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Essential Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce in Texas

Divorce in Texas can be a complex journey, teeming with legal intricacies. Partnering up with Skillern Firm offers insight into the things to know before filing for divorce in Texas—from residency requirements and property division to considerations for your children and financial well-being. Be prepared for the road ahead with the crucial knowledge that will help steer your decisions.

A couple signing divorce papers with an attorney at the table.

With 121 years of combined experience, Skillern Firm is your trusted ally in navigating the complexities of divorce in Texas. Our seasoned attorneys are dedicated to providing comprehensive guidance on crucial aspects such as residency requirements, property division nuances, considerations for your children, and safeguarding your financial well-being. Prepare for the road ahead with Skillern Firm’s wealth of experience and knowledge. Schedule a consultation today by calling 936-213-8479, and let us empower you to make informed decisions, ensuring a smoother transition through this challenging process. Your future deserves the experience and support that Skillern Firm can provide.

Understanding Texas Divorce Laws

Every state has its unique set of laws and regulations that govern divorce, and Texas is no exception. Even if your marriage took place in another state, you can still obtain a divorce in Texas. However, the division of marital property will be subject to Texas law. Therefore, it’s vital to understand these laws thoroughly to ensure a just outcome, regardless of whether you are the petitioner or respondent.

But what if you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms of the divorce? Can the divorce be denied? Well, no, a divorce cannot be denied in Texas. However, it is crucial to ensure that all divorce papers are filed correctly and according to Texas law to avoid any delays or complications.

Residency and Filing Prerequisites

Certain residency requirements must be met before filing for divorce in Texas. Specifically, one spouse should have resided in the state for a minimum of six months and in the county where the divorce will be filed for at least 90 days. If these residency requirements are not met, the divorce may not be granted.

Grounds for Initiating Divorce

Divorce in Texas can be a complex journey, teeming with legal intricacies. Partnering up with Skillern Firm offers insight into the things to know before filing for divorce in Texas—from residency requirements and property division to considerations for your children and financial well-being. Be prepared for the road ahead with the crucial knowledge that will help steer your decisions.

In Texas, both fault and no-fault divorces are recognized, which provides flexibility for couples seeking to end their marriage. A fault divorce necessitates demonstrating wrongdoing such as adultery, cruelty, or another recognized ground. Conversely, a no-fault divorce does not mandate proof of fault or marital misconduct, allowing spouses to simply state that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict without assigning blame. 

The type of ground you file for can impact your property settlement. 

Distinguishing Property Types

For property division in a Texas divorce, distinguishing between community and separate property is critical.

Community property encompasses:

  • all assets and income acquired during the course of a marriage
  • is considered to be jointly owned by both spouses
  • is subject to a fair distribution as per the just and right division standard.

Separate property includes assets acquired before the marriage. It also covers assets obtained through gift or inheritance. These assets are exempt from division in a divorce.

Starting Your Divorce Journey: First Steps

The decision to file for divorce marks the beginning of a potentially complex and emotionally charged journey. Understanding the critical steps to take before initiating the process can ensure a smoother divorce procedure.

These include choosing the right divorce path, consulting with an attorney, and preparing necessary documents.

Selecting the Right Divorce Path

Selecting the appropriate divorce path is pivotal to achieving a fair and amicable resolution. In Texas, couples essentially have two options – a contested or an uncontested divorce.

A contested divorce is where the parties cannot agree on one or more key issues needed to conclusively terminate their marriage. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is where both parties have reached an agreement on all key issues, thus eliminating the need for a lengthy court process.

The Role of a Divorce Attorney

While it is feasible to represent yourself during a divorce, the legal intricacies of Texas family law make it advisable to have an attorney by your side. Having an attorney can be beneficial as they can effectively express your needs, advocate for your interests, and guide you through the intricacies of the Texas legal system.

The attorneys at Skillern Firm, for instance, provide dedicated legal representation, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you reach a favorable resolution in your divorce.

Preparing Necessary Documentation

Preparation is key to minimizing financial burden and stress during the divorce process. This step entails collecting income evidence for both spouses, which includes W-2 or 1099 forms, statements from checking and savings accounts, and investment account statements.

It’s also important to prepare the following property documents:

  • Deeds for real estate
  • Vehicle titles
  • Other significant assets
  • Mortgage documents containing information about property ownership and debts that need to be addressed during the divorce proceedings.
  • Financial account statements for the last two years

Child-Related Considerations in Texas Divorce

In divorces with children involved, the stakes are considerably higher. Thus, it is vital to comprehend how Texas family courts address child custody and well-being.

The primary concern of the courts in these matters is always the interest of the child.

Establishing Child Custody and Visitation Rights

In Texas, the process for determining child custody involves joint managing conservatorship and sole managing conservatorship. The court takes into account factors related to the child’s well-being, including the child’s wishes, usually starting at age 12.

Protecting Your Child’s Interests

Divorce can be a challenging journey for everyone involved, especially for children. It is essential to protect your child’s interests during and after the divorce. This involves maintaining a stable environment, open communication, and prioritizing the child’s needs.

