Texas Divorce Laws

Couples seeking a divorce in any state would be wise to learn the divorce laws in their state because each state has their own divorce laws. Although your lawyer will likely be able to walk you through the divorce process, educating yourself is still highly recommended. This article will take a look at some of the compelling Texas divorce laws including the legal requirements for divorce the counseling requirements, the division of property laws and the laws pertaining to alimony and child support.

Legal Requirements for a Divorce

To start the divorce process in Texas, one party must petition for the divorce. This is done through the District Court located in the county where one, or both parties, reside. However, it should be noted that at least one party must be a legal resident for at least six months. One party must also reside within the county limits for at least 90 days before the petition is filed.

A divorce may be granted without fault if either party petitions for the divorce stating there are irreconcilable differences. There are situations in which a divorce may be granted on a fault basis. These situations include cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony and abandonment. A divorce petition may also be filed when there is confinement in a mental facility. Additionally, couples who have been living apart for at least three years may also file for divorce.

Counseling Requirements

In some situations, the court may require counseling for the couple. However, before this occurs, the court will require the couple to see a counselor who will then report on whether he believes the couple will benefit from further counseling. In the event that the counselor states further counseling may be beneficial, the court may direct the couple to a counsel for a specific period to see if the marriage can be reconciled. This set time period will not exceed 60 days. If after this time period there has not been sufficient progress made, the court may proceed with the divorce process.

Division of Property

The State of Texas is considered to be a community property state. This means all marital property is subject to division in the divorce decree. This includes all property acquired jointly by the couple whether or not the property is in the state. The way in which the property is divided will be in a manner deemed to be just by the court system. This does not necessarily mean the distribution will be equal but it will be divided in a manner the court decides is fair. Property that is not considered to be marital property will not be divided and will remain in the possession of the partner who owns the property.

Alimony and Child Support Laws

There are certain situations in which the court may order alimony in the State of Texas. These situations include situations where:

  • There is a mental or physical disability which prevents the spouse from supporting himself.
  • It is not possible for the spouse to work outside of the home because he is caring for a child of the marriage who requires substantial care due to a physical or mental disability.
  • The spouse does not have any marketable skills which would enable him to support himself financially.

Child support may also be ordered by the court, when the couple has children. However, there are some stipulations to be considered in regard to child support. These stipulations generally refer to when the child support agreement will expire. Some of the common situations include:

  • The parent paying child support will be obligated to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. The later date is chosen as the date when the child support expires.
  • Child support will also expire when a child is married or the court removes a disabilities of minor order.
  • In the event of the child’s death, the child support will cease.
  • In situations where the child is disabled, the child support may continue indefinitely.