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

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Divorces are never easy. Add endless paperwork and constant legal intervention to it, and the whole process becomes especially complicated and exhausting. To help alleviate some of the stress of a divorce, we have created a brief guide to the divorce laws in Texas, below.

Texas Divorce Requirements

To be eligible to file for divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must fulfill the state’s residency requirement. That means you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to the date of filing. And at least one of you must also have lived in the county where you are filing for 90 days.

If one of the spouses meets this requirement, either of you can file for divorce in the state of Texas.

Types of Divorce and Separation in Texas

If you want to completely end ties with your spouse, divorce is your only option in Texas. There is no provision for legal separation in the state, but there are other temporary orders and agreements you can request as an alternative to legal separation in Texas, including orders of custody and child support as well as a separation agreement you reach together.

Depending on the terms of the divorce agreement and the level of cooperation between the spouses, there are four types of divorces in Texas. They are:

  • No-Fault Divorce. In Texas, you do not need to prove fault to file for a divorce. If your marriage is insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities, you can get a divorce without proving fault. So, if either of you feels your relationship is insupportable and you have no expectations of reconciliation, you can file a no-fault divorce petition.
  • Fault-Based Divorce. Texas law has several fault-based grounds that can be used to file for divorce. You can seek divorce from your spouse if they treated you cruelly, committed adultery, are convicted of a felony and is currently serving time for the past year, has left you with an intention to abandon you, has been living apart from you at least the last three years or has been confined in a mental hospital for at least the last three years and is unlikely to recover from the mental disorder.
  • Uncontested Divorce. If you and your spouse are in agreement on all the terms of your divorce, you can finalize your divorce quickly and without much hassle. In an uncontested divorce in Texas, you need file a divorce settlement agreement with the court and it will become the final decree once a judge signs off.
  • Contested Divorce. If you and your spouse are arguing about the terms of your divorce, it is considered a contested divorce. In this case, you will go to trial and the judge will decide. You can also file a written agreement with the county court to refer you to mediation where you and your spouse can discuss your issues with a mediator. This will save time and money.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in Texas

Both or either one of the parents can be appointed as the primary custodian or the managing conservator of the child in Texas. The other parent is generally appointed as the possessory conservator and gets visitation rights to maintain frequent contact and a healthy relationship with the child. The decision is always made considering the best interest of the child.

The Texas law provides a standard possession order for any child above the age of three. This provides a detailed visitation schedule parents can follow. You and your spouse can create a custom parenting plan you agree upon, and the court will approve it as long as it is in the best interest of the child..

The non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the parent with whom the child primarily lives. This amount is typically calculated based on the number of children and the net resources of the non-custodial parent and lasts until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later.

Property Division in Texas

Any property obtained by either of the spouses during the marriage is considered community property by Texas law. During divorce, the community property is evenly divided between both the spouses. However, there is property exempt from this rule, including assets acquired by a spouse through gift or inheritance or recovered in a personal injury settlement.

A spouse can also claim alimony or maintenance from the other spouse after their divorce. The law provides four circumstances in which a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance.A spouse can request alimony if:

  • The other spouse has been convicted of family violence against the requesting spouse or their child in the last two years.
  • The requesting spouse has a mental or physical disability that prevents them from supporting themselves and the marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • The couple was married for at least 10 years and the requesting spouse is unable to support themselves.
  • The requesting spouse is supporting a disabled child of the marriage and therefore, does not have the ability to support themselves and the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Papers

To start your divorce proceedings, file the correct divorce forms with your county court. If you and your spouse do not have children and you did not purchase any property during your marriage, you can use the forms for uncontested divorce approved by the Supreme Court of Texas.

But if children or property are involved in the divorce and you and your spouse agree on property division, child support, custody and visitation, you can use the appropriate form on the Texas State Law Library website. However, if you and your spouse do not agree on one or a few terms of your divorce, it is a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer to help you file your petition and finalize the divorce.

After you have filed the divorce forms, you must send a copy of the petition to your spouse. You can do that by having an adult personally serve the papers or sending them via registered mail. If you are unsuccessful, you can ask the court to allow substituted service by email or social media.

Finalizing Your Divorce

Once you have filed and served the documents, the respondent has 20 days to file a reply to the petition. If they fail to do so, the terms of the divorce are decided based only on the petitioner’s demands as long as they are just and fair.

Except in cases where a spouse is convicted of family violence or the petitioner has a protective order against them, the court will not finalize the divorce until a 60-day waiting period from the day on which the petition was filed has passed.

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