Coming to the realization that your marriage has ended is difficult enough; the last thing you want to go through is a complicated divorce process. You may have heard about contentious courtroom battles or nasty fights over custody, but with the right legal guidance and knowledge, you can navigate these issues better.
We at Law Office Of Mark M. Childress are committed to helping you make this process less stressful with this guide to getting divorced in Texas.
First, to file for a divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state for six months. Additionally, you must have lived in the county you’re filing in for at least 90 days.
Grounds for Divorce
Courts may grant a divorce for any of the following statutory grounds:
Cruelty - When one spouse’s cruel actions towards the other render the couple from living together.
Adultery - When one spouse has had an extramarital affair.
Felony Conviction - When one spouse has committed a felony and has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state, and has not been pardoned.
Abandonment - When a spouse has intentionally left and has not returned for at least one year.
Living Apart - Spouses who have not lived together for at least three years.
Mental Hospital Confinement - When one spouse has been under the confinement of a private or state mental hospital for at least three years, and their mental disorder is of such a degree that adjustment is unlikely.
Insupportability - When there’s a “discord or conflict of personalities,” and it prevents “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” This is grounds in no-fault divorce cases.
In a divorce, spouses must divide their assets, otherwise known as property division. Texas is a community property state, which means there is a presumption that all the property earned by either spouse during the marriage is owned equally. Separate property, a gift or inheritance, will not be considered under property division.
Examples of community property include:
Wages earned by either spouse
The courts will divide assets in a way they deem as “just and right.” While an ideal situation would result in a 50-50 split, there are times when a court will deviate from this standard. This step in divorce can quickly become contentious for even the most amicable couples. For this reason, it’s essential to have the right divorce attorney by your side who can protect your best interests and your assets.
When children are in the picture, custody fights are often the biggest disputes in the divorce process. First, we must go over the different types of child custody.
Physical custody - The child lives with one parent while the other parent retains visitation rights.
b - When one parent has the legal right to decide what is best for the child’s upbringing and education.
Sole custody - This can be given as sole physical custody or sole legal custody. However, courts prefer avoiding this route for the sake of the children. There are exceptions in situations where one parent is abusive, incarcerated, or struggling with uncontrolled substance abuse.
Joint custody - The custody belongs to both parents. Joint legal custody and joint physical custody arrangements are options and can work very well.
Spousal support or spousal maintenance are the payments one spouse makes to the other during and/or after the divorce process. Under Texas laws, the spouse requesting alimony must meet one of the following requirements:
If one spouse was convicted of family violence within two years of filing for divorce
If the marriage was more than 10 years, and one spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for minimal needs and is unable to support themselves due to a disability
If the marriage was more than 10 years, and one spouse cannot make enough income for basic needs and they have custody over the child
If the marriage was more than 10 years, and one spouse lacks the earning ability or sufficient property that’s needed to provide for minimal needs
If courts approve maintenance, monthly payments cannot exceed $5,000 or 20% of a spouse’s average monthly gross income, whichever is less.
Filing for Divorce? We Can Help
Each divorce is unique, but one thing is sure, having a skilled divorce lawyer on your side will make the process easier. As you step into the next phase of your life, our firm can provide you with legal services tailored to your unique needs. Whether you are headed towards divorce litigation involving complex assets or child custody issues, we will go the distance to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact Law Office Of Mark M. Childress at (817) 497-8148 to get started on a free consultation with one of our divorce attorneys today.