Updated on August 23, 2022
It is critical to know how the divorce process works and to understand your rights as a married spouse seeking a divorce in Texas. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths about divorce that make the divorce process more complicated.
If you are considering, are moving toward, or are in the middle of a divorce, you no doubt have some preconceived notions about divorce in general. While much of what you know may be useful, some of it may actually be myth-based. Movies, television shows, and urban legends alike help cement divorce myths that just seem to gain traction and hang on.
Just because you heard something about divorce does not make it true, especially if it came from someone who does not have a law degree. Don’t be fooled by the divorce myths out there; turn to an experienced Coryell County divorce lawyer if you are considering getting a divorce in Texas.
The Most Common Myths About Texas Divorce
There are many misconceptions about divorce, so it can be easy to get confused. This article will clear up the confusion about some of the most common divorce myths in Texas. If you have any questions about these myths or others, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Coryell County divorce attorney.
Myth #1: Property Is Always Divided Equally
Many people mistakenly believe that their property is always divided 50/50 when they get a divorce. However, getting a divorce does not necessarily mean that your spouse will get half of your property.
Under Texas Family Code § 3.002, Texas is a community property state, which means any property that was acquired by the married partners during their marriage may be split in a “just and right” manner.
A just and right manner does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. Texas courts examine a number of factors before dividing community property between the spouses seeking a divorce.
Myth #2: I Can Protect Property by Keeping It in My Name
When you are married, anything that either of you buys is considered marital property—regardless of who makes the purchase, how it is titled, or anything else (with very few exceptions). Marital property is divided equitably—or fairly—in the event of divorce.
Under Texas law, separate property is not subject to division upon divorce. Texas Family Code recognizes any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage to be their separate property. In addition, gifts and inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage are also considered separate property.
Even if you keep your separate property in your name, you are at risk of losing it if you commingle it with your community property. A common example of commingling is using separate property funds to purchase community property or to pay for household expenses.
Myth #3: I Can Ask the Court for a Legal Separation
While legal separations can help some couples find the space they need to either reconcile or move forward toward a more amicable divorce, the State of Texas does not recognize legal separations. In Texas, you are either married or divorced, and there is no in-between.
There are, however, steps you can take that mimic a legal separation, and an experienced divorce attorney can help you with this. Contact a Coryell County divorce lawyer for more information about legal separation.
Myth #4: Spousal Fault Is Required to File for Divorce in Texas
Many years ago, Texas law required married spouses to prove spousal fault to get a divorce. However, these times are long gone. Nowadays, you can file for divorce without having to prove anyone’s fault, though you may still have grounds to get a fault divorce in Texas.
Myth #5: I Need My Spouse’s Consent to Get a Divorce
You can get a divorce in Texas even if your spouse does not want to end the marriage and does not cooperate in the divorce process. In the past, courts required the consent of both spouses before the divorce. However, Texas law no longer requires you to have your spouse’s consent to file for divorce.
In fact, you can initiate the divorce proceedings despite your spouse’s refusal to sign divorce papers. You can also get a divorce if your spouse cannot be found or located.
Myth #6: My Spouse Gets Everything Because I Cheated
There are countless myths surrounding adultery and divorce. Many divorcing spouses who have been unfaithful during the marriage have fears related to divorce, including these:
They will not be able to see their children because they cheated on their spouse.
Their spouse will get everything because of their adultery.
While Texas courts may consider adultery during a divorce case, adultery does not play a significant role in the outcome of the division of property or child custody (known as conservatorship in Texas). To learn more, read “How Does Adultery Factor into Your Texas Divorce?”
Myth #7: Courts Favor Mothers over Fathers When Awarding Custody
While it is true that, statistically speaking, mothers are awarded primary custody rights more often, Texas courts cannot make child custody decisions based on gender or any other discriminatory reasons.
Courts consider a number of factors when awarding child custody in order to protect the child’s best interests. Learn more about the factors considered in child custody cases.
Myth #8: I Don’t Have to Pay Child Support Because I Have Joint Custody
Under Texas Family Code § 153.138, the designation of joint custody does not affect the court’s ability to order a joint managing conservator to make child support payments to the other parent.
As mentioned earlier, Texas courts focus on what is in the best interests of the child when making custody and support decisions.
Myth #9: I Can Avoid Paying Child Support
If you were ordered to pay child support, it is crucial that you comply with the court order. If you fail or refuse to pay child support, you may face repercussions, including criminal penalties. If you avoid paying child support, your spouse can take steps to enforce the child support order.
Myth #10: If My Ex Refuses to Pay Child Support, I Can Keep the Kids from Him or Her
Child support and visitation are entirely separate matters that are kept separate for two very good reasons:
Children deserve to be financially supported by both of their parents.
Children deserve to continue growing their relationships with both of their parents.
While the parent who has the children the majority of the time usually receives child support from the other parent, this is a matter of balancing both parents’ financial responsibilities.
If your ex fails to pay the child support that he or she owes you, you will need to address the matter with the court. Fixing a wrong with another wrong (denying visitation) is not going to cut it.
Myth #11: My Kids Do Not Have to Visit Their Other Parent If They Choose Not To
If there is a court order granting your ex-spouse visitation rights with your children, your children’s opinion on the matter does not alter the fact that you are legally obligated to support the visitation (in your actions if not in your private thoughts).
The law does not consider children mature enough to make important decisions of this nature on their own behalf, which is why the court looks to you and your children’s other parent to make the visitation schedule a reality.
Read “When Your Children Don't Want to See Their Other Parent” for advice on how to proceed in this difficult situation.
Myth #12: Divorce Is Always Adversarial
Divorce does not always have to be adversarial and hostile. While we are used to seeing messy divorces that involve finger-pointing and hostilities in the movies and on TV, your divorce can be different.
Divorcing couples may reach an agreement regarding their divorce without court involvement. There are several alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to resolve a divorce case out of court, including collaborative divorce and mediation. (Read “Divorce Mediation: Is It Right for You?”)
Myth #13: I Don’t Need a Divorce Lawyer
While you may be able to file an Original Petition for Divorce on your own, it is highly recommended to seek the legal counsel of a skilled divorce lawyer to protect your rights and ensure a favorable outcome in your case.
You need a knowledgeable lawyer to represent your best interests and help you navigate the divorce process. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is critical if your divorce involves children, high-worth assets, or disputes regarding the division of property, child custody, or alimony. Speak with a lawyer today to discuss your unique situation.
Speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Give common divorce myths a pass by working closely with attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Coryell County, Texas. Our divorce attorneys are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
We are prepared to help you protect your rights and explain all of your options throughout the divorce proceedings. Call us at (254) 781-4222 or contact us online today to get a FREE consultation now.