Commonly Asked Questions About a Texas Divorce

Commonly Asked Questions About a Texas Divorce

 How do couples get a divorce in Texas?

Uncontested Divorce:  This is when both spouses agree to divorce and agree on all of the issues.  Texas requires a minimum legal waiting period of 60 days.  In an uncontested divorce, I will draft all of your documents and make sure everything complies with Texas law.

Contested Divorce:  This type of divorce takes longer because the court must decide who gets custody of your children, how your property is divided and any other issues on which the spouses don’t agree.


Does Texas have a residency requirement before filing for divorce?

Yes.  In nearly all cases, one spouse must prove that he or she has (1) lived in Texas for six months before filing for divorce, and (2) lived in the county where the divorce is filed for the previous 90 days.


What does the court require before it grants a divorce?

First, the court requires that the residency requirement be met.  Second, the court requires that all of the property issues be settled.  And third, when children are involved, the court requires that child custody and child support issues are settled.


How do I file for divorce?

You or your lawyer files an Original Petition for Divorce with the court clerk’s office and pays the required fees.  The court processes the petition and usually a sheriff or process server delivers it to your spouse.


When does the Court grant the divorce?

If you and your spouse agree on all of the issues, then the Court can grant your divorce after the 60-day waiting period ends.  If you and your spouse don’t agree on everything, then your case must be scheduled in the Court’s calendar.  The Court will finalize your divorce only after all of the issues are resolved, which usually requires several months.


Will the Court require divorce mediation?

Mediation has proved to be an effective way to peacefully resolve issues relating to property and child custody.  So courts usually ask couples to start with mediation.  But if mediation doesn’t work for you, then the court will resolve the issues for you.


Does the spouse who files the divorce assume responsibility for the divorce?

No.  Texas is a no-fault state, which means you can file for divorce for many reasons.  The most common is insupportability, which  does not require that either spouse assume responsibility.


Does Texas award alimony?

In most cases, no.  The only narrow exceptions are if one spouse has been convicted of domestic violence within two years or if the marriage has lasted at least ten years.  And even if the marriage meets the ten year requirement, other conditions must also be met by the spouse requesting alimony.


How do Texas courts decide child custody?

Courts always base custody on the best interests of the child.  Its decision could be sole custody or joint custody.  “Legal Custody” specifies the parents’ right to make decisions for the child; “Physical Custody” specifies where the child lives.


How do courts award child support?

Physical custody is what determines the award of child support.  In most cases, the non-custodial parent must pay child support.  The dollar amount is based on the parent’s net monthly income and how many children are involved.  When determining the amount of child support, the Court takes into consideration many factors, including the child’s age, needs, and standard of living prior to the divorce.  If the other parent is not paying the court-ordered child support, then I will help you enforce the court’s order.


Which is more common, sole custody or joint custody?

Courts prefer joint custody for children so they grow up with both their mother and father.  But if joint custody isn’t appropriate, then the court will decide who gets sole custody.


How will the court divide our property?

Texas is a community property state, which means the court views anything you and your spouse acquired during your marriage as jointly owned property.  If you acquired anything before your marriage, or as a gift or inheritance, then that is considered your separate property.  The court’s goal is to divide your property equally based on several factors.


Can the court award property before it finalizes our divorce?

Yes, as long as you and your spouse agree on how certain property should be divided.  Also, if you and your spouse reach agreement through mediation, then the court can award property based on that agreement.


What happens if my spouse and I change our mind about the divorce?

You can dismiss your divorce at any point in the process before the court issues the final divorce decree.

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“If you’d like to speak with me – or if you have any questions or concerns about family law –
you’re invited to call or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help you in every way!” – Michael

Michael Villasana
Founding & Managing Attorney

The Villasana Law Firm
Houston (281) 206-2676 – Texas Toll Free (888) 391-1115