9 Things You Need to Know Before Filing for Divorce in Texas
The dissolution of a marriage is one of life’s most challenging decisions. Divorces are not always amicable, and things can get ugly quickly. The petitioner often has the upper hand in the process because they’ve decided to end the marriage.
A divorce in Texas falls under the jurisdiction of community property. This option means marital property is divided 50/05. Typically, this would appear to be a simple solution to dissolving a marriage, but other things may need to get resolved.
Are you plan on filing for divorce in Texas? Before you head to the courthouse, check out these nine things you’ll need to know before you start the process.
1. “No-Fault” Applies to a Divorce in Texas
A no-fault divorce means that no one is to blame for the divorce, and both parties agree to the dissolution. This option is best when the divorce isn’t contested, and there is no division of assets.
2. What Happens to the Marital Home?
Filing for a divorce in Texas, where a marital home is involved, can require a judge to determine who gets to stay in the home. Questions will arise regarding whether the home was purchased before or after the marriage.
If one party already owned the home, they may get to keep it.
In instances where the parties cannot agree, the judge could order them to sell the property and divide the proceeds. Other exceptions could apply, so it’s best to consult with a Texas divorce attorney to understand your rights.
3. Are Minor Children Involved
Divorce is never easy when minor children are involved. When this happens, the case can get dragged out as the couple decide on custody and support agreements.
Often, the parent who receives temporary custody will stay in the family home during the divorce proceedings and receive temporary support. The judge will make this decision if the couple cannot agree.
Receiving temporary custody doesn’t always determine the final ruling.
4. Where to File the Divorce
There are rules on what jurisdiction the divorce has to get filed. For example, when filing for a divorce in Texas, one party has to live in the county where the paperwork is filed.
Other stipulations include, you must be a resident where the filing occurs for at least six months. If you plan to file the divorce in the county where your spouse lives, they need to be a resident for at least 90 days.
5. What Can My Spouse Use Against Me?
Technology has changed how divorces take place. It’s common for couples going through a divorce to dig up dirt on each other when there is a disagreement.
Social media now plays a big part in disputes over infidelity. Spouses can hire private detectives, secure phone records, bank records, and other documents to show why the divorce is warranted. The information can also show patterns of behavior that are beneficial when there is a custody dispute.
6. Will the Court Enter Temporary Rulings?
There are instances in a Texas divorce when the judge will enter a temporary ruling to prevent parties from engaging in vindictive behavior. The rulings are referred to as standing orders. They are issued to prevent actions such as these:
- Placing a freeze on bank accounts
- Changing or canceling life insurance policies
- Disruptions in a child’s routine such as leaving the state or withdrawing them from school without the permission of the court
- Closing credit accounts
- Cutting off financial support to a stay-at-home spouse
- Liquidating assets
Violating standing orders can lead to legal ramifications. Before you engage in activities that will harm your case or go against a judge’s ruling, talk with your divorce attorney.
7. What Happens to Employer Benefits?
Questions about employer benefits should get directed to your employer. The company will have an employee benefits manual that addresses change of status events that allow for changes in benefits.
Don’t be surprised if the divorce has to be final or you have to submit legal documents to make the change.
If you are the spouse receiving benefits through your husband or wife’s employer, you’ll need to explore your options. In most cases, you will be able to continue your health benefits through COBRA.
For health and dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts, a judge may have to issue a special order regarding those allocations. A Texas divorce lawyer will advise you on how to navigate this process.
8. Will I Have to Pay Alimony?
Alimony isn’t as common as most people believe. In fact, Texas divorce law has a no alimony rule. Instead, they have what is called spousal maintenance. It’s typically reserved for those who do not have an income or become self-sufficient in a reasonable amount of time.
Stay-at-home parents with no marketable skills are a likely candidate for interim spousal maintenance payments. However, it could come with stipulations. For example, it’s only for a set period. Or the spouse receiving payments could have a requirement to learn a skill or get a job by a specific date.
Keep in mind a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and promises of maintenance are upheld.
9. How Long Does a Divorce Take to Resolve?
A simple non-contested divorce can get finalized in 60 to 90 days. The time includes a required 60-day waiting period before the judge can sign off on the divorce.
Divorces that are complex or involve minor children and separation of property can take much longer.
The judge could order a couple into mediation to resolve issues, prohibiting them from reaching an amicable resolution. Worst case scenario, the divorce drags on for six months to a year. But it could take longer.
Hire the Right Attorney for Your Divorce
A divorce in Texas doesn’t have to get complicated if both parties agree. However, it’s best to reach an amicable agreement regarding child support and spousal support. Otherwise, the proceedings can get dragged out, and the divorce becomes costly.
Choosing the right attorney to handle your divorce is vital to your case. Contact the Vendt Law Firm today to talk to one of our attorneys.