Diane's Ten things you should know about divorce.click here
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 optionsfrom which to chose to get from the Petition to the Decree. Clickhere, for a general description of the contested, adversarial, lawmodel. (By model or process, I mean the group ofrules and procedures followed to achieve the end result of divorce.)
Uncontested Divorce- Some people are able to sit downat the kitchen table, so to speak, and work out on their ownall issues of property and debt division and childrenissues. This is the fastest and least costly method to do adivorce. It doesn't work for everyone though. Sometimesthe emotional issues or the property issues are too complex to workout one on one. Also, many times one person has been controlledthroughout the marriage and they do not want it to also happen in thedivorce proceeding. This option is low cost and highly clientdriven.
Collaborative Law - In Tarrant County we offer collaborativelaw. Collaborative Law is for people who, for whateverreason, can't work out the details of the divorce on their own andneed additional help. They also recognize the inefficiency,harm, and surrender of control that follows with the adversarial/lawmodel. 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 oftradeoffs. Collaborative law provides a process whereby bothparties can work toward the optimum solution for each of them in asafe environment. By safe, I mean not only physically, butsafe that one will not be intimidated, talked over, belittled, orignored in the discussion.
The primary contact the client has through the process is theattorney. If needed, the parties agree to use only neutralexperts. If the case is unable to settle or either party desiresto leave the process, absent emergency, no court action can be takenfor 30 days. Also, both parties must hire new counsel to takethem to the courthouse. This necessarily invests in all partiesand their attorney a commitment to the process.
If this process interests you, be sure to mention it to yourattorney. Don't be surprised if they are unfamiliar with theprocess or dissuade you from the process. Not all attorneys grasp therevolutionary ideas behind this model, the idea that a divorce isabout the clients, their needs and interests, the idea thatclients can take information and make their own informed decisionsabout their life rather than be dictated standard solutions by theirattorney or a judge. Clickhere 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 FamilyCode. Most divorces are founded on the no-fault ground of "insupportability"(i.e. incompatibility), which can be granted to either spouse if thatspouse feels that the marriage has become insupportable because ofdiscord or conflict in personalities which makes any reasonableexpectation of reconciliation impossible.
"Fault" grounds for divorce include adultery or crueltreatment. In that a court may consider "fault" in thebreakup of a marriage as a factor in deciding how to divide theproperty 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 meetsthe 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 case.