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Divorce FAQ

I’m planning to divorce and am already feeling overwhelmed by all of the detail. What are the basics of what I’m dealing with, and are they the kinds of things I can 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.

Answers To All Of Your Divorce Questions

If you have questions or wish to speak with an attorney, call our office at 281-369-8665 or send us an email to schedule an appointment. Law Thompson, P.C., has its office in Houston, and we represent clients in Harris County, Montgomery County and additional counties.