Deciding to get married and building a life together is a major life decision and something that will change the rest of your life. However, sometimes a marriage simply does not work out for a variety of reasons. The person you fell in love with is no longer the same, or your spouse cheated on you, regardless of the reason divorces are very emotional processes.
At the Queenan Law Firm, we tenaciously pursue every case we handle. Regardless of whether you come to us for assistance with a divorce, a custody dispute, a conflict over property distribution, or you simply have questions about what to include in your prenuptial agreement, we will educate you about your responsibilities while advocating for your rights to the fullest extent possible. If contention exists between you and your spouse, we aim to use our litigation skills to resolve the dispute in your best interest and that of your children.
What is a No-Fault Divorce?
Sometimes a marriage just doesn’t work out no matter how hard the couple tries. This isn’t uncommon, in fact, most divorces are based on irreconcilable differences. As the Texas Family Law Code provides “Discord and Conflict that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship where there is no expectation of reconciliation.” This essentially means that the couple has grown apart and no longer want to be married to each other.
However, this is not the only type of divorce in Texas. Sometimes the marriage breaks down because the other spouse has done something, or maybe both spouses have done something. However, this is more than just your wife or husband forgot to take out the trash. In Texas a judge can grant a divorce upon finding sufficient evidence of:
- Cruel treatment (that renders further living together insupportable), Abandonment (for at least one year with the intent to abandon),
- Long-term incarceration (more than one year),
- Confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years, or
- Living apart for at least three years.
These divorces are known as fault-based divorces. It is important to note that when you file for divorce a no-fault divorce will generally happen much faster, and can be done in as short as 60-90 days, where a fault-based divorce can take anywhere from six months to a year to finalize.
How is Property Divided in a Divorce?
Perhaps the biggest question people have is how will property be divided when a couple decides to get divorced. To begin, Texas courts will presume that all property that is acquired during the course of the marriage is what is known as community property, meaning that it is owned equally by both spouses. In most cases, the judge will make an even split with property that is deemed to be community property and will divide it 50/50 between the divorcing spouses. In a decree of divorce, the court will divide the estate of the couple in a manner that it deems just and right. However, the judge will take into consideration the rights of both spouses as well as any children of the marriage. This may mean that if you or your spouse decides to move out of the home where your children live, the judge may grant the other spouse the home in order to maintain normalcy for the children.
According to the Texas Code – Family Code – Chapters: 7.001-7.006, in addition to the division of the estate of the parties required by Section 7.001, in a decree of divorce or annulment the court shall order a division of the following real and personal property, wherever situated, in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage:
- Property that was acquired by either spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in this state at the time of the acquisition; or
- Property that was acquired by either spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property so exchanged had been domiciled in this state at the time of its acquisition.
In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall award to a spouse the following real and personal property, wherever situated, as the separate property of the spouse:
- Property that was acquired by the spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been the spouse’s separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition; or
- Property that was acquired by the spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been the spouse’s separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition.
In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall confirm the following as the separate property of a spouse if partitioned or exchanged by written agreement of the spouses:
- Income and earnings from the spouses’ property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received on or after January 1 of the year in which the suit for dissolution of marriage was filed; or
- Income and earnings from the spouses’ property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received in another year during which the spouses were married for any part of the year.
However, Texas law also recognizes that not all property that a spouse has belongs to the other spouse. This is what is known as separate property and included any property that one spouse owned before the marriage, and was kept separate during the duration of the marriage. In order to keep property separate during the divorce decree, you will need to prove that the property is, in fact, separated by “clear and convincing evidence.”
One of the most effective ways that couples can ensure that their property is kept separate is by delineating it so in a prenuptial agreement. This is one of the reasons why it is not only a good idea to have an attorney by your side during a divorce, but it is also a good idea to have an attorney draft a prenuptial agreement before the marriage so that you may avoid difficult property disputes.
If You Are a Party to a Divorce Proceeding a Fort Worth, Texas Divorce Lawyer Can Help
To set up a legal consultation about your family law matter, call the Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797. With more than 20 years of legal experience successfully representing clients throughout Texas, our attorneys are always eager to put our knowledge and skill to work for you.