FAQ about Texas Divorce
Divorce represents a significant transition in you and your children’s lives, and if you are facing a divorce, you almost certainly have questions that need answering. The truth is that your divorce will not be exactly like anyone else’s, but the same laws apply across every Texas divorce. Knowing the answers to the most frequently asked questions can help make the process less alien and unpredictable.
Here are some answers to common questions about getting a divorce in Texas. For more information or to discuss the specifics of your case, call us today to speak with a Copperas Cove divorce attorney.
What Are the Divorce Filing Requirements?
To file for divorce in Texas, one of you must have lived in the state for at least six consecutive months. Further, one of you must have lived in the county where you are filing for divorce for at least 90 days.
How Long Will My Divorce Take to Be Finalized?
In Texas, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period from the date of filing before your divorce can be finalized. Depending upon the complexity of your divorce, however, it can take much longer than 60 days.
Is Every Texas Divorce No-Fault?
The vast majority of Texas divorces are filed as no-fault divorces, which means neither party is singled out as causing the dissolution of the marriage. Instead, most Texas divorces are based on what is known as insupportability, which is similar to the irreconcilable differences that you are likely more familiar with. Texas does, however, allow fault-based divorces, and the grounds can include:
Cruel treatment that precludes living with one another
Intentional abandonment of at least one year
Incarceration of more than one year
Confinement to a mental institution for at least three years
It is worth noting that even if your divorce is no fault, the court can take either spouse's bad behavior into consideration in the division of your marital property, child custody arrangements, and alimony.
What If My Spouse and I Are in Agreement on our Divorce Terms?
Every divorcing couple must address all of the following terms that apply to their situation:
The division of marital property
Child custody arrangements
Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Texas)
If you and your divorcing spouse are able to find a middle ground that you are both willing to accept in each of these categories, your divorce should proceed more smoothly than it otherwise would. You are still, however, well advised to work closely with an experienced Copperas Cove divorce lawyer in order to help ensure that you and your children’s best interests are well protected and that you are well aware of all the implications regarding your parental and financial rights. If there is a divorce term that you and your spouse are unable to resolve between yourselves (with the guidance of your respective divorce lawyers), the court will intervene and do so for you.
How Is Marital Property Divided?
The division of marital property is often the most complicated element of divorce, and it will likely be the element that affects your finances the most directly. Marital property refers to those assets that you and your spouse acquired over the course of your marriage. The matter of who made the purchase or whose name is on the title does not alter the fact that the property remains marital property, which – in the event of divorce – is divided in a manner that is equitable or fair given the circumstances surrounding your marriage and divorce. This division can very quickly become very complicated, and the following factors can make it that much more so:
One-sided financials (if, for example, your divorcing spouse was in charge of everything financial during your marriage)
It is important to note that your separate property (that property that you brought into the marriage with you – or that you were gifted in your name only during the course of your marriage – and that you kept separate throughout your marriage) will remain your separate property upon divorce. The division between separate and marital property over the course of a long marriage can become very murky, however. For example, if you brought a business or a retirement account into your marriage with you, any increase in the value of that business or retirement account will likely be considered marital property – to be divided equitably between the two of you upon divorce.
How Are Child Custody Arrangements Determined?
Texas addresses both physical and legal custody – which together form your parenting plan – and both can be either joint or sole.
Legal child custody refers to whether one of you or both of you will be granted the legal right and responsibility to make important decisions on your children’s behalf, including:
Decisions about your children’s education and extracurriculars
Decisions about your children’s physical and mental health care
Decisions about your children’s religious upbringing
Often, legal custody is shared.
Physical custody refers to whom the children will be living with post-divorce – and according to what visitation schedule. The court always bases its decisions regarding child custody on the best interests of the children involved. One of the primary tenets of the court’s beliefs is that children are nearly universally better off continuing to build relationships with both parents. This means that the court is loath to deny a parent’s visitation rights unless there is a compelling reason for doing so. Another tenet that the court tends to uphold is that children are less negatively affected by divorce when the status quo is upheld. This means that if your children live with you in your family home, for example, the court may be moved to make you the primary custodial parent (making your home your children’s primary home) and to award their other parent a visitation schedule (which can be quite generous).
Consult with an Experienced Copperas Cove Divorce Lawyer Today
If you are facing a divorce, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Copperas Cove, Texas – is an accomplished divorce lawyer who has the experience, legal insight, and commitment to help. Your case is important, so please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information about how we can help you today.