Divorce law is a specific branch of family law that cover the various issues connected with a divorce. These help to ensure a fair and amicable legal proceeding as the couple separates and parts ways. Divorce laws can cover a wide range of different legal matters and issues. These can include:
- The grounds or basis for a divorce;
- Division of property in connection with the divorce;
- Payment of alimony or spousal support. These are regular payments made from one party to the other after the divorce, to help the other party get back on their feet after the process;
- Various issues related to child custody, child visitation, and other matters involving children of the parties; and
- Many other related to the parties’ specific and unique needs.
In many instances, divorce laws may cover legal separations as well, as these often have many of the same types of issues as a divorce. Each state has very different laws when it comes to divorce. It may be necessary to consult with an attorney if you have any questions regarding how the laws in your state may affect the outcome of the divorce proceeding.
As mentioned, each state has different rules and procedures when it comes to the divorce process. The state of Texas is no exception. The steps for obtaining a divorce in Texas usually consist of the following:
- A petitioner (one of the spouses) files for divorce by submitting an Original Petition for Divorce with the county court.
- The petitioning spouse has the responding spouse personally served with the formal divorce papers. The responding spouse can opt to sign a waiver to avoid receiving the papers.
- The petitioner can request any temporary orders like a Temporary Restraining Order, if this is needed (for instance, if there are abuse issues involved and one spouse needs protection from another). A hearing will be held on the temporary orders.
- The spouses may discuss the divorce terms directly or with the assistance of a mediator or attorney. If they agree, an Agreed Decree of Divorce can be prepared and filed.
- Spouses that unable to agree on the divorce terms can set a trial date with the court.
- Prior to the divorce trial, spouses will attend court mediation. This can help to resolve various issues apart from the formal court process. This can often help save time and resources in court overall.
- If mediation fails between the parties, a judge will decide the terms before issuing a Final Decree of Divorce.
An “Agreed Decree of Divorce” is a form of collaborative divorce in which both parties agree to the terms of divorce without going to court. It requires good faith between the parties in order to be legal. Again, this type of option can help the parties save time and money that would otherwise be devoted to the court system.
In the state of Texas, a divorce typically takes longer than 60 days after the petition is filed to become finalized. Every divorce in the state has a 60-day waiting period before any divorce decree is signed by a judge. Spouses who agree on all divorce issues beforehand will generally have their divorce finalized in approximately six months to a year.
However, getting a divorce will take longer if the spouses do not agree on all the issues involved. It may also take longer if they change their minds on certain issues mid-way through the process. Other issues to consider include:
- Residency Requirements: At least one of the spouses must live in the state of Texas continuously for six months.
- Also, at least one spouse must live in the county where the divorce petition is filed for about 90 days prior to filing.
- No-Fault Divorce: Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that a spouse does not have to blame the other spouse for ending the marriage.
- However, a spouse can still assign fault in the divorce, which might have effects on other issues involved in the divorce (such as child custody or visitation rights). Courts may also consider fault when deciding the division of property between the spouses.
Thus, Texas laws can be quite specific when it comes to certain requirements and procedures for a divorce. It may be in your best interests to consult with an attorney if you’re considering filing for divorce, as the process can take some time to complete and finalize.
Texas divorce laws can be different from those in other areas. A Texas family attorney is recommended for all divorce cases that are filed in the state of Texas. An attorney in your area can assist you with protecting your rights during your divorce proceedings.