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Specialty tag(s): Divorce

Texas Divorce Process FAQ

Divorce looks different for everybody. It can also vary widely from family to family depending on the precise situation, as well as on the needs and goals of family members. Having a clear sense of your priorities, goals, and desired outcomes will help you find a legal team with the right approach for you.

Filing a Divorce in Texas

To formally open a divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have lived in Texas for a minimum of six months. The divorce petition must be filed in a county in which the petitioning spouse has lived for at least 90 days.

With the help of your divorce attorney, a few issues must be evaluated first before you file. Texas allows divorce petitions both on no-fault grounds and fault grounds. In a no-fault divorce, blame is assigned to neither party and the end of the marriage is due to irreconcilable differences. Fault cases require evidence that one party committed some type of wrong, including adultery or cruel treatment.

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Q: Can Couples File For a Texas Divorce When They Live Out of State?

Texas law has certain residency requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce. At least one spouse must have lived in Texas for six months prior to the filing. One spouse must also live within the county where the divorce is filed for 90 days prior to filing. Either the person filing (the petitioner) or the other person named in the filing (the respondent) must meet these requirements.

Q: How Long Will the Divorce Take?

Generally, there is a 60-day waiting period before a divorce may be finalized in Texas. The 60 days begins to run from the date the divorce is filed. If parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding may be finalized immediately following a 60-day waiting period.

If the parties are not in agreement, the time necessary to finalize the divorce will depend on the conduct of both parties and their attorneys, the court’s schedule, the matters in controversy, and the complexity of the contested issues. A divorce in which the parties are deeply in opposition to an agreement on some or all of the core issues may take anywhere from several months to more than a year.

Q: How Much Does a Texas Divorce Cost?

The total cost of a divorce varies depending on the couple’s unique situation.  It ranges from a few thousand dollars for amicable cases to tens of thousands of dollars for couples whose divorce cases go to trial. A retainer for an average divorce case is typically in the range of $3,000 to $15,000. The retainer for a contested case varies depending on the facts and could be over $20,000.  Family law attorneys charge an hourly rate of $250 to $600 per hour or more.

Q: How Can I Save Money on My Divorce?

It is important for clients to establish their goals and make certain that the actions they take in the divorce process will accomplish their goals. Following are some tips on how money can be saved on a divorce:

  1. Don’t use your lawyer as a counseling service;
  2. Help your lawyer gather financial information, documents and assist in other work requested by your lawyer;
  3. Don’t allow your lawyer to fight for an asset that is worth less than the cost of acquiring it – conduct a cost/benefit analysis;
  4. Tell your lawyer your goals and what is important to you;
  5. Settle issues on your own if possible, such as the division of household items;
  6. Look for resolution, not revenge; and
  7. Make a plan to move forward with your life rather than dwell in the past.

Q: What Does Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Mean?

ADR provides multiple methods for divorcing couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce outside the courtroom.  Two types of commonly used ADR methods in divorce are mediation and collaborative law. 

Mediation can be ordered by the Court or agreed to by the parties at any point between the filing of the Original Petition for Divorce and the final trial.  The mediator steps in as a neutral third party to facilitate negotiation of all the divorce issues, with the goal of achieving an agreeable binding resolution.  Collaborative divorce is a highly structured method that is employed from the very outset of the divorce case. 

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Texas allows spouses to divorce without separating for any specific amount of time. Unlike many other states, Texas law does not provide any process for legal separation, which would allow couples to live legally separate lives without actually divorcing.

Q: Is It Possible to Get Alimony in Texas?

The Texas Legislature first enacted an alimony – spousal maintenance – statute in 1995. After several revisions, the most recent occurring in 2011, the statute now provides for spousal support in the following circumstances:

As a general rule, spousal maintenance is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in seeking to earn sufficient income to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs or in developing the necessary skills to provide for his/her minimum reasonable needs during the couple’s separation and during the pendency of the divorce.

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Q: How Is Property Division Determined in Texas?

Texas is a community property state. The court assumes that all of the property acquired by either person is community property. However, if you can prove something as your separate property, then you will have rights that cannot be taken away in a divorce.

Courts decide property division equitably, which doesn’t necessarily mean equally. The factors considered in determining an equitable division of marital property include age, children, attorney’s fees, ability to pay, employability, and education.

Q: Do My Spouse and I Both Need Divorce Lawyers?

You are not required to hire a lawyer to get a divorce; however, if you do hire a lawyer, the lawyer cannot represent both parties. Parties generally do have separate lawyers in complicated or contested divorces in which they cannot agree on major issues to ensure the adequate protection of their own interests.

Q: What Does No-Fault Divorce Mean Under Texas Law?

The term no-fault divorce means it is not necessary to claim fault of one or both spouses to obtain a divorce. In Texas, a no-fault divorce is filed on grounds of insupportability (also known as irreconcilable differences in other states). Conversely, spouses may file divorce on fault-based grounds, including, but not limited to, cruelty, adultery, and abandonment. Fault-based determinations may provide a court with the authority to award the non-fault spouse with more community property than the spouse at fault.

Q: What is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative Divorce, also known as Collaborative Law, is an option for divorcing spouses to keep their divorce out of the courtroom. A divorcing couple is more likely to come out feeling completely satisfied when they resolve matters amicably without court intervention. Divorce is never pleasant, but it is possible to move out of the process without a lot of bitterness and resentment. This is especially important if children are involved and there will be a future co-parenting relationship.

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Q: What Happens If A Spouse Has Committed Family Violence?

A temporary emergency protective order may be issued in an emergency and is designed to protect the complaining spouse or family member from domestic violence. The temporary emergency protective order may force the other spouse from the home without a hearing under certain circumstances.

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To Have All Your Questions Answered, Talk to Our Experienced Dallas, Plano, and Austin Divorce Lawyers

If you have additional questions about your specific situation, contact Goranson Bain Ausley to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.

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