Texas Divorce Basics
Divorce is legally complicated and emotionally stressful. You should speak with experienced Sugar Land family lawyers who can help you understand your rights and fight to protect your interests throughout your divorce case.
Requirements Before Filing for Divorce
To file for a divorce in Texas, you must meet certain legal requirements. Primarily, you must fulfill Texas’ residency requirements and have a legal reason for the divorce recognized under Texas law.
You must meet the Texas residency requirements. Generally, under Texas law, a spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state. Plus, they must live in the county where they plan on filing the divorce for at least 90 days. There are some alternatives for military divorces.
You must also have a legal reason for divorce, which is called the grounds for divorce. In Texas, the legal grounds for divorce are:
Insupportability is the Texas version of no-fault divorce. With an insupportability claim, neither spouse is at fault for the marriage breakdown.
The remaining grounds listed are fault-based grounds, which means that one of the spouses is to blame for the marital breakdown. A spouse alleging one of these grounds must prove it in court. If you can prove a fault-based claim, the court may award the innocent spouse a greater share of the marital estate.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
Depending on the circumstances, you might have a contested or uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on the major issues, such as how to divide assets and child custody. In a contested divorce, the spouses need judicial intervention because they cannot agree on these issues.
If you have an uncontested divorce, you may not be in court much, and the process may be quick. In a contested divorce, you could have to go to multiple court dates, depositions, and even a trial. Hiring experienced Sugar Law family lawyers will help protect your rights whichever way your divorce goes.
Division of Marital Assets
Texas is a community property state. This means that under the law, all property that either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered marital property unless you can show that it’s separate property. Separate property includes:
- Gifts or inheritances of one spouse;
- Property purchased from assets or earnings from pre-marital property; and
- Money damages from a personal injury lawsuit.
When a couple divorces, a court divides all community property between the spouses equitably. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all property is split down the middle. Instead, the court examines each spouse’s specific circumstances, education, earning potential, and other factors to decide how to divide the property in a divorce. It’s important to have an experienced family lawyer who can help you advocate for proper property characterization and to ensure you receive your fair share.
Child Custody in Texas
Under Texas law, child custody is called conservatorship, which involves assigning the right to make significant decisions about a child and time spent with the child. Generally, courts give equal power to parents to make significant decisions for a child unless there’s abuse or another detrimental factor. This is called joint managing conservatorship and requires the parents to cooperate and communicate with each other to make decisions that are in the child’s best interests.
Texas law generally utilizes a standard possession order to dictate where the child spends their time. Under a standard possession order, one parent’s residence is designated as the child’s primary residence. The order then schedules the child’s time with each parent for the entire year. Parents can create a more accommodating schedule, but they’ll need to explain to the court why their schedule is in the child’s best interests.
Do I Need a Sugar Land Family Law Attorney?
Many consider representing themselves in a family law proceeding to save money on attorney’s fees. Although you can represent yourself in a family law proceeding, there are many reasons you should consider consulting with our knowledgeable family law lawyers near Sugar Land. A primary reason is that you are untrained in the law and will likely not know which arguments will be persuasive and when—and this puts you at a distinct disadvantage. This is especially true if the other party has a lawyer. When you don’t know which arguments will be persuasive in court, you could easily make the wrong argument and get a bad result. If the judge issues an order that negatively impacts you and your family, it can be difficult, stressful, and time-consuming to undo it later.
Plus, family law matters are inherently emotional. An emotional parent can spend their limited time in court focusing on emotional issues rather than legal issues. Again, failing to address the proper legal issues can be taxing to the judge and result in a less-than-ideal order. Furthermore, people in a contentious custody battle often find that navigating the intricacies of the legal process intensifies their stress. Sugar Land family lawyers with a track record of successful representation can take that burden off your shoulders while making the proper arguments that get you the result you need.
Contact Our Experienced Family Law Practice Today
Many issues arise in a family law case that we didn’t mention above. Each family is different, and so are the legal issues that affect them. The Larson Law Office understands that, which is why we provide individualized service to each client. We know that these issues are extremely sensitive and will tailor our legal strategy to meet your specific needs. Contact us today.