If you are planning to file for a divorce in Texas, you need to familiarize yourself with some important key points. They will come in handy whether you’ve been married for a year or less, or if you’ve been married for several decades. These key points and rules are the same for common law marriages as well as for same sex couples and apply to anyone who is planning to file a divorce in Texas.
01 - Texas is a No Fault State when it comes to Divorce
In Texas, you do not need to have fault grounds to be able to file for divorce. It is considered a no-fault state, which means that the spouse does not have to prove anything against their spouse to be able to present the divorce case. The person filing for divorce does not need to have grounds when filing. Most parties simply define a conflict of personalities as the reason behind filing for divorce. In cases where fault grounds are present, the most common reason is adultery and abuse.
02 - There is no such thing as a Quick Divorce in Texas
The statutory waiting period for a Texas divorce case is 60 days. This is the mandatory waiting period for anyone filing for divorce in Texas. Other conditions include that the person filing for divorce much have been a resident of the state for a period of at least six months.
03 - The court may put a standing order in place
A standing order may be put in place by the court as soon as one party files for divorce in Texas. The standing order prohibits the parties from cutting up credit cards, closing their financial accounts, changing their life insurance policies and taking any children out of the state. The couple will also be prohibited to change their children’s schools or daycare.
04 - What is the Temporary Orders Hearing?
A Temporary Orders Hearing is held shortly after filing a divorce when the parties do not agree to the divorce. This hearing is held to clarify a few things such as who lives where, who pays the debts including mortgages, car payments and credit cards, who has possession of the vehicles, the possession schedule for children, who keeps and cares for pets if any, temporary spousal support and child support, and so on. The court will order a decision on all these matters and both parties will have to follow the court order until the divorce is finalized.
05 - Going to court is not necessary
Going to court once the divorce is filed in Texas is not necessary. Many divorce cases settle without going to court. You can get help from a mediator or a divorce attorney who can help resolve any differences between both parties. This way, both parties try and work out their issues outside of court and reach a mutual decision on how things should be handled after the divorce. Going to court is not only expensive, but it is also quite difficult, especially when children are involved.
06 - Your Social media accounts may be under scrutiny
During the divorce, your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as your emails and phone calls, may be under scrutiny by the opposing counsel. In fact, the other party may even have the judge order you to present your private medical record. Medical records are particularly relevant in cases where children are involved. Even though the medical record is a person’s private possession, they will have to be presented when ordered by a judge.
07 - Texas is not a 50/50 community property state
The next thing to know is that Texas is not a 50/50 community property state. All property acquired or earned during the marriage is considered community property in Texas. Any acquired, gifted, or inherited property is not considered as part of community property. Community property is divided justly in Texas. The judge may divide community property as 60/40 or 55/45 if faulty grounds are present in the divorce.
Division of property in a Texas divorce is carried out in accordance with the Texas Family Code. It takes into account several factors such as if adultery or abuse was involved in the relationship, if one party is weak, disabled or ill and cannot support themselves, or if one party earns more than the other. The court will also see if one parent is a homemaker and is not earning. By taking these factors in consideration, fair and just division of property is reached in a Texas divorce case.
08 - Not all divorce cases result in alimony being ordered
Alimony is typically ordered in a Texas divorce case if a spouse does not get sufficient property after the division. Generally, divorce cases in Texas will not result in alimony being ordered by the judge. Both parties are expected to return to their job once the divorce case is settled. If a party is not able to return to work, then alimony may be considered.
09 - Child support is clearly defined in the Texas Family Code
In case of one child, 20% of their next income is paid to the other party by the party required to pay child support. This percentage increases by 5 percent for every additional child, up to a maximum of 40 percent. Child support is withheld from the paycheck of the paying party and directly deposited to the other party’s bank account every month.
10 - When is the divorce actually signed by the judge?
Once all the divorce terms and conditions are met and agreed upon by both parties, any one spouse will have to appear before the judge to have the divorce finalized. This is called the 5-minute ‘prove-up’ before the judge.
Most of the points discussed in this article are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions raised by couples who are filing for a divorce in Texas. For further assistance, it is advised to get help from a family law attorney right away.