If you are divorcing, or if your spouse is divorcing you in or near Guadalupe County, Hays County, or Comal County, you must be advised and represented – promptly – by a San Marcos divorce attorney who will protect your legal rights and fight aggressively on your behalf.
What is required in order to divorce in the State of Texas? Do you have to prove that your spouse is “at-fault” for your divorce, or is Texas a “no-fault” divorce state? If you continue reading this brief discussion of divorce and your rights in this state, these questions will be answered.
Still, if you are divorcing your spouse – or if your spouse is the one divorcing you – you’re going to need personalized advice about how the divorce laws in Texas apply to your own situation, so you must consult a San Marcos divorce lawyer as soon as you know that a divorce is imminent.
Does One Spouse Have to Show the Other is At-Fault?
The answer to that question is no. You are free to seek either a no-fault divorce or an at-fault divorce in this state. No-fault divorces are more common in Texas than at-fault divorces. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is considered responsible for the marriage not working out.
The sole ground for a no-fault divorce in Texas is irreconcilable differences. Officially in a no-fault divorce, neither party is at-fault or guilty of behavior that ended the marriage. When divorcing spouses cooperate, they can gain some control over the cost of their divorce.
What is Required for a No-Fault Divorce?
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, several legal documents have to be prepared including an Original Petition for Divorce. When the divorcing spouses have children, there is more paperwork, and the divorce is even more complicated.
A San Marcos divorce attorney will assist you with the paperwork required to begin the no-fault divorce process. However, when spouses cannot reach agreements, it may be necessary to seek an at-fault divorce.
What Are the Grounds for an At-Fault Divorce?
For at-fault divorces, Texas law provides seven fault-based grounds for divorce:
- insupportability (meaning a “discord or conflict of personalities”)
- abandonment (for at least one year)
- conviction for a felony
- living in separate residences (for at least three years)
- confinement to a mental hospital (for at least three years)
If you accuse your spouse of adultery, your lawyer may hire a private investigator to find proof of that adultery, and that may be costly. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an at-fault divorce vs. a no-fault divorce when you first consult with your divorce attorney.
If you and your divorce attorney can prove that your spouse is at-fault for the divorce, you may receive a larger share of the marital property when the marital estate is divided. Proof of fault may also influence the court’s decisions regarding alimony and child custody.
What Are the Other Requirements for Divorce?
Approximately 75,000 couples seek a divorce in this state every year. To file for a divorce, Texas law requires you to be a resident, for at least ninety days, of the county where you file divorce papers and to be a resident of Texas for at least six months.
The law also requires at least sixty days to finalize a divorce (unless there is family violence involved), but most divorces take longer, and some can take a year or more. Exactly how long a divorce takes will depend on factors like how extensive and complicated the finances are and whether children are involved.
Most Texas divorces usually take from seven to nineteen months. The more issues that are in dispute, the longer the divorce will take, and the more it will cost. The cost of a divorce depends on precisely what legal services are needed.
Compromising is the only way to reduce the cost of a Texas divorce. Parents should understand that it may take substantial time and a great deal of effort to resolve custody and child support disagreements.
What Should You Know About Divorce Mediation?
Judges in Texas will refer contested divorce cases to mediation before a final contested hearing. Mediation policies and practices vary in Texas from one county to the next. If the divorcing spouses cannot agree on the choice of a mediator, a judge may name a particular mediator.
Most divorce mediations follow the same basic pattern. A brief orientation is followed by an identification of the matters in dispute and a period of negotiation. The mediator encourages the spouses to find common ground and ways to compromise.
At the conclusion of the mediation process, a mediator will prepare a written agreement that summarizes what the spouses have mutually decided. A mediated settlement is legally binding as soon as the spouses have signed it.
But even when mediation has been ordered by a court, a couple is not legally required to reach an agreement. If the mediation process fails entirely, or if the spouses agree on some issues but not others, a divorce trial will be conducted. This can either be in front of a jury, or a judge.
When Should You Speak to a Texas Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce, marital assets and properties, spousal maintenance, custody, and child support are all quite complex legal matters in Texas. If you’re divorcing, you cannot go it alone. To ensure that you are treated fairly in the divorce process, ask a San Marcos divorce lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
In fact, you should speak to a divorce attorney first, before you take any other step. Your divorce attorney will explain your rights and options in a divorce proceeding, and you will have the knowledge and insights that you will need as the divorce process moves forward.
If you are divorcing, considering a divorce, battling for the custody of your child or for child support, or if you need to have a previously issued child custody order or child support order modified by the court, make the call to a San Marcos family law attorney as soon as possible.