Coming to the decision that you need to pursue a divorce is one of the most difficult that you will ever have to make. The divorce process is extremely complicated, and no two divorces proceed in exactly the same manner. If you are considering a divorce, however, understanding the basic components of a Texas divorce can help.
Grounds for Your Divorce
The State of Texas allows for divorce that is based either on fault or no-fault grounds. It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of divorces are no-fault divorces in which fault does not play a significant role. If your divorce is fault-based, the grounds can be based on one or more of the following:
- Living apart for at least three years
- Conviction of a felony
- Confinement in a mental hospital
A no-fault divorce is predicated on your marriage no longer being supportable because of existing conflicts between you and your spouse that you have no reasonable expectation of reconciling.
Child Custody and Child Support
The most important factor in any divorce involving children is naturally child custody arrangements and child support considerations. Generally, both parents share custody and the responsibility of making important decisions for the children regarding education, health care, and religious upbringing. Often, however, one parent will have primary custody and will provide the children with their primary residence while the other parent has a visitation schedule and pays child support. If you and your divorcing spouse cannot come to an agreement between yourselves regarding child custody and child support, the court will do so for you – based on what it determines to be the best interests of the children.
The Division of Marital Property
In Texas, marital property is divided in a manner that is considered just and right in a divorce. Generally, that property that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple is considered marital property, but this issue can be complicated. A just and right division of your property is not necessarily an equal division of property and is based on a wide range of variables. That property that is considered separate property includes:
- Gifts received in one’s own name
- Family heirlooms
- Property and assets brought into the marriage
- Personal injury awards (unless the recovery covers medical bills, lost wages, or any other type of property that is considered community property).