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What You Need to Know About Filing for Divorce in Texas

Posted on in Divorce

Sugarland divorce lawyerDivorce is very common these days. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States end up getting divorced, and the rate of divorce is even higher for subsequent marriages. Even if it is mutual between both partners, the divorce process can be difficult for everyone, especially if children are involved. Many factors need to be considered, including property division, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support, and more. The entire process can take several months and should be done with the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help you understand the complex legal requirements that must be met.

Texas Divorce Laws

To file for divorce in Texas, the law states that either spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing, and they must have resided in the county where the petition for divorce is filed for the prior 90 days. Unlike some other states, spouses do not need to be officially “separated” for a certain period of time before filing for divorce. In addition to allowing for “no-fault” divorce based on the insupportability of the marriage, Texas grants divorces based on the following fault-based grounds: adultery, cruelty (abuse), felony conviction, and abandonment.

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage is equally owned by both spouses, and therefore, this property should be equally divided in the event of a divorce. However, if one spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage, the court may take that into consideration when determining how to divide the couple's property.

In addition, Texas is one of only a few states that recognize common law marriage, in which a couple may be considered legally married even without an official marriage ceremony or license. In the state of Texas, a couple does not have to live together for a certain number of years to be considered in a common law marriage. Section 2.401 of the Texas Family Code states that a common law marriage may be proved by evidence that the couple “agreed to be married,” and “after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife,” and they “represented to others that they were married.” If a separating couple had children, property, or debt together, they may address these issues in the same manner as a divorcing couple, even if they never obtained a marriage license.

Steps Followed in a Texas Divorce

During divorce proceedings in Texas, the general steps that will be followed include:

  • Filing the petition: One of the spouses must first file a petition known as the "Original Petition for Divorce” with the court. The court clerk will then assign a case number.
  • Legal notice: The first spouse to file the petition is known as the Petitioner; the other spouse is referred to as the Respondent, and he or she must be provided official notice of the divorce petition.
  • Hearing: A divorce case typically requires at least one hearing to make a final decision on all of the issues to be addressed, such as property and debt distribution, child custody, and alimony.
  • Final decree: Once the issues are all decided, the final divorce decree is signed. Texas requires a waiting period of 60 days after the divorce petition was filed before the divorce decree can be signed.

Contact a Fort Bend County Family Law Attorney

The divorce process can be confusing and stressful. If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you should be sure to understand your rights, your legal requirements, and the steps you should take to achieve a positive outcome. Contact a Katy divorce lawyer with The Foray Firm at 832-919-6400 to learn how we can help you navigate the divorce process successfully. Se Habla Español.

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/

https://guides.sll.texas.gov/common-law-marriage

https://www.txcourts.gov/rules-forms/forms/

state bar of texas The National Bar Association AILA Fort Bend County HLA
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