Skillern Firm can provide valuable assistance in preparing for the legal process, including establishing and safeguarding a comprehensive custody plan that prioritizes your child.

Financial Implications and Spousal Support

Beyond the emotional turmoil, divorce can have significant financial implications. Understanding the potential financial impact, including spousal support and division of debts and assets, can help you navigate this challenging time more effectively.

Understanding Temporary Spousal Support

During the divorce proceedings, a spouse who is unemployed or earns significantly less than the other party may receive temporary spousal support. The court considers factors like:

  • financial needs
  • ability to pay
  • duration of the marriage
  • other relevant factors

When determining temporary spousal support, it’s important to consider the financial needs and resources of the other spouse.

Division of Debts and Assets

Texas is a community property state, which means that debts and assets acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned and are divided fairly and equitably upon divorce. However, any property or asset acquired before the marriage, by gift, or by inheritance is considered separate property and is not subject to division.

Health Insurance and Divorce

A major concern in many divorces is health insurance. Upon divorce, an individual may no longer be covered under their spouse’s health insurance plan. However, options like COBRA and Medicaid can provide continued coverage post-divorce, ensuring the spouse’s health insurance needs are met.

The Legal Process of Divorce

The legal process of divorce can be a complex, time-consuming, and emotionally draining journey. However, understanding the process, from filing the divorce petition to finalizing your divorce, can make the journey less daunting.

Filing the Divorce Petition

Filing the divorce petition is the initial step in the legal process of divorce. It not only formally begins the divorce process but also shapes the course of the upcoming divorce proceedings. There are several ways to draft even a standard petition, and Skillern Firm can assist you in filing the necessary paperwork and ensuring that you meet all the legal requirements for a divorce in Texas in a way that best fits your situation.

Court Hearings and Procedures

Throughout the divorce process, you may have to attend several court hearings. In these hearings, the Judge will review each spouse’s requests and may issue various orders. These hearings can be presided over by a Judge or jury, although Judges commonly handle most divorce trials.

Finalizing Your Divorce

The final step in the divorce process is finalizing your divorce. Once all issues have been resolved, the Judge will sign the divorce decree, effectively terminating your marriage and outlining the terms of your divorce.

Post-Divorce Matters and Adjustments

Divorce marks the end of one chapter of your life and the beginning of another. It’s a time of significant change and adjustment, particularly with regard to updating legal documents and adapting to life after divorce.

Updating Legal Documents

After a divorce, it is essential to update your legal documents such as your will, power of attorney, and healthcare proxy. This ensures that your legal and financial affairs are in line with your changed circumstances.

Life After Divorce

Although adapting to life post-divorce can be a challenge, it’s an opportune time for personal growth, self-discovery, and carving out a new, fulfilling life.

How Skillern Firm Can Help You

Divorce can be a complex and emotionally taxing process. However, understanding the laws, procedures, and implications can empower you to navigate the process with confidence and control. Whether it’s understanding Texas divorce laws, child-related considerations, financial implications, or post-divorce matters, knowledge is power. And remember, you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Skillern Firm is here to guide you every step of the way.

Skillern Firm understands the complexities of divorce and is here to help you navigate this challenging time. Our dedicated attorneys can assist you in every step of the divorce process, including:

  • Filing the divorce petition
  • Gathering and organizing all necessary documents
  • Negotiating with your spouse to reach a fair settlement
  • Representing you in mediation or court proceedings
  • Finalizing your divorce

We provide negotiation, mediation, and litigation services to help you reach an amicable resolution.

We offer support in managing:

  • intricate divorce proceedings
  • divorce proceedings involving substantial assets
  • divorce proceedings involving closely held businesses
  • divorce proceedings involving child custody matters

Call us at 936-213-8479 for a consultation today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do before filing for divorce in Texas?

Before filing for divorce in Texas, make sure to create a divorce action plan, hire an experienced attorney, make living arrangements, open new accounts and credit cards in your name, take pictures, change passwords, and gather information on your children, as well as financial and legal documents.

What factors should be considered for property division in a Texas divorce?

In Texas, property division is guided by community property laws, meaning that most assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property and subject to fair distribution. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and contributions to the marriage are considered. Understanding these nuances is essential before filing for divorce in Texas, as it can significantly impact the division of assets and financial outcomes. Seeking legal counsel, like that provided by Skillern Firm, can help individuals navigate these considerations for a more informed and strategic approach to divorce.

What is a non working spouse entitled to in a divorce in Texas?

In a divorce in Texas, the non working spouse is entitled to an equal division of the community property, spousal support, a portion of the spouse’s retirement benefits, and a fair custody arrangement for any children from the marriage.

What is the 10-year rule in divorce in Texas?

In Texas, if a marriage has lasted at least 10 years, a court may order spousal maintenance if one spouse lacks sufficient property or earning capacity to meet their minimum reasonable needs.

What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Texas?

To file for divorce in Texas, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for the preceding six months and a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for the preceding 90 days. These residency requirements are mandated by Texas Family Code Section 6.301. It’s essential to meet these criteria to initiate divorce proceedings in Texas and choose the appropriate county based on where either spouse fulfills the residency conditions.