When going through a divorce or a separation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, lost, and betrayed. Emotions are often running high, the future of your children hangs in the balance, and untangling the marital property can get complicated.
If you’re looking for a reputable family law attorney that can help you navigate the complicated issues surrounding divorce and separation, the experienced Kingwood divorce lawyers at Bolton Law can help. We take pride in helping our clients navigate the turbulent divorce process and help direct them from the feelings of fear and anxiety toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our team has the tenacity, experience, and intuition about what will bring out a favorable outcome for you and your family. We have handled countless divorce cases involving people from all walks of life, and we are thoroughly prepared to handle your case. Our goal is to help you eventually transition to a place of greater safety and confidence so that you can move on to the next chapter of your life.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
If you’re looking to file a divorce in Texas, you have to meet certain State and county residency requirements. The law requires that you must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months before filing for a divorce. In addition, you must have resided in the county where you plan to file for at least 90 days before bringing the case.
You must also specify in your Original Petition for Divorce why you are seeking a divorce. It’s not enough to just say that you want a divorce. You need to have a reason behind it, and the reason must be justified under the law. This is what is referred to as grounds for divorce.
Texas has seven main grounds for divorce as outlined below:
- Insupportability: This is also referred to as “irreconcilable differences” and it’s the most common grounds couples base their decision to divorce in Texas.
- Living apart: If the couple has not lived together for 3 years or more, this can be considered grounds for divorce in Texas.
- Confinement to a Psychiatric or Mental hospital: if a partner was confined to a mental facility for three or more years, and the mental condition is unlikely to improve, it can be grounds for divorce.
- Cruelty: If one spouse is deemed guilty of cruel treatment towards the other in a manner that makes further cohabitation impossible, it can be a ground for divorce.
- Conviction of a felony: If a spouse is convicted of a felony and serves a year or more in prison (and has not yet been pardoned), a divorce can be granted on this ground.
- Adultery: If you can prove to the court that your spouse committed adultery, the judge could grant you a divorce on these grounds.
- Abandonment: If the court finds out that your spouse left you with no intention of returning, and both of you have lived separately for at least a year, it can be grounds for a divorce.
What Is a No-Fault Divorce?
In Texas, the most common type of divorce is the no-fault divorce. A couple can agree that they no longer want to be married and jointly file a no-fault divorce when neither spouse is to blame for the dissolution of the marriage.
What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
There are two main types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. In almost all divorce cases, both forms of custody are shared between the parents. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Parents who get legal custody essentially have the right to make major decisions concerning the child’s welfare, health, and education. This includes where and from whom the child receives medical care, and where the child attends school.
On the other hand, physical custody reflects where the child lives after the divorce. Physical custody, therefore, gives the parent the right to have the child physically present in their house.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
Just as with most other states in the country, the priority of the Texas family court is figuring out what is in the best interest of the children when determining child custody. This entails the judge’s taking into account several factors, some naturally carrying more weight than others.
These typically include:
- The preference of the children (if mature enough)
- The wishes of the parents
- The physical and mental health of all parties involved
- How are the children adjusting to their environment at home or in school
- The relationship between the children and each parent
- Any history of violence from either parent
- Any recommendations from expert witnesses – the court may call upon expert witnesses to help ensure the best interests of the child are taken care of.
How Is Child Support Determined?
Physical custody will be used to determine who pays child support. The parent who spends less time with the children (the non-custodial parent) will largely be responsible for paying child support. The court will use special formulas and guidelines based on the Texas family code to calculate child support payments.
Both parents can agree on the child support amount that the noncustodial party pays, even consenting to zero child support. The judge will consider several factors when determining the child support amount including:
- Needs, special expenses, and age of the child(ren)
- Parents’ resources, assets, income, and financial capability
- Child care expenditures
- Custody care and other child support costs
- Existing alimony expenses
- Health and medical care costs and insurance
- Educational costs including college
- Financial responsibilities of parents
- Employer benefits
- Salary deductions
- Lease or mortgage payments
- Travel expenses affiliated with child visitation
How Will the Property Be Split in the Divorce?
