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Understand the divorce process

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Understanding Divorce in Texas: A Simple Guide

In the Lone Star State, understanding the basics of divorce proceedings can make a difference in understanding this life transition. Here’s your straightforward guide to understanding divorce in Texas, presented in plain language.

Understanding the Basics

First, it’s important to know that Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that you don’t need to prove your spouse did something wrong to get a divorce. You can simply state that the marriage is “insurmountably broken” without placing blame on either party.

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. Additionally, you must have resided in the county where you file for at least 90 days. This is a crucial first step to ensure your case is heard in the Texas courts.

The Process

The process begins when one spouse (the petitioner) files a petition for divorce with the court. The other spouse (the respondent) then has the opportunity to file a response. If both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, such as property division, child custody, and support, the process can be relatively swift. If not, the case may go to mediation or even a court trial.

Division of Property

Texas follows the “community property” rule, meaning that most property acquired during the marriage is considered jointly owned and will be divided equally. However, each spouse gets to keep their separate property, which includes anything they owned before the marriage or acquired as a gift or inheritance.

Child Custody and Support

When it comes to children, Texas courts focus on the “best interest of the child.” Custody can be joint or sole, and the court will consider factors like the child’s age, physical and emotional needs, and parental ability to provide care. Child support, on the other hand, is calculated based on the non-custodial parent’s income and the number of children.

Spousal Support

In Texas, spousal support isn’t guaranteed. It’s typically awarded only if the spouse seeking support will struggle to meet basic needs without financial assistance and in cases of long-term marriages, disability, or domestic violence.

The Waiting Period

Texas law requires a 60-day waiting period from the time the divorce petition is filed until the divorce can be finalized. This cooling-off period allows for couples to reconsider or work out agreements.

Do You Need an Attorney?

While it’s possible to go through a divorce without an attorney, it’s often advisable to seek legal counsel, especially if there are disputes over assets, debts, or child custody. A lawyer can help navigate the legal complexities and ensure your rights are protected.

Conclusion

Divorce in Texas, while never a pleasant experience, doesn’t have to be a labyrinth of legal jargon and complexities. Understanding the basics – from residency requirements to property division and child custody – can empower you to approach this process with clarity and confidence. Remember, every situation is unique, so consider seeking legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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Understanding Divorce in Florida: A Simple Guide

A typical timeline for a divorce in Texas can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, whether it’s contested or uncontested, and how quickly the parties can reach an agreement on various issues. Here’s a general timeline to give you an idea of the process:

  1. Meeting Residency Requirements: Before filing for divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months and in the county where you file for at least 90 days.

  2. Filing the Petition: The divorce process officially starts when one spouse (the petitioner) files a Petition for Divorce with the court. This can happen any time after meeting the residency requirements.

  3. Serving the Petition: The petitioner must then serve the other spouse (the respondent) with the divorce papers. The respondent has a set amount of time (usually about 20 days) to file an answer.

  4. Mandatory Waiting Period: Texas law requires a 60-day waiting period from the date the petition is filed before a divorce can be finalized. This is a minimum time; many divorces take longer, especially if they are contested.

  5. Discovery Phase: During this period, both parties gather information about assets, debts, income, and other relevant issues. This can take several weeks to months, depending on the complexity of the financial situation and the cooperation of both parties.

  6. Negotiation and Mediation: Couples may attempt to negotiate terms regarding property division, child custody, and support. If they can’t agree, they might attend mediation. This can vary in length but often takes a few weeks to a few months.

  7. Trial Preparation (If Necessary): If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they prepare for trial. This involves gathering evidence, preparing witness testimony, and formulating legal arguments. This phase can take several months.

  8. Trial: A contested divorce that goes to trial can be lengthy, often taking a day to several days in court, spread out over several months due to court scheduling.

  9. Final Decree of Divorce: Once all issues are resolved, either through negotiation, mediation, or trial, the court will issue a Final Decree of Divorce, legally ending the marriage. This is typically done shortly after negotiations are complete or immediately following the trial.

  10. Post-Divorce Actions: There may be additional steps post-divorce, such as transferring property titles, updating legal documents, and implementing custody arrangements.

Important Notes:

  • Uncontested Divorces: If both parties agree on all terms, the divorce can be finalized quickly after the 60-day waiting period.
  • Complex Cases: For divorces involving complex assets, disputes over children, or other complications, the process can take a year or more.
  • Variability: Every divorce is unique, and timelines can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and local court schedules.

It’s essential to consult with a legal professional for advice specific to your situation, as this timeline is just a general guide and not legal advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Different people face different challenges, depending upon their individual circumstances. Common concerns when considering divorce include:

  • Money: “I am ready for divorce, but how can I afford a lawyer?”
  • Grief: “How can I move on when I’m not ready to let go?”
  • Expectations: “Why can’t I get everything I want out of this divorce?”
  • The future: “Where will I go from here?”

You can always start the divorce process without your spouse. However, there are certain aspects of divorce in which a spouse needs to be involved, such as hiring a mediator, parenting coordinator, co-parenting coach.

Online access and virtual consultations allow you to learn about the divorce process on your own time. Not everyone is ready to meet with a lawyer. Not everyone has the same schedule or availability. DivorcePlus puts you in control.

If you are curious about the process and want trustworthy information, we make that available to you for free. And if you are ready for the next step, our professional service providers are here and ready when you are.

We recommend that you start keeping a diary as soon as possible. A clear record and timeline of events can be very useful down the line. The more information, the better.

If you are happy with your divorce lawyer, stay with them. Our free resources address common divorce concerns so you won’t have to pay for as much time with your lawyer. We also provide a wide range of professional services if you’re looking for a little extra guidance.

Listen.

During the divorce process, some people ask questions and then ignore answers they don’t like. Keep in mind, even when you don’t like an answer, there are always ways to work through the process.

Trust your lawyer to help get you where you want to be. The best pathway forward is to listen and learn how to work with the law.

Unlike other legal websites that charge monthly subscription fees for access to general information on all areas of law, DivorcePlus specializes in providing  free online legal and divorce educational resources without any cost to you. You only pay for professional divorce services when you need them.

An online divorce is exactly what it sounds like. During the covid-19 pandemic, most States and Courts implemented laws and procedures that permit individuals to file and obtain their divorce online! But that doesn’t help if you still have to meet with a legal professional in person. The DivorcePlus professional marketplace gives you the ability to locate an attorney in your State and find out if an online divorce is right for you.

Note: This information contained here is not legal advice and should not be relied upon a legal source; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.  It’s important to keep in mind that legal statutes can be subject to amendments and interpretations. For the most current and detailed legal information, it’s advisable to consult the actual statutes or a legal professional.