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Divorce · Family Law · Custody
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If you believe your divorce may be "Uncontested," click here for more information
A divorce is undeniably a life-changing event. After navigating a divorce, your life will change. Whether positive or negative, the effects of divorce will affect everyone around you. You and your family should be prepared for the changes and understand what comes next. You may need time to adjust to this new lifestyle.
Texas divorces have several different processes and may be different from those of other states. In Texas, a court can grant a divorce based on "no-fault" grounds, fault grounds, or both.
A no-fault divorce is based upon a finding that the marriage has become "insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage" and that there is no reasonable hope of reconciliation. You do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to obtain a Texas divorce under this ground.
Texas divorce law section “Texas Family Code Section 6.001” states, "the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Read more here in Understanding Texas No-Fault Divorce.
There are also "fault grounds" in Texas divorces. The fault grounds recognized in Texas include Cruelty, Adultery, Conviction of a Felony, and Abandonment. Although most Texas divorces do not have the allegation of any fault grounds, doing so can be the pathway to seeking a disproportionate share of the marital estate: the community property. The conduct of the parties that the court can consider in evaluating fault grounds is all that occurred before the divorce was granted. That means that adultery during the pendency of the divorce can be considered by the court.
Generally, a court cannot grant a Texas divorce until 60 days have passed from the date of filing. The 60-day waiting period has to occur, even if both parties agree to all of the terms of the divorce. Also, every divorce, even a so-called "Uncontested Divorce," requires a petition, some form of service or waiver, and a final decree. Texas divorces can be filed in the District Court and sometimes the County Court in the county in which either party lives. For the divorce to be granted one or the other party must have lived in the county for 90 days and in the State of Texas for 6 months. The rules on this can be confusing, but understanding the Residency Requirements for divorce is one thing that a competent divorce attorney can help you with.
Types of Divorce
One of the commonly held misconceptions most have about Texas divorce cases is the types of divorce. Occasionally, contested divorce and uncontested divorce will both be mentioned. The truth is that there is no real distinction between the two. A divorce is a divorce. It is a form of a lawsuit, and it can only end in one of two ways – settlement or trial.
When there is an agreement on the central issues surrounding the dissolution of marriage (child custody, alimony and/or spousal support, division of assets, and determination of child support), then the process is often known as an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is simply a divorce that is relatively free of arguments and legal fights between the parties and is typically settled after little or no discovery, motions, or hearings.
Most divorces end in a settlement, although the settlement can either happen immediately or after some form of "contesting" by the parties. Regardless of whether a "contested divorce" or an "uncontested" one, it is crucial to have a game plan. While you may think you know the extent to which your spouse will fight, until the case begins to proceed and things are presented in writing, you really don't know. Although very few divorces end in a jury trial, it is vital that your attorney knows how to prepare and try a case.
If you want to know what to do before you file or before your spouse files for divorce, consult a Texas divorce attorney. When navigating temporary orders, child custody, and support, spousal support, and division of property, there will likely be disagreements. It is best to know your rights and options before the case moves forward.
The information on this website is intended to provide general guidance regarding Texas divorce laws, but you should not rely upon this information in deciding how to handle your situation. For specific answers to your questions, you should speak to a Texas divorce lawyer who can help you determine what action is in your best interests. We can help.
Here are some Beal Law Firm Resources that may help you with your Divorce questions:
Divorce: Five Things to Think About before it happens
The Importance of Filing First:
Why being the first to file matters
Hiring a Divorce Attorney: Common Questions
Understanding Texas No-Fault Divorce
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce: Top 5 Questions
Mediation: How does that work?
Top Twelve Mistakes People Make When Facing Divorce
Find other answers on our Resources Page and Blog