Diane's Ten things you should know about divorce.
Texas Divorce FAQS
|1) DIVORCE OPTIONS
What is the process for getting a divorce?
All divorces start with the filing of a Petition for Divorce.
They all end in a Decree of Divorce. People have many options
from which to chose to get from the Petition to the Decree. Click
here, for a general description of the contested, adversarial, law
model. (By model or process, I mean the group of
rules and procedures followed to achieve the end result of divorce.)
Uncontested Divorce- Some people are able to sit down
at the kitchen table, so to speak, and work out on their own
all issues of property and debt division and children
issues. This is the fastest and least costly method to do a
divorce. It doesn't work for everyone though. Sometimes
the emotional issues or the property issues are too complex to work
out one on one. Also, many times one person has been controlled
throughout the marriage and they do not want it to also happen in the
divorce proceeding. This option is low cost and highly client
Collaborative Law - In Tarrant County we offer collaborative
law. Collaborative Law is for people who, for whatever
reason, can't work out the details of the divorce on their own and
need additional help. They also recognize the inefficiency,
harm, and surrender of control that follows with the adversarial/law
model. This model is more expensive than an uncontested divorce,
but it is highly client driven and focused.
Any settlement of a case is by nature a negotiation and is full of
tradeoffs. Collaborative law provides a process whereby both
parties can work toward the optimum solution for each of them in a
safe environment. By safe, I mean not only physically, but
safe that one will not be intimidated, talked over, belittled, or
ignored in the discussion.
The primary contact the client has through the process is the
attorney. If needed, the parties agree to use only neutral
experts. If the case is unable to settle or either party desires
to leave the process, absent emergency, no court action can be taken
for 30 days. Also, both parties must hire new counsel to take
them to the courthouse. This necessarily invests in all parties
and their attorney a commitment to the process.
If this process interests you, be sure to mention it to your
attorney. Don't be surprised if they are unfamiliar with the
process or dissuade you from the process. Not all attorneys grasp the
revolutionary ideas behind this model, the idea that a divorce is
about the clients, their needs and interests, the idea that
clients can take information and make their own informed decisions
about their life rather than be dictated standard solutions by their
attorney or a judge. Click
here to read Star-Telegram article about Collaborative law.
|Contested or litigated case. The far end of the spectrum is the
contested, or litigated case which is usually started with one spouse filing for
divorce, possibly on fault grounds. The other spouse is served with a
temporary restraining order which has pages of sutuff that the judge is ordering
the spouse not to do. Spouses who are served this usually become defensive
and act in a manner that they feel protects their interests which they perceive
are being atttacked.
A court hearing is held in approximately 7-14 days at which hearing the
court, if the parties cannot agree, will make temporary orders such as who lives
where, who pays what bills, who sees the children when.
The case then proceeds on with information gathering and at some point the
parties and their attorneys will go to mediation. If the case is not
resolved in mediation a judge will make a decision on final trial. This
could take 3-15 months.
Each case is different. Discuss your fact situation with your attorney.
|2)What are the grounds for a dissolution of marriage?
A divorce may be granted on one or more "fault" or
"no-fault" grounds expressly set out in the Texas Family
Code. Most divorces are founded on the no-fault ground of "insupportability"
(i.e. incompatibility), which can be granted to either spouse if that
spouse feels that the marriage has become insupportable because of
discord or conflict in personalities which makes any reasonable
expectation of reconciliation impossible.
"Fault" grounds for divorce include adultery or cruel
treatment. In that a court may consider "fault" in the
breakup of a marriage as a factor in deciding how to divide the
property and debts, a party may also choose to plead a
"fault" ground for divorce.
|3) What are the residency requirements in order to obtain a divorce? At least one spouse must have been
"domiciled" in Texas for six months, and a "resident'
of the county where the suit is filed for sixty days, before the
petition may be filed. It need not be the person filing who meets
the residency requirements.
|4) After the divorce case is filed, how long does it take to get
the marital status terminated? The case cannot be finalized
until after 60 days have passed from the date that the petition was
filed at the District Clerk's office.
|5) What is community property? The short answer is all property
acquired during marriage other than by gift or inheritance. However, due
to legal concepts such as mutation and reimbursement, this answer can be much
more complicated. Ask your attorney how this relates to your particular
Last updated 09/17/08