Every divorce is emotionally challenging, and it’s no wonder that most couples would prefer to put the matter behind them and move on with their lives as quickly as possible. While protecting your financial and parental rights should be your primary concern, there is a lot to be said for keeping your divorce moving forward as efficiently as possible.
Your divorce will follow its own unique path, but there are specific considerations to keep in mind concerning how long your divorce is likely to take. One of the most important first steps that anyone facing a divorce can take is consulting with an experienced divorce attorney in Round Rock, Texas.
How to Start a Divorce Conversation
When both parties agree to divorce, it puts the couple ahead of the game. If you have come to the decision that you need a divorce but haven’t broached the subject with your spouse, it’s time to start a divorce conversation. How you proceed from here can affect how long your divorce is likely to take.
Get Your Bearings
Before you bring up divorce with your spouse, it’s important to be sure that divorce is the answer you seek. If there is a possibility that your marriage can be saved, some heart-to-heart conversations and couples counseling may be better first steps.
If, on the other hand, you’re certain that you need and want a divorce, it’s a good idea to consult with a seasoned divorce lawyer in Round Rock, Texas, prior to broaching the divorce conversation with your spouse. This preparation will give you a better understanding of what divorce will likely mean for you and can help you keep the conversation focused on divorce basics rather than stirring up an emotional minefield.
Proceed with Caution
While your spouse may not be completely on board regarding your decision to divorce, remaining firm on the matter but allowing him or her the necessary time to come to terms with it is generally the best policy. Proceeding full steam ahead may feel like the speediest path forward, but it can backfire.
The more emotionally fraught your divorce, the more likely it is to become contentious, and the more contentious your divorce, the more likely it is to become a long, drawn-out battle that is both more costly and more time-consuming than it need be.
Once your spouse accepts the fact that a divorce is happening, you’ll be in a better position to move forward.
Are There Any Separation Requirements?
While many states have separation requirements for divorce, Texas isn’t one of them. Although you don’t need to separate prior to divorcing in the State of Texas, you will need to wait at least 60 days after filing before your divorce can be finalized.
This cooling-off period is designed to afford couples a moment of reflection. Because resolving the terms of divorce that apply to your case can take considerably longer than 60 days, this mandatory waiting period is unlikely to delay your divorce.
How long does it take to divorce in Texas? Even if you’re firing on all cylinders, you don’t face any complications along the way, and the court’s docket is with you, your divorce will take at least 61 days. However, this is a best-case scenario; most divorces take considerably longer.
The Terms of Your Divorce
The matter of how long divorces take hinges on the divorce terms involved. You will need to negotiate each applicable term between yourselves – with the skilled legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys.
If you’re unable to reach mutually acceptable resolutions, mediation is an excellent option. However, if you reach an impasse on one or more of the terms that need to be resolved, you’ll require the court’s intervention on the matter. At that point, you can expect your divorce to take significantly longer than it would if you settled out of court.
Child Custody Arrangements
You’ll need to address your child custody arrangements in terms of both legal custody (decision-making authority) and parenting time.
Legal custody guides decision-making for the following primary parenting concerns:
Where your children attend school and daycare
The health care and medical treatments your children receive
Your children’s participation in extracurricular activities and travel
Your children’s religious upbringing
Parents often continue making these decisions by consensus between themselves, but there are additional arrangements available:
One parent retains the right to break a tie if negotiations fail.
The parents divide decision-making between them according to category.
One parent takes on sole legal custody and makes all of the primary decisions alone.
It’s important to recognize that this decision-making authority doesn’t apply to the mundane parenting decisions that must be made on a regular basis, which are the purview of the parent who is with the children at the time. Further, the parent who is most readily available in an emergency is called upon to make all necessary decisions.
Parenting time, or physical custody, sets the schedule by which you and your ex will split your time with your shared children. Texas courts are invested in supporting the best interests of the involved children, and this generally means maximizing the amount of time each parent has with the children.
The basic options when it comes to parenting time include one of you taking on the role of the primary custodial parent while the other has a visitation schedule or both of you splitting your overnights with the kids more evenly.
Child custody arrangements have the potential to become the most difficult divorce terms to resolve and can slow down the process considerably. Kids are generally best served when they’re able to deepen their relationships with both parents. Allowing this factor to guide you may help you and your divorcing spouse find common ground in this challenging arena.
