If you and your spouse both agree that you need a divorce and neither of you considers the other at fault for the dissolution of your marriage, the path forward should be less time-consuming, costly, and emotionally challenging. However, every divorce is difficult in its own way, and protecting your parental and financial rights is key.
If you believe that you and your soon-to-be ex are headed toward a relatively amicable divorce, an important first move is consulting with an experienced Round Rock divorce lawyer.
If Both Parties Agree to Divorce
The vast majority of divorces in the State of Texas are no-fault, which means they are based on insupportability. Insupportability means “irreconcilable differences.” However, just because you and your divorcing spouse agree to pursue a divorce doesn’t mean that you will necessarily see eye to eye regarding the terms of your divorce.
Further, even divorces that begin on friendly terms can run into serious challenges of their own. Because protecting your rights is critical, you shouldn’t wait to seek professional legal guidance.
Do Both Parties Have to Agree to a Divorce?
Both parties do not have to agree to obtain a divorce, and disagreeing on divorce will not stop the divorce from happening. If you want a divorce and your spouse does not – or vice-versa – the divorce will proceed regardless. Insupportability means that the marriage can no longer be supported, and if one spouse is no longer invested in the marriage, the court considers it insupportable.
It’s important to note that when one spouse is not on board, it can drag out the process, make it more contentious, and require the court’s intervention. When a divorce goes to trial, it crosses the line from an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce.
The Requirements for a Texas Divorce
In order to obtain a divorce in Texas, there are two primary residency requirements:
At least one of you must have lived in the state for the six months prior.
At least one of you must have lived in the county in which you file for the 90 days prior.
If your spouse lives in Texas but you do not, you can file for divorce in the county where he or she lives.
While Texas does not have a separation requirement relative to divorce, you will need to wait at least 60 days after filing before the court will finalize your divorce. This waiting period means that, in the best-case scenario, your divorce can be finalized in 61 days. Even very smooth divorces can take considerably longer.
While most Texas divorces are no-fault, the state does allow fault-based divorce upon the following grounds:
Abandonment of at least a year
Living separately for at least three years
Confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years
How Long Does Divorce Take?
Divorce is stressful at best, and most couples going through divorce have concerns regarding how long the process is likely to take. The bottom line when it comes to divorce is that the applicable divorce terms must be resolved. If any one of these terms becomes a sticking point along the way, it can significantly affect how long your divorce takes.
Being in Agreement
Even if you and your divorcing spouse are on the same page regarding every divorce detail, there is no guarantee that this will last. Further, once you fully understand the ramifications of your divorce terms, you may need to reconsider. In other words, it’s difficult to determine how long a divorce will take before things get started.
The most important consideration in any divorce is negotiating favorable terms, which can be an arduous process. The farther apart you and your divorcing spouse are regarding each term that applies, the longer your divorce will likely take.
Tips for Keeping Things Civil
Once a divorcing couple gets to the point that they are more interested in hurting one another than in resolving their terms as efficiently as possible and moving on, they can expect a lengthy battle ahead. If you are committed to keeping your divorce as civil as possible and speeding up the process to the degree possible, the following tips can help:
Keeping your divorce amicable is a worthy goal, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your rights in the process.
Keep the lines of communication between you and your spouse as open as possible. If speaking to one another face-to-face or over the phone is out of the question, texts or emails can help take the edge off.
Establish your divorce priorities and allow them to guide your negotiations.
Work closely with a seasoned Round Rock divorce attorney from the start and trust him or her to help guide your divorce negotiations in the right direction.
Your divorce will be unique to your family, but the terms that you must resolve are the same ones that every other divorcing couple faces.
Your Child Custody Arrangements
The State of Texas addresses child custody in terms of legal custody and physical custody.
Legal custody refers to the parental responsibility of making primary decisions regarding the children’s overall health and well-being. This responsibility includes the following types of decisions:
Decisions about their schooling and daycare
Decisions about their healthcare needs
Decisions about their religious upbringing
Decisions about their extracurricular activities
Decisions about where they make their primary home
You and your ex can continue making these decisions between yourselves, but one of you may have the authority to break a tie if your genuine efforts to reach a mutually acceptable decision fail. Other options include dividing this decision-making authority between you based on category or assigning sole legal custody to one parent.
