Best Divorce Lawyers Austin, TX Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Obtaining a divorce in Texas may seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Regardless of the reason the marriage is ending, every divorce in Texas proceeds through the same general sequential steps.

However, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with one of the best divorce lawyers in Austin for guidance, especially when you and your spouse disagree on the terms of your divorce.

Texas Divorce Requirements

The process of filing for divorce in Texas begins by determining whether you are eligible to file in this state. You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for six months. If that condition is met, either spouse can file in the local county district court where they have lived for the previous 90 days. You are not required to live separately for any length of time before filing.

You can also file for divorce in Texas even if you no longer live in the state or if you live abroad, as long as your spouse meets the Texas residency requirements.

Types of Divorce and Separation in Texas

Texas recognizes several different types of divorce. An Austin divorce lawyer can help you decide which type is best suited to meet your needs:

  • Fault-Based Divorce: Fault-based divorces may be appropriate if your spouse has committed some wrongful act, such as abuse or adultery. However, very few divorces filed in Texas are fault-based.
  • No-Fault Divorce: A court can grant a divorce if it finds that you and your spouse are no longer compatible and the marriage relationship is irreparably broken.
  • Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on each issue, including why the divorce should be granted, how property should be divided and what parenting schedule you will follow.
  • Contested Divorce: When the couple cannot agree on certain issues, they can try to work out a compromise through mediation. In rare cases, mediation can fail. If it does, a judge will decide the terms during a divorce trial.

If you wonder whether Texas offers legal separation, the answer is no. No Texas law allows a court to grant legal separation.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in Texas

The divorce court must enter child custody and visitation orders if you and your spouse have children in common. The orders will include which parent the child will primarily reside with and how often the other parent will see the child. The court will consider any agreement you and your spouse reach but must ultimately ensure any arrangements are in the child’s best interests.

The parent who does not primarily live with the child will be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. This support is calculated based on the noncustodial parent’s financial situation. As your child grows and your financial picture changes, the court can modify this child support order to more accurately reflect your current situation.

Property Division in Texas

Texas is a community property state, and this system affects how and what property is divided by the court. In Texas, most of the property you and your spouse acquire during the marriage will be considered community property and subject to division. This includes income or property one spouse or the other acquired solely in their name.
Many believe that property in a divorce must be divided 50/50. Instead, in Texas, a divorce court must divide community property between you and your spouse in a fair manner.

Filing and Serving Your Papers

The forms you need for a divorce in Texas depend on whether you and your spouse have children in common. You can find these forms on the Texas State Law Library’s website or the state’s electronic filing portal, selfhelp.efiletexas.gov.

If you have retained a divorce lawyer in Austin, that attorney can prepare your forms for you. You or your lawyer must file the forms with the appropriate court and include a filing fee of approximately $350.

After filing the petition, you must serve your spouse with divorce papers. Many filers pay the local constable or sheriff a fee to deliver the petition. Service can also be accomplished by certified mail. If you have tried to locate your spouse but have not been able to, a court may allow you to serve them by publishing a legal notice in the newspaper.

Finalizing Your Divorce

Texas law requires you to wait at least 60 days from the date your divorce paperwork is filed. You, your spouse and your attorneys will prepare and finalize the agreement you will present to the court. You will likely attend just one short court hearing.

If there are contested issues in your divorce, you might attend one or more court hearings before a final hearing is held. During these hearings, the court may take evidence or testimony of witnesses. The court may also order one spouse to pay the other spousal support as part of its order dividing your community property.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

Your attorney can explore the various options for divorce with you and help you decide which is in your best interests. Your attorney can also assist you by completing legal forms and drafting agreements that can be used to resolve a collaborative or uncontested divorce.

Legal counsel is especially important when your divorce is contested. Your attorney can seek temporary orders to protect your parental and property rights while your divorce is pending. A skilled divorce lawyer in Austin can also help move your case through the divorce process more swiftly.

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