Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas

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If you’re going through a divorce in Texas, you have questions. Here are some answers to questions we often hear from clients when they first come to see us. For more information, call us today to speak with a Texas divorce attorney.  Texas Family Law is what we do.

How do I begin the divorce process in Texas?

The best way to begin the divorce process is by consulting with an experienced Houston divorce attorney, who will file an Original Petition for Divorce on your behalf.  You will be named as the petitioner (the spouse who begins the case by filing the Original Petition for Divorce), and your spouse will be named as the respondent (the spouse who is positioned to respond to the Original Petition for Divorce).

The following articles explain meeting with your attorney in more detail:

Can I obtain a legal separation in Texas?

In the State of Texas, unlike in many other states, there is no legal separation; you remain married until you are legally divorced. If you need to protect your interests related to your property and/or your children during the divorce process, you’ll need to obtain temporary orders.

Does Texas recognize common law marriage?

Yes, Texas recognizes common law marriages when three separate elements are all met:

1. A man and woman agree that they are in a common law marriage.
2. The couple lives together as husband and wife in Texas.
3. The two present themselves to the public as a married couple.

When all three elements are met, and it is determined that you are in a common law marriage, then (in order to dissolve that common law marriage) you must go through the divorce process just like any other married couple.

Where do I file for divorce?

You can file either in the Texas county that you live in as a married couple (if you live together) or in the Texas county where either one of you lives (if you are no longer living together). It’s important to note, however, that the spouse who lives in the county where the divorce is being filed must meet residency requirements, including that he or she has lived in the county for at least 90 days (immediately prior to filing) and has lived in Texas for at least six months (immediately prior to filing).

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What is a Waiver of Service?

Under the Texas Family Code, when one spouse opens a divorce case, the respondent must be notified – usually by a process server. If the respondent is willing to sign a Waiver of Service, he or she waives the need to be served formally.  This is one difference between contested divorces and uncontested divorce.

No Fault Divorce State

No, Texas is what is known as a no-fault state, which means either one of you can file for a divorce based on the fact that your marriage is insupportable. Basically, this means that it’s only necessary for one (or both) of you to want a divorce – whatever the reason is.  As discussed in “Does Adultery Play a Role in a Texas Divorce?” a finding of fault in a Texas divorce can affect property division.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Texas is one in which both you and your spouse come to an agreement on the major issues:

• On pursuing a divorce
• On child custody arrangements, including parental decision-making responsibilities, primary custody, visitation schedules, and child support
• On the division of marital property and debts
• On spousal support

If you and your divorcing spouse are able to come to an agreement on these major hurdles, you are well on your way to hammering out an uncontested divorce that will likely save you time, money, and heartache in the long run. This does not, however, mean that you should settle for less than you are entitled to expedite the process. A knowledgeable Houston divorce lawyer will help you find your best path forward.

Please read the following articles on uncontested divorces in Texas for more in-depth discussions:

How is property divided in a Texas divorce?

While you may believe that divorce means that you’ll split everything down the middle, it doesn’t work quite that way in Texas. Instead, the court will determine a division of your community property that is “just and right.” In other words, the court has a good deal of discretion in the matter and can take a variety of issues into consideration:

• Who is at fault in the divorce (even though Texas is a no-fault divorce state, fault can play a role)
• If there is disparity in earning potential
• If there is disparity in separate property
• Each spouse’s physical health and condition
• Either spouse’s unusual spending

The fact is that the court’s determination of what is “just and right” could vary considerably from your own. Besides issues related to child custody concerns, however, the division of property is typically the most hotly contested component of any divorce. Work closely with your Houston divorce lawyer to help ensure that your rights are well protected regarding property division.

How is community property determined in Texas?

Texas, being a community property state, generally considers anything you acquire as a married couple – no matter whose name is on it – to be community property. Property that either of you obtained prior to your marriage (or that you received via gift or inheritance during your marriage) is generally considered separate property that won’t be factored into the division of community property in your divorce.

How long does it take to obtain a Texas divorce?

It’s impossible to know at the outset exactly how long it will take to obtain your Texas divorce, but you must wait a mandatory minimum of 60 days after filing before you are eligible to appear before the court and finalize your divorce. This time frame, however, can be deceptive – unless you and your divorcing spouse are in agreement on all of the major divorce issues, which is often easier said than done.

If You Have Questions about Divorce in Texas, Look No Further than an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a Texas divorce, you are bound to have questions, but the dedicated legal team at Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., is here to help. Our experienced divorce attorneys have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the divorce process. For more information, please fill out an online evaluation using the “Contact Us” link in the menu or call us at 713-781-7775 today.