Texas Legal answers to the most common questions about divorce in Texas. What are the steps in the Divorce Process? How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas? Is Texas a “Community Property” state?
How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?
Texas has a 60-day cooling-off period. “No matter what, you will need to wait 60 days from when your divorce is filed for the judge to be presented your final documents,” Texas Legal Attorney, John Chivis explains.
If the divorce is uncontested, meaning there are no disagreements regarding the divorce between the two parties, the divorce can usually be finalized 60-120 days after filing. However, if the divorce is contested, meaning there is a disagreement between spouses concerning the divorce outcome, finalizing the divorce becomes a longer and more complicated process.
Is Texas a “Community Property” state?
Yes, in Texas assets that were acquired while you are married will be considered “community property” and divided equally between the spouses. The property you acquired before you were married or was an inheritance or a gift is often considered separate property. Judges have discretion when dividing community property and can choose to split them in unequal ways.
Are you allowed to change lawyers during the divorce?
Yes, you are allowed to change lawyers during a divorce. “You can change representation anytime that you want. But, if you have a contested case it will slow down the case a lot. It is not as simple as just saying ‘I want a new lawyer.’” Chivis explains. “The new lawyer will have to file documents with the court to become your new lawyer, and get the previous lawyer to sign off on the documents as well.”
What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?
In Texas, you can file for divorce under one of these seven grounds.
- Insupportability. The marriage is unable to continue due to disagreements that cannot be solved. Also known as a “no-fault divorce.”
- Cruelty. Divorce is one way to ensure legal protection from your spouse.
- If your spouse was convicted of a felony. In order to claim this ground, the spouse must have been incarcerated for at least one year.
- Living apart for at least three years.
- Abandonment. Your spouse has left you with no intentions of coming back and has been gone for at least a year.
- Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years.
Can I get legally separated in Texas?
No, Texas does not recognize legal separation.
What are the steps in the Divorce Process?
The general process for filing for divorce in Texas can be broken down into four steps:
- You and your spouse must qualify under the residency requirements. In order to file for a divorce in Texas, both members must have lived in Texas for the previous six months and must be a resident of the county where the divorce will be filed for at least 90 days.
- File for divorce in your county and serve your spouse with a copy of the Original Petition for Divorce and any other documents filed with the county clerk.
- Wait 60 days, during this time many things will happen. Your spouse can respond to the divorce papers. If your spouse disagrees with anything in the papers, they have the right to contest the divorce. During this time, the court may grant temporary orders which serve as the “ground rules” before the divorce is finalized. Lastly, you will begin the process of dividing assets and agreements for the divorce. If the terms of the divorce are not agreed to, you may be required to enter into mediation.
- Finalize the Divorce. The Final Decree of Divorce will include all agreed to and any outstanding items for the divorce.
Family Law Benefits with Texas Legal
As a member of Texas Legal, your Family Law benefit includes representation* for divorce. This is in addition to child custody, protective orders, and adoptions that also fall under Family Law. The average rate of these services without a Texas Legal Membership is $279 per hour in Texas. Make sure you are getting the most out of your benefits with Texas Legal by reviewing your plan’s benefits!
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*The Family Law benefit under the 2023 Independent Preferred Plan covers participating attorneys’ billable time for uncontested divorce (OR up to 15 hours if contested divorce without children, OR up to 30 hours contested divorce with children). The Select Plan covers participating attorney’s billable time of up to 10 hours. Please reference plan documents for more details and other Family Law benefits limits. For more details regarding your specific plan and available benefits, please contact Texas Legal at 1-800-252-9346 or email@example.com.