Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming ordeal for you and your family. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how to file for divorce in Texas and have the right attorney on your side.
I understand that family law matters can be very difficult and complicated. I have worked with families throughout Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County. Although each divorce situation is unique, there are specific steps you must take when filing in Texas.
Understand the Basics of Filing for Divorce in Texas
Before you can start the divorce process, you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months. Additionally, you or your spouse must have lived in the county in which you will be filing for at least 90 days. Once both of these requirements are met, contact an attorney to start the divorce process.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce
Texas law allows for either a fault or no-fault divorce. Most divorces end with a finding of no-fault, which simply states that the marriage has become insupportable because of personality differences and requires no evidence of wrongdoing or misdeeds.
In Texas, when the court makes a finding fault in a divorce, the court will require one spouse to prove that the other is at fault for causing the separation. Some at-fault findings include but are not limited to:
- Adultery or infidelity.
- Cruel treatment or abuse.
- Felony conviction.
- Abandonment (for a year or more).
- Confinement in a Mental Institution (for at least three years).
You will need to hire an attorney to draft and file the appropriate paperwork for your divorce based upon your specific circumstances. I am here to help you through this process. Typically, the initial filings can include:
- Original Petition for Divorce
- Temporary Restraining Order
- Order Setting Hearing
A temporary restraining order is specifically designed to protect your marital assets and your children prior to your first hearing. It prohibits either party from selling assets or diminishing personal holdings. For example, you may be worried that your spouse will try to sell property before the divorce is finalized. In emergencies, the court can order a spouse to be excluded from the marital residence.
If you file for a temporary restraining order, you will need a court date as soon as possible or it may expire. It is possible to extend a temporary restraining order when needed.
Overall, it is critical that you hire an attorney to assist you with this process so that your rights are fully protected.
The Importance of a Financial Assessment
Assessing the value of your marital estate is essential to an efficient divorce process. These details will help facilitate a smooth separation and ensure that assets are split accordingly.
An inventory and appraisement of your marital estate will include all financial accounts, including IRAs, investments, real estate, and any other asset acquired during the marriage. This also includes any debts acquired during the marriage.
The financial aspect can lead to serious issues, complications, and disputes that require attention to detail. Make sure you provide your attorney with this information in as much detail as possible. Gathering this information for your attorney and helping to participate in your litigation could save you both time, money, and a big headache.
In Texas, property and assets are either separate or community. Here’s a quick overview of each classification.
Any asset or debt acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property. Community property assets and debts are subject to division by the court in a divorce. There are exceptions to this rule, and a spouse may be able to provide evidence that the property is their separate property.
Separate property is not considered part of the marital estate and therefore is not subject to division by the court in a divorce. There are exceptions to the community property rule that would cause property acquired during the marriage to still be considered a spouse’s separate property.
Separate vs. Community Property Division
Because it’s imperative that you correctly categorize each asset as separate or community property, this process can be lengthy, complicated, and full of pitfalls if you do not have an experienced attorney helping you. Here are some ideas to explore with your attorney in protecting yourself and your assets:
– Prenuptial Agreements: These agreements outline which assets are separate and how community assets should be split during a divorce based on specific circumstances.
– Assess Your Finances Beforehand: If you or your spouse hasn’t filed for divorce yet, now is the time to talk with an attorney. The sooner you get started, the easier it is to handle this process during the divorce.
– Appraise Any Separate or Community Assets: In some cases, an item that has appreciated in value during the marriage may be partially considered community property. Or, if the asset is undoubtedly community property, you may need its precise value in order to assess exactly how it will be divided in the divorce.
Contact Our Office Today For Support
Going through a divorce is tough enough without having to worry about filing paperwork, meeting Texas legal requirements, and going through asset disputes. I will work hard to help you and your family get through this ordeal as smooth as possible.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to walk through the specific details of your divorce situation and understand how to file for divorce in Texas. I look forward to assisting you today.