Going through a divorce can be one of the most traumatic experiences of a person’s life. Not only is your marriage breaking down, but it is possible that all of the things you have worked so hard for will suddenly be the source of debate and litigation. Furthermore, divorce proceedings affect the lives of not only you and your spouse but also of any children you and your spouse may share.
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 the Procedure for Getting a Divorce in Texas?
When it comes to divorce, some say getting married is the easy part. While it can take a lot of planning for a wedding day, the process of getting legally married is significantly more complicated than getting a divorce. The procedures for getting divorced in Texas are as follows.
One spouse who is known as the petitioner will fill an Original Petition for Divorce with the court. They will have the papers personally served on the other spouse who is known as the respondent. However, as some divorces are rather amicable the other spouse may sign a waiver giving up their right to be personally served with the divorce papers.
After the Original Petition for Divorce is served or a waiver is signed the respondent spouse has 20 days to file an answer to the divorce.
The spouses are then required to discuss the case either directly or through the help of attorneys and mediators. If the couple is working together they can prepare an Agreed Decree of Divorce, however, if they do not agree then the spouses will then go through the next step.
Before a trial, the spouses are required to attempt to go through mediation wherein the divorcing couple will try to settle all the terms of the divorce.
If the mediation is unsuccessful then the case will go to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, one attorney will prepare the Final Decree of Divorce that the judge will sign.
As soon as the judge signs the paperwork the divorce is finalized. However, while it takes 60 days after the petition for divorce is filed for a divorce to be finalized, this is assuming that the couple is working together. If the couple is not working together the process can take as long as a year.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Texas allows for two types of divorce: no-fault and fault-based divorce. Not every divorce is the same and depending on your relationship with your spouse you may agree that one is better than the other.
Section 6.001 of the Texas Family Code serves as the basis for a No-fault divorce, which Texas law calls insupportability. This section provides that:
On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Insupportability in the context of a divorce does not necessarily mean that one spouse was not able to financially provide for the other rather it means that there was a conflict of personalities in the marriage that could not be overcome, and there is no reasonable chance that they will be able to reconcile.
However, not every marriage breaks down in an amicable manner and one spouse may claim that it was the other spouse’s “fault”. The Texas Family Code provides for several statutory grounds for a fault-based divorce and are as follows:
- Adultery – Sec. 6.003 – The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.
- Cruel treatment – Sec. 6.002. of the Texas Family Code provides – The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.
- Conviction of a felony – Sec. 6.004.- The Court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse 1. Has been convicted of a felony, 2. Has been imprisoned for at least one year, 3. Has not been pardoned
- Abandonment – Sec. 6.005. – The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse 1. Left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment. 2. Remained away for at least one year.
- Living Apart – Sec. 6.006 – The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years
- Confinement in a mental hospital – Sec. 6.007. The court may grant a divorce in favor or one spouse in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed 1. The other spouse has been in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital. 2. It appears that the hospitalized spouse’s mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely.
Deciding to file for divorce is an incredibly private decision and something that you must also carefully consider. How you choose to file a no-fault divorce based on insupportability, or if you choose to file a divorce based on any of the fault based grounds will potentially affect how property is divided during the divorce.
Our Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers Can Help If You Are a Party to a Divorce Proceeding
To set up a confidential 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.