Once you’ve decided that divorce is the only option for your marriage, you’re sure to have lots of questions. Take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Texas divorce and find out what to expect.
Q: How long does it take to get divorced?
A: The timeframe depends largely on the complexity of the case and how cooperative both parties are. In Texas, parties must wait at least 60 days after the initial divorce petition before the divorce is finalized.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?
A: Legally, you do not need a lawyer to get divorced, but choosing to file without a lawyer can cost you much more than you expect. An attorney can help you determine what you should ask for in a divorce and where you should consider compromising. It’s especially important to get an attorney if your spouse plans on hiring one; without a legal representative on your side, you risk giving up financial assets or time with your children. Even if the divorce is amicable, hiring an attorney can save time and allow you to focus on finding your new normal.
Q: Does Texas have residency requirements for divorce?
A: Yes. In order to get a divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have been a resident for the six-month period preceding the filing. One spouse must have been a resident of the county in which you are filing for at least 90 days.
Q: Do I need a reason to get divorced in Texas?
A: Texas, like most other states, recognizes no-fault divorces. This means that you do not need a specific reason to request a divorce; you can simply cite “in supportability,” which simply means that there is a personality clash or irreconcilable differences. However, if one party is clearly at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, this may affect how assets are divided.
Q: My spouse was unfaithful. Can I use this to get full custody of my children?
A: Texas law presumes that both parents should have equal time with the children to the best extent possible, considering work and school schedules. Infidelity during marriage is generally not a factor considered by Texas courts in deciding custody issues.
Q: My spouse was unfaithful. Can I sue my spouse’s paramour?
A: Texas does not recognize such causes of action. Infidelity might affect the division of property and might lead to reimbursement claims for money spent on the paramour but you cannot sue the paramour for the simple fact of unfaithfulness.
Q: How much does it cost to get divorced?
A: Costs vary, depending on which county you live in and how complicated your divorce is. If both parties agree on custody issues and the division of property, you’ll have minimal legal expenses. If one side is determined to fight over every aspect of the split, the divorce can quickly become very expensive.
Q: Can I hide money to protect myself after the divorce?
A: The short answer is that you should not hide community assets. You may, however, move marital assets to accounts that you manage in order to preserve the assets. This means keeping good records and holding on to the assets (don’t spend the money!) Once the divorce is underway you will need to make full disclosure of the assets.
Q: Do I have any rights to our house even though it is in my spouse’s name only?
A: If the house (or any other asset) was purchased during the marriage then it is community property, regardless of how the property is titled.
Q: Can we just agree to sell the house and split the money once it eventually sells?
A: Yes. But you should be very careful about how the final court order is worded. Dealing with assets that carry debt can create huge problems after the divorce if the other party does not honor the agreement. You need a court order that is worded so that you can enforce the agreement.
Q: How is property divided in a Texas divorce?
A: Texas law assumes that all property obtained during the marriage is community property and belongs equally to both parties. There are exceptions, including inherited assets passed down to just one spouse. The goal of the court is to divide assets in a just and right manner. What is considered “fair and just” may vary, depending on each party’s earning power, which assets they brought into the marriage, and how much they contributed to marital assets.
With the right support, you can move through the divorce process with minimal stress, worry, and pain. At Von Dohlen Law Firm, we’re ready to talk about what you want from the divorce and develop a plan. Contact us now to get started.