Updated on August 23, 2022
Divorce is the dissolution of a legal contract, but it is also a difficult emotional hurdle. Your divorce will be singular to you and your situation, but knowing the basics about what to expect in a Texas divorce can help you make better-informed decisions along the way—and may even help you determine if a divorce is right for you in the first place.
One of the most strategic steps you can take before moving any further with the divorce process is consulting with an experienced divorce attorney in Williamson County. Your rights are too important to leave to chance. To schedule a FREE consultation with a Williamson County, Texas, divorce lawyer, call our office today at (254) 781-4222.
Know about the Elements of Your Divorce
Every Texas divorce takes several issues into consideration. Make sure you are familiar with the elements of your divorce before beginning the divorce process.
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 issues:
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 divorces, marital property is divided in a manner that is considered just and right. A just and right division of your property is not necessarily an equal division of property. Instead, it is based on a wide range of variables. For more information, read this article about the division of marital property.
Generally, the property that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple is considered marital property, but this issue can be complicated. These kinds of property are often considered as separate property:
Gifts received in one’s own name
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)
Your Divorce Will Very Likely Be a No-Fault Divorce
In Texas, there is no need to appoint blame in a divorce. If either of you wants a divorce, you are free to pursue the dissolution of your marriage without having to prove that your spouse is at fault.
Texas is what is known as a no-fault divorce state, and the vast majority of divorces in Texas are not based on fault. Instead, most divorces are predicated on insupportability, which is similar to what you may think of as irreconcilable differences.
If your divorce is fault-based, however, the judge can take fault into consideration in the process of dividing your marital property.
Whether your divorce is fault or no-fault, it is important to consult with a Williamson County divorce lawyer. He or she can help you negotiate with your spouse and come up with terms that will be mutually beneficial.
Your Divorce Will Take at Least 60 Days
If you come to the difficult decision that you need a divorce, you probably want the process to be swift. A Texas divorce, however, takes time.
First of all, after the Petition for Divorce is filed, at least 60 days must elapse before any divorce can be finalized. The divorce process itself often takes about six months to a full year. Further, if your divorce is complicated by contested financial or child-custody issues, it can take a good deal longer.
If you and your divorcing spouse can come to mutually satisfactory terms that you are willing to sign off on for every important divorce issue within that 60-day timeframe, it may be possible to have a divorce finalized at the end of the waiting period. The divorce issues in question include the following important matters:
Child custody arrangements
The division of marital property
If you and your divorcing spouse cannot come to an agreement on these terms, it is very likely to increase the amount of time it will take you to obtain a divorce.
Because it’s far more important to obtain divorce terms that support your financial and parental rights than it is to attach an artificial deadline to your divorce, it is a good idea to be more concerned with getting your divorce right—rather than obtaining a speedy divorce. It is important to have realistic expectations when it comes to the timeline of your divorce.
You Might Face Temporary Orders
If you and your divorcing spouse are unable to agree on issues related to your living situation, finances, or parenting, the court may issue temporary orders to make decisions for you while your divorce is pending. These orders may determine any of the following arrangements:
Who will be paying for what, including credit card bills, the mortgage, utilities, car payments, and more
Who will take possession of which vehicle
What the parenting time schedule that divides your time with the children will be like
If temporary child support will be necessary
If temporary alimony will be necessary
Matters related to any family pets
Temporary orders can help you and your spouse move forward and make decisions in your divorce case. If you think you could benefit from temporary orders, contact a Williamson County divorce attorney today.
It Is Very Likely that Your Case Will Not Go to Court
Many divorcing couples believe their temporary orders will segue directly to court, but the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of divorces are settled out of court. As long as you and your divorcing spouse are able to negotiate terms related to all of the following issues, you will not need the court to intervene on your behalf:
The division of your marital property
Child custody arrangements
Your respective divorce attorneys will guide you in the negotiations process, and there are also alternative dispute resolution options (ADR), such as mediation, that can help you reach mutually acceptable divorce terms.
Texas Does Not Recognize Legal Separation
Many married couples believe that not living together will eventually render them legally separated, but this simply is not the case. In Texas, there is no legal separation.
This means that while you and your spouse live apart, your separate financial situations (both the assets and the debts) will continue to accrue as part of your marital property, which is subject to division upon divorce.
Even if you and your spouse only obtain assets and debts in your own names, you will still both possess legal ownership of those assets and be legally responsible for those debts. In Texas, you remain married and your finances remain intertwined until you obtain a legal divorce.
Your Texas Divorce Will Affect Your and Your Children’s Future
Your divorce will affect your life going forward in significant ways that obviously include your finances and your living arrangements. The fact is that even if you are the primary custodial parent and your children live primarily with you, they will not be living in your home full-time like they once were.
The consequences of your divorce are so significant in your and your children’s lives that they should not be left to chance—work closely with an experienced Williamson County divorce attorney from the outset.
You Should Not Navigate Your Divorce Alone
Divorce is complicated, and emotions run high. Your divorce settlement, however, is likely to have significant financial repercussions far into your future. Do not rush headlong into a settlement for the sake of expediency.
Your financial future and your access to your children are too important to leave to chance. An experienced Williamson County divorce attorney will help you navigate the often-rocky terrain of divorce and will help protect your rights in the process.
Turn to an Experienced Williamson County Divorce Attorney for the Help You Need
Handling a divorce without legal guidance is never a good idea. Divorce is complicated, and you need the skilled guidance of a legal professional to ensure that your financial and parental rights are well protected.
The dedicated legal team at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Williamson County, Texas, is committed to helping you through this very difficult experience. Our knowledgeable divorce lawyers have the skill, experience, and compassion to guide your case toward its most positive resolution. We are here to help, so please contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 today.