Preparing for Divorce in Fort Worth,
File for a Divorce in Texas
If you are faced with the prospect of divorce, you likely have many questions that are keeping you up at night. What will happen to my property? Will I still be able to see my children? How will this affect my business? At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, our attorneys in Fort Worth can help you find the answers to these and other questions.
As you begin the next phase of your life, you can rely on our firm to provide you with top-notch legal services tailored to your unique needs. From uncontested divorces to divorce litigation involving complex assets, our lawyers are prepared to go the distance to make sure your rights and interests are protected.
Taking a Personalized Approach to Every Case
No matter what twists and turns your divorce takes, and no matter how unique your needs may be, our lawyers in Fort Worth are determined to find an effective solution.
At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we handle all types of divorce in Texas, including uncontested, contested, and military divorce.
We can guide you through any divorce-related issues you encounter, including:
Protecting you, your children, and your assets is our highest priority.
The Texas Divorce Process
If you wish to file for divorce in Texas, you must file an Original Petition for Divorce. This must be done within the county where either of the spouses currently lives. Once filed, you must serve your spouse in a legal fashion via process server, sheriff, or constable. The person who serves the papers must not have an agenda or personal gain within the case.
The served spouse (respondent) must file an answer within 21 days of receiving it. If they do not respond, then the case will become default and it may still be possible to complete the divorce process.
While there is normally a 60-day waiting period to obtain a final divorce decree, this may be waived if the following circumstances exist:
- The court has identified that the Respondent has been convicted of domestic violence against the Petitioner or someone in the Petitioner’s household
- There is an existing and active protective order filed by the Petitioner against the Respondent
However, if the spouses come together and agree on all issues peacefully and amicably, then the divorce can be finalized after the 60-day waiting period. This may be extended if the court has limited availability in your specific county.
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.
Types of Divorce in Texas
When a couple agrees on the issues in their divorce — typically property division, child custody, child support, and alimony — they can pursue an uncontested divorce. The advantages of this approach are lower costs and faster results.
Our goal is to maintain these advantages while making sure you are not stumbling into any pitfalls, such as ignoring an issue that could potentially become problematic in the future. If it turns out that you wish to contest an issue or further negotiate with your spouse, we will be there to help.
In almost all family law matters, agreeable parties achieve more favorable results. That said, it is crucial to realize that uncontested does not necessarily mean uncomplicated or free of challenges.
Additional requirements to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas include:
- Neither spouse is currently undergoing a case for bankruptcy
- Minor children are not involved
- Property is not owned together
- Retirement benefits are not waiting to be divided
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony payments
If minor children are in the picture, then filing for an uncontested divorce will not be possible. However, there is the option to file for an “agreed divorce”. To become eligible for an agreed divorce, you must meet the following criteria:
- All issues regarding the divorce must be agreed upon between each spouse
- Previous court orders for child custody or support must not already be in place
When a couple does not agree on an issue we will make sure you understand all of the potential pitfalls so that you can make informed decisions about how to proceed on issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support.
When you choose our firm to handle your contested divorce, your goals become our goals. We will start by learning more about your circumstances and the future you envision for yourself and your children after your divorce is finalized.
Litigation in Contested Divorces
Not every contested divorce case ends up in the courtroom. Disagreeing with your spouse about how to resolve the issues in your divorce does not have to lead to litigation. At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we are adept at resolving divorce cases in many ways, including litigation and mediation. Depending on your situation, it may be in your best interest to go to trial, but we will make sure you understand all of the opportunities and drawbacks your situation presents. We represent residents of Wise County, Johnson County, Parker County, & Tarrant County.
How Long Does Divorce Take in Texas?
A Texas divorce can take anywhere from six months to a year or longer, depending on the complexity of the issues that need to be resolved (i.e., deciding on child custody or figuring out property division). In addition, as mentioned above, once the petition is filed, there is a 60-day waiting period before the divorce is finalized.
How Long Do You Have To Be Separated Before You Can File for Divorce in Texas?
There is no separation requirement in order to file for divorce in Texas. As long as you or your spouse have lived in the state for six months and one of you has been a resident of the county you're filing in for at least 90 days, you can file for divorce.
How Much Does Divorce Cost in Texas?
The filing fee for a Texas divorce is between $250 and $300. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may request an Affidavit of Inability of Pay. When completing the document, you will be required to disclose your financial information and the court will then decide whether you may be excused from paying the fee.
Outside of the filing fee, additional costs include service and copy fees, plus the cost of a lawyer, mediator, or a custody evaluator.
Getting a divorce will cost even more if the case goes to trial and if you later choose to appeal the divorce ruling. In general, the more conflict involved and the longer it takes to resolve the divorce, the more it will cost.
Discuss your case with our Fort Worth attorneys today. Call (817) 497-8148.
Direct Access To Your Attorney
Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need.
Honesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.
Our team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.