What You Need To Know As Your Prepare For Divorce In Texas
Getting a divorce is an unsettling process, no matter what the circumstances. If you’re getting a divorce, you likely have a lot of questions and concerns about what your future will look like and how you can protect yourself in the coming storm. You may also wonder whether you will need to hash things out in court proceedings or if you are a candidate for uncontested divorce.
In either case, the attorney and staff of Law Thompson, P.C. provide the solid counsel and strong representation you need to protect your financial interests and parental rights while preparing to move on with your life. We handle contested and uncontested divorce cases in the greater Houston area.
Travis Thompson is a certified family law specialist and has been for over 20 years, so you are in excellent hands as you head into this momentous life event.
What Is The Difference Between An Uncontested Divorce And A Contested Divorce In Texas?
- Uncontested. In this situation, both spouses have agreed on all or most of the terms of their divorce ahead of time. They need a lawyer to draft their documents and make necessary court appearances rather than fight their battles in or out of court. Some cases of this sort may be eligible for a flat fee. Read more about uncontested divorce in Travis Thompson’s article on the Texas 60-day divorce.
- Contested Divorce. There is generally a lot of fear and uncertainty that accompanies this kind of divorce. In this situation, the couple may be adversarial or at the very least disagree on the terms of the divorce. In cases such as these, a lawyer will represent the client through the necessary stages of the divorce, including mediations, emergency hearings or litigation. As one might expect, a contested divorce may be more time consuming or expensive than an uncontested divorce, but may be necessary when the divorcing spouses are at odds or if one or both have dug in to rigid and/or unreasonable positions.
Guiding You Through Divorce
The details of divorce can seem overwhelming, as you consider your needs to come to an agreement over several issues.
At Law Thompson, P.C., we can guide you through the many decisions you will have to make during your divorce, making sure you remain fully aware of your rights and options, including:
- Shared property – Division and Allocation of Assets and Debts
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support (alimony)
We can provide a grounding reality check when you need it and also be there to support you through any fearful or uncertain passages. Contact our Houston, Texas, office to discuss the details of your situation with family law attorney Travis Thompson.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce In Texas
I’m planning to divorce and am already feeling overwhelmed. What are the basics of what I’m dealing with, and what can I handle myself?
All Texas Divorces must include provisions for the allocation of marital property and debts. Marital property and debt issues are subject to the Texas community property system. The Court is required to make or approve a “just and right” division of the marital assets and debts. Sometimes this division is 50/50. Many times it is not. In appropriate cases, a Texas Court can render or approve the award of a larger share of the marital property or debt to one of the spouses. This is what is known as a disproportionate division of the marital estate.
The Court in a Texas Divorce is also required to make or approve provisions pertaining to any minor children of the marriage. This includes provisions for parental rights and duties, child custody (where and with whom the children will reside), possession and access, child support, and children’s health care. These considerations are subject to a legal standard known as “the best interest of the child.”
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on marital property issues or parent-child provisions, the court will make those decisions for you. It’s as simple as that. In other words, the court overseeing your divorce has considerable power to decide the future of you and your divorcing spouse if the two of you are unable to reach an agreement. And no one without a law degree should handle his or her own divorce. Think of attorneys as tech help for legal situations. When a problem with your computer arises, you call tech help. When a problem with your life and rights come up, an experienced divorce and family lawyer is the best help you can have.
Can I sue for divorce on certain grounds? I’d like to know what my choices are.
Most divorces in Texas are filed on the basis of “no-fault” grounds or allegations. In Texas, the most common “no fault” grounds for divorce are based on what is known as insupportability. What this basically means is that one of the spouses or both spouses no longer wish to remain married. Meanwhile, in addition to these “no fault” grounds for divorce, Texas also allows for divorces filed on account of alleged adultery, cruelty, felony conviction and abandonment.
What if I’m filed against first? Is there a strategy in responding or not responding right away?
In most cases, it does not matter who files first. After all, a Texas court having jurisdiction over the spouses has the authority to grant a divorce, and make appropriate orders, regardless of which spouse files first.
However, if you are served with notice of a divorce filed by your spouse, it is vitally important that you and your attorney file a timely response with the court. Texas law prescribes specific deadlines for responding to civil lawsuits, including divorce. Failure to timely respond to a divorce could result in a default judgment being entered against you. With a default judgment, the court is only hearing your spouse’s side of the story – and not your own. that increases the chances that your soon-to-be former spouse could be awarded more than what he or she would typically receive.
What happens if there is an action for divorce pending in another county?
If the spouses are separated and residing in separate counties, then Texas law permits the divorce to be filed in either spouse’s county of residence. However, Texas also requires that an individual must have been residing in that county for at least 90 days prior to the date that the divorce is filed in that county. Our law firm can review the facts of your case to determine whether the case has been filed in the proper county, or to otherwise make recommendations as to filing strategies and responses. This can be a highly complicated issue. Anyone struggling with it should come in and talk to our law firm — the sooner, the better.
There are lots of fill-in-the-blank divorce forms available online. Do I really need an attorney to handle my divorce? I have a pretty limited budget.
On-line divorce forms appear to provide a simple and inexpensive way to obtain a divorce. The problem with many of these forms is that they can be unsuited to the specific and unique needs of your case. The fact of the matter is that a divorce decree will be one of the most important legal documents affecting your adult life.
The financial risks or unsuitable parent-child provision arising from poorly drafted on-line divorce forms could be devastating. Even with an uncontested divorce, you want binding legal documentation that covers every contingency and the family law attorney drafting it to be standing by if things go “sideways” for some reason, in the future. We should discuss what can go right and wrong in the coming days and weeks. That’s what your initial consultation is for.
Will There Be Spousal Support In Your Texas Divorce?
Texas law recognizes two types of spousal support: Temporary Spousal Support and Post Divorce Spousal Support (also known as maintenance).
- Temporary Spousal Support is an award of support made during a pending divorce. It typically consists of a spouse paying the other spouse a fixed amount
of money for several months or until the divorce is finalized. It is designed to ensure that both spouses have access to available funds to pay bills and provide
for their daily or ongoing necessities. Temporary Spousal Support is not automatic for every divorce. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Post Divorce Spousal Support: Whereas Temporary Spousal Support addresses the support needs of a spouse who is going through a divorce, Post Divorce Spousal Support (Also known as spousal maintenance) addresses a spouse’s support needs for the months or years following the divorce. There are very specific criteria for post-divorce spousal maintenance. For most Texas Divorces, post-divorce spousal maintenance is the exception, not the norm. the Texas Family Code prescribes specific eligibility criteria for post divorce spousal maintenance.
The Court may order Spousal Maintenance if the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for that spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and one or more of the following also apply:
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years and the recipient lacks the earning capacity to be self-supporting; or
- The marriage lasted 10 or more years and the recipient is disabled or the primary caregiver for a disabled child; or
- The paying spouse was convicted of domestic violence against the recipient within two years prior to the divorce filing.
Spousal support can also be negotiated as part of the divorce settlement, either as a lump sum or as ongoing payments.