supervision of a child.
- Refusal or Failure to Perform Parental Duties - One spouse refuses or fails to perform his/her parental duties.
If you are divorced, you may be entitled to receive child support for yourself and your children. If you are receiving public assistance, you may qualify for additional benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid. In addition, there may be federal programs that help low-income families pay for housing costs. You can find out about these programs by contacting the local welfare office.
You may also be eligible to claim certain tax credits – including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Adoption Assistance Credit, and Dependency Exemption Credits. These tax credits reduce your taxable income, which makes it easier to file taxes.How Are Assets and Debts Divided in the Divorce?
Texas law provides guidelines for how to divide assets and debts acquired during a marriage. In general, each spouse owns half of everything acquired during the marriage. If you have children under 18 years old, however, both parents are considered joint managing conservators, meaning they have equal authority over the child’s upbringing, education, health care decisions, and activities. Additionally, each parent is entitled to visitation, custody, and control of the child.
There are exceptions to this rule, though. For example, if you have been married for less than 10 years, the court will consider whether it is in the best interest of the child to award sole managing conservatorship to either party. Also, if you are serving a prison sentence, the court will make certain adjustments to ensure the safety of the child.
In addition, if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, or robbery, the court will consider awarding sole managing conservatorship of the child to the surviving parent. Finally, if you have committed fraud against the other party, the court will take into consideration the amount of money involved in the fraud and how long it lasted.What Are the Basic Steps for Filing for Divorce?
While divorce laws vary by state and many people don't understand what happens once they file for divorce, there are some basics that apply across the board. For example, you and your spouse must both live in the same state to begin the process. You must have grounds for ending your marriage, which could include a no-faults ground like irreconcilable differences or a fault ground like adultery.
Once you've filed the paperwork, you'll serve your spouse with notice of the divorce proceedings. Your spouse can respond with his or her own set of divorce documents. If he or she disputes anything in yours, the case goes into dispute resolution mode where you and your spouse each go to court to argue over the issues. After the judge decides what happens next, the parties return to court for a final hearing. At this hearing, the judge makes a decision about how things will work moving forward.Where Can I Find Additional Information About Divorce?
Handbooks, including one that explains alimony and child support payments, how to divide assets and debts, and what happens during a contested divorce case.
The Texas State Law Library provides information on divorce in Texas for those with and without children. This resource contains information on divorce law, forms, fees, and court procedures.
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.