The Division of Marital Property
The division of marital property tends to be challenging and can drag out the divorce process. Marital property refers to those assets that either spouse – or both spouses together – came to own over the course of the marriage. If the property was acquired during the marriage, it’s very likely marital.
The very few exceptions to marital property include gifts or inheritances made in one spouse’s name alone and the pain and suffering portion of any personal injury settlements.
Separate property refers to assets that either spouse owned prior to the marriage and kept separate during the marriage. However, separate assets often commingle with marital property, which can blur the dividing line between them. Texas courts presume that all of a couple’s assets are marital property unless the spouse who claims a separate asset can prove otherwise.
Marital property must be divided fairly between both spouses upon divorce, and fairly is interpreted as a just and right division in relation to the unique circumstances involved. The court will consider the following kinds of factors when making decisions about property division:
The overall size of the marital estate
Each spouse’s separate estate
Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including in the form of homemaking and childrearing
The length of the marriage
The tax implications of the proposed property division
Any complicating factors that relate to a specific piece of property
The higher your assets and the more complicated your holdings, the more challenging the division of marital property becomes, and the longer your divorce will likely take.
Parents are legally bound to support their children financially. When parents aren’t together, child support helps to ensure that this responsibility is balanced between them. Texas employs careful child support calculation guidelines that determine how much the obligor pays the obligee.
While the process takes a wide range of factors into consideration, the primary concerns are earnings and parenting time. Generally, the parent with a visitation schedule makes child support payments to the primary custodial parent. When parents divide their time with the kids more evenly, the higher earner typically makes the child support payments.
Alimony is called spousal support in Texas, and it is ordered only in those divorces that leave one spouse unable to continue supporting him or herself at the standard of living achieved during the marriage – when the other spouse has the financial resources to help.
Alimony is usually ordered for an amount and duration that allows the recipient to gain greater financial independence through education or job training.
If any one of these divorce terms becomes a sticking point, it very likely means that your divorce will take longer to resolve. While no one wants to slog through a seemingly never-ending divorce, protecting your financial and parental rights is too important to take shortcuts or to rush the matter for the sake of speed.
FAQ about Texas Divorce
If you’re facing a divorce, you may have questions about the timing, and the answers to the following frequently asked questions can help. If you have questions specific to your case, contact a knowledgeable Round Rock divorce attorney.
How Long Do Divorces Take in Texas?
Every Texas divorce is unique to the situation at hand, and as such, there is no definitive answer regarding how long they take. The more straightforward your divorce and the closer you and your divorcing spouse are in relation to the primary terms, the speedier your divorce should be. However, even a divorce that is plugging along without problems can go south in the blink of an eye. Having a trusted Round Rock divorce attorney in your corner from the start can help to ensure that your divorce proceeds apace.
How Long Must You Be Separated before a Divorce?
While many states implement separation requirements before divorce, Texas does not. You and your divorcing spouse aren’t required to live separately, but you will have to wait at least 60 days after filing before your divorce can be finalized.
Is It Reasonable to Expect a 60-Day Divorce?
If the stars align in your favor, you could be divorced in as few as 61 days in the State of Texas. This timeline requires all the following circumstances:
You and your divorcing spouse must negotiate all the applicable terms within this time frame.
You and your divorcing spouse must avoid the common divorce pitfalls that can quickly derail the schedule you’ve set for yourselves.
The court must have time on its docket to accommodate your schedule, which can be rare.
The most important concern in relation to divorce is obtaining terms that support your rights and make sense in your situation. If you’re able to accomplish this more quickly, it’s a perk, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus.
My Spouse and I Agree. Do I Really Need an Attorney?
While you and your spouse may be in complete agreement on every divorce term right now, there is absolutely no guarantee that things will stay this way. The stress of divorce can lead to surprising twists and turns that you’re unlikely to see coming. Further, it’s easy to lose sight of your parental and financial rights in the heat of your divorce.
A practiced Round Rock divorce attorney will help skillfully guide the way toward divorce terms that uphold your rights and work for you and your children.
An Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Round Rock, Texas, Can Help
Finalizing your divorce swiftly is a worthy goal, but your primary concern should be protecting your rights. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Round Rock, Texas – is a savvy divorce attorney with an impressive range of experience helping valued clients like you obtain favorable divorce terms as efficiently as possible.
Your case is important, and our focused legal team is on your side. For more information about what we can do to help you, please don’t put off contacting us online or calling us at (254) 781-4222 to schedule your FREE consultation today.