Divorce in Texas: What You Should Know
Before men and women are ready to file for divorce in Texas, they can learn about how a Texas divorce case works and what they might expect in their own case. People who move to Texas from other states should understand that Texas family law is different from other states. What you may have experienced in a divorce or family law case in another state may not prepare you for Texas law and procedure outlined in the Texas Family Code.
Hire a good lawyer. Your divorce lawyer is there to represent your legal rights and help protect you and your family’s best interests. Divorce can be frustrating and downright nasty. People get upset. Divorce and child custody cases are a process and your lawyer’s job responsibility is representing you during the process. When results and your future are at stake, you need a strong and smart divorce lawyer who gets results.
Listen to Richard T. Sutherland talk about how to go about finding a lawyer in this recent podcast, Help! I Need a Lawyer! Call Wichita Falls Family Law Attorney Richard T. Sutherland at (940) 691-2100 if you need help.
Be ready to compromise or prepare for litigation. When people who once loved one another and married are no longer in love and on good terms, it can be difficult to remain calm and rational, especially when emotions are running high. Also, be prepared if your opposing party and their lawyer may challenge your patience at the very least. While divorce in Texas takes time, there will be a final day when the judgment is final, and you can move on.
Divorce in Texas Takes Time
A Texas divorce case follows an ordered procedure that takes time and resources. It takes time to collect the necessary information to address issues involving children, parents, property, assets, and liabilities. Even if you and your husband or wife agree on everything, a final judgment of divorce is not allowed until at least 60 days have passed from the time the petition for divorce is filed with the court clerk in the proper county.
Especially in a long marriage with children and assets, there are many potential issues to resolve in a Texas divorce. Depending on the level of conflict and ability to negotiate, a settlement can take a long time to reach, and a trial by judge or jury can take longer. While families in divorce and child custody cases may wish the process was quicker, it is important to address and resolve contested issues correctly the first time, to avoid return trips to court and modification and enforcement cases in the future.
Legal Separation Is Not Recognized in Texas
In Texas, married couples are married until their divorce judgment is granted. There is no such thing as a legal separation in Texas. Married husbands and wives can live apart and maintain separate residences, but they are still married and everything they acquire is still community property. It does not matter how an asset is titled during a marriage in Texas because it will still be community property owned by both spouses and subject to division in a manner the court deems just and right.
Texas is a No-Fault Divorce State
Husbands and wives cannot force the other to stay married, nor need they prove wrongdoing and fault-based grounds to qualify for a divorce. Texas is a no-fault divorce state with no requirement that either party in the divorce is at fault. There is a requirement that the man or woman seeking a divorce states one or more grounds upon which the petition for divorce is based. The no-fault ground in Texas divorce is called insupportability.
Other grounds for divorce include cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital.
On insupportability, The Texas Family Code states: “One the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.[i]”
You Should Not Try to Do Your Own Divorce in Texas
There are some things in life that should be left to the hands of experienced professionals, such as a divorce in Texas. Child custody, for example, involves a specific process and appointment of conservators with specific legal rights and duties as parents. Visitation likewise is a process involving periods of possession of and access to the child. Many general practicing attorneys refer cases to and hire experienced divorce attorneys to represent family law clients because the practice of divorce and family law is determined by very specific rules and orders in the Texas Family Code.
People who try to do their own divorce often get things wrong and end up coming back to court and hiring divorce lawyers to fix the problems they caused by trying to do their own divorce in Texas.
Divorce in Texas Does Not Need to Be Expensive
The best divorce lawyer you can find may end up saving you money in the long run when they know how to get results more efficiently than another who may drag their feet or get tossed around by the opposing attorney.
When it comes to your family and future, it is important to divorce with a strategy and plan that works. The strategy can involve compromise and out-of-the-box thinking. The experienced family lawyer who has litigated the most difficult and complex cases is an asset when it matters to your family.
Richard T. Sutherland is an Experienced Lawyer for Divorce in Texas
Focused on parents, children and the best outcomes for the families he represents, Richard T. Sutherland has earned a strong reputation among lawyers, judges and members of communities in Wichita County and the neighboring Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Hardeman, Jack, Montague, Wise, Young and Wilbarger Counties.
When results matter to you and your family, call Richard T. Sutherland in Wichita
Falls, for divorce in Texas, by calling his office at (940) 691-2100.
[i] Texas Family Code, Grounds for Divorce and Defenses