Although we all wish our marriages to last for as long as we live, some circumstances make divorce inevitable. Unfortunately, most divorce proceedings turn ugly and require third-party intervention by mediators, attorneys, and the court for them to be finalized.
Whether you are the partner initiating the divorce or not, it’s critical that you hire an exceptional divorce lawyer in The Woodlands to represent you. You can trust the family law attorneys at Bolton Law to provide you with top-notch legal representation throughout your divorce in The Woodlands area and beyond.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
In Texas, there are two primary grounds for divorce: fault-based and no-fault divorce. Fault-based divorce is where the spouse filing for divorce blames their partner for causing the divorce. Fault-based divorce applies in situations like:
Texas state law allows you to file for divorce against your partner if they subject you to cruelty in the marriage. State law defines cruelty as willingly causing suffering and pain to your partner. The suffering could be either mental or physical.
This means that you can file for divorce if you are in a marriage where you feel you are being mistreated and the union is insupportable. Keep in mind that cruel treatment is subjective: therefore, each cruel treatment divorce case is determined based on its own facts.
You can file for divorce in Texas and most other states if you have irrefutable proof that your spouse is adulterous. Adultery is explained as an act of voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with another individual who is not their spouse under Texas state law.
When proving adultery, you don’t need photos or videos of your spouse cheating. Circumstantial evidence, such as bank statements showing regular hotel room bookings, gifts, and trips with a lover, is admissible.
You can file for divorce if your spouse is convicted of a felony, is imprisoned for a term exceeding one year, or has not been pardoned. The judge will grant you a divorce whether the felony conviction is in a federal or state penitentiary. However, if your testimony was fundamental in procuring your spouse’s conviction in a state case, the judge won’t grant you a divorce under such grounds.
If your spouse has voluntarily left your marriage, you can file for divorce, and it will be granted. Keep in mind that the spouse must have voluntarily left the union with the intention of abandonment, and they must have been away for at least a year.
Moreover, the spouse must have shown no intention to return to the marriage and live with you. However, if your spouse returns to the marriage a few days before the one-year period lapses, the countdown will restart. If they come home without the intention to keep living with you, your divorce will be granted.
Texas courts will grant your divorce request on the following uncommon fault-based grounds:
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Homosexuality, where the married couples are heterosexual
- Religious and cultural differences
- Financial backing, where your spouse fails to support you financially even though they can do so
If you are unsure whether you have grounds for divorce in Texas, divorce lawyers in The Woodlands from Bolton Law can look into the facts of your case and advise you accordingly.
What Is a No-Fault Divorce?
A no-fault divorce is where none of the spouses are to blame for the divorce. You don’t have to prove that your spouse has done something wrong. Over the last couple of decades, no-fault divorce proceedings have become more popular than fault-based divorces in The Woodlands because they are less costly and take less time.
In Texas, common grounds for a no-fault divorce are:
Insupportability means the union is insufferable, intolerable, and unendurable. To qualify for a divorce under this ground, your divorce lawyer in The Woodlands must show that a conflict destroying the marriage exists. Moreover, there is no rational expectation that you and your spouse will be getting back together.
You can ask the courts for a divorce without assigning blame to your partner in The Woodlands if you have been living apart for more than three years. For the divorce to be granted, you shouldn’t have cohabited with your spouse at any point during the three years.
Confinement in a Mental Hospital
The courts will approve your divorce request if your spouse has been in a mental hospital for over three years due to a mental disorder. Divorce lawyers in The Woodlands must show that the said mental disorder is of such degree/nature that your spouse is unlikely to adjust if released from the mental hospital or is likely to relapse.
What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?
Child custody is usually one of the most heated issues during a divorce. Child custody is about where your child will live and who will make decisions for them between you and your spouse. At Bolton Law, we recommend that you hire a dedicated child custody lawyer in The Woodlands to fight for your rights as a parent during your divorce proceedings.
Your custody options are sole custody and joint custody. Sole custody is where one parent gets exclusive rights over the child. The other parent might get limited visitation rights. However, the courts usually view sole custody not to be in the best interests of the child unless the other parent is completely unfit.
Your divorce will likely end up in joint custody, where you and your spouse have a right to the child. Each of you will have designated days to be responsible for the kids. It’s essential to note that joint custody can be either physical or legal.
Under legal custody, a parent has the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. This includes decisions such as the type of religion to follow, where and when to go to the doctor, and where to go to school. Generally, the parent is tasked with making all the critical decisions in the child’s life.
