Knowing how the divorce process works and understanding your rights as a married spouse seeking a divorce in Texas is critical. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths about divorce that make the divorce process more complicated.
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. It is vital to speak with a Coryell County divorce lawyer if you are considering getting a divorce in Texas.
Below, we will debunk some of the most common myths about divorce in Texas.
The Most Common Myths About Texas Divorce
Let’s talk about the most common misconceptions surrounding the divorce process in Texas.
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.
Related: Texas Is a Community Property State
Myth #2: I Can Protect Property by Keeping It in My Name
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. Besides, gifts and inheritances received by one spouse 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: 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 #4: 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 #5: My Spouse Gets Everything Because I Cheated
There are countless myths surrounding adultery and divorce. Previously, we discussed how adultery may affect your divorce case in Texas. Many divorcing spouses who have been unfaithful during the marriage fear that:
They will not be able to see their children because they cheated on their spouse; and
Their spouse will get everything because of their adultery.
While Texas courts may consider adultery during a divorce case, it does not play a significant role in the outcome of the division of property or child custody (conservatorship).
Myth #6: 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, as all custody and support decisions are based on the child’s best interests.
Myth #7: 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 #8: 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 #9: 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 does not necessarily have to be adversarial.
Divorcing couples may reach an agreement regarding their divorce without court involvement. Besides, there are several alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to resolve a divorce case out of court. ADR methods include collaborative divorce and mediation.
Myth #10: 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 an experienced Divorce Attorney
Our divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard 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 (254) 220-4225 to get a free consultation right now.