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Texas Divorce - An Overview

Two-thirds to three-quarters of divorces are initiated by women.

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Divorce in Texas - An Overview

A divorce is a method of terminating a marriage contract between two individuals. In Texas, divorce can either be "no fault" or fault-based. No fault divorce is a marital termination proceeding where the divorce is granted without either party being required to show that the other is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Under no fault rules, either party may obtain a divorce, even if the other spouse does not consent to the divorce.

Texas divorces can also be fault-based, requiring one person to give a legal reason in order to get a divorce. In Texas, divorces can be granted on the grounds of (1) adultery, (2) abandonment, (3) incurable insanity, (4) imprisonment for a felony conviction or (5) cruel and inhuman treatment. Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301. Typically, a fault-based divorce is pursued if the couple cannot reach a satisfactory settlement about property division, child support or custody, and one party wants the court to consider the conduct of the other party when deciding the issue.

Contemplating divorce is always difficult. Involving a knowledgeable Texas family law attorney from Law Office of Douglas C. Smith as soon as possible in the divorce process is one of the best ways to preserve your own long-term financial and emotional health. Contact our El Paso, TX, office today to schedule a consultation.

Contested divorce

Before a divorce may be granted, there are certain basic issues that must be resolved. They are:

  • Maintenance
  • Property division
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support

If a divorcing couple agrees on all of these issues in writing, they will be granted an uncontested divorce and avoid adversarial divorce litigation. If there is disagreement, however, the divorce is contested, which means it may end up in trial before a judge or jury, or in another form of dispute resolution. It is important to consult with a Texas divorce attorney before deciding which method is right for your situation.

Divorce litigation involves a series of document exchanges and court appearances. In some instances there are questions or situations that need to be resolved temporarily before the final divorce agreement is reached or ordered by the court. Temporary orders with respect to support, custody or other matters generally remain in effect until the final decision is made at the end of the divorce process. Ultimately, there will be a trial if a settlement hasn't been reached. Witnesses may include friends, financial experts and psychologists, to name just a few examples. The judge's final decision provides the court's rulings on all the issues raised by the parties.

Maintenance

Maintenance, often called alimony or spousal support, is financial support paid by one spouse to another. In Texas, a court awards maintenance in certain limited circumstances. If the court finds maintenance should be awarded, the appropriate amount will be determined by the court based on the factors set forth in the Texas Family Code.

Division of property

Texas uses the "community property" system to divide marital assets upon divorce. Most property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is community property to be divided upon divorce. Under Texas law, the division of property does not have to be equal. The courts are only required to divide the community property between the parties "in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage." Tex. Fam. Code § 7.002. If either spouse acquired property outside of the state, a court can also divide that property using community property rules if they divorce in Texas. Each spouse may also own separate property that is treated differently under the legal rules. Because classification of property and its division can become one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, you need the advice and assistance of a family law attorney familiar with Texas family laws and procedures.

Speak to a Texas divorce lawyer

Reaching the decision to end a marriage is enormously difficult. Once you do make the decision it is in your best interest to approach the divorce process from a rational, businesslike perspective, which is extraordinarily difficult given the emotional issues with which you must also cope. Working with a Texas family law attorney at Law Office of Douglas C. Smith will ease your stress and help you get through the process to begin your new life.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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