Physical custody relates to parenting time, or the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. Both physical and legal custody determinations are based on the children’s best interests, which generally means allowing both parents a significant amount of parenting time.
Often, one parent becomes the primary custodial parent, which involves having the children for the majority of overnights, while the other parent has a generous visitation schedule.
Best Interest Factors
Some of the primary factors that Texas courts turn to when setting child custody terms include the following considerations:
The physical, emotional, and educational needs of the children
Any special needs any of the children have
Each parent’s ability to address the children’s needs
Each parent’s overall physical and mental health
The preference of any child who is considered mature enough to weigh in
Each parent’s commitment to successful co-parenting
How well the children have adapted to their current home, school, daycare, and community
Each parent’s commitment to supporting the relationship between the children and their other parent
Any additional factors the court considers relevant to the case at hand
Texas holds both parents responsible for supporting their children financially, and support payments are calculated in accordance with state guidelines. While a range of factors play a role, the parent who is the higher earner typically makes the child support payments to the other – even when child custody is shared equally or nearly equally.
The Division of Marital Property
The assets that a couple comes to own while they are married are considered marital property. Upon divorce, these assets must be divided between the ex-spouses fairly, which can mean equally but doesn’t necessarily mean equally. A range of factors affect how marital property is divided:
Each spouse’s separate assets
The contributions each spouse made to the marriage, including housekeeping and childcare
The tax consequences of the proposed property division
The age and overall health of each spouse
Each spouse’s overall education and employability
The sacrifices either spouse made to increase the other’s earning power
The length of the marriage
Whether fault played a role in the dissolution of the marriage
Whether there was any hiding or wasting of marital assets or any other form of financial fraud
Those assets that either spouse owed prior to the marriage and kept financially disentangled from the marital estate during the marriage are considered the separate property of that spouse. There are also a few exceptions to marital property.
The court only awards alimony when the divorce leaves one spouse financially disadvantaged while the other has the means to help. Alimony is meant to balance a significant income disparity, and it is generally set for an amount and duration that allows the recipient to gain greater financial independence through one of the following means:
The acquisition of job skills
If you’re facing a divorce, the answers to the following frequently asked questions may help. Contact a skilled Round Rock divorce lawyer for guidance about your specific case.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
It is very difficult to predict how long your divorce will take. If you and your divorcing spouse agree on every term and remain in agreement throughout the process, your divorce could be finalized in as few as 61 days. However, if you run into a snag, you can expect your divorce to take considerably longer.
Instead of seeking the fastest divorce you possibly can, it’s a much better idea to focus on protecting your rights, which will serve you well into your future.
How Long Do I Have to Be Separated before Divorce?
Unlike many other states, Texas doesn’t have a separation requirement before divorce. However, you will need to wait 60 days after filing before your divorce can be finalized. This time is often referred to as a cooling-off period.
Is Settling Divorce out of Court a Possibility?
The majority of divorces in Texas are settled out of court. Settling out of court can still take a considerable amount of time and negotiating, but it means that you won’t need the court to settle any of your terms for you. Settling out of court is generally considered advantageous for all the following reasons:
You and your divorcing spouse retain decision-making authority over primary financial and parental concerns.
Although the process can be lengthy, it generally takes less time than going to court.
Settling your divorce out of court is likely to be less costly than heading to court would be.
Settling your divorce out of court gives you considerably more privacy.
Is There an Advantage When Both Spouses Agree to the Divorce?
Agreeing to a divorce and agreeing to the related terms of divorce are two very different things. If you and your spouse agree that you need a divorce, it can pave the way for a smoother process. Your agreement on this primary issue can set the stage for open negotiations, which may help keep you out of court.
How Can I Keep My Divorce out of Court?
If your goal is to obtain an out-of-court divorce settlement, an important first step is to consult with a trusted Round Rock divorce attorney and establishing a plan for achieving your goal with your rights intact. Sidelining your best interests to keep your divorce out of court is unlikely to help you. Focusing on open communication and fair dealings with your ex paves the way for a just settlement.
An Experienced Round Rock Divorce Attorney Can Help
Are you looking for an affordable divorce attorney near you? Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Round Rock, Texas, has an impressive track record for skillfully guiding challenging divorce cases toward advantageous settlements that support his clients’ rights and best interests.