Divorce & Family Law FAQs

Questions About Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals facing family law problems often deal with similar issues, but it is important to note, especially when initially researching the legal ramifications, that the legal issues arising from such problems are unique to each individual.

Nonetheless, the following questions and answers provide a general overview of information that is meant to help individuals with their research. However, to get answers or advice based on your unique situation, we encourage you to contact GoransonBain Ausley online or by calling 214-373-7676.

Questions About Divorce

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.

What is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce?

In a nutshell, a judge decides all or some of the settlement issues in a contested divorce after both parties present their case to the court. In an uncontested divorce, the parties negotiate their own divorce terms with the help of their respective attorneys or other parties who may facilitate cooperation, such as a mediator. An uncontested divorce is more common because it typically takes less time, is less expensive, and provides spouses with more control over their individual futures. However, in highly-contentious situations where spouses cannot agree, a contested divorce may be the only option.

What does alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) mean?

ADR is a key component in an uncontested divorce that provides multiple methods for negotiating the terms of divorce outside of court. Two types of commonly used ADR in divorce are mediation and collaborative law. Mediation involves a neutral third party who guides spouses through their issues towards agreeable resolution. More formal than mediation, collaborative law is a highly-structured method that may involve the use of third party professionals, such as family counselors, financial advisors, or individuals experienced in other needed areas, who may all assist in developing equitable solutions for spouses.

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.

Questions About Family Law

Are premarital agreements only necessary for wealthier couples?

Premarital agreements are common when there is a disparity in wealth between engaged parties, but wealth is not the only issue that can be addressed in these agreements. Couples entering into second marriages can protect their existing family members with premarital agreements. Additionally, couples can be protected when the parties come to the marriage with significant debt. A frank discussion with a knowledgeable attorney can help couples make the right decision.

Is it easier for relatives to adopt children than non-relatives?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recognizes that relatives who have already played a significant role in the lives of children can often provide the best homes for them. Of course, even though the process differs from other adoptions, full investigation and regular follow-up are required to ensure that a home meets the best interests of the children.

Now that the laws have changed regarding same-sex marriages, do same-sex couples have an easier time adopting children?

Even though the law has changed, the laws and forms pertaining to same-sex adoptions are lagging. Changes are expected to come in the future, but it is best to work with an experienced attorney to help ensure the rights of the parents and the children are fully protected under Texas law.

Do grandparents have automatic visitation rights to see their grandchildren?

Grandparents often have a very special relationship with their grandchildren, and when the children benefit from visitation, the courts may grant rights, even when the parents deny them. However, whether they are married or divorced, parents may have valid reasons for not wanting the grandparents involved in their children’s lives. By discussing the specifics with an experienced family law attorney, grandparents can learn more about their options.

If you have additional questions about your specific situation, contact GoransonBain Ausley online or by calling 214-373-7676 to speak with one of our family law attorneys today.