Arlington, TX Divorce Lawyer

Have you reached the point in your marriage that you can no longer work through your differences with your spouse? Many people enter into marriage thinking that they will spend the rest of their lives with the other person, but as time moves, on they find that they have changed or that they fight so much that there is no possibility that the marriage can last. In these cases, you may find yourself contemplating a divorce.

At the Queenan Law Firm, we tenaciously represent our clients’ interests in every case we handle.  Regardless of whether you come to us for assistance with filing a divorce or fighting a divorce, we will work to educate you about your options while working to protect your rights.  For help with your divorce case, call our Arlington, TX divorce lawyers today at (817) 476-1797 to set up a free legal consultation.

Grounds for Divorce in Arlington, Texas

If you are considering filing for a divorce, then you are probably curious about what grounds for divorce are available in Arlington.  The Texas Family Code provides for two types of divorces: fault-based divorces and no-fault divorces. The core difference between these two types of divorce is that a fault-based divorce accuses the other spouse of doing something wrong that ended the marriage. In a no-fault divorce, the couple may not be able to point to any one specific issue that resulted in the dissolution of their relationship, but they want the divorce because they are not able to overcome their differences.

In a fault divorce, one of the spouses alleges that the other spouse has done something wrong that led them to seek a divorce. The Texas Family Code provides six grounds for a fault-based divorce, plus the grounds for a no-fault divorce:

Cruelty

If one spouse treated the other cruelly during the marriage, that can be grounds for a divorce.  To qualify as “cruel treatment,” the treatment must make it impossible to continue living together.  This does not necessarily have to be physical abuse, but that usually satisfies these grounds.  Continual abusive language or other harsh treatment might also qualify even if there is no physical harm.

Adultery

Adultery can include any extramarital relations.  The definition is kept quite vague, but courts usually look for extramarital intercourse to satisfy these grounds for divorce.  There are a few common law defenses to adultery claims, but some have been abolished.  You can, as a defense, claim that the faithful spouse condoned the adultery, but this is only a valid defense if there is a reasonable chance of reconciliation.

Conviction of a Felony

If one of the spouses is convicted of a felony, has served over a year in jail, and has not been pardoned for this offense, you can seek a divorce.  These grounds for divorce are commonly used because the spouse is away from home, unable to act as a spouse or a parent while they are in prison.  While these grounds might seem helpful for spouses who were the victim of the defendant’s crime, you actually cannot use these grounds for divorce if your testimony against them led to their conviction.

Abandonment

“Abandonment” means that the spouse left and does not intend to come back.  The grounds for a divorce based on abandonment are triggered once the spouse has been away for at least a year.

Living Apart

This is essentially a no-fault type of divorce, but it can still be categorized with the fault divorces.  These grounds are available when either spouse has been away from home for three years.  This could be used if one spouse was away for work, moved into a separate house by their own choice, or otherwise left the marital home.  These grounds do not require something that qualifies as “abandonment,” and they instead focus on the fact that the spouses do not live together.

Confinement in Mental Hospital

As with cases of conviction for a felony, you can also get divorced if your spouse is going to be in a mental hospital.  For these grounds to be triggered, there must be little chance of recovery or a high chance that even if they got better, they would relapse, and the spouse mut be there for three years.  In many cases, it is not the defendant’s fault that they are mentally ill, but this kind of confinement in a mental institution usually occurs as an alternative to jail or prison for offenders that are not fit to stand trial.  In that respect, this is usually very similar to a divorce based on a conviction.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is based on “insupportability.” This means that regardless of any fault or blame between parties, the marriage has broken down because of conflict that makes it impossible to live together as a married couple is supposed to.  The “legitimate ends of the marital relationship” mentioned in the statute are up to interpretation, but typically, couples who have what other states call “irreconcilable differences” would qualify for divorce.  This type of divorce is usually less contentious that a fault-based divorce, but there are usually other contentious issues regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and other issues to be resolved during the divorce case.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Arlington?

Getting divorced can take a lot longer than it does to get married.  To begin a divorce case in Arlington, TX, the partner filing for divorce needs to be a resident of the state for a continuous period of six months before they file.  They also must be a resident of the county where they will be filing for 90 days.  If you are not a resident of Tarrant County for 90 days and a resident of Texas for 6 months, you simply cannot file your case in Arlington.  This means you might need to wait until the residency requirement is met, which can extend how long it will take to file your case.  If you just moved to Arlington from somewhere else in Texas after separating from your spouse, you might still be able to file your case there instead of waiting to file in Arlington.

Even if you and your spouse want to get divorced as soon as possible and are 100% agreed about every single aspect of your divorce, you still must wait at least 60 days after the original petition has been filed for the judge to finalize the divorce decree.  In most cases, spouses are not in such strong agreement about the divorce, and there are things that the spouses will have to work out before the divorce can be granted.  This can drastically extend the time it takes to negotiate and settle a divorce.

The respondent in a divorce case has 20 days from the date they were served to respond to the petition with their own answer. This alone can extend the divorce process by nearly a month, and then the petitioner will be able to respond again.  Additional documents might be filed back and forth between sides, extending the case.  If the couple has more serious disputes, this process can take well over six months to a year while the case moves through mediation, arbitration, and perhaps even a trial.

Your attorney can help advise you on how long your divorce case might take.  Keep in mind that in no-fault divorces, the parties are often agreed that the divorce should take place, so there is less need to negotiate whether the reason for the divorce is fair.  Contrast this with fault-based divorces where the at-fault party will likely deny fault, and the case will often have to go before a judge to decide whether the grounds for divorce were met in the first place.

In addition to issues of the divorce itself, you will also need to work out issues of asset division, child custody, child support, and spousal support.  Some of these issues can be resolved right away when the parties move apart by using temporary petitions, but many issues will be addressed again when the divorce is finalized.

Call Our Arlington Divorce Lawyers for Help with Your Case

To set up a free legal consultation on your divorce case, call The Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797.  With more than 20 years of legal experience successfully representing clients throughout Texas, our Arlington, TX divorce attorneys are always eager to put our knowledge and skill to work for you.  Call to set up your free legal consultation today.