Best Divorce Lawyers Fort Worth, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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Filing for divorce in Fort Worth is relatively simple. However, some divorcing couples can encounter significant complications during the process. Anyone who is considering ending their marriage should understand the following details about divorce in Texas before choosing an attorney from this list of Fort Worth divorce lawyers.

Texas Divorce Requirements

Texas has relatively strict residency requirements for anyone seeking a divorce. One party must have lived in Texas for at least six months and must have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for at least the past 90 days. If you or your spouse has recently moved to the state or a new county, you may have to wait to meet those requirements.

Conversely, the state doesn’t have any separation requirements. All you need to do to start the process is file divorce papers with the court and send copies to your spouse.

Types of Divorce and Separation in Texas

Texas allows for both fault and no-fault divorces. Regardless of whether a party claims fault, the type of divorce depends on how the case is resolved.

  • Uncontested divorce. This occurs when both parties agree to all terms of the divorce.
  • Default divorce. A default divorce will be declared by the court when the other party doesn’t respond to the divorce petition or can’t be found to serve papers.
  • Mediated divorce. In a mediated divorce, both parties negotiate all terms of the divorce with the assistance of attorneys and a mediator. At the end of the mediation, both sides agree to the terms.
  • Collaborative divorce. This is like a mediated divorce but slower because parties discuss only one topic per meeting while additional outside parties advise.
  • Arbitrated divorce. An arbitrated divorce is a high-conflict divorce where both parties fight for their priorities in front of an arbiter, who has the final say over the outcome of the case. Arbitrated divorces are usually less expensive and take less time than a litigated divorce.
  • Litigated divorce. A litigated divorce is argued before a judge by attorneys for each party. It is usually a contentious process that often takes much longer than the other types of divorce processes in Texas.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in Texas

A divorce that involves children is always more complicated than one that doesn’t. When children are involved, the divorce agreement or order must cover child custody, support and visitation.

  • Child support. A parent who doesn’t have primary custody pays child support to the other to help ensure any children enjoy a reasonable lifestyle compared to the combined income of their parents. Child support must be paid until the child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes later.
  • Child custody. Parents can have joint custody or sole custody, depending on the circumstances of the divorce and factors like the jobs and living arrangements of both parents. The court will make custody decisions in the best interests of the child with a preference toward giving both parents some custody.
  • Visitation. When one parent has primary custody, the other parent is generally granted visitation rights, either from a mutual agreement or a court order. Parents are usually only denied visitation rights when they have been abusive to their children.

Property Division in Texas

Texas is a community property state, which means that both parties equally own all marital assets. However, unlike in some community property states, marital assets don’t have to be divided equally during a divorce.

If a divorce is contested, the judge must divide property in a way that is “just and right.” This means the judge can take into account factors like fault or the health of each spouse when distributing property.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Papers

You can get all divorce paperwork from the online Texas State Law Library. However, it may be difficult to fill out and deliver these papers without help. Fort Worth divorce lawyers know which paperwork is critical and when each form is due.

Additionally, in a contentious divorce, Fort Worth divorce lawyers can deliver this paperwork to your spouse in a way that protects you from retribution.

Finalizing Your Divorce

Before your divorce can be finalized in Texas, you must wait at least 60 days from when the petition was filed with the court. Once that time has passed, you will attend a final hearing where the judge will issue a divorce order. This order will include everything you and your spouse agreed on and any rulings the judge made if your case was litigated.

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