The information below is provided as a courtesy for our current and prospective clients. This represents general information on matters related to family law, and neither constitutes nor is intended to be legal advice. Please be advised that if you need legal counsel, you should consult an attorney regarding your individual situation. Please read this disclaimer for more information.
How fast can I get divorced?
In Texas, you must wait 60 days from the date you file until you finalize your divorce, even if the divorce is uncontested.
What are the steps in the divorce process?
The first step is filing the divorce petition. The next step, especially if children are involved, is what’s called a temporary orders hearing, which will establish the “ground rules” for temporary conservatorship/visitation/support of the kids and use of property. Then you will begin moving toward the finalization process. The judge will likely order you to mediation, which is a special meeting with a trained mediator who will attempt to help you and your spouse come to an agreement as to the terms of the divorce. If you are unable to reach an agreement, then the court will set your case for trial. After the trial (or if you reach an agreement after mediation, before trial), the court will sign a final decree of divorce, which will contain provisions for division of property and for conservatorship/visitation/support of the children.
Will I be able to get custody of my children?
In Texas, courts use “conservatorship” language rather than “custody,” In Texas, Joint Managind Conservatorship (commonly called “joint custody.”) Joint Managing Conservatorship (JMC) means that both parents share the rights and duties of raising the child/children, though not necessarily equal time. Generally, there is a JMC with the right to designate primary residence of the child, and that is where the child will primarily reside. The non-primary conservator will have a visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child.
Will I have to pay child support?
The spouse who does not have primary conservatorship of the children will, in most cases, pay child support to the primary custodial parent after a divorce based on guidelines in the Texas Family Code, according to income. Child support for one child is 20% of income and increases by increments of 5% for each additional child, up to a total of 35% of income.
Will my property be divided 50/50?
Texas is a community property state, so as a general rule, judges will try to reach a roughly 50/50 split, however judges are allowed to divide property in a manner that the judge deems “just and right,” which may not necessarily mean splitting assets down the middle. Some things judges consider are projected future earnings of the parties, who’s at fault for the divorce and other criteria in making a disproportionate division.
Can I have my case heard by a jury?
Generally speaking, judges hear most divorce-related matters, though you may ask for a jury trial. Juries are more commonly involved in cases involving child custody matters.
I don’t want to get divorced, but my spouse does—can I stop him/her?
There is no legal recourse to stop a divorce once a party files in Texas. If you are unable to convince your spouse to consider reconciliation, the divorce will happen.
Can I get alimony in Texas?
Generally, no. Although the Texas Legislature passed an alimony statute in 1995, most people do not qualify under it. Unless you have no significant assets or means of support or you and your spouse agree to it, there will likely be no significant long-term alimony once the divorce is final.
Is there any way to avoid the stress of going to court?
Nowadays, most divorces are settled out of court by mediation or simply attorney-to-attorney settlement. There is another newer method of settling a case that allows you to avoid the courthouse altogether: collaborative law. Both attorneys and the divorcing parties agree beforehand to do everything possible to reach a settlement in a series of private sessions. Only if the settlement agreement process fails will you have to go to court.
Do I need a prenuptial agreement?
The last thing you want to think about prior to getting married is having that marriage come to an end. However, prenuptual agreements, or “Pre-nups,” are very useful in the event of an eventual split to divide by agreement assets are not readily divisible, such as a large piece of real estate or an interest in a family-owned business. There is a misconception that these are “only for the rich,” though nowadays people with modest means use them as well to ensure that, should a split occur down the road, it will be less messy.