Texas has two main categories of property: community property and separate property. Separate property is defined as property acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage as inheritance, a gift from a family member or friend, or personal injury recovery. Community property is any property acquired during marriage that is not separate.
The Texas family court presumes that any property either spouse acquires during the marriage is community property unless there’s evidence to prove it’s separate property. The burden of proof mainly rests on the partner looking to declare the property as separate.
The court will order an equitable division of the community property and liabilities in a manner that it deems right and just while accounting for the rights of each spouse, as well as the children in the marriage. Property deemed separate will not be subject to division.
What Is Equitable Division and How Does it Work?
For the vast majority of U.S. states, Texas included, the courts will follow equitable distribution laws when dealing with divorce. Only a few select states divide things 50/50. Equitable division means that the judge will consider several factors about the couple’s financial status, length of the marriage, and more before they decide on how things will be divided up.
Some of the factors the judge will consider include:
- The age and health of both spouses
- The contribution each party made to the marriage, both financially and otherwise
- Marital debt
- The assets and income expected to be available after divorce or through retirement plans
- Prior financial commitments, marriages, and dependents
- Cash on hand
It’s worth noting that equitable division does not necessarily mean equal, rather it means that the division of property will be fair based on the principles of equity.
What Happens to the House?
You might be asking yourself who will get the house in the final decree of your Texas divorce. This question is heavily reliant on whether the house is separate property or community property.
With this in mind, certain considerations have to be made. For instance, if a partner used separate money to pay for the down payment of the house, or bought the house before marriage, the house could be theirs.
On a similar note, if the house is established to be theirs, the outstanding debt will be theirs as well.
If you have significant equity in the house, the court might have your partner buy out your interest and refinance it. Otherwise, they may be awarded other assets to offset your equity in the house. If this is not an option, the court may end up having both of you sell the house and split the proceeds.
How Long Will the Divorce Take?
Texas requires a 60-day minimum waiting period between filing and finalizing a divorce. In addition to the legal complexities that come with the divorce, most couples find that it takes more than two months to officially dissolve their marriage.
Several factors influence the length of the divorce process, such as:
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
- The specific issues being contested
- The other party’s lawyers
- The court you file your divorce in
- How reasonable you and your spouse are
- Whether both parties are willing to collaborate or engage in mediation
Generally speaking, a divorce will take anywhere from six months to one year. The more assets there are and the more issues there are to address, the longer the divorce will take to complete.
How Much Will a Divorce Lawyer Cost?
Just as every divorce case is different, the ultimate cost of a divorce will vary from case to case. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can either reach an agreement with your spouse on the divorce terms or go to court if you can’t agree. Going to trial means that it’s up to the court to settle the issues you can’t agree on. The cost of the divorce will generally increase the longer it takes to reach an agreement.
All in all, couples should try to cooperate if they want to save money during the divorce process. But since divorce is such an emotional process, it might be difficult to go through it without conflict. An experienced Kingwood divorce lawyer at Bolton Law can help you learn about your options, rights, and the estimated cost of your divorce.
Get in Touch With a Kingwood Divorce Lawyer Today!
The process of filing for divorce requires patience. Most people consider divorce as one of the most difficult ordeals to go through. However, with the counsel and advice of an experienced Kingwood divorce lawyer, the process can be a little easier.
While working on divorce cases, Bolton Law strives to minimize the potentially adverse impact a divorce can have on relationships and children. We offer our clients a collaborative approach to divorce, which lets you maintain discretion and lower the emotional and financial burdens associated with divorce.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your divorce, reach out to our Texas divorce attorneys to schedule a confidential consultation. We will take a deep dive into your case, discuss your concerns, and answer any questions you might have about the divorce process.