Getting a Handle on Divorce in Texas
Divorce is different in every state, and knowing what to expect from your divorce when you’re in Texas is a big part of knowing whether it’s time to file and end your marriage. Understanding the laws in Texas is important not just for your peace of mind going forward, but also because you need to know whether you even qualify for a divorce. While America, in general, makes it fairly easy to file for divorce, there are limitations placed on the process, and you don’t want to go through the emotional strain of preparing for a divorce just to find out you aren’t legally able to pursue that divorce. In other words, you need to know what a Texas divorce entails, and how you fit into the system.
Thankfully, Houston-based Adams Law Firm has laid out a great FAQ that covers a lot of the basic questions people have when considering a divorce.
Let’s start with when you are legally able to file for divorce in Texas. To file in Texas, at least one spouse must have resided in Texas for the last six months, and within the county the divorce is being filed in for at least 90 days. In addition, Texas law requires the parties to wait at least 60 days before a divorce is finalized. That is true even if the whole divorce has been worked out and all points are already agreed.
As for the reason to file for divorce, Texas is a no-fault state, which means you don’t have to have any reason to file for divorce. You can still pursue a fault divorce for a variety of reasons, including cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, confinement, and living apart, which can make it easier for you to take a larger share of the property division or child custody. Still, the most popular choice is the no-fault option.
In order to come to a decision that is as fair and amicable as possible in regards to property and custody, Texas courts encourage the divorcing couple to pursue mediation, in which an unbiased official helps you negotiate the difficult issues. Ideally, this leads to a resolution of all disputes in the divorce. Otherwise, the case will be argued out in court and a judge will make the final decision.
All that really remains, then, is to discuss how that property and custody is ideally divided up in the eyes of Texas law. Property is split equitably, not equally, depending on certain factors such as the behavior of the spouses and the length of the marriage. While you may receive a 50-5o split in assets, this is unlikely.
The focus of custody is always on what is best for the child or children. Sole custody allows one parent to make all the important legal decisions and live with the child, while joint custody involves the parents sharing both decision-making responsibilities and time with the child.
The Texas divorce system is both similar to other states and full of its own unique qualities. If you are considering a Texas divorce, use this article as a baseline, but you should also consider contacting a divorce lawyer in the area to answer more advanced questions.