How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Texas?

It depends on the facts of your case and how much you and your spouse are able to agree on. In Texas, your divorce must be on file for at least 60 days. However, keep in mind that it is exceptionally rare for a divorce to be finalized in that length of time.

Do I Have to Prove Fault to Get a Divorce in Texas?

No. Texas allows "no-fault" divorces based on insupportability of the marriage, also known as irreconcilable differences. However, you may also seek a divorce on fault grounds. Fault grounds in Texas include cruelty, adultery, and abandonment, or conviction of a felony where the convicted party is imprisoned for a year or more.

I'm Not Sure I Want a Divorce. Can I Get a Legal Separation in Texas?

Texas does not have a mechanism for granting a legal separation; either you are legally married, or you are divorced. Even though there is no legal status known as separation, you and your spouse can enter into an agreement regarding the terms of your separation, such as how you will divide property. This can evolve into a settlement agreement for your divorce, should you ultimately decide to pursue that.

Is There an Advantage to Filing for Divorce Before My Spouse Does?

There is often a strategic advantage to filing first, depending on the facts of your case. If you think your spouse is going to file and you feel as if you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop, it may be advantageous to file first. Also, if you and your spouse live in different counties, you may prefer to file in the county in which you live if you are eligible to do so.

What Are the Court Costs to File for Divorce?

At a minimum, you will need to pay a filing fee. You may also need to pay a fee for having your spouse served with the divorce papers. Fees vary from county to county, but in general, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $300-$400.

What Do I Do if I Get Served With Divorce Papers?

You need to take immediate action, so call a qualified Texas divorce attorney right away. Failure to properly answer a petition for divorce within the time provided by the law means your spouse could take a default against you. This could mean that he or she can proceed with the divorce without your participation and that the divorce will be granted on terms that are not favorable to you. If a default is entered against you, an attorney may be able to have it set aside so that you can participate in the divorce, but it is best to avoid this necessity.

I Filed for Divorce, But My Spouse Isn't Cooperating. What Now?

In this case, you may need to file for a default if your spouse does not answer the divorce petition. This will allow you to proceed with the divorce even if he or she does not want to cooperate.

How Will the Court Decide Custody of My Children?

If you and your spouse can agree on custody, that is ideal, since you know your family and its needs better than any judge could. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement, the court will decide custody based on the best interests of the child. The court will take into account many factors, such as the age of the child, the child's wishes, acts or omissions by each parent that indicate their parental fitness, the stability of each parent's home, and the emotional and physical needs of the child.

How is Child Support Awarded in Texas?

Child support is determined according to statutory guidelines set by the number of children the payer of support is obligated to support, and by the payer's financial resources. Child support is paid to the parent with physical custody of the child. In some cases, both parents are obligated to pay support; the support obligation of one parent will be offset against the obligation of the other, and the person who owes more support will pay the difference to the other parent.

How is Property Divided in a Texas Divorce?

Texas is a community property state, which means that all property acquired by either party during the marriage (with very limited exceptions) is considered property of the marital estate. If the parties cannot agree on a division of property, the court will divide it in a manner it determines to be "just and right." As a general rule, this means each party gets 50% of the community property, but depending on the circumstances—such as fault--one party might receive more or less, or a "disproportionate share."

Property owned by either party before the marriage, or received by gift or inheritance by one party during the marriage, may be considered separate property not subject to division. However, depending on how the party who owned that property treated it during the marriage (such as putting it in a joint bank account), it may be treated as community property.

Can I Get Alimony in a Texas Divorce?

In Texas, you may be able to get alimony, also called spousal maintenance, during the divorce process. Spousal maintenance is available after a divorce in Texas if the spouse seeking it will not receive enough property in the divorce to provide for their basic needs, and one of a few other limited circumstances exists, such as domestic violence during the marriage or the need to care for a child with a disability. If you think you will need spousal maintenance after your divorce, you must get the help of an experienced Texas family law attorney.

Is Common-Law Marriage Recognized in Texas?

Yes. Common-law marriage is recognized so long as three circumstances exist together: the couple agreed to be married; they held themselves out to the public as husband and wife; and they cohabited with each other.

If you have questions about Texas family law that were not answered here, we invite you to contact our law office to schedule a consultation so that we can address your specific concerns.