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What to Expect If You File for Divorce in Texas
If youre a Texas resident who has decided it is time to legally end your marriage, youll need to understand the basics of Texas law and divorce. To successfully file for divorce in Texas, you must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county in which you are filing for at least 90 days.
If both you and your spouse want a divorce, you may use a document called a stipulation that shows you both agree to end the marriage. It is possible, however, for either you or your spouse to secure a divorce in Texas without the agreement of the other person.
All you or your spouse must do is indicate in the divorce papers that your marriage has become "insupportable," or is unable to continue, because the two of you cannot agree and that you expect no end to this disagreement in the future. A Texas divorce attorney will help you file a Petition for Divorce with the Family Law District Court to set your divorce in motion .
Trial or No Trial for a Divorce in Texas?
After one spouse has filed the Petition of Divorce, the court serves the other spouse with paperwork. If you and your spouse agree on how your property and debt should be divided, how any child support should be structured, and how any child custody arrangements should be handled, you will not have to go to trial to finalize your divorce. If these issues need to be decided by the court, a hearing is scheduled.
The court also may rule on temporary custody arrangements and temporary child support for any children involved in the divorce, as well as temporary responsibility for community-or joint-debts, before the divorce is finalized.
How the Texas Court Will Decide the Details of Your Divorce
The court will evaluate and rule on the following components of your divorce, where applicable:
- Alimony: A Texas court will award alimony, or spousal support, based on factors including how long you have been married, the monetary resources and needs of each spouse, and the amount for which each spouse is financially responsible.
- Property: As Texas is a "community property" state, the court will likely divide the assets and debts earned and accrued during your marriage almost equally between you and your spouse.
- Child custody and visitation: For divorces filed in Texas, the courts attempt to base custody and visitation decisions on the childs best interests. Texas courts typically assign joint custody unless either spouse presents a valid reason for a different custody situation.
- Child support: The amount a parent pays for child support in Texas ranges from 20 percent to 40 percent of his or her net income and other financial resources, based on the number of children in the family.
Navigating the divorce process is never easy-even in a state such as Texas, where one spouse can file for divorce without the agreement of the other. Finding a local divorce attorney who can guide you through the ins and outs of divorce in Texas may make the road smoother and help you achieve the outcome you desire.