In contrast, physical custody determines which parent will live with the child. The parent who lives with the child is the primary residential parent, while the other parent can have visitation rights. During divorce proceedings, divorce lawyers in The Woodlands, TX, can help you fight for physical and legal custody of your child or children.
How Is Child Support Determined?
If you are planning a divorce, you likely have thought about child support. You should know that child support is the child’s right. You are expected to meet your child support obligations until the child is 18 years of age or until they graduate high school. Sometimes, the court may direct you to continue paying child support until the child is out of college.
Texas courts utilize a specific formula that considers several factors when calculating child support to eliminate questions of unfairness. The factors are:
- Income of each parent: At the beginning of every child support case, both parents are required to submit and exchange recent W-2 tax documents, paystubs indicating salary and tax exemptions, and any other documents showing income such as wages, tips, rental income, bonuses, and overtime pay. You will contribute more towards child support if you have a higher income.
- Dependents: You and your spouse must provide dependency information to the court. If one parent pays child or spousal support outside their current marriage, the court will consider this in the child support case.
- Overnight visits: The child support formula will also consider the overnight visits the child will spend with each parent. The court will award the custodial parent more child support.
- Health care costs: The parent whose healthcare plan takes care of the child’s health care costs usually receives credit for the amount paid in the child support formula. The parent must present evidence of the payroll deduction to the court to get the credit for the child’s health insurance.
- Child care expenses: In Texas, child care costs between $10,000 and $50,000 a year. The other parent will fully cover the cost of child care if the custodial parent bears the burden of child care all the time.
How Will Property Be Split in the Divorce?
In Texas, dividing marital property during a divorce is guided by community property laws. This means that marital property will be grouped as either community property that you own as a couple or separate property that is individually owned. During the divorce, all community property is evenly split between you and your spouse, but not the separate property that you own individually.
Keep in mind that you and your spouse need to be able to figure out how to equally divide your community property under Texas law without the court’s assistance. This is because if your property case ends up in court, your community property might be split in percentages between you and your spouse rather than equally.
What Is Equitable Division and How Does it Work?
Under equitable distribution laws, it’s the judge’s prerogative to determine how to split community marital property fairly and equally. The split is typically based on the income and contribution of each party to creating the community property. Generally, the higher-income spouse in the divorce always gets two-thirds of the community property, while the lower-income spouse gets one-third.
However, you and your spouse will have the ability to determine your own splits if you can divide your community property without involving the courts. A divorce lawyer in The Woodlands can help you reach an amicable agreement with your spouse that doesn’t involve litigation.
What Happens to the House?
Four primary outcomes exist for a house owned by a couple during a divorce. They are:
- Selling: This is where the house is put on the market, and you and your spouse get to divide the proceeds of its sale. Most divorcing couples go for this option as it comes with no long-term obligations, such as maintenance payments for either party.
- Purchasing the full share of the equity: In this case, you can choose to buy the equity of the house that your spouse owns. This means you get complete control of the house and take on the whole mortgage — if any. You can opt to stay in the home or rent it.
- Maintenance: Here, the more financially stable spouse moves out of the house and finds a new place to stay while continuing to pay their share of the mortgage. Most parents consider this option during divorce if their children are still living in the house.
- Transferring the property: If you jointly own your home as a couple and the mortgage is fully paid off, you can transfer the property to your spouse as part of the general financial settlement.
How Long Will Divorce Take?
How long your divorce will take to be finalized will depend on various factors, like whether you are pursuing your divorce through mediation and arbitration or in court. Moreover, you and your spouse’s willingness to have a smooth divorce will also impact the duration of the divorce process. Divorce through mediation and arbitration can take as little as six weeks while divorcing through the courts can take as long as a year or more.
If you and your partner are looking to have an uncontested divorce, the process will be straightforward and take less time than a contested divorce. On average, you can expect your divorce to take between six weeks and one year. A divorce lawyer in The Woodlands can guide you throughout the entire divorce process.
How Much Will a Divorce Lawyer in The Woodlands Cost?
Each divorce case is unique. Consequently, calculating the cost in advance can be tricky. However, most divorce attorneys in The Woodlands, TX, charge between $3,000 and $5,000 to initiate a divorce proceeding, and then you will have to pay roughly $300 to $500 per hour moving forward.
Do You Need a Divorce Attorney in The Woodlands, TX? Contact Bolton Law Today
As you might have noted, divorce is a pretty complex matter. You need first-class, highly experienced divorce attorneys in The Woodlands to represent you and boost your chances of ending up with a favorable outcome.