Getting divorced isn't just an emotional process, but it's also a complicated legal process. A divorce attorney can help ensure you meet the requirements to get divorced in Texas, while also guiding you through the legal steps to get divorced.
Before filing for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. Divorce proceedings begin when one spouse (known as the petitioner) files an original petition for divorce in the Texas District Court in the county in which either spouse has resided for at least 90 days.
Texas allows for both no-fault and fault-based divorces. In a no-fault divorce in Texas, neither party has to prove wrongdoing and must only allege that the marriage "has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities." Grounds for fault-based divorce in Texas include:
- Conviction of a felony and imprisonment for at least one year
- Abandonment for at least one year
- Living apart for at least three years
- Insanity and confinement to a state mental hospital
Property Division & Alimony
Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property not classified as "separate" is community property. Separate property includes property acquired before the marriage, acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance to strictly one spouse, or recovered in personal injury lawsuits (except for recovery for lost earning capacity).
Community property (which can also include debts incurred during the marriage) must be divided fairly under Texas law. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the division of property, then the judge will make a ruling on your behalf.
Under certain conditions, the court will order spousal maintenance (commonly known as alimony) to be paid from one spouse to the other. The length and amount of support awarded depends on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity.
Child Custody & Child Support
Texas law requires that the court make child custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child, while encouraging courts to make arrangements that allow the child frequent contact with both parents.
Texas law divides custody rights into the managing conservator and possessory conservator. A managing conservator contributes to decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including medical care and education, while a possessory conservator is the person with whom the child lives. Both managing and possessory conservatorships can be awarded to only one parent (sole) or to both parents (joint). Generally, a parent not awarded possessory custody is granted visitation rights.
Child support is calculated based on a percentage of the non-custodial parent's net resources and also depends on how many children the couple has.
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