Best Divorce Lawyers El Paso, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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While it is a good idea to hire a lawyer in divorce cases, you should always do some research in advance and learn about your rights and duties during and after the divorce proceedings. This way, you can make sure your and your family’s interest is always protected.

Below is a brief guide to the divorce laws in Texas.

Texas Divorce Requirements

You can file your divorce petition in Texas only if you fulfill the state as well as the county residential requirements. You must have lived in Texas for at least six months and the county where you are filing for at least 90 days. If either you or your spouse satisfies these requirements, both of you are eligible to file the petition.

Types of Divorce and Separation in Texas

  • Legal Separation. Although Texas law does not recognize legal separation, if you are not sure about getting a divorce yet, you can still physically separate from your spouse and protect your rights. You can get temporary orders, protective orders and separation agreements to achieve a similar outcome as that of a legal separation. You can also file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship to determine your child’s custody and visitation rights.
  • Fault-Based Divorce. A spouse can seek divorce for the following grounds in Texas:
    • Cruelty
    • Adultery
    • Living apart for at least three years
    • Abandonment for at least one year
    • Confinement in a mental hospital for three years
    • Conviction of felony and imprisonment for at least one year
  • No-Fault Divorce. The court will grant a divorce without any fault of either of the spouses if their marriage is insupportable due to a conflict of personalities and there are no expectations of reconciliation between them.
  • Default Divorce. After the divorce petition is filed and served, the respondent has 20 days from the receipt of their copy to file a response. If they fail to do so, the court may issue a default judgment based on the facts stated in the original petition. However, if the respondent files a reply any time before the divorce is finalized, the court may accept it and deny a default divorce.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in Texas

The Texas laws on child custody, support and visitation are based on the policy that children should have continued healthy relationships with both parents and the parents should share their duties to provide a safe, stable and non-violent environment for their children.

The court makes decisions that are in the best interest of the children. It considers factors like the parent’s history of neglect or abuse before deciding on primary and joint custody. If the parties have not prepared a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child, the court will appoint a custodial parent and also specify the rights and duties of the non-custodial parent and prepare a visitation schedule.

The court will order the non-custodial parent to pay child support until the child attains the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. The amount of support will depend on the net resources and the number of eligible children.

Property Division in Texas

Except for gifts, personal injury settlements or inheritance, all the properties and earnings acquired by a married couple during the period of their marriage are considered to be community property. This includes salaries, real estate, vehicles, pension and retirement contributions and unemployment compensations.

The court will divide the community property and debt depending on factors like children’s needs, the earning capacity of the spouses and the custodial rights of the spouses in a way that is “just and right.” If the parties have agreed upon a division themselves, the court will most likely approve it.

A spouse can seek maintenance if they do not have sufficient means to maintain themselves. The court will order alimony in Texas in the following situations:

  • If the paying spouse has been convicted of family violence against the claiming spouse or their children in the last two years.
  • If the couple has been married for at least 10 years and the claiming spouse is disabled or is a caretaker of a disabled child and does not have sufficient property to provide for their needs.
  • If the couple was married for at least 10 years and the requesting spouse is not able to support themselves.
  • If the spouses have agreed to maintenance payment.
  • If the claiming spouse is a sponsored immigrant.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Papers

If you and your spouse agree on all the terms of your divorce and are filing an uncontested divorce in Texas, you can create your petition using the forms provided by the Texas State Law Library. The Texas Supreme Court has also approved forms for uncontested divorce that do not include children or property.

However, if you are not in agreement on all the terms and are filing for a contested divorce, you should reach out to a divorce lawyer in El Paso to help you create and file your divorce petition.

After you file your petition, you must serve a copy to your spouse. You can hire any authorized person over the age of 18 years to serve the petition personally or send it through registered mail. Your spouse can also waive the entire service procedure and accept the document from you by filing a notarized waiver with the court clerk.

Finalizing Your Divorce

After you have served your spouse with the divorce papers, they have to respond within 20 days of its receipt. If they fail to do so, the court may grant a default judgment solely considering the demands of the petitioner as long as they are just and fair.

Once the terms of your divorce are finalized, the court will issue a final divorce decree after a 60-day waiting period from the date on which the petition was filed is over. This period does not apply in cases where the respondent is convicted of family violence or the petitioner has a protective order against the respondent.

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