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Understanding Divorce in Texas

Moving Forward

Life does not always work out the way that you dreamed it would, and the same could be said about many marriages. The person you married may not have ultimately turned out to be the person they claimed to be. Looking for a solution to your problem can be confusing and scary.

Divorce, while complex and emotional, can give you the freedom that you’ve sought to better your own personal happiness. The complexities of divorce seem scary, but you will feel better and more prepared to plan your future after understanding how the process works and what is involved in divorcing in Texas.

Grounds for Divorce in Texas

In Texas, you can file for divorce whether there is actual wrongdoing or if the marriage simply is not working out. In legal terms, you can file for either a no-fault or an at-fault divorce.

As divorce has become more commonplace in the world, Texas law changed to allow the process to be easier rather than forcing people to try to come up with a reason for their divorce. A no-fault divorce can be filed if you perceive your marriage to be irreparably broken.

An at-fault divorce can be filed if your reason for the divorce matches one of these seven provided by Texas law:

  • Adultery (if able to be proven).

  • Cruelty.

  • Spousal abandonment of a year or more.

  • Felony conviction (if able to be proven).

  • If one spouse has been in a mental hospital for at least three years with the possibility of relapse.

  • Living apart from each other (after three years).

  • Insupportability, or the serious clash of personalities that renders your marriage incredibly damaged.

Types of Divorce in Texas

Texas has two forms of divorce: uncontested and contested.

Contested Divorces

A contested divorce, as its name implies, will be more heated and involve issues that must be resolved such as child support, child custody, and visitation. A contested divorce adds time because of the additional layers of complexity surrounding the case.

Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce, by contrast, is one that, while still emotionally charged, involves a more amicable discussion of these issues. The divorcing couple in this situation comes together to work out property division and other topics without having to have a judge make determinations for them. By filing the paperwork and attending the final hearing for the divorce to be finalized, the couple is able to avoid more heated arguments and can move on more quickly.

Filing for Divorce in Texas

The divorce process in Texas begins by filing an original petition for divorce with the court. Upon receipt, a judge will grant the divorce filing and order that the divorce papers be served to the spouse. There are requirements that you must meet before filing the paperwork:

  1. You (or your spouse) must have been a resident of the state of Texas for at least 6 months prior to filing.

  2. You (or your spouse) must have lived in the county where you are filing your divorce for at least 90 days prior to actually filing.

Upon serving the paperwork to your spouse, you will then have to wait a period of 60 days as required by Texas law before your case is heard in court. You can use this period to attempt collaboration with your spouse on property division or child custody; some have even used this time to work through marital issues through mediation.

Child Custody Basics

Texas judges will work to establish both legal custody and physical custody during a divorce. A parent has physical custody over a child if the child spends a majority of their time living with that parent, and the other parent will receive visitation and parenting time.

When a parent has legal custody of the child, then the parent gets to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as where to go in the event of a medical emergency or what after-school activities to participate in. Normally, Texas judges will provide a way for both parents to have a form of shared legal custody, allowing both of them to make these kinds of decisions.

It is also during this time that a judge may order a parent to pay child support or maintain a child’s health insurance.

Property Division Basics

Texas law states that any property must be divided based on the community property. This means that any and all assets acquired while a divorcing couple was married will be divided equally between the two people. Any assets that were acquired prior to the marriage are known as separate property and do not get divided during the divorce.

The Importance of a Good Attorney

Divorce can be a scary, emotional time that can feel overly complex and confusing. Hiring an attorney to help guide you through the process can ease your stress as you work through this difficult time.

If you are considering a divorce or have questions about the process, the team at Verner Brumley Mueller Parker would be happy to talk to you about your situation. Call us today at (214) 225-6766 or fill out our online form to set up a consultation with a member of our team.