Divorce in Texas: What You Need To Know
Divorce is the often tragic conclusion to the beauty of matrimony, and it is a route that many marriages often end in. In fact, nearly half of all first-time marriages end this way, and it can be extremely jarring for the couple and the families that had been intertwined.
By the end of this year in Texas, roughly 75,000 people will decide that divorce is their best option. For many, it is their first time getting divorced and they aren’t quite sure how to start the process or cope with the emotional stress.
While we have helped hundreds of families deal with the struggles of divorce, we tend to notice that most are unaware of how divorce in Texas actually works. In this article, we will discuss the basics of Texas divorce law, plus some tips for making the transition from married to divorced.
Texas Divorce Procedure: Petition
Divorce in Texas has the following steps: petition, temporary orders, discovery, and a hearing.
The petition is simply a declaration of divorce and starts the process of divorce. The petition will describe the circumstances and relief requested for the divorce. To file a petition, you must have lived in Texas for 6 months and the county you are filing the petition in for at least 90 days continuously.
After the petition is filed with the county clerk, you will be randomly assigned a court and judge for your hearing. The petition will then be handed the petition and a citation, unless you and your spouse are working together on the divorce.
Divorce in Texas can be a long, grueling process, something most people aren’t aware of. You won’t be able to complete your divorce in two weeks and be legally single and ready to mingle. There is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days before a divorce can be finalized, meaning you’ll still be married. There is no legal separation in Texas, so you can either be married or not married.
Temporary Order: Restraint and Injunctions
Unfortunately, many divorces are not handled amicably and mutually. Luckily, Texas is a “no-fault” state, meaning that there does not need to be any wrongdoing by either party to request a divorce. However, this doesn’t prevent one party from vehemently opposing the divorce and causing issues.
Texas divorce law allows for temporary orders which are implemented to protect the spouse and the property shared among them. You may request a temporary restraining order (TPO) or a temporary injunction before the divorce becomes final. The restraining order will guard against harassment, and the injunction will put a “freeze” on assets until they are divided by the judge and the hearing. This keeps a spouse from manipulating assets in anticipation of the divorce.
A temporary restraining order can be out in place without a hearing or advance notice to the spouse, but an injunction will require a hearing.
Just like in a normal legal proceeding, there is a discovery process involved in the court hearing. During this period, you will work with your lawyer to obtain all the necessary statements and documents you will need for your case. Common documents include tax returns, deeds, written or oral questions, and any other document needed to convey the necessary information to the judge.
During this section, it’s common to simply lean on the advice of your lawyer and let them guide you. Your lawyer will know what to do, which documents would be most pertinent, and how to obtain them.
Before a trial, the spouses will attempt to form a settlement between their lawyers or mediators. Many divorces are simply handled this way, saving the hassle of a hearing and more lawyer fees. However, a hearing is often inevitable. During the hearing, the specifics of the divorce will be decided based on the evidence and arguments of you and your spouse. The assets will be decided accordingly, along with other issues regarding the marriage.
A lawyer in this situation is crucial because he or she can ensure you receive your fair share of the assets following the divorce. Once the judge signs the final decree of divorce, you will be officially divorced. Important Notes
Below are a few important notes to keep in mind when navigating the divorce process:
- Declaring a spouse “at-fault” for the breakup of a marriage can influence the division of property and even who pays for legal fees.
- Property is typically divided 50-50, but certain factors like unequal earning power and fault can influence it.
- Spousal support and alimony are available but are only awarded under specific circumstances. Be sure to ask your lawyer about the specifics of alimony and spousal support.
- Medical insurance obtained through a spouse’s profession may still be kept after a divorce, depending on numerous factors. Your lawyer can also discuss these specifics with you.
Dealing With Divorce: Trust Huerta Law Firm To Help
If you see your marriage ending in divorce, let Huerta Law Firm help you navigate the process. We’ve helped dozens of families complete their divorce, and we can help you as well. Schedule a consultation today!