If you have determined that you need to pursue a divorce, you undoubtedly have questions about how to begin. While no two divorces are ever exactly the same, there are some divorce basics that can help you make better-informed decisions from the beginning.
Number 1: You Do Not Need to Prove Fault
The State of Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which means that your divorce need not be predicated on your spouse’s wrongdoing. In fact, the vast majority of Texas divorces are not based on fault. This is not to say that your spouse’s wrongdoing will not play a role in the outcome of your divorce, however. The court has vast discretion in the matter, and the fact of fault can influence the division of your marital property and other matters.
Number 2: Your Divorce Will Take Time
There is no quickie divorce option in Texas. To begin, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period, so unless there are highly specific extenuating circumstances, your divorce will take at least 60 days. Realistically, however, most Texas divorces take additional time to hammer out the specifics and come to a consensus that both spouses are willing to sign off on. If your case proceeds to court, the matter will obviously take considerably longer.
Number 3: The Court May Order Initial Guidelines
While your divorce proceeds, the court may put specific prohibitions in place that generally apply across the board. Usually, both parents are prohibited from doing any of the following:
- Closing your joint financial accounts
- Cutting the other out of a credit card
- Altering any life insurance policies
- Taking your children out of the state
- Changing your children’s school or daycare provider
The court’s intention is to maintain the status quo while the details of your divorce are hammered out – and to prevent either of you from using unfair means to force compliance.
Number 4: Once You File, the Court Will Issue Temporary Orders about Your Living Situation if Necessary
Once you file for divorce, you will need to address your living situation for the pendency of your divorce. If you and your divorcing spouse agree on the details, you will not need the court to intervene. If you do not, however, the court may issue orders that address the following:
- Who will have the children when?
- Who will live where (who will remain in your family home, for example)?
- Who will take financial responsibility for what (credit cards, mortgage, utility bills, and more)?
- Who will retain possession of which vehicles?
- Are temporary spousal support and/or child support in order?