If you are considering a divorce in Houston, you may have many questions running through your mind. After all, untangling a marriage is not easy — even if you have only been married a short time. Assets, children, and property can all complicate the divorce process and make tensions flare. As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel before you file for divorce, so you can get the answers you need and the support you deserve.
Top 10 Texas Divorce Facts
#1. No-Fault Divorce is Common in Texas
In Texas, couples do not have to prove fault to file for divorce. That is because Texas is one of many states with no-fault laws. This means that you can file for divorce on the grounds of insupportability or irreconcilable differences. However, while you do not need to prove fault to file for divorce, some couples will allege fault to affect the division of property or child custody.
#2 There is No Legal Separation
Unlike other states, Texas does not recognize legal separation. Even if you live separately from your spouse, your community property and your debts will continue to accrue until you get divorced. You must get divorced to become legally separate from your spouse.
#3 You Must Wait
Even if you were not married for long, you must wait a minimum of 60 days after your divorce petition is filed to get divorced in the state of Texas. This is known as a mandatory waiting period. If you just moved to Texas, you must wait even longer. One of you must have lived in Texas for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. You must also wait at least 90 days after moving to a new county before you can file for divorce in that county.
#4 Mediation is Often Necessary
When couples can’t agree on the details of their divorce, judges in Houston want them to work out their issues through means of mediation. Mediation is often ordered before a case proceeds to trial. Through mediation, couples will meet with their legal teams and a third-party mediator to review and settle parenting plan issues, as well as the separation of assets.
#5 Joint Marital Property is Not Always Split 50/50
Texas is not a 50/50 community property state. According to the Texas Family Code, a just and right division of property is required. As such, judges may award one spouse more if there are fault grounds or if there is a difference in earning capabilities.
#6 You Might Not Get Alimony
If you are counting on being awarded alimony or spousal maintenance after your divorce, you might be surprised to learn that Texas judges do not always award spousal maintenance. While it is a possibility, it is often difficult to qualify for alimony. In Texas, you can get alimony if you lack sufficient property or if you lack the ability to work and provide for yourself. Texas courts expect both spouses to return to some form of employment if they are capable.
#7 You May Have to Pay Child Support
If you have children, you might owe the other parent child support payments. In Texas, both parents are required to care for their children. Typically, the noncustodial parent is required to pay child support to the other spouse. These support calculations are clearly defined in the Texas Family Code. Even if you share equal time with the kids, you may still have to pay child support.
#8 Custody is Up For Grabs
Child custody doesn’t always go to mom. In fact, these days, either parent can receive sole custody of the children. However, Texas courts will award custody based on the best interest of the children. That often means both parents being involved in their lives. Joint custody is common in Texas and something many couples strive for.
#9 The Divorce Process Can Take Time
Untangling a marriage takes time. Even when two people are amicable about the separation, it can take time to come to an agreement. Filing the necessary paperwork and working towards a separate future can take months before a judge will finalize the divorce. If spouses cannot come to a quick agreement, it can take even longer. However, it is important to take your time to ensure that your future is protected every step of the way.
#10 You Might Need to Go In Front of a Jury
Texas is one of just a few states that will allow juries to help decide the final settlements in some divorce cases. It doesn’t happen too often, but either side can demand a jury and the court must allow this. As such, it is important to have experienced legal representation from the start. If your case does go to trial, you will have the counsel you need, no matter what happens in your divorce.
Call Our Houston Divorce Attorneys Immediately
If you are considering a divorce, you need a lawyer you can trust. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our Houston divorce attorneys will help you protect your future throughout the divorce process. We know how to tackle and navigate complex family law issues in Texas, and we fight aggressively for our clients every step of the way. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help!