Choosing to get a divorce is one of the most difficult decisions anyone will ever have to make. While there are many factors that need to be considered, the legal aspects of a divorce should certainly be known before moving forward, and it is essential that you understand the nuances of the jurisdiction in which you are considering a divorce. Every state has its own laws on how a divorce can and will be handled, so you should familiarize yourself with those procedures in order to understand what to expect. The following eight items, for example, should be fully understood by any couple considering divorce in the state of Texas.
The laws in Texas allow for a divorce to be listed as no-fault, but unlike many other states, there is also the option to list who is at fault and why. The courts can take fault into account when dividing assets, so in many cases it is very smart to identify the party that caused the divorce.
Types of Fault
When filing an at-fault divorce, the reasons that can be listed as grounds for divorce can include adultery, cruel treatment, abandonment, one party has been confined to a mental health facility (for a minimum of three years), incarceration for one year or longer, or living apart for three or more years.
Divorce Takes Time
In the state of Texas, couples cannot get a divorce finalized for at least 60 days after filing the papers with the courts. Many divorces will actually take significantly longer due to the complexity of the process.
Texas is a community property state, which means that the courts begin the process of splitting assets with the assumption that all assets earned or acquired by both spouses during the marriage are owned equally by the two. If some assets should be considered separate property, the parties must present clear evidence to support that claim.
In order for a couple to file for divorce in the State of Texas, at least one of them must have been a resident for a minimum of six continuous months. At least one of the spouses must have also been a resident of the county in which they want to file for divorce for at least 90 days.
Potential for Permanent Spousal Support
Spousal support (aka alimony) can be awarded, and in some rare cases it can be awarded on a perpetual basis. In order to be awarded permanent spousal support, the receiving spouse must meet one of four conditions:
- Violence – The receiving spouse must be the victim of family violence within the past two years (the offending spouse must have been convicted of this violence).
- Disability – If the receiving spouse is unable to adequately provide for their own needs by working because of a disability (physical or mental) and the marriage was 10 years in length or longer.
- Child Care – If a child of the marriage has special needs that require a parent to stay home with them on an ongoing basis, and the marriage lasted 10+ years.
- Inability to Earn – If the receiving spouse is unable to get employment sufficient to support themselves due to an inadequate labor market, and the marriage was 10 years or longer.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
While the courts need to be involved with the divorce process, they don’t need to make the decisions. Many couples are turning to alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible. This can save time, money, and heartache before, during, and after the divorce.
Putting Children First
When determining physical and legal custody of children, Texas courts always attempt to put the best interests of the kids first. This means they will attempt to make rulings that will foster a strong and healthy relationship for the children with both parents.
Never Divorce on Your Own
If you decide that divorce is the right decision for you, make sure you don’t try to go through it on your own. Contact Frankfurt Law Firm, PLLC to talk with an attorney and make a plan on how you should proceed.